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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
    Actually, for me it splits between musical and analytical perfectly.  It isn't hyper-detailed, nor is it excessively euphonic.  Rather, a very satisfying level of detail, combined with a musically engaging smoothness and 'warmth'.  
  2. adammax
    Have you thought of comparing with Chord Hugo? Its well known for musical sound signature. I wonder if the micro can give the Hugo a run for their money.
  3. earfonia
    Thanks! Sounds delicious! [​IMG]
    Will try later in local shop.
  4. Rob N Contributor
    Those who gave had theirs for a while have you noticed much change during burn in?
  5. technobear

    Yes. I tend to use the 3D as this is what I am used to from the iCAN. Without the 3D it does start off a bit shut-in and dark sounding. This is not at all unusual for this type of product. It's cooking nicely. There is definitely something uncommonly nice about the treble. Sounds which were previously reproduced as noise are now revealed to be cymbals (amongst other things) :D
  6. ashutoshp
    For those not allowed an upgrade from the powers that be, that is my wife [​IMG] , is there any way to make the iDSD Nano sound more like the Micro.
       Pardon my naivety but I read somewhere in this thread that the Micro has new analog circuitry compared to a more rudimentary one in the Nano? Can this be bypassed through a dedicated headphone amp like the iCAN?
  7. KmanChu
    Are you finding that you like the iCAN better than the internal headphone amp? I don't know if it's lack of burn-in but I am finding that I prefer the iCAN vs iDSD direct.
  8. MLGrado
    Yes, better analog circuitry that the Nano.  Of course the extra features add cost, but a substantial chunk of the increase in cost is dedicated to power supply and analog components, according to Thorsten L.  
    I am going to say that you can't completely get around this limitation of the Nano.  You will always no matter what be using part of its analog signal path.  But, I do think you can improve it by adding the iCan. Actually, I think that would be a very nice upgrade to the Nano.
  9. MLGrado
    Yeah, I think so.  Seems that the treble, which was already nice and smooth to start with, is opening up even more.  Soundstage is getting bigger, instrumental separation is increasing...
  10. technobear

    At the moment I am keeping the 'phones plugged into the iDSD so as to fully burn it in even though long term I expect to be using the iCAN because I use the crossfeed function (or level one 3D but it's not really 3D) for certain albums that are badly mixed and the two XBASS settings on the iCAN are more useful than the one on the iDSD. Level one XBASS on the iCAN is tailor-made for the T1. Level three XBASS is great for all those 80's pop CDs and some metal CDs that have too little bass. Ideally I would like a headphone amp with proper tone controls but they seem rarer than hens' teeth.

    The 3D function is great for movies. On the iCAN I've previously found that 3D works with most of my music but on the iDSD I'm finding I sometimes have to turn it off as it's too much. The iDSD throws a pretty big soundstage anyway so maybe the same will apply when I start using the iCAN again. Then again maybe this will change with further burn-in.

    Soundstage isn't the strongest feature of my Audiolab 8200CDQ but it makes up for it in timing and separation of instruments. It pulls of the trick of allowing you to follow any instrument in a mix whilst never losing the musical whole. It's a toe-tapper par excellence. I guess that's why it won so many awards. The iDSD is getting there. It already passes the Dream Theater test and it has me chair-dancing.

    When using the iCAN, are you using the iDSD in 'direct mode' or 'pre-amp' mode?

    I'm currently using it in 'pre-amp' mode as I find the XBASS helps the monitors sound a bit bassier. I'm looking out for a small subwoofer to help them out though so I guess I'll switch to 'direct' mode in the future.
  11. john57
    Cymbals is a good test for high frequency accuracy since it is more of a broadband type of sound.
  12. KmanChu
    I am using the iDSD in direct mode only so far when running into amps. I have been using the iCAN some but mostly my RWA Cassabria. I do wish they had left it so that the 3D and XBass could be used while still bypassing the volume control. I guess if you run in Eco mode with the volume maxed out then this is essentially what you are doing. I'm finding the iDSD to be really smooth and nice but not as detailed or wide open sounding as my other dac (BMC PureDAC.) It has a very nice and seductive sound though. I am hoping the top end will open up with more hours on it.
  13. john57
    I agree with this also even the buffer mode can make a difference.
  14. ieffsmale
    If you're still searching for a good recording of Copland's 3rd, you might want to check out the Reference Recordings HDCD #RR-93CD from Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra.
    1. Fanfare for the Common Man 3:32
    2. Appalachian Spring Suite 25:09
        Third Symphony 43:33
    3. Molto Moderato 10:37
    4. Allegro Molto 8:15
    5. Andantino Quasi Allegretto 10:23
    6. Molto Deliberato 14:16
    Not sure if it's the best, since it is the only version that I own and I haven't compared it to other recordings on the same system.  All I know is that it sounds great to my ears.  I hope this helps.
  15. john57
    That is not a bad choice at all. Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra has the best recorded bass drum in my opinion. It a good piece for testing the bass capabilities and the high frequencies because of the cymbals, on your system. The bass drum should be felt more than heard and should sound sharp as possible. The great news is that this is free if you have Amazon prime so give it a shot just a few minutes long. Copland politically would like to call this piece "fanfare for the common man at income tax time"
    For the Third symphony I decided to try the New Zealand version and will compare it when I get it. I wanted the CD version, last one. I will pick a heartfelt reasonable good perforamance over a technical superior performance any day. 
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