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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. earfonia
    Nice and concise review, excellent!
    I've been eyeing iDSD micro for a while now... looks like it has the sound signature that suits my preferences.
    Between analytical to musically engaging, where is the iDSD micro position?
  2. john57
    I personally do not like this scale between analytical to musically engaging, which implies that you are going to lose something from going to one end to another. I like to say my micro iDSD is realistic and detailed(Clarity) . I have very analytical headphones like my Stax but they still can be musically engaging if the performance and the mastering is done right.  In other words you can have it all.
  3. earfonia
    That's good to know! Thanks!
    What I mean by analytical is, even the level of detail is very good, they would most likely causing ears fatigue after sometime.
    Musically engaging in my definition doesn't mean they are lacking in detail at all. Just like you said, realistic and detailed, and you like to listen to them for a very long time and immersed in the music.
    Just different definition I would say, but we are looking at the same thing.
  4. roamling
    I get very loud pops when I play DSD files over my iPad when using the Onkyo HF Player or 8player, these pops happen when I start a song, pause a song or switch to the next song.
    The same happens when I switch between PCM and DSD songs in JRiver 19.
    Is there any fix for that?
  5. kugino Contributor

    based on your definitions, i would say that it's more a function of the recorded material and/or the headphone rather than the DAC/amp. sure, the iDSD has its specific sound signature, but i've found it to be quite neutral to dark - not as bright as, say, some other popular DAC implementations out there. i've been listening mostly with the th900 with a few listening sessions with the HD800. both are very detailed headphones, but i've never experienced ear fatigue with either. both the th900 and the hd800 have been known to be a bit perky on the treble end, but i haven't had a problem with that, either. as they say, YMMV, and one should try different headphone combinations to see what suits their listening preferences the best.
  6. RadioWonder737

    They talk about that problem here where JRiver testers meet... They are working on the problem and expect it to be resolved in the next build. john57 may have more input on that problem because he is a JRiver tester...
  7. roamling
    but I even get the pops on my iPad running the Onkyo HF player, so if that is a software issue then its not just JRiver. Otherwise I wonder if any nano iDSD owners using the Onkyo HF player have that issue? I am trying to find out if the hardware might cause that pop. Right now I am not using the micro iDSD with the RCA out connected to my amp and speakers because of that/
  8. RadioWonder737

    You may have missed the last post on that page... Hard to say,maybe iFi Audio can shed some light on this... Not just a JRiver problem... We don't know if user dtb300 has this problem with the Micro iDSD or another brand of DAC... Did you read all of his posts?
    "Update Sunday afternoon:   Installed Foobar 2000 (latest version) and had no issues playing DSD songs:  stopping in the middle of a DSD, skipping from a DSD song to 16/44 or any non-dsd format, going from 16/44 or any non-DSD format to a DSD and no noise issues at all.

    A bit later on in the day...........it happened in Foobar too.  " 
  9. iFi audio
    One of Thorsten's team said this is down to the way DSD works (it doesn't have a reference voltage per se).
    There is currently no solution under HF-Player and some other software packages.
    The pop is literally encoded into the audio stream send from the software/device.
    For JRiver, the solution is to:
    1) ENABLE under Audio -> Settings "play silence at startup for hardware synchronisation" to at least 1sec
    2) ENABLE under WASAPI Output mode Settings "Play a little silence on DoP stop"
    3) DISABLE under Track Change "Do not play silence (leading and trailing)"
    4) ENABLE under Track Change Gappless or "Use Gapless for for sequential audio tracks"

    Bty, we will forward your comments in this thread to the App developers to lend more weight to our observation of this during playback.
    We find JRiver is quite on the ball with these things. [​IMG]
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/iFiAudio/ https://twitter.com/ifiaudio https://www.instagram.com/ifiaudio/ https://ifi-audio.com/ info@ifi-audio.com
  10. roamling
    Thansk for your comments, I will try the settings in Jriver later (I am currently running ifi ASIO instead of ifi WASAPI Output mode, should I change that?)
    So in apps like Onkyo HF the loud distortion or pop also happens when I pause a song in the middle somewhere, is that consitent of what Thorstens team said about the nature of DSD files or should it only happen at the beginning of each file?
    Unfortunatley the way it is now makes DSD playback from mobile devices like an iPad or an iPhone not viable and redundat for me. Hopefully the JRiver software will be updated so I can use a laptop for streaming DSD instead of my iPad (I will post some pictures of my current setup in the crowd design thread later)
  11. MLGrado
    As far as the pops on DSD are concerned, I rarely if ever get them with JRiver 19 and the Micro, as long as I am using the included iFi ASIO driver.  I get them pretty regularly if I use WASAPI or Kernel.  Of course, YMMV.  
    I think this is more than an iFi issue, though.  Seems to be a DSD specific problem.  Actually, one of the things that I found extremely satisfying about the Micro is the lack of noise between tracks compared to the Nano it replaced.  (Although I think this is due to the firmware I was running on the Nano.. couldn't successfully upgrade it)
  12. MLGrado
    I had NOT done number 1.  This indeed helped with WASAPI and Kernel.  Still, the only foolproof method for me is to use ASIO.  
    Thanks, iFi!
  13. MLGrado
    I would like to thank iFi for their excellent customer support.  
    I had a small issue that turned out to be system dependent, and not with the iDSD Micro.  
    Thorsten personally looked into this for me, looked at the iDSD on the AP2 tester, saw what the source of the problem might have been, and quickly got back to me.  What other company offers this level of personal support??  None that I can think of.  
  14. roamling

    do you still get a pop when switching from a dsd track to a pcm track? i do, othwise normal playback within the dsd album works fine now with those settings
  15. MLGrado
    No, I don't.  Not with ASIO.  No noises, clicks, etc regardless of format.  Now if I use any other protocol besides ASIO, yes.  Actually, after using those settings from iFi, my experience with WASAPI or Kernel is just like yours. Still some clicks switching from DSD to PCM.  But ASIO is clean as a whistle.  
    I have a suspicion that the problem is also dependent on the PC hardware.  So many different hardware solutions and drivers.  
    EDIT.. also, I am using ASIO native for DSD playback, and NOT DoP.  That may also make a difference.  
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