iFi audio Pro iDSD (Official) - NEW Firmware - MQA and more.
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Folks...

CanJam London 2018!



...and two of our staff - Sarah and Hannah - will be there! The girls will be located with iFi audio hardware at the Electromod's booth! Please do visit the place, the iFi ladies don't bite!

And to all able to visit the event, enjoy!
 
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Hi! I have a question to iFi Audio..
Just wondering - how does Wireless Playback Engine work for streaming? For example, I'm interested in listening to Deezer HiFi. Do I need to setup any applications on my Mac to manage playback? How can I select songs to listen etc? Thanks!
 
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iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
 
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The manual states that the Pro iDSD had "Wireless DLNA Playback" but as far as I' been able to determine, it only works with the Muzo app. No other DLNA app even sees it on my network, wired or wireless.
 
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Has the iDSD Pro been joined to the network?

Here is some general help:

https://muzo.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/215612817-Streaming-music-from-the-Mac-or-PC
That link goes to a zero-byte document.

Roon found it as an Airplay device. Airplay, as far as I know, is limited to CD quality. Audirvana found it as well, but I have yet to try streaming higher than CD quality to it, so I've had a bit more luck. The thing is, neither app can read the micro SD card inserted in the Pro iDSD, though streaming isn't in itself bad -- I thought that TIDAL streamed to it sounded a bit better than TIDAL playback over USB.
 
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A few operational questions on the Pro iDSD:
  1. What is the most recent firmware? Mine is at 1.51, but I don't see a F/W page on the iFi site.
  2. I am getting annoying pops when switching sample rates, and the first few seconds of a song will be muted. These are kinds of minor nits that get fixed in firmware, hence the question.
  3. My unit does not appear to be decoding MQA, although MQA support is claimed. According to this page: https://ifi-audio.com/mqa-firmware/, new MQA firmware is available, but I am hesitant to try it, as it doesn't list the Pro iDSD as a supported device, and the numbering scheme is different.
  4. I am trying to assess the benefit of using a Mutec Ref-10 10MHz reference clock on sound quality. There is a dial on the back next to the BNC in, with 4 choices: Standalone, square wave icon, DARS, and atomic clock icon. What is the correct setting? I think it is "atomic clock," but there is absolutely no indication on the front panel of an external clock in use.
  5. Is Filtering and DSD remastering sequential? In other words, it appears you can select any of the five filters: BP, BP+, GDO, Apodizing, and TO, and apply DSD Remastering to DSD512 or DSD1024 to each of them. I just want to confirm that is indeed what is happening, and it there is any guidance around this.
Thanks.
 
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A few operational questions on the Pro iDSD:
  1. What is the most recent firmware? Mine is at 1.51, but I don't see a F/W page on the iFi site.
  2. I am getting annoying pops when switching sample rates, and the first few seconds of a song will be muted. These are kinds of minor nits that get fixed in firmware, hence the question.
  3. My unit does not appear to be decoding MQA, although MQA support is claimed. According to this page: https://ifi-audio.com/mqa-firmware/, new MQA firmware is available, but I am hesitant to try it, as it doesn't list the Pro iDSD as a supported device, and the numbering scheme is different.
  4. I am trying to assess the benefit of using a Mutec Ref-10 10MHz reference clock on sound quality. There is a dial on the back next to the BNC in, with 4 choices: Standalone, square wave icon, DARS, and atomic clock icon. What is the correct setting? I think it is "atomic clock," but there is absolutely no indication on the front panel of an external clock in use.
  5. Is Filtering and DSD remastering sequential? In other words, it appears you can select any of the five filters: BP, BP+, GDO, Apodizing, and TO, and apply DSD Remastering to DSD512 or DSD1024 to each of them. I just want to confirm that is indeed what is happening, and it there is any guidance around this.
Thanks.
I can answer some of your questions:
1. The latest I’m running is 1.55. This version is not released publicly. You need to contact iFi service via email. I described many problems/bugs of the version 1.51 and 1.52 and have been communicating with iFi service for about 3 months. They are pretty responsive and provide great service.
2. I still get some even with 1.55. For the muted playback, I set my Roon preference to 1500ms delay for switching sample rate. This works pretty well.
3. A couple of pages back (maybe more), there was a discussion about this issue. Current firmware does not support MQA at all (no decoding or rendering). iFi said a new firmware to address this issue sometime in September.
4. I have no idea about this.
5. In my understanding, over sampling comes first (either PCM or DSD) followed by filtering. BTW, BP+ is not available with DSD oversampling.
Hope this helps.
 
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I can answer some of your questions:
1. The latest I’m running is 1.55. This version is not released publicly. You need to contact iFi service via email. I described many problems/bugs of the version 1.51 and 1.52 and have been communicating with iFi service for about 3 months. They are pretty responsive and provide great service.
2. I still get some even with 1.55. For the muted playback, I set my Roon preference to 1500ms delay for switching sample rate. This works pretty well.
3. A couple of pages back (maybe more), there was a discussion about this issue. Current firmware does not support MQA at all (no decoding or rendering). iFi said a new firmware to address this issue sometime in September.
4. I have no idea about this.
5. In my understanding, over sampling comes first (either PCM or DSD) followed by filtering. BTW, BP+ is not available with DSD oversampling.
Hope this helps.
Great info, thank you!

I will go back and read the last few pages.
 
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gordec

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The manual states that the Pro iDSD had "Wireless DLNA Playback" but as far as I' been able to determine, it only works with the Muzo app. No other DLNA app even sees it on my network, wired or wireless.
I have tried everything on Windows, and Muzo is the only thing that works from DLNA standpoint. I really want to try use iDSD as a streamer and play off its USB port to an external HDD or NAS.
 
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gordec

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I can answer some of your questions:
1. The latest I’m running is 1.55. This version is not released publicly. You need to contact iFi service via email. I described many problems/bugs of the version 1.51 and 1.52 and have been communicating with iFi service for about 3 months. They are pretty responsive and provide great service.
2. I still get some even with 1.55. For the muted playback, I set my Roon preference to 1500ms delay for switching sample rate. This works pretty well.
3. A couple of pages back (maybe more), there was a discussion about this issue. Current firmware does not support MQA at all (no decoding or rendering). iFi said a new firmware to address this issue sometime in September.
4. I have no idea about this.
5. In my understanding, over sampling comes first (either PCM or DSD) followed by filtering. BTW, BP+ is not available with DSD oversampling.
Hope this helps.
In my unit, BP+ is available for both DSD512 and DSD1024.
20180729_161703.jpg
 
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Let's address some issues in various recent posts:

Firmware

Regarding firmware, please raise a ticket via our support platform if there are any issues. Our staff might make beta releases available on an individual basis at their discretion. When a new stable release is available it will be available at the official iFi audio site.

Filters

We provide the option to operate without any filter and also to upsample to DSD without applying any digital filter. This bitperfect mode is in effect the same as the non-oversampling mode. It causes slight very high FR roll-off and the BP+ mode corrects this via an analogue filter.

We also offer a choice of digital filters for PCM (and within some limits DSD) playback, namely:
  • Gibbs Transient Optimised aka. the GTO - it minimises the Gibbs phenomenon causing time-domain distortion, more about this one we'll reveal shortly.
  • Apodising - this one is said to correct some problems in digital recordings and has many fans
  • Transient Aligned - this one a very large number of taps
As upconversion to DSD uses first oversampling to 705.4/768kHz, all filter options apply unchanged to DSD upsampling.

The main exception is is with DSD inputs. DSD is processed either as bitperfect signal only (no filter choice) or upsampled to DSD512/1024. In the latter case there is no 'bitperfect' filter option (upsampled DSD must use a digital filter).

Our default recommendation for filter is now our new GTO, which we feel offers the best balance between the various requirements of suppressing unwanted ultrasonic noise AND minimising transient distortion (hence transient optimised). A full tech document we'll publish in due time.

External Clocks

Our policy is to not comment other manufacturers' products, therefore it's up to a user to know what type of a separate clock device he has. The Pro iDSD has several adjustments:

The standalone setting is appropriate for any use where the iDSD Pro does not require any external synchronisation to a house clock. Most commercial clocks of lesser quality (regardless of cost) will produce worse results than the internal oscillator of the iDSD Pro.

The atomic clock setting (the Atom symbol) enables the input only and is appropriate if a suitably high grade external clock is used. We wrote in the past that our recommendation is Stanford Research System PERF-10 or better, where 'better' means objectively even lower phase-noise.

The DARS setting is suitable for studio synchronisation use. Please see the AES Standard - AES11-2003.

The 10MHz setting (the squarewave icon) is intended to be used for example with multiple iDSD Pro machines set up for multi-channel operation. This mode enables both 10MHz input and 10MHz output.

It is acceptable not to provide a 10MHz on the input in this mode and instead to apply a BNC terminator and only use to 10MHz output to synchronise other devices with 10MHz clock inputs.

So if a 10MHz clock of suitable quality (> SRS PERF-10) is used in a system with only one iDSD Pro, the atomic clock setting is correct, even if the clock used is not an 'atomic clock', but standard 10MHz one.

Clock Sync is handled transparently without any particular details displayed, only if there is a clock error will there be an error message.

External Clocks - the TL;DR

If one doesn't know exactly what's what, to not mess around with external clocks is our sincere advice. In most cases the result will be inferior in comparison to the clock inside iDSD Pro.

For an external 10MHz clock with a single iDSD Pro or with a clock that has multiple parallel outputs, the 'Atomic' position is the right one.

If multiple iDSD Pro machines are connected as a 'ring clock' or if only one is used as a 10MHz source, the 'squarewave' position is the right one. Then all iDSD Pro should be connected as a closed 'ring' or the sync output should be connected to a device that must be synchronised and able to accept a 10MHz reference.

There is no specific display if the external clock works correctly, though there is an error message if it does not.

Network Playback via DLNA

We have tested iDSD Pro with a range of DLNA software under both Windows and Android; JRiver, Foobar2000, AudioNet RCP and Linn Kinsky. Android requires rooted (hacked) smartphones for streaming and we do not recommend this, but it also works.

The iDSD Pro can be added directly to Windows as 'Digital Media Renderer' as shown here:

1.png

Please raise any network functionality related problems you might encounter with our support team, however please note that we can't and won't provide support for third party applications.

Since JRiver can be tried out for free, we recommend using this software to validate that the network playback via DLNA operates as intended. Instructions and background for JRiver use with DLNA Media Renderers are to be found here:
Here are some additional shots of our Pro iDSD seen in AudioNet RPC and Foobar2000:

2.png
3.png
 
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got new firmware from ifi to hopefully fix the memory leak like issues where playing from sdcard, usb-A stops after 3-4hrs. will see tonight.
 
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The iDSD Pro can be added directly to Windows as 'Digital Media Renderer' as shown here:



How do you get that to work? I'm trying to add it, but Digital media renderer is not showing up. Is it with newer firmwares?
 
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