USB Disruptor Loaner Program
Oct 28, 2018 at 2:58 AM Post #31 of 44

Arniesb

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I am certainly believer in Usb treatment devices, but... When you listen long enough you will understand than not only they clean signal and make it stronger, but everyone of them add colorations. Jitterbug, wyred add huge colorations. Ifi devices bass, lower mids sound fantastic, but upper mids and highs are very aggressive. This one seems to just kill the noise therefore might be good thing.
 
Oct 28, 2018 at 5:36 AM Post #32 of 44

moriez

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not only they clean signal and make it stronger, but everyone of them add colorations.
This one seems to just kill the noise therefore might be good thing.

I've had a few USB cleaners and at some point stuck with the Intona isolator mostly because of the simple plug and play no need for external power. My setup maybe together with preferences has changed since its first months of use and can now conclude it adds coloration too. A slight smoothening, or call it analogue effect that can be a good thing on some recordings and gear, not on others. In my opinion these devices shouldn't make ANY alterations to what I'm hearing except for lowering/cancelling (abundant) noise and preventing pops or cut outs. If I wanted these type of changes I would go for other headphones, amp, DAC or cables, not a cleaner device.

Not quite there yet to say the whole USB cleaning is overblown but in my experience can do more than it should in certain situations. @Mediahound showed similar with the Disruptor.
 
Oct 28, 2018 at 7:10 AM Post #33 of 44

Arniesb

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I've had a few USB cleaners and at some point stuck with the Intona isolator mostly because of the simple plug and play no need for external power. My setup maybe together with preferences has changed since its first months of use and can now conclude it adds coloration too. A slight smoothening, or call it analogue effect that can be a good thing on some recordings and gear, not on others. In my opinion these devices shouldn't make ANY alterations to what I'm hearing except for lowering/cancelling (abundant) noise and preventing pops or cut outs. If I wanted these type of changes I would go for other headphones, amp, DAC or cables, not a cleaner device.

Not quite there yet to say the whole USB cleaning is overblown but in my experience can do more than it should in certain situations. @Mediahound showed similar with the Disruptor.
Yes thats the thing, My ifi usb nano 3.0 improved sound so much, but added peaks in upper frequencies. It made V280 sound VERY forward and brutal while My Topping DX7 alone sound less aggresive in mids/upper mids but instead in Upper mids/Highs. I gave up on These things unless someone do no coloring solution. P.S have Jitterbug and its worse purchase ever. Not even worth to pick for free.
 
Oct 28, 2018 at 3:49 PM Post #34 of 44

Mediahound

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P.S have Jitterbug and its worse purchase ever. Not even worth to pick for free.

That's ironic given that it was designed by the guy who basically invented asynchronous USB audio, Gordan Rankin of Wavelenth Audio.

IMO, people over the years have become so used to bad digital audio that may not sound accurate or correct so that when they add a clean up device, they think it sounds worse with it. But they do not necessarily know what to listen for.
 
Oct 30, 2018 at 7:36 PM Post #35 of 44

Alcophone

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Received the disruptor and can confirm that it's working. Shown here next to the competition from @iFi audio:

P_20181030_161835_vHDR_On_1.jpg

P_20181030_162803_vHDR_On_1.jpg
 
Nov 12, 2018 at 2:16 AM Post #38 of 44

Alcophone

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USB Disruptor Review

P_20181030_162803_vHDR_On_1.jpg

I did not hear a difference when using the Schiit Yggdrasil fed by a Apple MacBook Pro, but I did hear an improvement when using a Schiit Jotunheim with the original AK4490 DAC module, fed with a Microsoft Surface Pro 4. Transients improved, making the music snappier, and the bass was less boomy - an all around upgrade. This makes sense given that the Yggdrasil has Schiit's USB Gen 5 module, while the Jotunheim only has USB Gen 2.

In the past, I had issues using my Android phone (ASUS Zenfone AR) with the iFi micro iDSD. USB Audio Player PRO generally works rather well, but using Spotify often results in stuttering and other artifacts, particularly after a song just started. Unfortunately, the USB Disruptor was not able to address this. It is probably an issue serving the actual data in a timely fashion, rather than supplying the DAC with enough power.

While generally the USB Disruptor seems to be transparent to the source device, on my phone the behavior was different with the USB Disruptor than without it, possibly because of peculiarities with USB On-The-Go (OTG). Without the USB iDisruptor, Android quickly recognizes the connected DAC and proposes launching USB Audio Player PRO, but with the USB iDisruptor this appears to take 5-10 seconds longer, to the point that I briefly thought it didn't work at all.

I wanted to see whether the USB Disruptor would fix a ground loop in conjunction with my desktop computer, but somehow that ground loop suddenly disappeared while I was establishing that it still exists without it. Not quite sure how that works, but I'm confident it would have addressed the issue as effectively as the iFi iDefender.

Comparison with the iFi iDefender + iFi iPower

P_20181030_161835_vHDR_On_1.jpg

In my limited testing, the USB Disruptor and the combination of iFi iDefender and iFi iPower performed the same, with the exception of the phone scenario. The iFi micro iDSD didn't always get recognized, but when it did, it got recognized quickly, while the USB Disruptor introduced a delay of 5-10 seconds before the DAC would get recognized.

The USB Disruptor cannot be used at all without a power supply connected, while the iDefender can work without a power supply if the DAC is self powered. However, it only fixed my ground loop issue when using a connected power supply, so I'm not sure what the iDefender is good for when not connected to a separate power supply. Still, it is much easier to evaluate the iDefender since connecting or disconnecting the power supply does not interrupt the USB session.

With the MacBook Pro or the Surface Pro 4 and the Schiit Yggdrasil and Schiit Jotunheim (the latter only tested with the Surface Pro 4), both devices provided the same sonic benefits with the Schiit Jotunheim and lack thereof with the Schiit Yggdrasil.

Connectivity

In terms of connectivity, the USB Disruptor has a female USB-B port for data input, and a female USB-A plug for data output, as well as female 5.5 x 2.1 mm DC barrel jack for power input. Included in the package is a an adapter with a male USB-A plug on one end and a male USB-B plug on the other. This clever combination means you can easily use the USB Disruptor on either the source end or the DAC end, in conjunction with your (presumably) existing USB-A to B cable.

The iFi iDefender has a male USB-A plug for data input and a female USB-A port for data output, making it easier to use on the source end than the DAC end. For use at the DAC end, a USB extension cord and either a regular USB A to B cable or an adapter like the one provided with the USB Disruptor need to be used. For power input, the iDefender features a Micro-USB port, allowing you to use any regular USB power supply, possibly even a USB port already present on the target device. The Micro-USB port is on the side, which means cables are sticking out the iDefender on three sides. The otherwise bulkier USB Disruptor does not have that problem, with the power coming in from the same side as the source.

The power supplies are interchangeable, using the same plug, both supplying 5 V (the usual USB voltage), though the iFi iPower can supply up to 2.5 A, while the USB Disruptor power supply is rated for 2 A. In conjunction with the iDefender, an additional adapter to micro USB is needed (included with the iPower). I could not hear a difference between the power supplies in my limited testing.

Plugged into a regular outlet, the USB Disruptor's power supply would stick out horizontally, while the iPower would stick out vertically due to the different prong orientations. Both power supplies are non-polarized and can therefore be rotated 180°. Both power supplies are rated for 100-240 V, but the iPower also comes with alternatives plugs for other countries. The iPower is a bit wider and longer, but less tall. The iPower's cable feels less fragile.

Price

The USB Disruptor costs $149 and includes a 5 V 2.0 A power supply. The iFi iDefender costs $49 and does not come with a power supply, but iFi sells the compatible iPower (5 V 2.5 A) for another $49. USB A to B adapters like the one included with the USB Disruptor are sold for less than $3 on Amazon and elsewhere. If you're concerned that these are somehow inferior to what is included with the USB Disruptor, you'll be relieved (or concerned) to know that for less than $1 Monoprice and Cableleader.com sell USB A to B adapters with what appears to be the same plastic casing as the adapter I received, although curiously not in the male-to-male configuration needed. Note that the adapter I received looked different from what is shown on the USB Disruptor page.

P_20181105_010801_vHDR_On.jpg

The power supply provided with the USB Disruptor is made by PowerStream.com, with model number MTP121UL-050200A. I did not find this particular model on their website, but the PST-AC0520W has the same specs and costs $14.50 (less at higher quantities), while the PST-AC0515W-2.5 has the same casing as what I received and costs $12.50 (less at higher quantities). DC to Micro-USB adapters can be had for less than $5 as well. So for about half the price of the USB Disruptor, you could get the iFi iDefender, and a comparable power supply and adapters as what is included with the USB Disruptor. Or spend a little more to get the iFi iPower, which includes many adapters for outlets around the world as well as adapter for other DC plugs, providing a more compact and versatile solution for $98 total.

P_20181030_161617_vHDR_On.jpg

Conclusion

The USB Disruptor works as advertised. But so does the iFi iDefender + iFi iPower combo for 2/3 of the price, while simultaneously being a lot more versatile and compact. As a result, I do not consider the USB Disruptor competitive at its current price of $149.
 
Nov 12, 2018 at 2:36 AM Post #39 of 44

PointyFox

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What's inside it other than a green light?
 
Nov 16, 2018 at 2:21 PM Post #41 of 44

Wiljen

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Well after a bit of a delay, I finally got my review posted today. Thanks again to Todd for allowing me to be part of this tour. Always a privilege.
 
Dec 12, 2018 at 10:54 AM Post #43 of 44

robpriore

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Received the disruptor and can confirm that it's working. Shown here next to the competition from @iFi audio:



Hi, thank you so much for trying and evaluating the USB Disruptor. I wanted to let you know that you worked with a demo unit. The production units have black USB Type B adapters and include instructions. One thing to note is that the USB Disruptor will work WITHOUT the power supply. For DAC's that don't need the power I recommend people experiment with having it plugged in and then unplugged. I prefer it plugged in, it could possibly act as a drain for extraneous noise since it is now connected to a vast ground.

I am really happy you report not hearing any difference between the iFi power supply and the Disruptor supply, a great supply by the way and I almost used it for the Disruptor but it was too costly. The Defender is not an apples to apples comparison. Their product is designed to cancel ground loops and is meant to dock to the computer, whereas the Disruptor mounts to the back of the DAC. Not being mounted directly to the computer puts some distance between the Disruptor and computer- there's a lot of RFI and EMI being emitted by the computer. Our design philosophy is to isolate as much as the digital signal as possible. It should be called a digital signal isolator - even the circuit board design includes extra wide signal traces for the digital signals which lower impedance and provide for common mode noise rejection - the data lines are parallel.

In terms of pricing there's a lot going on. There are a lot of costs involved to bringing a product to market and we've tried a lot of different prices. I may offer a version without the power supply for less money. Ours is also custom built in the USA, in Utah actually, so that raises the price. (not the power supply). The iFi products are likely made for very little in China so there's that too. I would also like to note that iFi provides several USB treatment devices. The Disruptor is a stand alone device and it's the only thing we make, and in my view the only USB treatment needed for computer audio. I am against products that process the signal. The computer does a fine job of processing, it's the electrical noise that messes up the signal. I take a minimalist approach to design, and the Disruptor is aligned to that philosophy. I do not use signal reclockers, no matter what the price or quality because - and this is common sense in my opinion - it processes the signal and very nature of that processing could cause the signal to change. And it is very hard to prove and argue that the signal processing does not affect the original signal. I'm not here to prove it, just saying our philosophy is different.

There's also the matter of the plastic casing. This is done for several reasons - and it's not to be cheap. First, our design philosophy is to limit the influence of EMI and RFI. Using a metal case would make it harder to isolate the digital signal, it could draw in EMI and RFI. We wanted a non-conductive exterior. It also has to be very light weight because it mounts to the DAC - mostly in the back out of the way. Don't judge a book by its cover, inside the case is a custom made circuit board specifically designed for the purpose of isolating the digital signal from power noise. The power supply and Disruptor board was designed by an expert in power supply design - for more than 25 years my friend and mentor has been leading designs for power systems - for industrial applications typically. As I noted before it works without the supply, if your DAC's USB is self-powered.

Thank you again for your review, I hope people give it try to see what it might do for their DAC's. I've noted that many older DAC's with USB, many going for very cheap prices, can be given a new lease on life with the Disruptor. It's not the DAC, it's the computer. Fix that and all USB DAC's sound their best, at least the best that their parts and designs will allow for.

Rob
 
Aug 4, 2019 at 8:58 AM Post #44 of 44

Makiah S

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Took more time than I thought, but my video review for the Disruptor is ready!


Certainly worth while if you need it!
 

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