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Ifi Micro iDAC2 vs ???


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Just saw the release of the IFI IDAC 2.

micro – iDAC2

 

Is there any other product that comes close to those specs in that price range?

 

Actually I was made aware of it at the Sound Liaison site. They seem to find it very good and have released a free music sampler to go with the iDAC2.

ifi idac.pngSound Liaison Music Shop

 

My impression of the Sound Liaison label is that they would not back up something that is not up to the highest standards so unless somebody here can convince me otherwise I think I will get one.

 

If there is one rule that we go by here at Sound Liaison, it is trust your ears.

So when ifi approached us for a sampler to accompany the release of the new micro-iDAC2, we first sat down and gave the device a good listen.

Hearing how faithfully the iFi micro-iDAC2 reproduced our native studio masters, we could not help but feeling proud.

Proud that iFi chose to approach our little label with a request to add the ''sound track'' to the release of such a superb product.

With the micro-iDAC2 iFi is proving that it is possible to obtain state of the art quality of sound in a portable device.

We at Sound Liaison are putting a great deal of time and effort into obtaining the best possible sound.

We are especially particular when choosing and placing microphones, having realized that attention to detail at the very beginning of the recording process pays of, when having to realize the final mix.

iFi is showing the same kind of attention to detail when choosing the components and features in the micro-iDAC2, making the device the perfect companion for our downloads.

So please go ahead, download the files, place yourself in your optimum listening position and trust your ears.

 

If you have the ifi sampler coupon code, available on the ifi website (audio blog), the files can be downloaded free of charge.

specs are pretty impressive;

b98f6f9001c8ec24f716437d68f9cb59_XL.jpg

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Ok.

What has the competition got to offer?

And do you think that the Nano will have an even better sound quality?

 

In terms of features / design, Nano < iDac2 < Micro

 

I haven't heard the iDac2, but I would expect they would have incorporated some of the learnings from the Micro and other products (e.g., the Retro).

John Walker - IT Executive

Headphone - MacMini running Roon Server > Netgear Orbi > Blue Jeans Cable Ethernet > mRendu Roon endpoint > Topping D90 > Topping A90 > Dan Clark Aeon 2 Closed / Focal Elegia

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A friend of mine just got this with the bundle pack and says straight from the box he says it trumps his $1.3k DAC. I forget the name of it but I will find out and update in case you guys want to reference it. Oh I started a thread for free music links and my post was linking to the free DSD files that iFi are offering! They are great on my iDSD nano.....but to upgrade to iDAC 2 or not.....that is the question! :o

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cadela--this head-fi link has pics and more info--it is a different design (new) in the analogue stage at least--price is $350 but they had a special offer where they packaged it with an ifi ipower for $379 for the first 500 units--don't know if that's all gone or not.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/754820/idac2-is-rocking-free-dsd-pcm-album-now-see-page-21-competition-with-mega-goodies-gotta-be-in-it-to-win-it

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A friend of mine just got this with the bundle pack and says straight from the box he says it trumps his $1.3k DAC. I forget the name of it but I will find out and update in case you guys want to reference it. Oh I started a thread for free music links and my post was linking to the free DSD files that iFi are offering! They are great on my iDSD nano.....but to upgrade to iDAC 2 or not.....that is the question! :o

please do ''find out and update''.

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I find iFi equipment to be of high quality and a great value...AND, all the equipment works without stress on the user. I don't see how you can go wrong with iFi.

 

(I have no relationship with iFi)

In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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please do ''find out and update''.

 

A friend of mine just got this with the bundle pack and says straight from the box he says it trumps his $1.3k DAC. I forget the name of it but I will find out and update in case you guys want to reference it. Oh I started a thread for free music links and my post was linking to the free DSD files that iFi are offering! They are great on my iDSD nano.....but to upgrade to iDAC 2 or not.....that is the question! :o

Yes, please do. I am very interested

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Your initial question was "Is there any other product that comes close to those specs in that price range?"

 

The first thing that comes to my mind is the Oppo HA-2 DAC. Not sure the relative prices in USD but at UK prices the Oppo HA-2 and the iFi Micro iDAC2 are very close. Also, while not necessarily competitive on features, the Meridian Explorer 2 still holds its own in terms of sound quality (IMO).

 

A little above in cost are things like Marantz HD-DAC1 and Pioneer U-05 DACs.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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cadela--this head-fi link has pics and more info--it is a different design (new) in the analogue stage at least--price is $350 but they had a special offer where they packaged it with an ifi ipower for $379 for the first 500 units--don't know if that's all gone or not.

 

iDAC2 is rocking. FREE DSD/PCM album now! (see page 21) Competition with MEGA goodies. Gotta be in it to win it!

 

Please note that the initial release special offer is the iDAC2 packaged with a iPurifier USB filter widget (not the iUSB Power or the iPower wall wart power supply) for $379. The iDAC2 is USB bus powered, so a iPower would not be of any use.

 

image.jpg

---------------

Rich Brkich

Owner, Signature Sound

Liverpool, New York USA

Website: http://www.sigsound.com

FaceBook Page: http://www.facebook.com/Signature.Sound.HiFi

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Thanks for your clarification--- I meant "ipurifier"---I do sometimes stumble with the ifi product naming---and just keeping track of competing products in several categories on CA/Head-Fi--including lately the (nuprime) udsd v idsd... lol

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Please note that the initial release special offer is the iDAC2 packaged with a iPurifier USB filter widget (not the iUSB Power or the iPower wall wart power supply) for $379. The iDAC2 is USB bus powered, so a iPower would not be of any use.

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]19774[/ATTACH]

 

sorry... I am more confused about iEverything. iDAC2 is USB bus powered. but you can still stick it to an AC adapter (one end has USB and the other end to AC outlet?) It's hard for an out-of-date iKnowledge person to follow all the iGadgets. Please forgive me if I am slow to understand the configuration.

Cadela swims/moves/hears like an Olive Ridley turtle. She can't complain much, but can still audit audiophile equipments in her turtle speed.

 

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/olive-ridley-turtle

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sorry... I am more confused about iEverything. iDAC2 is USB bus powered. but you can still stick it to an AC adapter (one end has USB and the other end to AC outlet?) It's hard for an out-of-date iKnowledge person to follow all the iGadgets. Please forgive me if I am slow to understand the configuration.

 

 

The iDAC2, like many other similar designs, uses the USB power (5V) from your computer which is present in the USB ports in/on your computer.

 

Normal (Power) Connection: In this case using a normal/typical USB cable connected from USB port on your computer to the iDAC2, the iDAC2 is running using the power from your computer.

 

Optional (Power) Connection: The iDAC2 does not know where that 5V that powers it in the USB cable comes from. Now though the iDAC2 makes the best with what is provided, like many USB bus powered DACs, they can benefit from a better source of 5V than from one's computer (who's power supplies are not known for being very clean sources of power). The iFi iUSB Power is a device which stops the power coming from your computer, and supplies its own cleaner source of power in place. So, the USB cable from your computer now connected to the iUSB Power supply. Then ANOTHER USB cable goes from the output of the iUSB Power Supply to the USB dac (i.e. the iDAC2 in this case). It does nothing to the USB data (passes it happily along to the iDAC2), but replaces the 5V USB bus power with its own cleaner source. It has to supply/make that power from somewhere, so it has a external (high quality wall wart type power supply which iFi calls the "iPower") which plugs into the wall to power the iUSB Power Supply.

 

Yep, the naming of this stuff can get confusing! :-)

 

Here is a example I found on the net that shows the iUSB Power in use with a USB bus powered dac like the iDAC2...

 

iUSB4671_1.jpg

 

This is not the only way or device that does this type of thing. There are various cables, power supplies and even neat little USB regeneration devices (i.e the UpTone Audio Regen you see discussed in many threads here on CA).

---------------

Rich Brkich

Owner, Signature Sound

Liverpool, New York USA

Website: http://www.sigsound.com

FaceBook Page: http://www.facebook.com/Signature.Sound.HiFi

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The iDAC2, like many other similar designs, uses the USB power (5V) from your computer which is present in the USB ports in/on your computer.

 

Normal (Power) Connection: In this case using a normal/typical USB cable connected from USB port on your computer to the iDAC2, the iDAC2 is running using the power from your computer.

 

Optional (Power) Connection: The iDAC2 does not know where that 5V that powers it in the USB cable comes from. Now though the iDAC2 makes the best with what is provided, like many USB bus powered DACs, they can benefit from a better source of 5V than from one's computer (who's power supplies are not known for being very clean sources of power). The iFi iUSB Power is a device which stops the power coming from your computer, and supplies its own cleaner source of power in place. So, the USB cable from your computer now connected to the iUSB Power supply. Then ANOTHER USB cable goes from the output of the iUSB Power Supply to the USB dac (i.e. the iDAC2 in this case). It does nothing to the USB data (passes it happily along to the iDAC2), but replaces the 5V USB bus power with its own cleaner source. It has to supply/make that power from somewhere, so it has a external (high quality wall wart type power supply which iFi calls the "iPower") which plugs into the wall to power the iUSB Power Supply.

 

Yep, the naming of this stuff can get confusing! :-)

 

Here is a example I found on the net that shows the iUSB Power in use with a USB bus powered dac like the iDAC2...

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]19847[/ATTACH]

 

This is not the only way or device that does this type of thing. There are various cables, power supplies and even neat little USB regeneration devices (i.e the UpTone Audio Regen you see discussed in many threads here on CA).

 

Got it! Now iLearn!

 

Thanks a lot for the explanation. I assume that this iPower can be used to connect other devices that benefit from clean 5V usb bus power as well. Only thing is that it is probably not very convenient to carry these stuffs around. That iPower looks like a laptop AC/DC adapter.

Cadela swims/moves/hears like an Olive Ridley turtle. She can't complain much, but can still audit audiophile equipments in her turtle speed.

 

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/olive-ridley-turtle

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Got it! Now iLearn!

 

Thanks a lot for the explanation. I assume that this iPower can be used to connect other devices that benefit from clean 5V usb bus power as well. Only thing is that it is probably not very convenient to carry these stuffs around. That iPower looks like a laptop AC/DC adapter.

 

Do you hear a difference? does it improve the sound?

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Got it! Now iLearn!

 

Thanks a lot for the explanation. I assume that this iPower can be used to connect other devices that benefit from clean 5V usb bus power as well. Only thing is that it is probably not very convenient to carry these stuffs around. That iUSB Power Supply [i corrected this for you] looks like a laptop AC/DC adapter.

 

The iFi iUSB Power Supply is not meant for portable use... mainly designed for use with desk top USB dacs (like the iFi iDAC and iDAC2) and most any other home based USB dacs. Its small size allow it to be placed in the back of a rack and out of the way... for example, I have used the iUSB Power Supply to benefit on our demo Wavelength Audio Cosecant dac:

 

DSC01408.JPG

 

Even though the Cosecant has its own power supply, it's USB interface in it does draw some power for its operation in the DAC. With cleaner USB bus power coming into the DAC, the (idea is that the) USB I/F will operate with generating less possible noise in the DAC.

 

The iUSB Power Supply does have a external wall wart type device to power it. iFi just released a new version of this wall wart called the iPower (which you can read all about on their fine website of course). Starting this month, all iUSB Power Supply's come with the iPower wall wart in their box (along with a price increase from $199 to $229). If you have a older iUSB Power Supply, you can buy the iPower separately for it as a upgrade.

 

iPower9V.jpg

a iFi Audio "iPower" 9V model.

 

Does it work? To my ears (and customers who I have sold the iUSB Power Supply to) it does. The sound gets less fatiguing (less digital if you will) and more natural to my ears.

 

Sorry, if this sounded a bit commercial... just wanted to be clear about what I was talking about and make sure there was no confusion with all the different name on the iFi stuff.

 

This is only one device of a number on the market these days which do things like cleaning up and or regenerating the USB power and/or digital data...UpTone and Schitt for example have products in this kind of area.

 

Recently, I've been using the UpTone Audio Regen to VERY nice effect on some of our USB dacs here.

---------------

Rich Brkich

Owner, Signature Sound

Liverpool, New York USA

Website: http://www.sigsound.com

FaceBook Page: http://www.facebook.com/Signature.Sound.HiFi

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  • 2 weeks later...
Will you please keep us posted.

 

Ok so I've listened to them both, including the iDSD nano (mine).

 

For price ratio & performance - iDAC 2 wins hands down but the Chord has something more going for it though.

 

The iDAC 2 is about a 30% improvement over the iDSD nano, so I've put in my order for the iDAC2 bundle with the iPurifier

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