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iFi iDSD Micro DSD512 / PCM768 DAC and Headphone Amp. Impressions, Reviews and Comments.

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by mlgrado, Jul 26, 2014.
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  1. hoth
    I've been looking at this as a portable solution for hopefully driving planars.  Anyone try planars or other hard to drive cans with this exclusively?  thanks!
     
  2. maricius
    The first review of the iDSD Micro… Lovely. I can't wait for more
     
  3. john57
    I know of JhWalker over at Computer Audiophile that has a HE-500 and it drives it very well.
    I have the Fostex planner and I do not even have to turn up the volume from my previous more sensitive headphone setting. Previous I have to always turn up the power for the Fostex. Not even my Schitt Lyr can do that.
    Now it seems to be a bit stronger today than the first day yesterday!
     
  4. jhwalker

    Hey, john57 - I was just about to post myself :wink:
     
    Yes, I've found the Micro drives the HE-500 very well, even at the "Normal" setting - certainly, much better than any portable device I've used before.
     
    I tried it with the "Turbo" setting and that was almost too much of a good thing!  I may try it again later, but for now I'm happy with Normal.
     
    And, by the way, this thing sounds absolutely awesome, regardless of the quality of the headphone amp :)  I was very happy with my Nano, but this is a substantial improvement in every way - I was surprised how much better it is (was expecting one of those "subtle", incremental enhancements).
     
  5. maricius
    Has anyone already tried them as a DAC to another amp or compared to another standalone DAC? Also, has anyone tried it as just an headphone amplifier and compared them to other headphone amps, the TOTL portable amps and some desktop amps? I really wonder whether the iDSD, even just the DAC section plays against similarly prized or maybe even more expensive desktop DACs
     
  6. U2nite
    Hi all, 
     
    I'm new here. Had so much fun reading about the iDSD Micro that I ordered one :)
     
    Wow. I love the iDSD Micro sound. So clear, smooth & expressive.  
     
    My setup:  iMac (Audirvana+) > iDSD Micro/ iDac > Leben CS300XS > PSB M4U1. 
     
    SACD music is my favourite. CD quality music sounds much better than I've heard before in my setup. 
     
    Now back to exploring my music collection. 
     
    TheNoose likes this.
  7. maricius
     
    Care to compare the iDAC with the iDSD in detail purely with CD quality stuff/PCM?
     
  8. U2nite
     
    Good question. I'm no expert but here's what I heard:
     
    Album: Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms (Apple lossless PCM  - no up sample, no EQ)
     
    iDSD Micro.
    Guitars sound better to me, more real. Male voices sounds more natural. 
    Enjoyment: 9/10
     
    iDAC
    More relax.  Male voices stand out slightly less from music. Slightly brighter. 
    Enjoyment: 7.5/10
     
    Setup: iMac (Audirvana+) > iDSD Micro/ iDac.
     
    I could listen longer on the iDSD.
     
  9. WNBC
    This is what I want to see as well.  I had the iDSD Nano and while it was a very capable DAC/amp the line out was under-powered and I could not use it with my 3.0 USB ports at the time so I did move on.  My interest is peaked again in the iFi lineup with their new Micro.  I have owned some fabulous higher end DACs like the Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2, Ciunas (personal fav), Anedio D2, Oppo BDP-105, etc. and so to hear the Micro before buying would lead to an easy quick decision on the $500 purchase.  I doubt there are any loaners out there.  Maybe another purchase coming soon..............     
     
     
    Quote:
     
  10. john57
    What nice about the micro is flexibility in play from ultra senstive IEM's to the HE-6. It has three power modes and  a IE Match switch which allows you to fine tune the micro to the headphones like for best volume range and S/N for example.  I had no trouble with the Nano on my USB3 ports at the time. I think that you will find that the micro is one of the more powerful transportable unit around. 
     
  11. MLGrado
     
     
    I get the sense that the extra cost of the iDSD Micro over the iDAC is about more than just added features and formats.  The iDAC is still in the lineup, and at its price is a fine PCM only DAC built on the ESS chipset that is enjoyed by many.  But I feel the iDSD Micro is an evolutionary step forward, encompassing refinements from what iFi has learned, and contains tech that iFi would have liked to implement previously but couldn't due to price and technology restraints.  The BitPerfect filter is an example of this.  
     
  12. sonixen
     
    If you still have the idsd nano, do you already have the latest firmware for it? Should solve your prior USB 3.0 problems. Else check out with the various retailers perhaps they have some  satisfaction guarantee or something to purchase the micro idsd. Yeah you have owned some really nice gear. Looking forward to your impressions
     
  13. john57
    Yes the bit perfect filter if that is the cause just made playing back PCM files more natural and clear. Much better than the Nano. I have to try different filters with DSD
     
  14. MLGrado
     
    indeed.  Much better than the Nano on PCM.  
     
     
    The filter settings on DSD shouldn't make as much a difference.  They are just different cutoff frequencies.  The tradeoff between 'standard' and 'extreme' is less ultrasonic noise rejection for better time response.  The higher the sample rate, the less tradeoff there is between time response and noise rejection.  You can start to have your cake and eat it too!
     
    On paper, so to speak, "Standard" should be better suited for DSD64, while DSD256/512 should be best suited by "Extreme."
     
    In practice, though, listening is of course key.  All should note that the gain setting between the three is quite different, and is what you will immediately notice upon switching.  Any sound quality assessments should take this into account.
     
  15. U2nite
    I read there was a PDF on how to up sample from MP3 to DSD. Can someone share the link to it please?
     
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