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Troubleshooting the iBasso D7 "Sidewinder"

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by mishalex, Mar 15, 2012.
  1. Mishalex
    I feel silly requesting help with such a relatively simple device, but for whatever reason, it seems to be having serious "clipping" issues with my Macbook Pro.  I'm not sure that's the proper term.  What I mean to say is, the audio will randomly cut out completely for a second or two, like when a CD skips.  Once, it even started "chopping up a track," sounding much like someone fast forwarding through a CD.  I tried using the audio MIDI setup ap to lower the sampling rate, but to no avail. 
    I will say that I suspect that the problem has to do with the native USB port of the Macbook Pro not being able to provide sufficient power the Sidewinder D7 for prolonged periods of time, with its mere 0.5 Amps of USB bus power.  The Sidewinder starts off sounding great, and powering my K701s no problem, but after 20 minutes or so, it starts to "skip" as I have described.  I have ordered an externally powered USB hub (with an output of 2.5 Amps), so we'll see if that clears things up.
    I was curious if anyone else had this problem, though, and could give me advice.  Is it possible my D7 is simply defective?  It seems to have a hard time even recognizing that it's plugged into the USB port at times.
    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. NA Blur
    I am guessing it is loosing sync.  Try lowing the quality of files for a while and see if it goes away.  For example rip the music to 328 kbps or 128 kbps and see if the problem persists.  If not then you know the DAC is losing sync.
    If it is clipping play with the volume levels going from the PC to the D7.  For example if your have your amp volume at 90% and your PC output volume at 40% your are most likely clipping.  Clipping can occur at seemingly random times because it depends on how busy and intense the signal is.  Try having your PC volume at 95% and lower you amp volume.  Report back with what you find.
    Best of luck.
  3. Mishalex
    Thanks for the suggestions, NA Blur.  I thought it might be a sync problem too, but regardless of what the quality of the audio file is, this same problem still occurs (though I haven't heard the "chop-n-screw" variant of the problem again, thankfully).  You are correct though that it isn't a true clipping problem either, as regardless of what my volume levels are, I still have the same issue.  I still suspect that it is a power-supply problem, since I have noticed that the problem seems to get much worse if I plug in other usb-powered peripherals.  Anyway, I'll probably just return the Sidewinder and go back to my E7-E9 combo (at least for now), which never had this problem.
    Thanks for your help.
  4. NA Blur
    The other post referencing this issue discovered it went away using a different amp.  This leads me to believe that it is more of a shielding issue for the wires or a simple grounding issue.  It could be the plug used on the power supply, a poor grounding plane inside the amp / DAC, or just inadequate shielding around the wires.
    Here is the link to the other post:
    The defining statement for me is:
    "I was unable to reproduce the effect by moving the DAC around. I'm now pretty sure it is static electricity. I've never had software problems before. Just now it happened when I had the Cube connected to an external amp and then listened through that. This time it didn't effect the DAC at all, but I just heard the crackling from the headphones. I think I can actually feel it shocking my ear too. This seems to prove that it's actually the AD2000s causing the issue, but oddly enough, if they are connected to my Cowon this doesn't happen at all :\ "
    I wonder if some DC is getting to the driver which explains all of the symptoms.
  5. Mishalex
    Agreed.  A problem with either a poor grounding plane inside the amp / DAC or poor sheilding around the internal connections does seem to be the most likely cause of the problem (there is no power supply plug or port for one on the device itself, since it's usb powered only; my computer is grounded through the power strip and it's own D/C adapter).  Thanks for the heads up on the post as well.  I tried connecting to my fiio E9 amp and just using it as a DAC, and the problem seemed to go away.  The only problem is, I bought this thing in the first place with the intention of replacing my E7+E9 combo.  At any rate, iBasso agreed to refund the device no questions asked.  Fortunately, they actually do have pretty darned good customer service, so I shipped the amp/dac back to China and am waiting on a refund.  Anyway, thanks again for all your help.
  6. Mishalex
    Final Update:
    iBasso issued the full refund, and I am extremely happy with them.  I highly recommend iBasso, simply because they do have excelent and attentive customer service.  In the end, it turned out that the problem was never with the iBasso device, but had to do with an old surge protector I was using that was long past its prime.  The problem has been resolved, the money returned, and I'm a happy camper.

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