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

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  1. iFi audio
    Part of the MQA certification means that filters and Remastering options are restricted.
     
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  2. Sound Eq
    i was wondering if more people can give more impressions about the wifi streaming capability of idsd pro and how wouldits streaming sound quality be compared to other streamers out there
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  3. Currawong Contributor
    There was also a comment from iFi in the Stereophile article. You have a choice between technically accurate reproduction or a more euphoric one at the expense of accuracy. That being said, there was rather an excess of ultrasonic aliasing with the Bit Perfect and GTO filters. They could probably have fixed this by having the filter cut-off before Nyquist, instead of after.

    I've been using the Pro iDSD as a DAC/pre to an Audio-gd Master 10 and ELAC speakers and it has been very enjoyable.
     
  4. gordec
    Anyone knows the ip address to log in to set pro idsd network settings? I got in once at some point, but can't find the info on how to get back.
     
  5. iFi audio
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
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  6. iFi audio
    Folks, we have something short and sweet for you today. Our Thorsten talks about Pro iDSD in the context of AMR's upcoming Diablo DAC. These two machines have A LOT in common and more nfo we'll reveal shortly. In the meantime, Thorsten himself, enjoy!

     
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  7. flyte3333
    The Chord Qutest was reviewed in the same Stereophile magazine issue as Pro iDSD and it's up at Stereophile.com now.

    So hopefully Pro iDSD isn't too far away from going up on the website.

    I hope the delay has been due to @iFi audio providing a manufacturer's response to JA's measurements, with measurements of their own - seeing as I'm getting no response/explanation to queries from R&D here.
     
  8. iFi audio
    iFi audio – The 2018 Summary
    It’s been quite the year…


    Dear community,

    2018 is coming to an end and we’ve decided to use this occasion to share with all of you good people a word or two. Many of our product ideas were developed from what you had to say, so we’re extremely grateful for your support. You’re the fuel to our fire, thank you!

    The end of the year is also a good time to summarize what we were able to achieve in the last 12 months. Without further ado, here’s what we did:

    Hardware

    March – xDSD

    1.jpg

    Before this product came to be, we knew that we had to develop something very different from what we’d done before. We thought about many things – toasters with built-in speakers, a wind-up DAC for use in the dessert…only kidding! We aimed for a portable device with wireless functionality as good as a wired connection, improved volume control and a new look. Suffice to say, we strongly believe that with xDSD we were able to deliver on all counts. The toaster has had to wait!

    May - Pro iDSD

    2.jpg

    The Pro iDSD is the most ambitious and complex product of ours to date. It started many years ago as a rather simple machine, but the more time passed, the more advanced it became. After years of suffering (and here we mean both ours AND yours, just take poor Curtis as an example), the Pro iDSD eventually came into being as a state-of-the-art desktop platform loaded with so many features that it's far easier to list things it doesn't do! Not only this, but the Pro iDSD also has A LOT in common with AMR's upcoming Diablo DAC. The former is actually a scaled down version of the latter and we're exceptionally proud of how it turned out.

    June - iFi OTG Cable

    3.jpg

    We released this item due to huge demand. It's reliable, affordable, looks sleek and there's no rocket science behind it. It does the job where it should. It's useful. Hey, if we're capable of delivering headphone amps and DACs, who said that we can't make a quality OTG cable? And nope, before anyone asks, we can’t make the equivalent Apple cable – if we could, we (and the rest of the world) surely would!!! Sadly, Apple don’t share the tech that we’d need to make one work. Would you, if you were Apple?

    June - DC iPurifier2

    4.jpg

    All our iPurifiers were developed to show that even a small and affordable item can really improve sound quality if backed by solid tech. The iPurifier2 is a step up over previous versions of this product, simply because our in-house developed circuitry got better over time. Practice makes perfect!

    · July - iPurifier3.0

    5.jpg

    USB sorters have always been of utmost importance to us and the iPurifier3.0 shows our attitude towards these items. This product might look nothing like our nano or micro iUSB3.0 machines, but its roots are the very same. It was designed to audibly improve the USB interface and very positive feedback from you guys out there showed us that it does just that! Thank goodness!

    October – xCAN

    6.jpg

    Yet again X marked the spot in October! We really looked forward to releasing the xCAN. On the surface, it resembles our xDSD; they have similar set of features and they look very much alike, but the differences end there. Yes, each has finely implemented Bluetooth receiver, DAC and headphone amp in one neat enclosure BUT the xCAN is a portable and fully analogue amplifier above ALL else and its D/A conversion option is a cherry on top, whereas the xDSD - a DAC in the first place - is the exact opposite. Plus these two can work as a team and we have photographic evidence from you guys to prove it!

    November - Ear Plugs

    7.jpg

    This one you didn't expect, huh? Us neither. But then again, we like silence and it’s yet another way to give you guys a low noise floor! (Plus they can protect your ears from the squeaks of protest when your loved one finds out you’ve bought yet another piece of audio equipment!) We try to think of everything…

    Software

    March - MQA firmware for all nano and micro products

    This firmware was one of the most important things for us in 2018. We didn't want to include MQA functionality in just one or two products, we wanted to roll things out across all suitable iFi goods, even some discontinued models. Even though the 5.30 'Cookies & Cream' firmware has some limitations, this is the one to go after if you'd like to listen to MQA regardless of the iFi audio DAC you use.

    October - GTO filter firmware for all nano and micro products

    The GTO filter was a tricky thing to develop, but in the end, it surely was worth the effort. To our ears it sounds amazing enough to surpass every other filter out there and we encourage everyone to give this one a try. Hey, it comes at nil cost, improves sound and if you don't like it, you can always use our previously released firmware. That's a win-win right there.

    November - Beta MQA firmware for the Pro iDSD

    Fully operational MQA on our Pro iDSD took us a fair bit longer than expected for a reason. (Poor Curtis was turning in his grave!). The amount of work needed in order to have this signal fully decoded was nothing short of staggering. Everything had to be coded from scratch. Both our team and MQA's engineers were involved in this project and we're ecstatic that we were able to finally have this functionality ready. Enjoy!

    8.jpg

    Additionally, one thing we’re very proud of is that we were able to push our head of sales out of the UK office for well-deserved holiday. Blindfolded, the man was in shock and had no idea where he was transported. Since no laptops or comms with his team were allowed, after the adventure he told us that withdrawal shivers kicked in hard. But once he got off the plane and acknowledged he was in Iceland… Long story’s short, after this trip he returned as a new man. Even though he’s a good lad, we didn’t miss him at all but shhh…
     
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  9. gordec
    How do you like Pro iDSD via UPnP? I might try Audovarna if it can play DSD via network to Pro iDSD. I don't have much success using Jriver.

     
  10. iFi audio
    Folks, please allow us to entertain you with the story of...

    How the Pro iDSD actually works...
    The XMOS Processor

    The XMOS processor primarily handles the interfaces, including USB connections, SPDIF/AES-EBU connections and I2S input from the WiFi/Network audio module. All inputs are decoded, passed through a memory buffer, then DSD/DOP decoding is applied and then MQA decoding. Also, the entire user interface, display control etc. are handled by the XMOS processor – the 16-Core / 2,000 MIPS.

    [​IMG]

    From the XMOS the I2S PCM signal or DSD signal is passed to the FPGA for any filtering/conversion etc. and from there through a galvanic isolation barrier to the final re-clocking and DACs. This makes sure that all the noisy ‘digital’ processing and its noise is contained on the digital module and cannot affect the DACs and analogue side.

    [​IMG]

    The audio clock is placed next to the re-clocker and DACs and on the ‘Audio’ side of the isolation barrier. This clock is programmed extremely precisely with a < 0.04ppm precision (hence, beyond the ‘femto clock’ level) and is either fixed (USB input) or is adjusted to the long-term average of the incoming data (SPDIF/AES-EBU/I2S from Wifi) which together with the memory buffer makes sure any source jitter is ‘locked out’ completely. This system is the same as found originally in the AMR DP-777 where it was implemented in an FPGA. For the Pro iDSD we have ported it to the XMOS, which is more suited to this kind of task.

    [​IMG]

    After all that digital complexity (which is there for very good reason), the rest of the Pro iDSD is delightfully simple.

    The DACs are used in voltage output mode. The signal from the DACs is direct-coupled to a RCLC passive low-pass filter at around 80kHz and from there either to the volume control and the input of line drive circuit or directly to the input of the line drive circuit.

    [​IMG]

    The line drive circuit is in essence a modern take on classic 1950's tube studio circuitry. It is conceptually based on late generation TAB/Mahaik Studio Console line-driver modules, which had two low-gain triode stages and a choke-loaded cathode follower driving an output transformer with a modest amount of looped feedback to lower distortion to what was considered ‘adequate’ by the stringent requirements of the German Public Radio/TV system.

    [​IMG]

    Our circuit is not capacitor / transformer coupled but instead Direct- Coupled and able to drive 200 Ohm (or lower) loads without the need for an output transformer. It is fully discrete and a single ‘non-op-amp’ structure modelled on the way tube circuity works, eliminating for example distortion between stages caused by the non-linear input impedance of solid-state devices compared to tubes.

    [​IMG]

    We use either triode (NOS GE 5670) or J-Fet input, with a special second stage in solid-state that offers extremely high input impedance and high linearity, similar to a triode circuit. The current drive comes not from a cathode follower, instead we use a Mosfet Follower loaded by a CCS with a ‘current booster’ using bipolar transistors as output buffer. Again, a modest amount of loop feedback is used to achieve ‘studio standard’ measured performance.

    This looped feedback can be lowered to almost zero in the Tube+ setting, meaning the input tube operates without feedback and the solid-state second stage and output are enclosed in a shorter local feedback loop. This causes much higher measured distortion, subjective sound as always is a different story.
     
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  11. Jalo
    To IFi, I have pre ordered the upcoming Woo Audio portable amp, the WA11, because it has 4.4 headphone in/out amount other things, the latest top music players like the Lotoo Paw Gold Touch, Cayin N8 and Sony dmp-z1 etc all adopt the 4.4 platform, I have reterminated all my cables (iem and Full-size) to 4.4. It is a much sturdier platform and fast becoming the choice of many new devices. I wanted to try your Xcan, Pro ICan and Pro iDSD but withholding any purchase decisions due to the lack of the 4.4 connector. I am here giving you feedback so you can be aware the needs of your potential customers. I have a $1000.00 Kimber 8 cores silver axios 2.5 adapter but I prefer not to use any adapter if I can avoid it. Thanks.
     
  12. iFi audio
    We see the 4.4mm need in here and we look into this.
     
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  13. flyte3333
    It works reliably with Audirvana.

    In terms of SQ it's great but I feed Pro iDSD via HQPlayer (over USB).

    In terms of user interface/experience - once you use apps like Roon, Tidal's native app, Qobuz's native app, even Spotify's native app, Apple Music's native app, it's hard (for me) to enjoy mConnect, Bubble, Muso etc.

    Audirvana isn't too bad in terms of user interface and it works reliably for me.

    Chromecast Built-In would have allowed everyone to stick with all the native apps. Hopefully Roon is being explored.

    You can use a Chromecast Audio puck (TOSlink output). Stereophile's AES/EBU jitter measurements noted "many low level spurious tones were present". I have use Chromecast Audio with Pro iDSD and it does sound fine.

    The review + measurements still hasn't made the Stereophile website yet so I can't link it but hopefully it gets published soon (with iFi Audio's response I hope).
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  14. gordec
    I like HQPlayer but I haven't found a good frontend solution for it item than Room. How do you plug Chromecast Audio via optical to Pro iDSD? Pro iDSD doesn't have optical.
     
  15. flyte3333
    Of course it does... just like micro iDSD.... you can use a 3.5mm TOSlink (mini-TOSLink) cable inside the digital coax RCA connector....

    Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 10.23.57 am.png
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
    gordec likes this.
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