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

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  1. Dithyrambes
    Good to finally hear some wonderful news on this device. I wonder if someone like @Currawong can chime in and tell how it compares to other high end dacs around the 2.5k range. Seems it has the qutest beat, but for me the biggest competitor is the schiit yggdrasil analog 2. I know ifi has amazing features, filters, headphone amp, etc, but I would like to hear impressions purely as a dac only as I will be using it with my studio equipment which do not need the additional features.
     
    CClose likes this.
  2. Currawong Contributor
    I have the Hugo 2, which is essentially the same as the Qutest, and I don't feel it has the Hugo 2 beat in my system at least. Between the $2.5k DACs, there's very little in it. The Yggy A2 has a slight touch of warmth in the bass, but otherwise hits the spot dead in the middle between being precise and musical. In solid-state mode with the Transient Aligned filter (the technically best filter) it is closer to the Chord DACs. You can put it in Tube Plus mode and Bit Perfect (NOS) filtering and it becomes a bit warmer and less accurate. DSD mode seems to sacrifice a bit of precision for a slightly lusher sound. It still doesn't get as "warm" as I remember from the R2R 7 though.
     
    CClose and gordec like this.
  3. flyte3333
    @Currawong

    A question about your MrSpeakers Aeon Closed cans, driven directly by the iDSD Pro set to 0dB gain, say listening to Gorgon City's new album 'Escape' (typical loudness for current mainstream music)...

    ... I know it's subjective but is 9 o'clock loud enough or can you get past 12 o'clock for today's popular music?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  4. Currawong Contributor
    I don't have the Aeons here. They were demo models borrowed from the local distributor.
     
    flyte3333 likes this.
  5. youurayy
    Haha. I became more aware of subjectivity of audio review and opinion since I started to slightly prefer my micro iDSD over my Hugo 2 in my desktop setup (oBravo buds). Then there's also the psychological factor, e.g. are we testing before or after coffee (or many other substances), the expectations set by previous experiences, middle ear pressure difference, etc.. Eventually I think it boils to down to which companies one trusts to deliver. I think both iFi and Chord both strongly qualify here, and the only reliably differentiating metric would be the bang-for-the-buck one, but alas, that's not all that matters.
    Waiting on my Pro iDSD and iCAN deliveries!:) 1k DSD on-device upsampling? Full MQA render? Shut up and take my money! \o/

    p.s. I'd still like to know where to order that elusive DC loop cable (or what's the connector spec so that I can have one made).
     
    Currawong likes this.
  6. gordec
    I feel the Pro iDSD is quite a bit better than the Qutest in terms of layering and dynamics. You compared both Utopia and Susvara I assume. I don't have any other headphones to try at the moment.
     
  7. iFi audio
    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
    CClose likes this.
  8. Currawong Contributor
    All the MQA I've tried so far has had clear distortion, and now that we know that it is a lossless format that is less than CD quality, I see nothing to be excited about.
     
  9. flyte3333
    I would prefer MQA go away, but this is incorrect - objectively.

    From Archimago:

    "Objectively with the songs I examined, the software decoder works well to reconstruct what looks like the equivalent 24/96 download."

    and

    "Bottom line: TIDAL/MQA streaming does sound like the equivalent 24/96 downloads based on what I have heard and the test results"

    https://archimago.blogspot.com/2017/01/comparison-tidal-mqa-music-high.html

    This applies to the 1st unfold only (up to 96kHz)… he’s done plenty of analysis on the stuff after the 1st unfold, which doesn’t need repeating of course.
     
  10. youurayy
    Well I'm in the optimist camp when it comes to MQA.
    https://audiophilereview.com/cd-dac-digital/mqa---its-about-time-not-frequency.html
    https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/mqa-time-domain-accuracy-digital-audio-quality
     
  11. Currawong Contributor
    @Em2016 You posted that on CA too. Selective quoting doesn't change the facts. The MQA CDs have at least 1-bit of noise containing the unfold data. That makes them lossy. My point stands. See here: https://archimago.blogspot.com/2018/08/mqa-cd-x-uhqcd-listening-test-by.html at the bottom. The CA article also points out gaps in sound spectrum of the high-res unfolds. That means data has been lost.

    @youurayy: And do you understand what MQA are talking about? I recommend reading the article on CA, including the numerous pages of comments, quite a few of which contain further analysis. Their whole spin now is to get around the fact that they told numerous reporters that they MQA would unfold to reproduce the original studio master, which was proven false.

    The DACs I have (or had) here, none of which decode MQA (the Pro iDSD doesn't as yet) all show that it completely unnecessary for musical enjoyment, and, just as the listening tests linked above show, MQA alters the tracks in a way that in many cases makes the music sound worse.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
    Spamateur and Baten like this.
  12. flyte3333

    I absolutely wasn't talking about MQA CD's - those are rubbish and very easily to verify with a spectrum analyzer.

    I am talking about how most people are listening to MQA at the moment - Tidal streaming.

    Archimago's objective results are also very easily to verify - they are the equivalent to the same HiRes that you can purchase when it's the same mastering. 2L has test files for free.

    Unless you've done deeper analysis than Archimago... ?

    I repeat - I would prefer MQA go away, MQA CD's are rubbish and absolutely not lossless, and I question everything after the 1st unfold.

    But the 1st unfold of Tidal MQA to a non-MQA DAC is quite nice - objectively.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  13. flyte3333
    Exactly and no one denied the facts there too... There was no reply from Mans R and Archimago didn't change his position on the facts... I'm able to look at things objectively and the hornets nest on CA were able to also... I was very clear there, that I was only talking about Tidal streaming and the 1st unfold only....

    I repeat - I would prefer MQA go away, MQA CD's are rubbish and absolutely not lossless, and I question everything after the 1st unfold.

    But the 1st unfold of Tidal MQA to a non-MQA DAC is quite nice - objectively.

    Regarding Tidal MQA streaming only and the 1st unfold only, if you can show anything that shows this statement is not true, you would be the first...

    "Bottom line: TIDAL/MQA streaming does sound like the equivalent 24/96 downloads based on what I have heard and the test results"

    There's nothing about MQA CD there - that's garbage, I agree. And I knew that before Archi posted about it. It's easy to verify yourself on a spectrum analyzer.

    If you don't like the SQ of the 1st unfold in Tidal, it's most likely you're not liking the mastering for that particular album....
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  14. gordec
    This hobby needs a validated testing system on sound for hardware and digital files. This can be done easily and needs to meet statistical significance like in medical research or any research. Then hardware companies can use that system to validate that their new DAC, amp, cables, etc is more resolving, detailed than another. Usually you need 20 users to be blinded and can be easily to recruit test subjects at meets like Can Jam. After spending hours in the past week reading on the back and forth argument between Sound Review Science and Computer Audiophile about Iso Regen, at the end, no one can prove or disapprove another.
     
  15. TPSRA
    Is it normal that I have to press my filter button several time to switch on/off DSD remastering?
     
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