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

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  1. ZenErik
    This has probably been asked before.

    I’m wondering if the 2.5mm balanced headphone jack might provide a superior listening experience compared to the 6.3mm jack with my ADX5000, HD650, and HD800S. Surely I don’t require more power, which is likely provided by the balanced output, but is the signal compromised in any other way? Often on balanced amps the single ended output feels a bit compromised/lacking. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
  2. tonyo442
    hello, and thanks for your quick answer,
    thank you
     
  3. youurayy
    So if, let's say, one has Focal Utopia and a Pro iDSD, is there anything to be gained by adding a Pro iCAN?
     
  4. Baten
    The Utopia is relatively sensitive, doesn't need a lot of juice. Unless you want to pay its price for the bass/3D effects and marginally better amping section (since you don't need the extra power), I would think there is little to gain adding the PRO iCAN. You could have the iCAN power your Christmas Lights as an added bonus though :floatsmile: it's ridiculously powerful really.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
    youurayy likes this.
  5. iFi audio
    It's not about power only, the topology itself is important too. Pro iCan is a proper standalone top of the line amp whereas in Pro iDSD there's no regular amp, its headphone circuitry is based on a line driver. Because it's powerful enough to handle even demanding headphones and more than suitable for the headphone job in general, it's finished with headphone outputs. In many cases it'll do what it's meant to do perfectly fine. But in order to hear whether there's any benefit with headphones as high tier as Utopias, one would have to try it with Pro iCan first.
     
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  6. thegabe
    I really like the first bass boost setting on my pro ican with my utopias. Like someone else said, the ican has way more power than the utopia need - on low gain I listen below 9 o'clock and on high gain (which I think sounds better) there is about a hair difference between quiet and blowing out your ear drums. This is with the xlr output, you would have more adjustability with SE out.
     
    youurayy likes this.
  7. youurayy
    Thanks. Seems there's quite a few people running Pro iDSD with Utopias. Could anyone comment on the perceived difference between driving the Utopias single-ended vs balanced?

    I've been always using/choosing SE so far, as I like things simple/pure, but if the iDSD has so great balanced implementation, it may warrant a balanced cable purchase. The question is, is the difference perceivable?
     
  8. Baten
    One of the more controversial topics, hard to get some factual information on the matter, haha. Truth is generally on an audio device either the balanced or single ended works better than the other. More often than not one of both is skimped out on. Single ended being "converted" to balanced, or balanced being "dumbed down" to single ended. Few really great topologies out there imo.

    So with some devices, balanced will sound arguably better since most of the attention on building the thing has gone to it. In an ideal scenario though, performance on both will be, barring teensy tiny differences, about the same. You won't know until you try it out though :)

    One of the most eye-opening articles I read on the subject was this one: https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/application_notes/audio-myth-balanced-headphone-outputs-are-better
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
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  9. ZenErik
    That's why I asked before if there's any compromise to the single ended headphone out on the Pro iDSD compared to balanced. Haven't gotten an answer from iFi yet, but I'm curious. I don't mind if there's a bit less power. My headphones are easy to drive. But is there something else that might cause one of the outputs to sound inferior compared to the other option?
     
    youurayy likes this.
  10. Baten
    Choices in build. In the product page they say

    "This is the litmus test for any amplifier to see if it is truly balanced or operates internally in single-ended mode.

    Those using ‘2-Track’ volume controls may offer balanced in and out but are not true balanced designs. The Pro iDSD however is fully-balanced from beginning to end."

    So I would assume it is made to perform best when used balanced. If its design is as good as you'd expect though, performance should be very nearly similar on single ended, but without looking into the topology and engineering background I don't think anyone can tell you for sure. I am however sure iFi will tell you both outputs should work great with a device not requiring tons of power, although comparing it to the iCAN is probably unfair since it's made for one purpose, amplifying alone.

    If you have a retailer nearby I would simply suggest listening to it in a store to compare, but then you would need both the balanced and single ended cable for your headphone which also comes at a cost :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
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  11. gordec
    I personally think the Pro iDSD is enough to drive the utopia to its full potential. However, the pro ican is much more powerful. For Susvara, all I need for the pro ican is low gain and volume at 12 o'clock. For the pro idsd, I need high gain and volume at 1 o'clock.

    The amp circuit is also very different. I get a completely different sound signature with pro ican vs pro idsd. I personally much prefer the pro idsd sound as DAC/amp. The Pro iDSD Tube+ mode -> MHA100 -> Susvara blows away everything I have tried. Pro iDSD walks all over Qutest which I loved.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
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  12. youurayy
  13. GHoldridge
    Man I wanna try this so bad... id buy it to try it out and return it but I feel like I might like it too much
     
  14. gordec
    Just buy on Amazon. Easy return if you don’t like it. That’s where I got mine.
     
  15. iFi audio
    Our policy is to not comment other manufacturers' doings, therefore no. Instead we'll point your attention to the first post of this thread. There's a generous number of links with our tech explained.

    Enjoy!
     
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