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

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  1. CADEng
    Yes, I want to use iDSD without computer at all. First with external hd, some SD cards but later I`ll buy some NAS. Which solution is better regarding SQ (hd vs NAS)? Can I expect some other problems using iDSD as stand-alone device? Some other option beside Muzo?

    According to your experience which solution is best for SQ regardless method of connection?

    You just said that I can`t get Tidal with MQA without Audirvana using iDSD as stand-alone device!?
  2. gordec
    Muzo only works if your Pro iDSD is connected to wifi which doesn't work as well as ethernet connection. Without adding another network renderer such as SMS200 or one of the Rendu's, you cannot really use Pro iDSD without any connection to PC. The most elegant way is Audirvana which requires you to be on PC. Jriver has a control app for Ipad and Android, but it doesn't have Tidal incorporated. Furthermore, by plugging in an external HD to Pro iDSD also works very poorly. I have tried Pro iDSD with SMS200 and Ultrarendu, and I actually prefer direct ethernet from PC or network switch to Pro iDSD.

    I cannot hear any difference between a NAS, spinning hard disk, or SSD. So here is my setup. Windows 10 PC -> Ethernet via direct bridge mode (I have 2 ethernet cards, you can do wifi and bridge with ethernet) -> Pro iDSD.

    If you want MQA Tidal, buy Audirvana for PC or MAC. If you don't have to have Tidal, Jriver works great also. This is the best sounding solution. I have gone to the end of the earth to get the most out of Pro iDSD. Also via ethernet, the Pro iDSD has perfect play back at 96k or below. It works sometimes with higher bitrate or DSD64 (which is the hard cap for network mode), but will eventually experience stutters.
  3. CADEng
    Thank you very much! I must say that I am little bit disappointed because I was hoping that I can use iDSD as stand-alone device/streamer and get best SQ that way!
    And also cut some expenses on cables/ other equipment etc. Minimalistic approach!!!

    I have Apple Mac mini 2014 i5/16Gb with 256Gb SSD so can you recommend me my future setup! Do I need some specific branded ethernet cable(s) becuse you said that you preferred ethernet connection?
  4. webmi
    I use my iDSD Pro via USB and with Tidal App (natively). :thinking:

    If you have a Mac mini, just use USB for the iDSD Pros full potential. There is MQA with more then 96k.
  5. webmi
    Have to add this.

    Dont get me wrong. I see the network Interface on the iDSD Pro as the next step compared to a simple USB connection. Level2. Also because it is bound to extra cost, compared to a simple USB connection.

    I would like to go that network path. I personaly make a living as a cisco network admin. Would like to invest in a upgrade on my personal network gear with propper cables etc. Would pay good money for Roon then.

    Without the needed software update and the business behind that, to make the iDSD Pro natively roon network ready, i just cant. For me a roon server plays a critical role in this level2 network build with the iDSD Pro.

    I image myself using that big input wheel on the iDSD Pro more often then, since i am still bound to USB for gaming/voice etc. but for pure music listening ethernet could be nice, if its done right.

    So please, if you can, make this beautiful iDSD Pro roon network compatible. This (my) level2 build would be sooo cool. :wink:
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
    mt-hifidelity likes this.
  6. mt-hifidelity
    Did you look into any of the Roon network devices out there? I have not. If they were reasonably-priced and supported Ethernet-to-iDSD I would consider adding one. Until then I'll probably stick with using my Macbook as a bridge to feed my iDSD via Ethernet. The problem is that pretty much requires me to dedicate the macbook to just being a network music server.
  7. peterjgross
    “Muzo only works if your Pro iDSD is connected to wifi which doesn't work as well as ethernet connection” - not sure i understand. I use Ethernet, have never touched Wifi on the iDSD and Muzo works just fine. As long as you have the Muzo control app and the iDSD (with the Muzo end point) on the same network everything should work. Of course, you can’t play Tidal MQA natively over the network.
    Wish there would be a Roon end point instead of Muzo on the iDSD ...
  8. CADEng
    I make my decision and bought iDSD! Need to wait couple of days for delivery. Thank you guys for helping me! Now I need to spend some time learning and reading because till today I own only old school DAC without so many features!!

    I don`t understand why I can`t play Tidal MQA natively over nwtwork? Can you recommend me some ethernet cable?
  9. Mightygrey
    I've spent less than two hours with a Pro iDSD that's just landed on my desk, and it's an incredible unit - I'm going to need to spend a LOT more time to wrap my head around its capabilities and nuances.

    It has everything + the kitchen sink thrown in from a digital POV, but there's one input that's not included that would if it were, it would mean that it could replace almost everything in my head-fi/2-channel set-up: a set of analogue inputs! I'd love it to use it as a pre-amp for my turntable, but alas I can't.
  10. flyte3333
    I completely understand your question. Not everyone wants to have a PC/Mac inside their listening room.

    As others have said, Muzo is crap. It works but the user interface is extremely average compared to many offerings out there.

    mConnect Player is be better than Muzo - and Bubble UPnP (Android) isn't too bad these days. You can use Tidal through these apps. The Pro iDSD will do the MQA decoding.

    You won't need to buy any device to have these apps working since Pro iDSD is a UPnP renderer (via ethernet input).

    If you can still find a Chromecast Audio device (no longer in production) you can use the official Tidal app and 'cast' to Chromecast Audio - connect to Pro iDSD via optical cable.

    It's a little disappointing Pro iDSD didn't launch with Chromecast Built-in (or Roon on ethernet input) but maybe future products will.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
    CADEng likes this.
  11. iFi audio
    We feel your pain, but sadly we couldn't squeeze everything everyone wanted.
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  12. gordec
    Can anyone hear a difference between MQA and nonMQA? I cannot. I have tried play a few MQA albums I have compared to resampling it in Jriver so it's not decoded as MQA, I cannot hear any difference.
  13. KrankorUK
    I struggle to hear a difference between high quality MP3 and CD Redbook / FLAC on my Pro IDSD (I put it down to my Pro IDSD being so damn fine!) :wink:
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  14. peterjgross
    Have not done a lot of testing so take this with a grain of salt. What i am comparing to is playing a FLAC 44/24 file through the iDSD with DSD upsampling and GTO filter. Compared to that i'd say i hear a difference when playing MQA. But i can't say that i like it better.
    Beyond that: while i can hear differences between MP3 and CD quality i have trouble hearing differences between 44k and 96k or higher sampling rates. But i clearly can hear a difference between playing a CD quality file via my Pro iDSD and playing it through my Marantz Receiver (which has a built in DAC).
  15. webmi
    I personly dont want to discuss if someone can hear the difference or not, we know this type of discussions... all i want to say is that MQA tracks very often are very high quality. One of the problems with high end gear (iDSD Pro and good headphones etc) is that one could very clearly hear if a track is poor quality. I am kinda searching for good recordings with good mastering, since there is a very special and exciting listening experience to good quality tracks for me. Yes, there is MQA with very bad and poor quality aswell. For excample there are some rap songs with MQA label, but very poor quality. The point is, most of the MQA tracks are very very high quality. One could hear, that the tracks is recorded and mastered on very high level. For me, it is good entertaining listening to very high quality tracks, even if it is not even my music genre.

    What i want to say is, MQA very often delivers excellent quality tracks and therefore alone i like to listen to it. Sometimes there are MQA tracks in my playlist between all those nonMQA tracks and even when i am not activly watching what i am listening to, i very often get that exciting feeling when Tidal changes the track. Very often my eyes are going for a quick look at the iDSD Pros display and i immediately know why i am excited for that track. iDSD Pro then shows MQA in the display.

    It is not only the format or container the music is stored in, in my mind it is the philosophy behind MQA, delivering the best possible music quality. And in my opinion this starts with a good quality recording and ends with good quality mastering.

    Sometimes there are tracks (MQA and nonMQA) where i ask myself if these tracks where mastered with beats headphone... :)

    To do MQA (in the recording and mastering process), i could image, there is some special gear necessary to it and not every studio or musician can do it. So the gear, knowledge and passion in the process of making these tracks are also important.

    It is not always inevitably the case that MQA only is the reason for good quality. Like is sayed, there is bad MQA aswell. And nonMQA tracks could also be very very high quality. But there is something to MQA for me i like very much.
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
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