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Ifi Nano BL initial impressions

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by jandr272, Dec 5, 2017.
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  1. jandr272
    I didn’t see another post so here are my brief initial impression, using iPhone 7 and CA Vega.

    Neutral bordering on warm
    Decent detail and stage
    Overly-smooth up top
    Slightly recessed mids
    Bass not super tight but not muddled
    Solid build although bulky in thickness

    I don’t see myself swapping from the GOV2+, which has more detail, stage, and extension both ways, but for $200 it’s a good deal.
  2. TheoS53
    The Nano is warmer with a more intimate stage than the Micro. Micro has a longer decay, giving it a more airy presentation. Switching between the 2 with an A/B switch really showed the refinement that's gone into the Micro. But really, they're very close to each other. IFI did a fantastic job with the Nano
    Dutch1Schaefer likes this.
  3. ninetylol
    Are you comparing the nano Black with the micro Black oder the normal silver micro?

    Also could anyone describe the differences of the ifi nano LE with the new ifi nano BL?
  4. TheoS53
    Micro BL
  5. ninetylol
    Could you be more specific with the differences between the micro BL and nano BL? Ofcource the micro got more amp power, and the 3d and bass switch, but if i wouldnt use those switches anyway would there still be a "big" difference?

    Thanks in advance!
  6. TheoS53
    The Micro has a slightly more refined and more airy sound...but they're honestly very close. If you don't need the bass boost, 3d, RCA out, or extra power, the Nano is much better value
    ninetylol and stalepie like this.
  7. freitz
    If looking for a Travel amp dac to pair with a laptop and a iphone. I have the Audeze Deckard at Home and traveling with my Aeon's Close. Would you pair the Micro or the Nano?
  8. jandr272
    The Nano was big for a travel amp, I can’t imagine the Micro being very convenient to lug around.
  9. lambdastorm
    How big is nano compared to mojo?
  10. jandr272
    I never owned a mojo. It is too thick to be pants pocketable but it fits in my jacket hockey easily.
  11. jonmbarlow
    Not many reviews of this about......

    Torn between this, Cayin C5 or Ibasso pb3

    Any advice appreciated
  12. TheoS53
    YtseJamer and PlantsmanTX like this.
  13. stalepie
    "Where the Micro tends to give the illusion of a bigger room,"

    Does that mean inaccuracy? The micro is not giving as accurate of playback of the music?
  14. TheoS53
    I'm inclined to think that the Micro would be more accurate...but it's hard to say. I wasn't there when the music was recorded, so I couldn't not say with any certainty which is more accurate.
    Dutch1Schaefer likes this.
  15. ShredOhr

    I am heavily considering to convert my audio gear towards IEM usage. Currently i am using the Lindemann DAC 24/192 as DAC. The ifi nano BL would be a nice all-in-one unit do drive IEMs but i have a feeling its DAC unit could be a downgrade. The Lindemann goes back to 2012 but reviews praised it for its neutrality and even more so analog tonality. Then is sports some sophisticated and very well done implementation of USB, S/PDIF and Toslink. Really hard to find a fault in this DAC. So when this DAC is being directly compared to a April Music Eximus DP-1 i wonder how it holds up today, especially vs the ifi nano Black. As far as i have read the main downside of the nano would be its recessed mids or soft mids as someone else has put it. If i understand it correctly, recessesed means less pronounced/present mids than neutral and soft that mids lack a bit of clarity and are too rounded....or maybe the guy who stated that the mids are "soft" had a different wording for "recessed" but meant the same....not sure, though....

    Both units have some nice technicalities. The Lindemann offers apperently very low jitter ("features an additional, active jitter reduction circuit based on a digital PLL and memory buffering of the digital stream. The remaining jitter of the signal (not only of the clock!) is below 50ps.") whereas the nano BL benefits from iPurifier and iEMatch beside some basic low jitter functionality. The question would be from what feature an IEM user would benefit most, especially when using some sensitive IEMs like the Campfire Audio Andromedas. iEMatch is great, it practically eliminates hiss and the difference should be drastic with some IEMs, but when my IEM isnt that dependable on iEMatch would one be able to hear the difference between a DAC which has a great low jitter solution and one that has a decent/standard one?

    Next point is the analog output: people stated its great on the nano. Lindemann seems to go even further by lowering the standard voltage of 2V to 1.4V. ("This may have been done to minimize noise. I found the lower output absolutely appealing, and it appeared to allow for more dynamic range on many recordings. [...] The output stage is very sophisticated and avoids filtering by coupling to ground."). This feature could come in handy for IEM usage and maybe balance out the missing iPurifier in the Lindemann DAC...

    Well, i am debating wether it would be just better to keep the Lindemann and use a Fiio Q1 Mark II as amp (has nice bass boost if needed). Chances are the ifi nano BL amplification is better though....(but i could easily swap the amp later on)

    And then there is the fact that i would be using the nano mainly a a desktop unit. I am not sure but someone mentioned somewhere that the audio quality would take a hit when using the micro BL / nano BL while charging it at the same time....

    But my main concern is about the DAC qualities of the nano compared to the Lindemann.

    Maybe i asked my question myself already by stating that the Lindemann has no noticable sonic departure from neutrality like recessed mids but i would apprechiate your opinion.

    Oh, almost forgot. Someone mentioned when reviewing the nano BL that the bass seemed kind of boosted (more than neutral) as if the nano BL came with the bass boost switch enabled from the get go)....or would you say, bollocks, bass is not that much pronouced. Well, i would need an slightly bass heavy amplifier anyway for my likes, so nothing i would complain about...

    About the tonality, reviewers state that the Lindemann has a more analog then digital tone while still being quite detailed ("top-end is nicely extended, but not at all etched or bright.)

    Would you say, the nano tends to sound more digital than analog? Like has the potential to be more resolving/detailed due to a newer DAC (vs old Wolfson WM8742) and therefore lack the tendency to sound analog (meaning, less harshness, more softness while still being clear and enough resolving)...I have the feeling, the nano could be more dynamic sounding (snappy) and more detailed in the highs compared to the Lindemann DAC (well, the Lindemann uses an appodizing filter and there seems to be a slight dip in the upper mids/lower highs, not much, so still kind of leaning to the neutral side....)
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
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