Which is better at low listening volumes: Chord Mojo or iFi Micro iDSD Black Label?
Jul 11, 2017 at 4:25 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

TheEldestBoy

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 18, 2013
Posts
330
Likes
27
I listen with HD 600's.

I listen at relatively low volumes.

Wondering which device will be better at low volumes?

I've read that the iFi Micro iDSD Black Label has channel imbalance at low volumes... Is this true? If so, this could be a deal-breaker for me.
 
Jul 11, 2017 at 5:54 PM Post #2 of 13

jodgey4

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 2, 2013
Posts
2,684
Likes
319
What do consider relatively low volumes? That probably would only be a problem with much more sensitive headphones than the HD600. Maybe see if you can audition anything first?
 
Jul 12, 2017 at 6:12 AM Post #3 of 13

Witcher

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 9, 2017
Posts
325
Likes
146
Location
Singapore
I've read that the iFi Micro iDSD Black Label has channel imbalance at low volumes... Is this true? If so, this could be a deal-breaker for me.

Yes, this is true. However, given that your HD600 are relatively high impedance headphones, getting them to your preferred listening level might just be about bringing the iDSD volume up, while keeping the gain on Eco mode instead of normal. If I recall correctly, the imbalance isn't really a volume level thing, but a gain issue. This might mitigate the imbalance. Try it out for yourself and see.
 
Jul 12, 2017 at 10:36 AM Post #4 of 13

soLicitous

Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 16, 2011
Posts
86
Likes
93
Location
TX, USA
Yes, this is true. However, given that your HD600 are relatively high impedance headphones, getting them to your preferred listening level might just be about bringing the iDSD volume up, while keeping the gain on Eco mode instead of normal. If I recall correctly, the imbalance isn't really a volume level thing, but a gain issue. This might mitigate the imbalance. Try it out for yourself and see.

I believe you are correct. The channel imbalance of my Black Label clears out at around 9am on the volume pot independent of which headphones I am using and how loud they actually are.

The gain switch as well as the integrated iEMatch switch allow for me to listen to my IEMs (26ohm @ 1kHz, 119dB @ 1mw) at a low volume without the channel imbalance of the pot being an issue. I'd guess that the HD600s would have no problems either, but an audition is always preferred if possible!
 
Jul 13, 2017 at 12:44 PM Post #5 of 13

TheEldestBoy

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 18, 2013
Posts
330
Likes
27
Yes, this is true. However, given that your HD600 are relatively high impedance headphones, getting them to your preferred listening level might just be about bringing the iDSD volume up, while keeping the gain on Eco mode instead of normal. If I recall correctly, the imbalance isn't really a volume level thing, but a gain issue. This might mitigate the imbalance. Try it out for yourself and see.

I believe you are correct. The channel imbalance of my Black Label clears out at around 9am on the volume pot independent of which headphones I am using and how loud they actually are.

The gain switch as well as the integrated iEMatch switch allow for me to listen to my IEMs (26ohm @ 1kHz, 119dB @ 1mw) at a low volume without the channel imbalance of the pot being an issue. I'd guess that the HD600s would have no problems either, but an audition is always preferred if possible!


If I use Eco Mode, am I feeding my HD 600's any less power than using the Normal or Turbo Mode? In other words, volume differences aside, do I run the risk of not sufficiently powering my HD 600's on Eco (or even Normal) Mode? Will I get less bass response, less soundstage, less dynamics, etc by using ECO Mode?

For example, lets's say that these 2 different listening set-ups give the listen the same volume level:
  1. Eco Mode: Volume pot at 2:00pm
  2. Normal Mode: Volume pot at 11:00am
If both are giving the listener the same perceived level of volume, is #2 still actually doing a better job of powering the HD 600's?
 
Last edited:
Jul 13, 2017 at 1:12 PM Post #6 of 13

MindsMirror

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 9, 2014
Posts
1,012
Likes
255
No. The loudness is determined by the power. If two different amps or amp settings result in the same loudness, they are delivering the same power. If you can get sufficient loudness on eco mode then you should use that.
 
Jul 13, 2017 at 1:36 PM Post #7 of 13

TheEldestBoy

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 18, 2013
Posts
330
Likes
27
No. The loudness is determined by the power. If two different amps or amp settings result in the same loudness, they are delivering the same power. If you can get sufficient loudness on eco mode then you should use that.


Thanks for the input.

Question: My Fiio Q1 actually provides way more than enough volume for me. Do I really need to upgrade to the iDSD micro Black Label?
 
Jul 13, 2017 at 11:53 PM Post #8 of 13

Witcher

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 9, 2017
Posts
325
Likes
146
Location
Singapore
Thanks for the input.

Question: My Fiio Q1 actually provides way more than enough volume for me. Do I really need to upgrade to the iDSD micro Black Label?

Only you can answer that. You need to test it yourself. If you prefer the sound of the Q1, then stick with it. But the iDSDBL does give you a fantastic array of controls over the final sound.
 
Jul 14, 2017 at 3:45 AM Post #9 of 13

ClieOS

IEM Reviewer Extraordinaire
Joined
May 11, 2004
Posts
20,295
Likes
9,941
Location
Mid Johor, Malaysia
Thanks for the input.

Question: My Fiio Q1 actually provides way more than enough volume for me. Do I really need to upgrade to the iDSD micro Black Label?

Q1 is a fine sounding amp for its price, but by no means any where near the quality of micro iDSD BL
 
Jul 29, 2017 at 1:11 PM Post #10 of 13

Ynot1

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 29, 2017
Posts
715
Likes
165
Location
USA, Cook County
The low volume channel imbalance is probably a potentiometer property that's it is what it is kind of thing. And it is probably not at the listening level of music. Maybe for people multi-tasking, trying to hear a pin drop and listen to their favorite tune at the same time.
 
Last edited:
Aug 17, 2017 at 4:23 AM Post #11 of 13

loominos

New Head-Fier
Joined
May 27, 2017
Posts
4
Likes
0
If you're going to use the chord mojo with high impedance headphones like the HD600, you may need to turn up the chord mojo to a sort-of high volume. And by high, I mean to Red on the second level or higher. This level of volume can be loud if on an IEM, of course.
 
Aug 25, 2017 at 4:15 PM Post #12 of 13

labrat

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 14, 2005
Posts
1,821
Likes
49
I listen with HD 600's.

I listen at relatively low volumes.

Wondering which device will be better at low volumes?

I've read that the iFi Micro iDSD Black Label has channel imbalance at low volumes... Is this true? If so, this could be a deal-breaker for me.

The iFi Micro iDSD Black Label have an analog volume potentiometer, and may as such have a slight difference in volume between left and right channels at the lovest settings.
The Mojo does not have a volume potentiometer, the volume is software controlled, and unless the programmers have done a really poor job, the volume between the channels will be same.
If there is a difference, it will be obvious over the whole range of the volume setting, and as such will be the result of an internal hardware error.
 
May 26, 2020 at 3:14 PM Post #13 of 13

droido256

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 8, 2010
Posts
571
Likes
180
The ifi does have a channel imbalance (all analog volume controls Ive tried have this minor irritation.) run the ifi in eco mode to get the pot up to 12 oclock. The sound quality of this thing is just..... so .... engaging. The output power of the micro idsd black label is ..... frightening. Im on the lcd-2, currently on eco mode (lowest gain setting), 1o clock setting on the pot is LOUD. The ifi is downright psychotic in output volume and control.
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top