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iFi Audio Pro iDSD discussion thread

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by jwahl, Jan 26, 2014.
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  1. Baten
  2. datasyd
    I must be fooling myself. But the difference between combinations of volume gain on the iDSD (while it's on HiFi Variable) and the iCAN is substantial or I will eat my proverbial hat. Can you please confirm this? Same thing when I run it through my stereo, but with three amps to deal with. What else am I hearing?
     
  3. iFi audio
    Additional components not bypassed if Pro iDSD's rear toggle is set as variable. If it's set to 'fixed', the signal path gets shorter.
     
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    datasyd likes this.
  4. jacofman
    I love tube rolling. I bought 2 pairs of replacement tubes for the stock GE 5670. One was a pair of GE 1950s JG5670 Triple Micas, and the second was a pair of vintage WE396a's. I decided to put in the GE 5670 Triple Micas. The installation was a bit tricky for two reasons. First, the back plate is permanently attached to a wire so you can't completely remove it. You have to angle it through the unit's cover to completely remove the cover. A bit tricky, but if I can do it, anybody can do it. Second, the wifi antenna is a bit tricky to remove. There's a nut and a grommet that need to be removed at the base of the gold post. But you need to hold the post with a pair of pliers, gently, to get a grip on the bolt so that you can remove it and then the grommet. Again, I did it so anybody can do it. I reassembled everything after I swapped the tube set, and put the unit back into my home system. I don't do much headphone listening these days, so I mainly use the ifi iPro iDSD in my home system. I don't want to say too much about the sound quality yet because the tubes need to be broken in. But I can sum up the change in one word:
    WOWWWWW!!! Substantial increase in detail and major slam in the dynamics department. A full report to come soon on the sonic differences between the tube sets once the tubes are fully broken in. And BTW, our very own "Bluesaint" really is a saint when it comes to buying tubes. The entire transaction was very professional and he gave me lots of information to boot. If you ever need tubes for your ifi (or anything else, for that matter) "Bluesaint" is the man.
     
    holzohr, datasyd and bluesaint like this.
  5. iFi audio
    We have our popcorn ready and nicely salty.

    Yup, he is!
     
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    datasyd likes this.
  6. Toyboyo
    I just got a new iFi PRO iDSD and noticed that it makes noise just after bootup as the volume knob moves up to the memory spot - and if I move the volume knob after that there is also noise - the noise stops when I start playback and does not recur on stopping playback. If I wait a while it seems to stop.
    This is through the headphone out and in all modes ie -whether SS or Tube or Tube+ mode and all of the filters etc
    It happens with no inputs plugged in or with inputs plugged in.

    Anybody else experience the same thing?
    @iFi audio have any ideas?
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
  7. iFi audio
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
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  8. jacofman
    Review of 1950s GE JG5670 triple mica Tubes for iFi Pro iDSD DAC


    This is a review of the 1950s GE JG5670 triple mica tubes that replaced the stock GE 5570 tubes for the iFi Pro iDSD DAC. The installation was pretty straightforward, except that the back panel is permanently attached via wires. It needs to be gently maneuvered through the main cover in order to access the tubes. FYI, I primarily use my iFi Pro in my main stereo system in my living room. I rarely listen to music through my Audeze EL-8 closed back headphones through this system. So my observations are exclusively based on using the iFi Pro in that configuration.


    If you don’t want to read a long, more detailed review, here is a summary of what I heard. The more detailed review is below. The first things you notice after swapping the tubes are increased dynamics at both ends of the spectrum, more clarity and transparency, and more detail. These are not subtle changes. Beyond that, I heard more body on acoustic instruments and more specificity for each instrument occupying its own space in the larger soundstage. The soundstage didn’t appear to benefit from greater depth or width with these tubes. Bass seemed to be a bit tighter and more pronounced. And finally, these tubes are more musical. Everything sounds “right” with these tubes, like you want to tap your feet and move your body and smile when playing great music through them. Not bad for simple tube rolling.


    For the more detailed review, I’ll share some of my sources from which these observations were derived. If you listen to “Moon Dance” on Kenny Barron and Mino Cinelu’s “Swamp Sally” album, the percussion thwacks jump right out at you. At every level, from soft to medium to loud dynamics, these tubes handle them well, and stop on a dime when the music calls for it. Very impressive!


    I love Anouar Brahem’s music. It’s middle eastern jazz recorded beautifully on ECM records. When listening to “Lover of Beirut” on his “Astounding Eyes of Rita” album, the oud and the bass clarinet sound like they are in your living room, intimately playing for you. The transparency is unreal. When the darbouka joins them toward the end of the song, you can feel its presence in your room. Sublime music.


    I listen to a lot of electronic music. I know “Toku “ by Monolake on their album “Ghosts” inside and out. Or so I thought. Listening to it with the NOS tubes, I heard details that I’d never heard before. There are different sounds coming from everywhere in the soundstage, and every one of them had more nuance and detail than ever before. Quite revelatory!


    Listening to “Tundra” on Amber Rubarth’s “Sessions From The 17th Ward”, all three instruments (violin, cello, and percussion) sounded richer and fuller than before. The sound was anemic with the stock tubes. But with the new tubes, it was if somebody fattened the instruments, but in a totally good way.


    As far as bass goes, it was tighter and more pronounced than before. Listen to “Sarasate” on “Uncommon Ritual”. The bass just jumps out at you and growls. Whether it was acoustic bass or electronic bass, it was tighter and more integral to the mix of the song. Listen to “Narabeh “ on Compa’s “narabeh” for some deep electronic bass. Play it loud, but not too loud because you’ll blow your speakers. Very impressive.


    I especially love these tubes because they make everything sound more musical. Listen to Tony Rice’s guitar playing and David Grisman’s mandolin playing on “I Am a Pilgrim” on their “Tone Poems” album. They are both virtuosos on their instruments, and with these tubes, you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for the next volley of notes to envelop you. Both instruments just sound “right”. Or listen to some difficult music like Ricardo Villabos’s electronic music “re-imagination” of some avant garde classical music on “Reblop” from “Re: ECM”. These tubes make the music more accessible and approachable, which allowed me to enjoy it much more.


    As you can see, I love these tubes. I still have a potentially even more likable set of tubes to try in the 1955 set ofWE396a’s. They are harder to find, much more expensive, and will potentially enhance the sound even more. Can’t wait to try them down the line. If people respond favorably to this review, I’ll do the same for that set of tubes. Happy tube rolling everyone!
     
    holzohr, Baten and datasyd like this.
  9. datasyd
    Oh my, what a great review, thank you!

    "As you can see" -- made me wonder if perhaps you wouldn't mind taking a video of changing the tubes for the WE396a's review? My partner won't let me go near the ifi's internals without us being confident how doable this is Also, since I own both the Pro iDSD and Pro iCAN, do you imagine there are any issues finding four matching tubes?
     
  10. jacofman
    I will do my best to take a video of how to change the tubes. It will require a buddy to film while I work. Should be doable. And contact “bluesaint” for your tube needs. He’ll take care of you.
     
    datasyd and Baten like this.
  11. iFi audio
    Awesome work, thanks!
     
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    datasyd likes this.
  12. Baten
    Hi iFi! Any news on the Diablo DAC? :D :D
     
  13. iFi audio
    Nope, not yet.
     
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com/iFiAudio/ https://twitter.com/ifiaudio https://www.instagram.com/ifiaudio/ https://ifi-audio.com/ info@ifi-audio.com
  14. datasyd
    Another thanks to ifi Pro units for sounding as beautiful as they look.
    _DSF2246 Brown.png
     
    Slim1970, holzohr and Baten like this.
  15. jacofman
    Beautiful picture!
     
    datasyd likes this.
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