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iDSD Nano

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Paddlefoot. I just bought this one, along with a dragonfly, idac, and iusb power supply from ifi. DSD isn't a real concern for me, but I'm enjoying a free track now and to be honest it sounds better than many hi-res pcm tracks I have. I guess that makes sense as it's marketed as a DSD device (which has pcm thrown in for good measure). I'll be making my decision shortly what to keep.


Pardon the long explanation, but here's why I went a bit ocd on this.


Step 1) I initially bought the dragonfly 1.2 for my imac to feed my mcintosh 275 amp directly. There was a shit ton of noise, so I tried connecting it to my macbook pro. Perfect. Sounds great for $150, though it lacks a little bass through my speakers (headphones were fine here).

Step 2) Well, shit. I wanted it for my 2011 imac, and it turns out this noise through the usb is very, very common on this particular model. Let me try ifi's iusb power supply. Very near perfect addition. I could still hear a very slight hum through my imac->iusb->dragonfly->amp&speakers path just before and after starting a track. Just enough to bother me. For what it's worth, when running through my macbook pro I didn't hear a great improvement in the sound by adding the iusb power supply, so if I only used the macbook pro I'd probably not spend the $200 there.

Step 3) The iDSD and iDAC arrived a couple of hours ago. They didn't show up straight away, and there was a bit of unplugging and plugging in and crossing fingers... but once they're a go they're pretty consistent. Again, I'm plugging my amp directly into the headphone jack of these units and using the volume control there. The reason I tried the iDSD is because the literature said the power supply was always run from the battery inside the unit, which was charged from the usb. I had hoped this battery might disconnect whatever noise was coming from the iMac, but it hasn't. On the plus side, that little bit of noise right before and after a track with the iusb power supply and dragonfly? Not present at all when replacing the dragonfly with the iDSD or iDac.

Step 4) Sound. The best might just be the iDSD when running DSD from very early impressions, but I need more tracks to really say. And this would be by a smidge over the iDac running flac files. 320 mp3s also sounded great. I'd say with pcm only the iDac is best, followed by the dragonfly and the iDSD slightly behind that. However, the iDSD will do 192/24 (and more I think) while the dragonfly is stuck at 96. Good enough for me, and for $150.


Step 5) Try to find a cheap way to fix my iMac's hum so I don't need a separate power conditioner and revisit the three dacs. The iDSD is just large enough to be burdensome on the go, with the dragonfly a clear winner there size wise. All sound great for the money, and for the iDSD specifically, if you're more infatuated with DSD I wouldn't hesitate. If PCM only for small home situations, the iDac, and for the road warrior, the dragonfly. Which is still quite good for home use (limited by 96/24).


I'll spend maybe 20 minutes trying to find more trial dsd material but it's not a huge concern for me. Hope that helps.

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  • 1 month later...

Monstachuck: My older iMac was awful because of noise. Your 275 deserves a better DAC IMO.


Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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