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

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In terms of changing tubes, I would be extremely hesitant. Here is what ifi concluded:

From a purely technical side, GE JAN 5670 NOS valves are the best ones we could find in large batches enough to be commercial.
1. Excellent consistency of electron valves between batches
2. Glass is thicker than usual,
3. Controlled warm-up
4. Tight specifications on grid current,
5. Low noise and microphonics and exceptional longevity

And since genuine military grade New Old Stock 5670 electron valves are reasonably well available (unlike many desirable electron valves), it'd be a shame not to exploit their potential. Hence we exploit as much as we can, fully aware of what GE JAN 5670 NOS performs and sounds like.

At iFi Audio we always strive to find the best parts for tasks given. This is not lip service – we ruddy well mean it!

We experiment with lots of components from a number of manufacturers, measure, audition and once extensive research is gathered, we cherry-pick. If every component’s related decision would be as simple as it was with GE JAN 5670 NOS, our engineering lives would be much easier and we’d spend a lot more time in the pub!

In conclusion, this electron valve has an incredible price-to-performance ratio, it honestly doesn't get much better than this. We've been there, we've done that – we’ve got the t-shirt and the blinking key ring.

You're of course free to experiment with our Pro iCAN past warranty period. But it's highly unlikely that you'll find anything better for sane money. Please trust us on this one; our Skin, she does not joke around when it comes to sound quality.

(I own the ifi Pro iDSD and Pro iCAN).
 
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datasyd

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I think if you are a Pro iDSD owner upgrading... use ethernet as the input.... biggest improvements.
Do you mean in comparison to wifi or in comparison to every available input? I have 300GB of DSD music and otherwise use Tidal for MQA & other sources. I use a 10Gbps Samsung T5 SSD connected to my MacBook Pro, running Roon with HQPlayer for DSD, otherwise Tidal. With my MBP plugged into the Pro's USB port the sound delivered through my connected Pro iCAN, either directly through my headphones or indirectly connected through my home theatre receiver is sublime. Wifi through the Pro iDSD falls well short, I might mention, to me it sounds compressed. However, whether the MBP is connected to ethernet or wifi seems not to make a difference.
 
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gordec

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In terms of changing tubes, I would be extremely hesitant. Here is what ifi concluded:

From a purely technical side, GE JAN 5670 NOS valves are the best ones we could find in large batches enough to be commercial.
1. Excellent consistency of electron valves between batches
2. Glass is thicker than usual,
3. Controlled warm-up
4. Tight specifications on grid current,
5. Low noise and microphonics and exceptional longevity

And since genuine military grade New Old Stock 5670 electron valves are reasonably well available (unlike many desirable electron valves), it'd be a shame not to exploit their potential. Hence we exploit as much as we can, fully aware of what GE JAN 5670 NOS performs and sounds like.

At iFi Audio we always strive to find the best parts for tasks given. This is not lip service – we ruddy well mean it!

We experiment with lots of components from a number of manufacturers, measure, audition and once extensive research is gathered, we cherry-pick. If every component’s related decision would be as simple as it was with GE JAN 5670 NOS, our engineering lives would be much easier and we’d spend a lot more time in the pub!

In conclusion, this electron valve has an incredible price-to-performance ratio, it honestly doesn't get much better than this. We've been there, we've done that – we’ve got the t-shirt and the blinking key ring.

You're of course free to experiment with our Pro iCAN past warranty period. But it's highly unlikely that you'll find anything better for sane money. Please trust us on this one; our Skin, she does not joke around when it comes to sound quality.

(I own the ifi Pro iDSD and Pro iCAN).
I'm aware of that, but the reality is that better tubes really make a big difference. It's not really realistic for them to put high quality WEs in the Pro iDSD. They are hard to find. I was hesitant at first. There is no reason to not try it. Best tubes are $100-$150ish. You are taking about 5% of the cost Pro iDSD for potentially 15% improvement. The only hesitation is warranty.


Do you mean in comparison to wifi or in comparison to every available input? I have 300GB of DSD music and otherwise use Tidal for MQA & other sources. I use a 10Gbps Samsung T5 SSD connected to my MacBook Pro, running Roon with HQPlayer for DSD, otherwise Tidal. With my MBP plugged into the Pro's USB port the sound delivered through my connected Pro iCAN, either directly through my headphones or indirectly connected through my home theatre receiver is sublime. Wifi through the Pro iDSD falls well short, I might mention, to me it sounds compressed. However, whether the MBP is connected to ethernet or wifi seems not to make a difference.
What does your chain look like? I have the Pro iDSD connected with a network switch directly to the PC. WiFi sounds clearly inferior. If you are using Roon, you can only use pro idsd with Apple Airplay .To get higher bitrate, you need to get a network renderer like ultraRendu or use Jriver/ Audirvana via DLNA. I use Jriver. In this setup, Ethernet is clearly better than USB. Others have verified that.
 
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bluesaint

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In terms of changing tubes, I would be extremely hesitant. Here is what ifi concluded:

From a purely technical side, GE JAN 5670 NOS valves are the best ones we could find in large batches enough to be commercial.
1. Excellent consistency of electron valves between batches
2. Glass is thicker than usual,
3. Controlled warm-up
4. Tight specifications on grid current,
5. Low noise and microphonics and exceptional longevity

And since genuine military grade New Old Stock 5670 electron valves are reasonably well available (unlike many desirable electron valves), it'd be a shame not to exploit their potential. Hence we exploit as much as we can, fully aware of what GE JAN 5670 NOS performs and sounds like.

At iFi Audio we always strive to find the best parts for tasks given. This is not lip service – we ruddy well mean it!

We experiment with lots of components from a number of manufacturers, measure, audition and once extensive research is gathered, we cherry-pick. If every component’s related decision would be as simple as it was with GE JAN 5670 NOS, our engineering lives would be much easier and we’d spend a lot more time in the pub!

In conclusion, this electron valve has an incredible price-to-performance ratio, it honestly doesn't get much better than this. We've been there, we've done that – we’ve got the t-shirt and the blinking key ring.

You're of course free to experiment with our Pro iCAN past warranty period. But it's highly unlikely that you'll find anything better for sane money. Please trust us on this one; our Skin, she does not joke around when it comes to sound quality.

(I own the ifi Pro iDSD and Pro iCAN).
I have 2 complete sets of idsd pro, ican pro, and iesl pro. It's easy to change tubes, and of course ifi dont recommend folks to change theirs as they don't want to encourage ppl voiding warranties.

However fact remains their stock tubes are middle of pack. They specifically mentioned that they purposely wanted a tube that is less tube sounding and more linear neutral. The stock GE has that signature, but it's not refined, and has harsh treble once you compare it with better tubes. There is absolutely nothing scarce or expensive about the stock GE. Ifi runs a business and needs to use tubes that's sustainable for long time to come while still sounding good. The GE fits that bill and is what I would have done were I in their shoes.

If you love the signature of stock GE, then you should upgrade to GE from 1950s with triple mica construction. I used to run a set of these in my ican and it's an improvement in all facets.

20190207_194206.jpg or

If you want more details while not overly harsh, you can try these LM Ericcson 2C51L gold pins. But these are around $250 now.

20190221_235357.jpg
 
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bluesaint

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Been looking trough my stash and found these. The Sylvania with gold pins is an sample, Pity the 6385’s are too tall
Btw the 6385/6N3P sizes will fit, but its tight. I would not recommend the 6385 though as it draws more than 300ma causing it to generate more heat than typical/2c51 tube types.
 
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If you play a native DSD file, iDSD will only play it in bitperfect mode. If you upsamples a native DSD file to DSD512/1024, there is no bitperfect mode because a digital filter has to be applied.
Yes, that's what happens indeed.
 
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There is absolutely nothing scarce or expensive about the stock GE. Ifi runs a business and needs to use tubes that's sustainable for long time to come while still sounding good. The GE fits that bill and is what I would have done were I in their shoes.
So very true. GE is a great tube for what it is. One can go higher, but for far more. We wanted tubes reliable in the long run, nicely sounding and - yes - available in large quantities, though the available GE stock got far smaller than it used to be.
 
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datasyd

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o If you are using Roon, you can only use pro idsd with Apple Airplay.
I connect my MBP to the router to receive Tidal and to my iDSD via the stock USB cable. I do not use Airplay. I don't believe I sacrifice any quality by using Roon because when I play DSD files I send that through HQPlayer. That sounds better to me than any other solution I have tried, including Audirvana (although admittedly I have not tried that with JRiver)
 
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gordec

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I connect my MBP to the router to receive Tidal and to my iDSD via the stock USB cable. I do not use Airplay. I don't believe I sacrifice any quality by using Roon because when I play DSD files I send that through HQPlayer. That sounds better to me than any other solution I have tried, including Audirvana (although admittedly I have not tried that with JRiver)
I thought you said you tried WiFi and Ethernet against USB and you prefer USB. How were you playing with WiFi.
 
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datasyd

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I thought you said you tried WiFi and Ethernet against USB and you prefer USB. How were you playing with WiFi.
The ifi Pro iDSD is able to source input using Wifi played through the Muzo App. I cannot listen to this source for very long because it is clearly inferior to other options I have.

I usually plug my MBP into the USB port of the Pro iDSD and source DSD music from the MBP from 300 GB of tracks I hold in storage on my USB-C connected Samsung T5 SSD (10Gbps) playing Roon via HQPlayer, or online Tidal tracks using the computer's network connections directly via an ethernet to router cable or via the Mac's Wifi connection (I typically get speeds of 60-90 Mbps either way).
 
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gordec

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The ifi Pro iDSD is able to source input using Wifi played through the Muzo App. I cannot listen to this source for very long because it is clearly inferior to other options I have.

I usually plug my MBP into the USB port of the Pro iDSD and source DSD music from the MBP from 300 GB of tracks I hold in storage on my USB-C connected Samsung T5 SSD (10Gbps) playing Roon via HQPlayer, or online Tidal tracks using the computer's network connections directly via an ethernet to router cable or via the Mac's Wifi connection (I typically get speeds of 60-90 Mbps either way).
That's why. Muzo is pretty weak. You need to run DLNA and connect the pro iDSD on a network switch to get the most out of it. That way Ethernet outperforms USB. I also tried Roon hqplayer. Was using HQP NAA when I had ultraRendu. Still prefers Pro iDSD fed by ethernet directly.
 
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Still prefers Pro iDSD fed by ethernet directly.
I know this is all subjective but can you describe the differences that made you prefer the ethernet input?

Did ethernet input sound more 'detailed'?

Or did USB input sound too bright?

Or other things?
 
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fodowsky

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Very interested in the reply to the questions above.

Also, please help me understand why there would be a difference between the sound quality of ethernet, USB or wifi?
 
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The wifi module almost certainly generates noise.
 
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