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iFi audio Pro iDSD - The Official Thread

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  1. iFi audio Pro iDSD - The Official Thread
    Yup, it's high time to start one...

    Pro iDSD.png
    If anyone might be wondering why, well, we have some major news to share.

    First of all, the premiere date:

    The 31st of May 2018

    We don't expect any difficulties along the road towards this day. Yet if some shifts will occur, we'll update this very post to keep you good Head-fi.org people properly informed.

    And secondly, the Pro iDSD retail price:
    • $2,499 (ex-tax)
    • €2,999 (inc vat)
    • £2,499 (inc vat)
    Additionally, this thread will serve as the official Pro iDSD repository, which means that every publication (or its location link) related to this device will be listed in this thread for as easy access as possible.

    Also, please do check the Pro iDSD related thread down below as we're active there as well:


    THE OFFICIAL RELEASE !!!!!!!!!!!


    A major Pro iDSD premiere UPDATE!!!

    iDSD Pro preview talk

    Part 1:

    Part 2:
    Part 3:
    Part 4:
    Part 5:
    iDSD Pro digital filtering

    Part 1:
    iDSD Pro digital filtering - in detail

    Part 2:
    Major GE5670 tubes related announcement

    Pro iDSD - The easygoing perspective

    The enclosure and front panel

    Part 1:

    Part 2:
    The rear
    Pro iDSD - The inside

    Part 1/2

    Pro iDSD - Reviews

    Pro iDSD - network setup example - jRiver
    iFi audio - The GTO filter

    Part 1/4
    Part 2/4
    Part 3/4
    Part 4/4
    Pro iDSD - MQA beta firmware
    How the Pro iDSD actually works...
    Pro iDSD + Tidal + MQA - The Setup Guide
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  2. iFi audio
    Folks, we were able to catch our Skin the skunk lady for a iDSD Pro related Q&A session. Be sure to check in here as she's one happily answering skunk!


    Who knows? Maybe in the future she'll be able to give us even more insight about the product itself? In the meantime, here goes...

    • Us: People ask how we do USB galvanic isolation on the Pro. Is it the same as iGalvanic? A trickle-down perhaps?

    Skin: No, in the iDSD pro we operate very differently. We use a suitable isolation barrier between the digital (noisy) section with XMOS, WiFi/networking, the Chrysopeia FPGA and the DAC's / Reclocking / Clock. In essence, all noisy digital processing is confined to a blocked of "island" on it's own board and isolated from all audio circuitry.

    This parallels the way in which i.e. the JVC K2 system is implemented for playback and the isolation of the DAC from digital noise found in the legendary Marantz CD/DA-12 system featuring the TDA1541. All this is essentially trickle-down from the DP-777.

    The iGalvanic isolates the USB connection instead, so it is a less complete solution which can't isolate noise inside the DAC itself.

    • Us: And what clocks do we use?

    Skin: We use the same proprietary GMT clock system as originally developed for the AMR DP-777. Please see here to know more:


    • Us: Are there digital outputs on the Pro?

    Skin: No, what would be the point? This device was designed as a d/a converter above all else.

    • Us: What is the RJ-45 output for?

    Skin: It is not an output, it is a connection to your local area network (LAN). For reliable streaming, especially for high resolution audio wireless networking can be frustrating with dropouts and glitches.

    If streaming hi-res content from a NAS or a server on your home network, a hard-line network connection is preferred over WiFi.

    • Us: Does the iDSD Pro use an OCXO clock?

    Skin: No, baking a crystal merely reduces long term thermal drift (over periods of minutes to hours) which is inconsequential to audio playback. We employ a high quality miniaturized 10MHz discrete crystal (not canned oscillator) as timebase for our GMT clock system.

    The GMT clock system allows the clock frequency to be set with appx. 0.01ppm (parts per million) or better than 0.5Hz accuracy compared to the nominal 45/49MHz audio clock frequencies

    • Us: At this price and by your earlier comments about USB (and SPDIF) inputs being impervious to upstream tweaks & add ons, that the PRO iDSD contains ALL of the micro iUSB3.0 and iGalvanic3.0 and SPDIF iPurifier tech, all built in?

    Skin: Items like the iUSB or iG are "add-ons" for DAC's that due to cost constraints or other reasons benefit from such add-ons. But they are ideally avoided in the design stage if increased cost and complexity is not objectionable.

    If one designs from scratch, a DAC without having much in terms of constraints placed upon the design, it is possible to achieve equal or better performance by design.

    This is what has been done in the iDSD Pro. The solutions chosen are radically different from those used in iUSB 3.0 and iG 3.0 and are integrated in the design of the iDSD Pro much deeper than would have been the case by just adding the tech from other products.

    • Us: And Pro iDSD has both single-ended and balanced headphone outs, right?

    Skin: Single-ended 6.3mm, single-ended 3,5mm and balanced 3,5mm headphone outs. Yep, that's three in total.

    • Us: And what about Xbass 3D?

    Skin: These are off the table. Several of our products have them already (i.e. iCAN SE, Pro iCAN) and Pro iDSD is our TOTL source above all else.

    • Us: Is Pro iDSD's volume pot spinning around all the same, albeit redundantly?

    Skin: It rotates from point A to B, just like the one in Pro iCAN, not endlessly. Input selector on the former is endless, though.

    • Us: Do iCan Pro and iDSD Pro remote influence each other?

    Skin: Yes, the remote is the same for both devices and yes, it will control both of their volume controls, IF these are enabled.

    Of course there's no point in having two volume controls active. Simply set Pro iDSD to fixed line-out (HiFi). Then the signal bypasees completely its volume control module and Pro iCAN's volume control can be used instead.

    • Us: how does MQA affect the remastering and filter modes available on the iDSD Pro?

    Skin: In case of Pro iDSD, anything non-MQA will not pass through MQA upsampling and that's it.

    • Us: Have you considered offering a non-MQA version of the iDSD Pro so that buyers don't have to worry about possibly compromised performance and are not forced to pay MQA due to the licensing costs that influence Pro iDSD's asking price?

    Skin: No, we don't consider it. If one doesn't like MQA, s/he shouldn't use it.

    • Us: iDSD Pro does full MQA decode, right?

    Skin: Yes, it does this indeed.

    • Us: Skin, many thanks!

    Skin: Yup, anytime, but not too often as I have things to do!
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  3. glassmonkey
    Interesting! I would have expected that the release would be for Bristol Sound & Vision. I look forward to hearing more details. :)
  4. Schwibbles
    Hmmm... Premiere just a week before my birthday. I think it was meant to be!

    R.I.P. wallet
    frogmeat69 likes this.
  5. aterville
    Reserved :wink:
    I asked iFi this in the older thread, so I probably should ask in this newer one:

    Thank you, iFi for all the new information. I've quoted this section - now that you've laid out all the features and we're a month away from release - to see if you can explain in more detail how the quad stack effects the SQ, and how this approach differs, or is superior, to your competitors? I mean, I really don't know, because everyone has their own way to skin a cat, and it seems that iFi is doing something different here. So, different, in fact, that I can't make heads or tails out of it. :)

    With all of the different filters, obviously you included them because you believe there are different benefits for each. Concerning the filters, is this a matter of catering to those who want non-upsampled audio, as well as those who want to upsample?

    Lastly, for going into the iDSD Pro via LAN, one is limited to 24/192 input, correct, but this still can be upsampled to what exactly? In other words, the iDSD Pro upsamples the data coming in via a LAN line to x times DSD?

    Thank you for your time. It seems like a brilliant product!
  7. iFi audio
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  8. iFi audio
    GE5670 reserved for flagship AMR and iFi
    Press release

    We have some mixed news for lovers of the GE5670.

    It is our understanding that we have tracked down and acquired the last known large-scale stockpile of GE5670 tubes.


    The good news is that we have amassed a respectable inventory for AMR to use in their machines and for iFi to use in their flagship ‘Pro’ series for the foreseeable future (read: years).

    The bad news is that once units in the supply chain of iTUBE2s and NOS6922s are all gone, there will be no more. The recent rise in the price of the GE5670 makes it even more the right decision to not continue with using the GE5670 in this product. Given that we need to reserve 2 pcs of the GE5670 for each Pro iDSD and Pro iCAN and for the AMR 777 machines too, priority must be given to these flagship products.

    History of the venerable GE5670

    For those wishing to delve into the history of the GE5670 and why we chose it over its ‘lesser’ cousin the 6922:

    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    Mshenay likes this.
  9. ngoshawk
    Late as usual...most excellent on the upcoming release, and I do so love reading your elucidations and historicals of all involved, Lawrance. Good stuff, and now subscribed. :v::beers:
  10. ahmadfaizadnan
    I've been waiting for this :laughing::laughing:
  11. Katie88
    SO where do we go for replacement valves for our itube2, ican Pro or iDSD Pro in the future?
    Will you sell us paired valves we can purchase now in order to avoid future obsolescence?
  12. frogmeat69
  13. Katie88
  14. iFi audio
    Warranty applies to every product you listed. Hence if say a GE5670 goes dead in a user's iCAN Pro and is subject to warranty, we'll take care of it.

    The key thing to remember is that we don't sell standalone GE5670s anymore, these will be seen in our products only.

    Please feel free to ask your local iFi rep, he might have some stashed. But once these tubes are gone from our distributors'/resellers' pipeline, they're no more for good.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  15. Katie88
    The question is, though, what happens in years to
    Come when the warranty has expired?
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