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

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  1. doggiehowser
    That's what I have been saying for ages :) Ethernet as a music transport just sounds better than USB. It's one of the reasons that stopped me going for a DAVE a few years ago.

    And that's why I have been asking for Roon support on the Pro iDSD.

    FWIW the beta v2.0 firmware has broken DSD support. So it might explain no DSD. But yeah the network bridges tend to be limited to 24/192 - which is fine by me because most of my music is 1xDSD rips from SACDs or up to 24/192 or MQA.
    flyte3333 likes this.
  2. aangen
    I am trying to understand what you are talking about here. Lets say I have a computer sitting next to a Pro iDSD. I could hookup to the Pro iDSD via USB or I could stream via ethernet from the computer to the Pro iDSD and I would hear a noticeable improvement in sound if I chose to do so? And I could do this using Jriver on the computer using which setting? (I am using Jriver now connected to a DAC via USB) In my situation both the computer and the Pro iDSD would share ports on the same switch.
  3. gordec
    1. For JRM, you need to go to setup a DLNA server. Ifi provided the guide here. https://www.head-fi.org/threads/ifi-audio-pro-idsd-the-official-thread.869144/page-20#post-14396981.
    2. Then make sure the Pro iDSD and your PC are on the same server with very good connection. Hopefully both connected to the same router via ethernet or with switch. You can also try doing a network bridge. You will need 2 ethernet ports or buy an USB ethernet dongle and connect it to your PC. Your home network/wifi connects to the PC, PC is connected to Pro iDSD via bridge. See this guide on how to set it up. https://www.windowscentral.com/how-set-and-manage-network-bridge-connection-windows-10.
    3. Then iDSD will show up under the top left player section. You select it, now all the music will be streamed to it.
    aangen likes this.
  4. aangen
    Since computer and DAC will both be plugged into the same switch the bridge option is not required. Is the bridge method preferred? (I would guess not)
  5. gordec
  6. aangen
    I was afraid you would say that. :wink:
  7. aangen
  8. peterjgross
    I believe i saw your earlier post on that before i purchased my Pro iDSD. What i was looking for was user experience for using the Pro iDSD as network streamer because i was looking for a device that was not just a DAC but i could also stream to over network.
    Now that i have the Pro iDSD i have tried both USB and network - I do not necessarily hear a difference in sound quality. However, i do see different behavior between the USB and the "App" inputs. Let me describe - wondering what others observe.
    - USB input: i used Audirvana for Windows as player, i do not have an alternative. Not sure what Audirvana does before sending the data to the USB audio interface. But generally the results are very good and very reliable
    - "App" (network/SD card/hard disk) input:
    -- i have issues playing 24/192 without any stuttering. I tried from my media server (Asset UPnP on QNAP NAS) and from SD card and it happened in both cases. I then tried a USB hard disk and it happened as well. In addition when streaming via network i tested to a Marantz receiver that is connected to the network in the same way as the Pro iDSD and the files played fine
    -- i seem to have more issues when playing FLAC as compared to WAV. When playing FLAC i observered stuttering and then the iDSD disappeared from the network until i restarted it. I have now set my UPnP server to transcode to WAV and this works more reliably
    -- when playing 24/96 or 24/192 ALAC files they do not play properly. It sounds like the iDSD does not read the file properly and decodes them assuming the wrong sampling rate (sounds like slow motion). I can play those ALAC files on my computer of the Marantz receiver.

    The iFi support is responsive but there is no solution. Not an immediate problem for me since i can work around by transcoding on the UPnP server. But i believe that there are issues with the "App" input. Maybe the buffering. Something that will affect the input whether the data come via network or SD/USB disk.

    Despite all those "complaints" i still like the Pro iDSD as my central point to convert digital sources to analog audio. Sounds great, i can stream (although with caveats) and as a bonus i got a head phone amp that is substantially better than the one on my Marantz amp.
    I have hopes that some of the issues are sorted out via firmware.
  9. gordec
    How do you connect the Pro to your network?
  10. gordec
    Another overlooked function of the Pro iDSD is it’s ability to accept external clocks. I haven’t started to experience with clocks yet, but theoretically if you hook up a high quality external clock to the Pro iDSD, it will improve it’s sound further. The CA community is must more invested in this topic than headfi. It’s the next on my list of things to experiment with.

    It would be nice for ifi to recommend some external clocks to try as the Pro already has a high quality clock inside.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
  11. iFi audio

    1. Wifi signal quality varies widely. While 16bit/44/1kHz streaming tends to work fine, higher rates depend more on your neighbours' Wifi. Best use hard-wired connection for high res files.

    2. 4.4mm. It's an ongoing process. We know that we didn't update this fine community in the matter for a while, but this is in the pipeline and soon we'll have something to share with you all.
    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
  12. peterjgross
    WiFi with a twist: the Pro iDSD connects via LAN cable to a Netgear EX8000 Wifi extender. So the media files from the UPnP server are send from the main WiFi access point to the extender via wireless network.
    This is why i (as mentioned in my previous post) i did some reference experiments - streaming via the same connection to the Marantz (which works fine).
    Also it means i do not use wireless on the iDSD. I trust that the EX8000 is a lot better with WiFi than the iDSD.
    Granted - WiFi is more susceptible to variations. And i can't prove that in my case it is flawless. But i did some transmission tests from my listening room an i get throughputs of 300mbps+ .. for 24/192 i need 10mbps. So - i think that the iDSD is great but i do suspect that the buffering for the App input needs improvement.
  13. gordec
    I tried the same setup as yours with a wifi extender. It's just not as good as Ethernet for which every reason. If you can get both your PC and Pro iDSD on the same network switch or bridge them, you may hear a difference.
  14. peterjgross
    Thanks for responding. Again, acknowledge that WiFi is not as reliable as wired Ethernet. And i cannot exclude with certainty that there is an issue of some sort with WiFi that only manifests itself when playing audio. But with either medium you just need to keep the playback buffer filled so that data can be fed to the DAC steadily. And that should not be a problem for a modern WiFi system with reasonable coverage (which i have) - only 10mbps needed.
    I have a TV in the same room on WiFi. I can watch 4K UHD streams from Netflix or Vudu no problem.
    I do not have an easy way to connect the iDSD to the same network as my streaming source (which is a NAS with UPnP media server).

    And again .. it is not only that network playback stutters occasionally. If i play 24/192 FLAC it will stutter and eventually the iDSD hangs. AND it also happens when playing from SD card or USB disk. Same with the issue with ALAC playback - it just all points to an issue with how App input is handled. To repeat - i have not seen any issue with 16/44 playback whether Tidal nor from the UPnP server. i did see issues initially with 24/96 FLAC but this went away since using the NAS with Asset UPnP. But i still see issues from time to time with 24/192 FLAC. Btw .. i should mention that the issue is less severe when i transcode to WAV on the UPnP (less severe meaning less stuttering and the iDSD does not hang)

    I really hope that iFi will eventually work that out. Personally i believe you can find any number of great DACs but none with build it streamer in addition to the head phone amp. So i love the concept and for the most part it works.
  15. flyte3333
    A lot of these things they experiment with definitely have the potential to sound different - and depending how it affects things in the system, can be heard by people as sounding subjectively better.

    But different doesn't mean technically better.

    Unless you are trying to sync multiple Pro iDSD's, I can't see how an external clock can be technically better than the excellent clocks that are mm's from the Pro iDSD's D-to-A conversion stage?

    Maybe @iFi audio can confirm if they agree or disagree with the above?

    Btw, the experimenting they all do is fine of course. It's not life or death - this is all fun stuff... but it can get really expensive with this external clock stuff...
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
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