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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. iFi audio

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  2. U2nite
    Noted I have done that. Thanks.
  3. john57

    Listening is of course key and I agree with that statement. I find that the filter effects are more pronounced than subtle or maybe. With DSD files it is still not subtle. I find that for example on the extreme position, the trumpet fanfare in the beginning of Mahler Fifth Symphony on the DSD file from nativeDSD website. I hear more interactions the trumpet with the hall acoustics than using the extended position.    My Byers T70 and the Sony 7520 is just great with the brass instruments reproduction on the iDSD, even better in some case than my tube amps. Listening sessions still on going.

  4. MLGrado

    I will clarify that I didn't mean to imply there was little or no difference in the DSD filter settings, I just don't feel they are as dramatic a difference as the BitPerfect filter on PCM.

    What DSD rate are you listening to on that Mahler 5? I know they have several up sampled versions in addition to the native DSD64.
  5. john57
    Just their native DSD64 playing natively. The fifth and the second Mahler pieces are quite good. Some of the old PCM files I have made from analog tapes from the late 50's or 60's sound better with the filter switch set to minimum-phase.  With the Nano I tend to convert to 4xDSD on PCM files. I feel that with the micro the PCM files sounded better natively.
  6. U2nite
    That is good news. Less effort need to do conversion then. 
    Please share more on your filter switch settings for DSD64 and PCM as you explore.
  7. MLGrado
    Your experience is the same as mine.  I felt converting everything to DSD was best on the Nano.  That isn't the case with the Micro.  I would normally prefer to listen to everything in its native format, but on the Nano I made an exception.  Not necessary on the Micro.  
    PCM sounds best as PCM, and likewise DSD as DSD on the Micro.  
    Interesting.  I wonder why minimum phase would sound better on the analog tape transfers.  Maybe the ultrasonic images in Bitperfect combined with the typical analog tape noise don't play as nicely together?  
  8. pearljam50000
    Anyone compared the Micro to DAC's other than the Nano?
    How powerful is the amp in turbo mode with hard to drive headphones?
    Sorry for the many questions.
  9. john57

    While I do not have all the answers my feeling that with the real old analog tapes is that bit perfect filter just bring out all the imperfections of the recording technology of its time. Not an issue with more modern recordings.  I did had at one time wonderful sounding open reel tapes made by BARCLAY-CROCKER that were so far superior to vinyl records when both were sourced from the same master tapes. This web site gave a few points why the BARCLAY-CROCKER tapes were better.
    The tape deck I was using was far nosier than the tapes due to big capstan and reel motors.
    While I still have some vinyl records I am not buying any if I can find music that I would like. I have been buying CD’s versions of the LP records I have since having a good performance of the music is important.
    With DSD music places like Channel Classics, try to use good care in recording the musicians.  I have not lost sight that you still need good musicians, good performances and good recording techniques to make great recordings. There are some real gems in DSD recordings as well.

  10. john57
    Yes I have and in normal mode I feel that my micro is as strong as my Schiit Lyr amp with the best tubes I can find with it.
    I have try various headphones including my Fostex planners no issues. I also have speakers amps setup to drive headphones. I have not feel the need to use them over the micro yet.
    Sorry I have not tried the turbo mode, no need at this time. 
  11. jexby
    I am only in day 1 (after recharge) of new micro iDSD testing/listening/comparing.
    but to focus on your point above regarding "strong as Lyr":
    I'd concur that the Turbo mode is almost to the point of "insane power!"  with most songs, ears can't take Turbo with HE-560.
    And the Lyr is a notable power monster.  had one in the past, and now considering a Lyr2 as:
    with HE-560 to Vali and Concero HD, certainly don't listen to volume knob past 11am and there is nice wide soundstage, instrument separation, clarity.  (but strains as knob goes louder)
    with HE-560 to micro iDSD (Normal Power mode, or Turbo with knob down) the soundstage is narrowed, and there isn't as much "space" in the song presentation. headphone sound feels smaller.
    details and dynamics still very well executed, just in a tighter space.
    anyone have micro iDSD soundstage comparisons to other desktop amps?
    (don't want to start a burn in debate)
    After a few more days of listening with HE-560, it might become apparent that a "powerful + good hybrid tube amp" (Lyr2) may provide sonic benefits over a "powerful + good SS transportable amp" (micro iDSD).
    other quick comments:
    1.  VERY happy with the IEMatch features on micro iDSD, and it's DEAD black background and silent volume knob operation!  especially compared to nano iDSD without attenuators.
    2.  some songs the 3D effect is a plus, with others the slight echo/buzz effect seems unrealistic.  typical I suspect, my first foray with this feature.
    3.  velvet bag is almost "too tight" if rubber bands are left on micro iDSD before insertion.  too much friction.
    4.  Xbass a welcome feature and really doesn't "over do it" during listening with HE-560 or IEMs.  whether I flip this switch seems to be song-type, headphone and mood dependent.
    5.  haven't messed much with filters yet, but need to review the Best Practices for each with PCM vs. DSD material before trying.  leaving on Minimum Phase for now.
  12. pearljam50000
    Excellent impressions jexby!
    How would you say the micro compares to the Concero HD as DAC only(i'm not sure it's possible to test)
  13. john57
    For sound stage the micro is more focused, great channel separation, very good separation of instruments. With my lyr and the LD VI+ is sound stage is a bit wider but the micro has good front to back depth.  Not a negative for the micro just different presentation which I enjoy.  My initial impression of the 3D is making musicians feel like they are moving front and back. In some other cases the 3D cause the sound stage to get wider. Next I will try to connect the micro directly to the monitors.
  14. jexby
    indeed, could swap out the Concero HD, put in the micro iDSD and run the RCA cables into Vali.
    would be until next week until I give that config a few hours of comparison.
  15. pearljam50000
    Thanks :)
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