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Ifi Micro iTube2


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I continue to fantasize about introducing a taste of tubes into my chain via various add on devices that easily give me the option to tube or not, depending on mood.  Tried the Yaqin tube buffer, but wasn't sold.  Anyone have experience with the Ifi Micro iTube2?  Did it bring the intangible tube magic?  Or did it degrade the SQ?

 

Thanks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you want a tube sound my advice would be to combine a tube preamp with solid state power amp, or go for a hybrid amp. It will give you the best of both worlds; power and control with a tuby sound. Tubes in the preamp gives you 90% of the sound you're looking for but with the power and control in the power stage. With tube roling in the preamp you can stear the sound in your desired direction without breaking the bank. Buffers to me are a degrading extra component in the chain. Tubes in the dac don't make sence to me. At least that's my experience. 

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I just bought new PS Audio gear, the Stellar Gain Cell DAC and the S300 power amp.  They are somewhat lush in their own right.  Down the road, quite a bit down the road, I'd like to try the Prima Luna Prologue pre-amp.  Upscale Audio has good deals on those as they are USA distributor, and it got a very positive review in Stereophile recently.

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In that budget range I can strongly recommand you the Rogue 99 Magnum, an American preamp built by hifi enthousiasts. Its rich, lush and detailed. It responds very well on tube roling, so you have a wide range of possible sound. Second hand market will get you one for less than 1500. You won't be sorry. Hifishark or audiogon is a good starting point. I haven't heard any prima luna gear, but that company has a very good price/ performance reputation.

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1 hour ago, Lebouwsky said:

In that budget range I can strongly recommand you the Rogue 99 Magnum, an American preamp built by hifi enthousiasts. Its rich, lush and detailed. It responds very well on tube roling, so you have a wide range of possible sound. Second hand market will get you one for less than 1500. You won't be sorry. Hifishark or audiogon is a good starting point. I haven't heard any prima luna gear, but that company has a very good price/ performance reputation.

 

Great idea, thanks.  Its all about synergy.  Upscale Audio sells Prima Luna and PS Audio, thus the attraction of their advice regarding synergy (I haven't asked them yet).

 

I seek two main things.  Softer, smoother highs that aren't digital harsh - and a touch of the intangible tube magic.

 

My gear is already fairly lush, but the digital treble related nasties irritate me.  I have iFi Nano USB filter arriving tomorrow, hopefully that will help.

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Digital hashness decreased significantly when I added the Sotm sms200 between the server and the dac. I can't say that about the uptone regen, which did made it more "exciting" in my system.

 

I hope the ifi nano does the job you're hoping it will do. The Sotm tx USB ultra seems to do that job quite well, which I'm considering, but it's pricy.

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18 hours ago, Lebouwsky said:

I hope the ifi nano does the job you're hoping it will do.

 

The iFi Nano iUSB 3.0 arrived and is installed.  It has helped a great deal with the digital harshness that has plagued me for so long.  A great improvement over the iPurifier alone.  The Nano has a wonderful, broad, holographic and detailed soundstage.  Perhaps a tad on the thin side, and a little bright, but nothing like I feared and not unpleasant.  I would call it exciting.

 

The PS Audio LANRover will be here Thursday.  Not entirely a fair contest, but lets see how they do.  Supposed the LANRover is more tube/ analog like at the sacrifice of some detail compared to the iFi.  I lean towards smooth, let the games begin.

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7 hours ago, DancingSea said:

 

The iFi Nano iUSB 3.0 arrived and is installed.  It has helped a great deal with the digital harshness that has plagued me for so long.  A great improvement over the iPurifier alone.  The Nano has a wonderful, broad, holographic and detailed soundstage.  Perhaps a tad on the thin side, and a little bright, but nothing like I feared and not unpleasant.  I would call it exciting.

 

The PS Audio LANRover will be here Thursday.  Not entirely a fair contest, but lets see how they do.  Supposed the LANRover is more tube/ analog like at the sacrifice of some detail compared to the iFi.  I lean towards smooth, let the games begin.

That's just great news dancing sea. It seems you're on the right track right now. It's funny, because I commented on your previous post, but it disapeared somehow. The summery of it was that there's a difference between digital hashness and a bright system. Vica versa, in a good system with your prefered sound signature you want the source as precise as possible. At least thats my philosophy.

 

So don't stear the sound in the source but after that. The ifi seems to do the right thing for you. Things can only get better. 

 

Have a great listening weekend. Cheers

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Yes, I not an expert on audiophile terminology, there's just a quality that I find offensive, a sibilance, a harshness, something like that. The iFi is a big step in the right direction.  And over on the Amarra 4 thread, copy_of_a gave some great Audirvana (and plugins) settings, which enhanced the experience.

 

Very eager for the LANRover to arrive.

 

Thanks,

John

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