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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. MLGrado
     
    I have an external iPurifier.  Leaving it in the signal chain seemed to add nothing over the internal one.  
     
  2. ClieOS Contributor
    Just received the micro iDSD this afternoon and gave it a quick listening before committing it to the 24hrs recharging as recommended by iFi - and I am mighty impressed!!! My Xperia Z2 works right off the bat when I connected the OTG cable to micro iDSD. Neutron is singing as beautifully as I can ever hope for. It is pretty much the same level of SQ I have heard from my desktop iDAC + iCAN setup, and that really say something about the micro iDSD pairing with a smartphone.
     
    Did I mention I am really impressed? I truly am.
     
  3. Wil
    Has anyone tried the micro iDSD with a Grado GS1000?
     
    As impressed as i am with my Nano iDSD feeding my Adam active speakers it just doesnt cut the mustard powering the Grados.
     
    I intend to use it as a one box solution for my Grado and speakers, probably adding ancillary items like USB cables / I tube thereafter (but is it really all that necessary?) 
     
  4. ClieOS Contributor
    Don't have the GS1000, but I do have the nano iDSD as well. Micro is far more power and easily two to thress classes better in SQ. It is just a totally different beast all together.
     
  5. pearljam50000
    What headphones are you using?
     
  6. john57
    If it is FedEx Home Delivery which delivers Tuesday to Saturday. The shipper will then use the FedEx Home Delivery option. I have received FedEx delivery in the past on Saturdays.
     
  7. tf1216
    I am running my Micro with IEMatch set to "High Sensitivity" and the Power Mode set to "Eco".  I get wonderful use out of the volume control.  For a few internet videos that were quite I switched the Power Mode to "Normal" to handle that.  I'm very, very happy with the functionality of the Micro iDSD.
     
  8. ClieOS Contributor
     
    Hifiman RE-0, which is my reference IEM. Haven't had the chance to pair it with other IEM I have yet, as it is getting recharged at the moment.
     
  9. ljbrandt
    I've been lurking for awhile, but eventually I was going to ask about this...
     
    I'm considering both the iDSD nano and micro for some desktop speakers (powered via tripath), not for headphone use.  Since I do not need any of the headphone related features and would strictly be using the RCA outs, would there be much benefit to spending the extra on the Micro?  I've seen that PCM material sounds better on the micro than the nano, but I'm wondering if this improvement is more on the headphone side than the pre-amp RCA outs, based on what you mentioned above.
     
  10. adammax
    Hi guys,
     
    Do you think ifi micro has any chance against the chord hugo? Would love to hear some opinion.
     
  11. palermo
    interesting, just because iDSD can connect to ipod 5 via CCK for transportable purpose. please make more comparation with Chyperlabs stack, especially with CL Theorem or Alo product.
     
  12. MLGrado
     
    I would think all the analog paths have been upgraded, not just the headphone out.  The Nano is a nice little product for the money, but the analog stage is very simple, and designed to sound 'non-offensive.'  The Nano sounds smooth and forgiving, but is notably lacking in resolution vs the Micro.  
     
     But sounds like a question for iFi.  Shoot them an email.  Typically they answer quickly.  But they may be in a bit of vacation mode after all the hard work they put in getting the Micro ready... :)
     
  13. MLGrado
     
    Not the GS1000, but I have the RS1i.  I think all the Grados have similar power needs, though.  
     
    I did feel that the Nano didn't provide the last word in authority driving the Grados, especially when the music got intense and complex.  
     
    The Micro does a much better job of keeping its composure.  
     
  14. dsnyder
    I unboxed my ifi micro iDSD a few days ago also and took a few photos of the included adapters while I was waiting for that initial 24 hour charge to complete.  I'm now about 40 hours into my 100+ hour burn-in process, but I thought I'd take a few minutes to share the box contents.  The ifi micro iDSD box contains a lot of adapters...eight to be precise!
     
    There are two female USB Type-A to male Type-A cables--this small black one and a larger, heavier blue one (not pictured because I was using it for the crucial initial 24 hours of charging)  These are for charging the on-board 4800mAh battery and connecting the micro iDSD to a mobile device via an OTG adapter (Android) or Camera Connection Kit (iOS).  In this mode, your smartphone acts as a digital USB transport (special software required) for ultra high quality portable listening.  My OTG cable fits in the micro iDSD's unusual recessed male Type-A connection port, so I could strap this fairly heavy monster to my Samsung Galaxy Note II for high-end portable listening if I wished without having to use these cables.
     
    [​IMG]

     
     
    There's a pair of inexpensive looking RCA cables and a gold 1/8" female to 1/4" male TRS adapter (the micro iDSD is equipped with a full-sized 1/4" headphone jack--good choice in my opinion for a premium headphone product)  Thankfully, the analog RCA outputs on the micro protrude more than those on the nano making it possible to use a wider range of audiophile interconnects (some will still be excluded because the jacks are still very close together):
     
    [​IMG]

     ​

     ​

    There are two female USB Type-A to female Type-B adapters...one is "zero length", and the other is rather short.  These are critical as they are required to connect the micro iDSD's very odd recessed male Type-A USB input to a laptop or computer using standard audiophile grade USB cables like the ifi Gemini or Audioquest Diamond (terminated with male Type-B USB connectors on the DAC end).  I'm a little disappointed that the provided adapters do not incorporate gold plated connectors and are apparently not terminated with the same technology and care as the ifi Gemini/Mercury cables.  I'm told that these adapters do not impact sound quality, but it's something that's rather difficult for an audiophile to accept.  I also don't like seeing bits with a "RadioShack" look and feel in my otherwise uncompromising signal path, even if there is an on-board iPurifier to clean things up.  I would have happily paid $50 more for the ifi micro iDSD package if it included a "Gemini" quality adapter for this type of connection:
     
    [​IMG]

     ​

     ​

    Next are bits to plug into the 1/8" TRS analog input.  The short male-to-male cable is for connecting the analog headphone output of an iPod or similar such device.  In this mode, the micro just acts like a powerful analog headphone amplifier.  My understanding is that when connected thusly, the digital circuitry is powered down.  The other small plug is a TOSLINK S/PDIF adapter.  It enables 1/8" input to perform double-duty as an optical S/PDIF input...perhaps intended for use by someone who wants to use their micro iDSD with an Xbox for massive overkill gaming sound?:
     
    [​IMG]

     ​

     
    Finally, there are stick-on rubber feet for desk installation and a protective rubber sheet and bands for strapping the micro iDSD to an iPod or smartphone for "portable" listening (an unwieldy bundle in my opinion--I think I'll continue to use my nano iDSD for on-the-go listening):
     
    [​IMG]

     ​

     
    There's also a black velvet pull-tie case with the "ifi" logo (similar to the one that comes with the nano).  As you may have seen on the head-fi forums, early adopters also receive a (size Large) T-shirt, a laptop decal, and red ink used for the serial number on the micro iDSD plus an invitation to join the iClub.
     
    I listened to the micro iDSD a little right after it finished the 24-hour charge, and the soundstage, mids, and highs were not there yet, which is similar to my experience with both of our nano iDSDs when fresh out of the box (rather dark sounding); I'm not worried.  Bass is deep, detailed, and better controlled than the nano already, so I can tell it's going to be amazing after a hundred or so hours of burn-in.  I suspect that improvements due to burn-in may come slightly slower with the micro than the nano because of all of the extra gadgetry, but time will tell.  Cheers and happy listening!
     
    -- David
     
    BournePerfect likes this.
  15. technobear

    Just switch on the 3D :wink:

    (if your inner audiophile can bear the thought that is :D)
     
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