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Linear power supply for Arcam irdac


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I recently purchased an Arcam irdac which I think sounds very good in my system. I am looking to improve it's performance further by replacing cheap switching power supply with an aftermarket linear supply. Looking for opinions/advice.

 

There are positive reviews on various sites for Teddy Pardo Linear PS, Main Cables R Us advertises their irdac solution extensively on eBay, Custom Hifi Cables makes an interesting looking 12VAC unit, and Paul Hynes who designed the regulator for the Empirical Audio Overdrive SE makes a stand alone power supply for the irdac as well. I have also been approached by a vendor for Best of Two Worlds Power and Precision - ECO linear supply system (built by Sbooster). All are in the same ball park in terms of cost (~$400 USD delivered), and all have champions on the Internet forums.

 

One further consideration. Teddy Pardo claims that his supplies are super quiet. I find this compelling, but am thinking that current deliver may be just as or more important for DAC audio performance.

 

In terms of a linear supply to improve performance of my irdac, do you have experience with it or upgrading it to a linear supply and a specific recommendation?

 

I have a dedicated 10 gauge AC supply line on it's own breaker with good outlet In residential neighborhood, so power to system is decent.

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Im using the Best of Two Worlds by Sbooster (the older type), and find it a very good udgrade from the cheap stock supply.

Music is more relaxed and small details in sound is more easy to hear.

 

Asus Prime-P z590 MB. Intel Core  i5 11400 , Jcat usb XE Pci-usb card. Samsung Evo 970 Plus m2.

Jcat Femto Netcard. HDPlex linear w200, HDPlex 400 atx, HDPlex H5 case. Windows 11, JPlay Femto. JPlay app beta. 

MPAudio SLS-hpuln with JCat Optimo Nano Powering the Jcat XE pcie-usb card. And MPAudio SLS-hpuln Powering the Netcard femto.

Audiowise SRC-DX usb to DX Bridge. Chord Qutest DAC. Farad 3 lpsu powering the Qutest DAC.

2 Buffalo 2008 switch. One stock, and one Buffalo 2008 switch with NewclassD Neutron star Clock powered by MPAudio SLS-hpuln,

Voltcraft fps_1132 lpsu Powering the fibernet box, and first Buffalo 2008 switch. With a Idovr regulator. 

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Im using the Best of Two Worlds by Sbooster (the older type), and find it a very good udgrade from the cheap stock supply.

Music is more relaxed and small details in sound is more easy to hear.

 

Asus Prime-P z590 MB. Intel Core  i5 11400 , Jcat usb XE Pci-usb card. Samsung Evo 970 Plus m2.

Jcat Femto Netcard. HDPlex linear w200, HDPlex 400 atx, HDPlex H5 case. Windows 11, JPlay Femto. JPlay app beta. 

MPAudio SLS-hpuln with JCat Optimo Nano Powering the Jcat XE pcie-usb card. And MPAudio SLS-hpuln Powering the Netcard femto.

Audiowise SRC-DX usb to DX Bridge. Chord Qutest DAC. Farad 3 lpsu powering the Qutest DAC.

2 Buffalo 2008 switch. One stock, and one Buffalo 2008 switch with NewclassD Neutron star Clock powered by MPAudio SLS-hpuln,

Voltcraft fps_1132 lpsu Powering the fibernet box, and first Buffalo 2008 switch. With a Idovr regulator. 

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It got some nice reviews in a forum in Norway:-)

The price at the time was also good too..

 

Im thinking about adding a Regen, but have not seen advice about using it together with the Irdac.

Asus Prime-P z590 MB. Intel Core  i5 11400 , Jcat usb XE Pci-usb card. Samsung Evo 970 Plus m2.

Jcat Femto Netcard. HDPlex linear w200, HDPlex 400 atx, HDPlex H5 case. Windows 11, JPlay Femto. JPlay app beta. 

MPAudio SLS-hpuln with JCat Optimo Nano Powering the Jcat XE pcie-usb card. And MPAudio SLS-hpuln Powering the Netcard femto.

Audiowise SRC-DX usb to DX Bridge. Chord Qutest DAC. Farad 3 lpsu powering the Qutest DAC.

2 Buffalo 2008 switch. One stock, and one Buffalo 2008 switch with NewclassD Neutron star Clock powered by MPAudio SLS-hpuln,

Voltcraft fps_1132 lpsu Powering the fibernet box, and first Buffalo 2008 switch. With a Idovr regulator. 

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I found it well worth adding an LPS to the irDAC. Big improvement all-round. What I wasn't expecting was the better dynamics. I guess the LPS must be boosting the analogue output stage performance. I used the MCRU LPS, but I'm sure any of the well reviewed types mentioned would likely be just as good.

 

I would try the iFi iPurifer before any of the powered 'USB fixer' options (like the Regen). Very effective, best bang-per-buck IMHO.

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Mulberry, are you using the iFi with an irDAC? I tried an Audioquest Jitterbug with my irDAC and took it out. Unadulterated USB implementation on Arcam is best I have heard yet in my system. Jitterbug monkeyed with sound, especially upper bass-lower midrange. Some good things, but not enough. In contrast, the Jitterbug made a big improvement in my office system with Dragonfly DAC, like they were meant for each other... Curious what effect iFi or REGEN would have on sound of irDAC.

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I upgraded the irDAC to a Chord 2Qute three or four months back. So I have the iPurifier plugged into the 2Qute. The irDAC has migrated to my office system (everyone here seems to have an office system!). I didn't feel the JB thinned-out the bass, but I must admit I haven't tried all the possible combinations. I can definitely say though that the iPurifier makes much more of a positive difference.

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In my system with an Irdac, the JB is adding a bit more slam to the bass and warmer sound in a nice way.

My system was a bit bass shy before..

 

I have put a bit of tape on the supra usb +5v pin, and it staying there:-)

Asus Prime-P z590 MB. Intel Core  i5 11400 , Jcat usb XE Pci-usb card. Samsung Evo 970 Plus m2.

Jcat Femto Netcard. HDPlex linear w200, HDPlex 400 atx, HDPlex H5 case. Windows 11, JPlay Femto. JPlay app beta. 

MPAudio SLS-hpuln with JCat Optimo Nano Powering the Jcat XE pcie-usb card. And MPAudio SLS-hpuln Powering the Netcard femto.

Audiowise SRC-DX usb to DX Bridge. Chord Qutest DAC. Farad 3 lpsu powering the Qutest DAC.

2 Buffalo 2008 switch. One stock, and one Buffalo 2008 switch with NewclassD Neutron star Clock powered by MPAudio SLS-hpuln,

Voltcraft fps_1132 lpsu Powering the fibernet box, and first Buffalo 2008 switch. With a Idovr regulator. 

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  • 5 months later...
I upgraded the irDAC to a Chord 2Qute three or four months back. So I have the iPurifier plugged into the 2Qute. The irDAC has migrated to my office system (everyone here seems to have an office system!). I didn't feel the JB thinned-out the bass, but I must admit I haven't tried all the possible combinations. I can definitely say though that the iPurifier makes much more of a positive difference.

 

Hi there,

 

How's 2Qute compared to ARCAM irDAC with the SBooster linear PSU? I'm using it with my Beyerdynamic T1 amplified by Lehmann linear. Also considering purchasing it. Is it considered to be a massive upgrade or you think it might be an overkill for my setup?

 

Any help would be appreciated,

Wei

Software: Roon, Tidal, HQplayer 

HQplayer PC: i9 7980XE, Titan Xp, RTX 3090; i9 9900K, Titan V

DAC: Holo Audio MAY L2, T+A DAC8 DSD, exasound e12, iFi micro iDSD BL

USB tweaks: Intona, Uptone (ISO) regen, LPS-1, LPS-1.2, Sbooster Vbus2, Curious cables, SUPRA Certified HiSpeed USB cable

NAA: Logic CL100 powered by Uptone JS-2

AMP: Spectral DMC 30SV, Spectral DMA 300RS

Speaker: Magico S3 MKII

Rack: HRS SXR signature

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Well it’s a lot more detailed, better defined deeper sound stage, and somehow more lively and engaging. However, I would say the Achilles heel with the 2Qute is a slight hardening (or grain or edge or however you want to term it) in the upper-mids. How much of an issue that is depends on your other equipment/set-up and of course, how sensitive you are to it.

 

Arcam have recently introduced a new version of the irDAC, the irDAC-II. It would be best to try and audition them both, but I know this can be difficult...

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Well it’s a lot more detailed, better defined deeper sound stage, and somehow more lively and engaging. However, I would say the Achilles heel with the 2Qute is a slight hardening (or grain or edge or however you want to term it) in the upper-mids. How much of an issue that is depends on your other equipment/set-up and of course, how sensitive you are to it.

 

Arcam have recently introduced a new version of the irDAC, the irDAC-II. It would be best to try and audition them both, but I know this can be difficult...

 

Thanks for the reply. I've tried the new ir-DAC 2 already. I did a A-B comparison with my 1st generation irdac, can't tell any difference in terms of the sonic, clarity and details maybe a little less musical and engaging, the only difference is it can be used as headphone amplifier, and as amplifier, it is quite mediocre compared to my dedicated Lehman linear. So I think it's just a same DAC with extra cheap amplifier integrated in and some useless wireless feature to meet the current trend (wireless and all in one setup). Returned it and not very recommended.

 

I guess I will buy the 2Qute in few month and have a try with my Lehman linear amp.

 

Thanks again.

Software: Roon, Tidal, HQplayer 

HQplayer PC: i9 7980XE, Titan Xp, RTX 3090; i9 9900K, Titan V

DAC: Holo Audio MAY L2, T+A DAC8 DSD, exasound e12, iFi micro iDSD BL

USB tweaks: Intona, Uptone (ISO) regen, LPS-1, LPS-1.2, Sbooster Vbus2, Curious cables, SUPRA Certified HiSpeed USB cable

NAA: Logic CL100 powered by Uptone JS-2

AMP: Spectral DMC 30SV, Spectral DMA 300RS

Speaker: Magico S3 MKII

Rack: HRS SXR signature

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  • 2 months later...
I found it well worth adding an LPS to the irDAC. Big improvement all-round. What I wasn't expecting was the better dynamics. I guess the LPS must be boosting the analogue output stage performance. I used the MCRU LPS, but I'm sure any of the well reviewed types mentioned would likely be just as good.

 

So being the opportunist that I am, I took advantage of the recent Brexit currency disruption to pull trigger on MCRU power supply for the irDAC. I ordered with all possible built-in upgrades including silver DC supply cable, Furutech rhodium fuse and IEC connector. I did not initially opt for recommended IsoTek EVO3 Premier AC power cable, but after doing some research I took advantage of the 30% package discount and ordered the AC cable after the fact. The new power supply arrived with stock 18AWG AC supply cable and I started to burn it in immediately. The EVO3 cable arrived about 2 weeks later. I describe sound with stock AC cable and then with the EVO3.

 

I had recently done some cleaning up of power delivery in my system and added a Shunyata Venom Defender to my Wiremold power strip for source components including the irDAC, while I plugged my Arcam receiver and B&W sub directly to my dedicated medical grade wall outlets and 20 amp line. Configured this way the irDAC was sounding pretty good with stock supply. Straight out of the shipping box the new MCRU supply had more bass, more detail and broader soundstage, better timing, but also sounded a bit shouty in the treble and upper midrange compared with the stock supply. The overall sound improved over breakin and at 200 hours the irDAC with the MCRU power supply sounded clearly better than the stock Arcam SMPS, added to the improvements described above the shouting subsided, the treble smoothed out and the music just flowed better than it ever has. The treble was a little recessed, but the sound was very engaging nevertheless.

 

Replacing the stock AC supply cable with the IsoTek EVO3 Premier when it arrived was a shocking experience (figuratively). The total volume seemed to jump up a couple of decibels, and the top octive and a half immediately opened up by what sounded like 3-5 decibels, like the stock AC cable was operating as some kind of choke. Cymbals, wow! Dynamics, timing and PRAT in general improved. With the EVO3 cable inline the detail again advanced as did soundstage definition and perception of decay (although was some of this an artifact of greater treble energy?) At first midrange seemed to recede a bit with the advance of both treble and bass. Over time the treble and bass have pulled back into relative balance, but the presentation remains "lively".

 

Tone has always been a strength of the irDAC. With the new MCRU power supply and IsoTek EVO3 Premier AC cable, spatial resolution and clarity are clearly up a notch, and timing and listener involvement have leapt ahead. Money well spent.

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