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  1. Great expectations, high hopes & the elephant in the room iFi Audio Micro iDSD Signature & NEO iDSD review The Micro iDSD Signature - Great Expectations Contents Part two: Signature review Exhibt 2: 4.4mm balanced output Pentaconn Exhibit 3: The GTO filter Signature review Last November I was kind of surprised when I read the announcement of a Signature edition for the iFi Micro iDSD. Great expectations had been raised instantly about this shiny new gladiator for the pursuit of sound quality in your home system and for portable use cases. The package content is shown right here: This review will look into the details in pursuance of clarity about the Signature’s strengths and weaknesses in comparison with its predecessor the Micro iDSD Black Label edition, which I have reviewed here in 2017. You'll find a head-2-head feature comparisonjust below: As of IFI Audio’s PR material the Signature edition of the Micro iDSD will be produced in limited quantity, which may qualify for calling it a transitional device, smoothing the transition from the versatile Black Label edition to the new “portable king of the hill” iDSD DIABLO, preparing the iFi customers for a streamlined PCB design, perfected purist sound experience and a whiff of boosted mobility. The Signature’s form, haptic and technology is very much reminiscent of the Micro iDSD series, the most notable changes are: - the exciting blue colored surface, - the additional Pentaconn HP socket for S-balanced output - plus the separation USB port duties for signal transmission and advanced power supply. Looking at the spec sheets, not much has changed related to the signal path and the HP output apart from the higher output. The provision of digital inputs via USB and a combined SPDIF/Toslink port (adapter provided) is well known from the iFi micro range. The Signature still uses the BB DSD1793 Dac chip in dual mono configuration and a dual mono analogue & pre amplification stage. above the DAC sections of the iDSD micro Black Label and Micro iDSD Signature (wholeheartly thanks @ sandalaudio) However, the additional performance in the power supply and HP section comes at a cost. With the announcement of the recent DAC/Pre/HP amp in the iFi-portfolio the Signature lost the ability of variable RCA output mode and along with that change we notice the evanescence of the analog input and optical output. Consequently, we experience a lack of gain selection and supporting line stage. Connecting the RCA output, the volume control now is bypassed. Secondary features like loading external devices via USB port and polarity selection have been eschewed for the crusade toward better sound, purist experience and enhanced portability. On the positive side, IFi Audio has stepped up SQ with the new micro iDSD Signature, accessible under clear defined presets, a success accomplished especially through changes within the device's power structure and less importantly by enhancements in the output section using the 4.4mm s-balanced output design. The major impact in my view comes from the separation of duties for signal transfer and power provision. These presets for success were most distinctive to the reviewers' ears after changing back to the iFi Limoncello firmware 5.20 that permits the owner the spotless use of DXD and DSD512. Using the most recent software, both features aren't available and the more sterile sounding GTO filter is dominating the SQ. Nonetheless, as filters are often suspect to personal taste and experience, I'd suggest taking the challenge to find out for yourself. The manual for upgrading/downgrading firmware had been delivered here and effects - in my ears - were well distinguishable.
    The Signature’s SQ over Headphones, be it through the SE 6.3mm output or the 4.4mm S-balanced tuned Pentaconn port, is exciting by design. iFi confirmed to me that the DAC section with the BB 1793DSD double mono configuration was left untouched while the important changes towards SQ were made in the amplification section and through the selection between important and less important features. The selection of unbalanced SE or S-balanced Pentaconn did not make a significant difference for my ears, given the power output of both outputs is equal by design and the first demand of the HE-400i is current, current, current. My amateurish hand measurements with a SPL meter have confirmed my “ear educated” guesswork for that instance. I credit the direct drive HP amplification stage well known from the Black Label, with the responsibility for amplifying the signal that arrived through the dual mono analogue stage in both, single ended and s-balanced mode. As a matter of consequence, the Signature has lost some features we had learned to love with the older micro iDSD editions. There is no capable line stage that would qualify the unit as a digital preamp providing variable output and analog input anymore, while the device's new power circuit design doesn’t allow uninterrupted usage in your system without connecting it to an external power source. There is, for sure, an advantage inherited with that solution, the SQ enhancement driving the unit solely from battery and no USB bus power interference may inject unwanted noise of all sorts. Thus the Sig is an exquisite sounding device for "more transportable" or desktop use, with or without demanding headphones, however it features a far less complex functionality compared to its predecessor. Accordingly, with this minor "streamlined" changes the device now leans more toward mobility than the Black Label edition which for many users would do greatly as DAC/PRE in the main system. However, I need to admit that using the BL plus a RPI as endpoint rendered somehow as less comfortable for the limited charging power from the RPI2/3 ports plus the need for recharging after listening. Connected directly to the USB3 ports of my CAPS Zuma it has never asked for battery refill. The cleaner way of powering the Signature may allow you to use the battery now up to twelve hours, depending on the selected power mode. iFi support indicates no quality loss if the device is charged during playback. I've noticed a certain signal loss the very moment when connecting the device to the power supply and preferred generally to listen without power feed. However, employing a 20maH power bank proved to be a solution to allow nearly unlimited (2days) use when needed. Having noticed the availability of iFi 5v power plugs with some of the 2020/21 product range I would have saluted an inclusive solution for the Sig as well. Depending on what your objectives are, the Micro iDSD Signature may be exactly the device you are looking for. If you're in for a DAC with preamp functionality in your systems, the Sig won't make you happy with its new configuration and you may rather want to look for the Black Label edition, which is richer in features and not far away in line level sq with identical audiophile heritage, although some caveats regarding component selection are the price to pay for the comfort upgrade, knowing that slightly better SQ can be had with the Signature. Exhibit 2: 4.4mm balanced output Pentaconn This is a quick overview about TRS, TRRRS, Pentaconn, Balanced and S-balanced headphone amp output. There are some things to be understood when it comes to the new wave of so called balanced outputs from headphone amps. I am not an expert in EE, therefore I provide some third party information which I found useful for understanding what’s going on. TRS and TRRRS: The three contact phone connector standard version called TRS is a Tip-Ring-Sleeve connector that arrives in 2 formats (stereo/mono) and three sizes 6.35, 3.5 and 2.5 mm. The five contact phone connector standard called TRRRS is based on the same concept, providing but was only brought into the ITU-T standard P.382 in 2017 for 2.5 and 3.5 mm phone connector 4.4mm Pentaconn: The Pentaconn technology was developed by NDICS (Nippon Digital Information Communication and Service") in 2015 under the Jeita standard 8141C (only in Japanese), marketed under the name Pentaconn (5-connector) and the website pentaconnglobal.com. Sony was an early adopter and is the most prominent manufacturer to date using this standard. Since last year IFI audio provides this adapter/socket technology as headphone & balanced analog output solution in their devices. With the latest devices the installation is used for balanced signal transmission to XLR connectors. As noted above both units offer a 4,4mm Pentaconn HP output socket, which is by definition only usable with a TRRRS connector. In my opinion, based on acquired knowledge and experience, I like truly symmetrical signal paths for stereo output and balanced line level connections for offering some solutions and a higher dynamic range. With the Pentaconn balanced output I may enjoy higher power output to my planar headphones which in my reception could make a distinction in perceived sound quality compared to SE / TRS based connection. With reference to the Benchmark-Paper by John Siau about “Balanced Headphone Amplifiers” I like to list 3 important findings: Headphone transducers are always balanced devices and agnostic to the way (SE vs. Balanced) current is delivered to them. Balanced line Level connections are a common solution in regard to ground loop and noise injection problems. Balanced outputs in HPA can deliver up to 4 times more power for a given power supply voltage . While this proves to be helpful in battery driven devices, it gives no advantage in AC powered devices. Here are some quotes that offer food for thought why a 4.4mm pentaconn connection might not be completely indispensable: “Fully balanced internal circuitry has been promoted as yielding 3 dB better dynamic range, though at increased cost over single-ended designs.” Wikipedia “A truly balanced and differential signal path from source to load requires double the circuitry and is thus more expensive to manufacture, but it can yield an audible improvement. This is sometimes referred to as ‘dual-mono’ to indicate that each channel is completely isolated from the other” Headphonesty “Most audio products (recording, public address, etc.) provide differential balanced inputs and outputs, typically via XLR or TRS phone connectors. However, in most cases, a differential balanced input signal is internally converted to a single-ended signal via transformer or electronic amplifier. After internal processing, the single-ended signal is converted back to a differential balanced signal and fed to an output. A small number of audio products have been designed with an entirely differential balanced signal path from input to output; the audio signal never unbalances. This design is achieved by providing identical (mirrored) internal signal paths for both the "non-inverting" and "inverting" audio signals. Wikipedia /Source: http://www.co-bw.com/Audio_balanced_cables_audio.htm We could think about the Pentaconn as a solution that is looking for a problem in real life, however it works as well as a solution for easy adaption between the smallish TRRRS output and balanced inputs for the signal path outside the headphone environment. The easy solution for your existing cable could have been an adapter from SE 3.5 or 6.3 connectors to 4.4 pentaconn. When starting the review period I've looked at five weeks delivery time for such an useful gadget and decided on ordering a complete balanced cable for my Planar headphones instead - which was expedited in 4 days. However, buying a 4.4mm Pentaconn aftermarket cable could rip some serious cash out of your pocket. I paid about 50$ for the aftermarket cable for my 150$ Hifiman HE-400i 2020, if you are in it for your Meze Empyrean, for example, you may need to shed more than 300$ for a suitable connection. iFi Audio provides for both devices the timeless 6.3 male to 3.5mm female adapter. For me this exactly feels like they have kind of lost that special touch that made them so unique 5 years ago. In my opinion, you may get a stronger push for Pentaconn if you’d include a suiting adapter for 3.5mm TRRS connectors. Only a percentile of customers may be able to use the strongest unique selling points of the devices straight from the start. Even the majority of balanced headphone cables can't, because in the past they were XLR, 2.5mm or 3.5mm .... Late in 2020 - during my research - I found not more than a handful of cans using 4.4mm connectors as standard connectors, given I didn't go to specialist places with low volume output. My short research in European search engines just before Christmas did only provide 5 recent headphones apart from Sony products featuring 4.4mm Pentaconn connector cabling. The 25 best headphones endorsements for 2021 for the British HiFi consumer provides just a single pair of Sony cans (2k GPB) with the specific 4.4mm connection. Obviously we are facing the early adopter problem and the solution may find its problem in the years to come. iFi Audio used the Pentaconn technology with two different designs, the fully balanced design for the Neo and the s-balanced design for the Sig. As noted above, the strongest argument for balanced design for headphones may be the surplus current available for demanding cans, which is not provided for the Signature’s configuration. Most unfortunate, my new adapter did only work with the Sig’s output, but refused to function 100% with the NEO iDSD'S Pentaconn port, which led me to use it only with the single ended 6.5 TRRS cable/output. The caveat I had to face has been the nominal power output, which is too low to drive the (now more affordable) planars from Hifiman in a satisfying manner. Even with the 1040 mA @32 Ohm aren't sufficient to let the cans sing to me. A short look on the s-balanced design: “No second amplifier is used, neither is extra signal nor noise, nor distortion added, perfect for sensitive IEMs. Further including the iEMatch technology extends compatibility with ultra-sensitive IEMs. A dedicated negative wire per channel all the way to each channel’s amplifier’s star-ground makes sure there is no crosstalk between the channels” (iFi Audio) With the iDSD Nano BL this design permitted the use of both TRS and TRRS connectors without compatibility issues. Using it for the Pentaconn output while having a dual mono output stage in the device seems to be that kind of mystery to me that manufactures won’t like to explain. Here’s an overview of technology deployed & the output specs for iFi’s headphone amps: Exhibit 3: Gibbs transient optimized This GTO is neither a Ferrari nor a Pontiac GTO („Gran Turismo Omologato") of digital filters but a development that had been in the pipeline of the AMR/iFi universe since 2011 when they were in research for optimized organic filter solutions for the AM-777. Actually its primary aim is to minimize pre-ringing and correct the timing in order for optimizing the transient response. The introduction of "GTO" was escorted by a "white paper" like 9-page-document available here in 2018 when the GTO filter arrived as an alternative with the iFi iDSD pro. iFi says the GTO is their first choice when only a single filter is in the race. That is the case for example with the Neo iDSD. For their XMOS based legacy products the filter is available since FW 5.30c and substitutes the minimal phase filter. These GTO filters are a collaborative development from IFI Audio / AMR with the MQA Labs. "We must make clear that GTO is not directly related to filter types used by MQA, it is not “MQA through the backdoor”, but instead what we feel is the optimum solution for the playback of digital audio that has not undergone the MQA process. " The Gibbs Transients Optimized (GTO) is a set of filters for analog output which has been critically reviewed by mansr at our forum in 2019. Nearly everything written there as subjective support to the objective data provided by the thread starter correlates with my personal experience. My previous and first experience with the GTO filters came with an exclusive setup in a listening booth in Paris 2019. I recall liking the apodizing filter most then, which was a surprising experience because it was the first and only time I can remember this type of filter being my preference, while I was disinclined with most of the others and especially with the GTO filter that was recommended by the IFI personal at the show. To understand why I was kind of put off from that experience, let me introduce the Paris high quality chain: Aurender A10 & IFI Audio iDSD PRO & PrimaLuna EVO 100 with MEZE EMPYREAN or Audeze LCD4. This may have been the most rewarding headphone system I have ever listened to. During this review, whether it was comparing the iDSD NEO with no filter selection available against the ALLO Revolution with minimum phase fast roll off FIR filter setting or the different firmware selections 5.20 vs. 5.30c for the Signature, the GTO never worked to my aural satisfaction. While my overall less enthusiastic impressions about the GTO filter endured, the Sig & Planar combination allowed better SQ than experienced with the NEO, however it was the Sig's (FW 5.20) "bit perfect" processing that remained my go to choice. The GTO compared to bit perfect sounded to me again more sterile (like the opposite of organic), flat, less lively and providing absence of anything I would call PRAT for the ones who use that definition to describe audio performance. Surely it is called “analytical”- thus unfortunately not transporting the emotional bits to my ears. In a car metaphor I would point out to Toyota Camry or Chevrolet Trax, cars so uninspiring that concentrating on the road traffic is very easy. Some folks may be happy with that, I'll pass on that GTO. Part 1 Part 3 Part 4 This is the 2nd part of the 2021 iFi review. I decided to add it today, when the first installment had reached more than 120 views in less than 24 hours and I felt that the interest seems to be right there . Thank you guys and gals. PS: If you wonder about the big blue layout for the signature, in the word document it was in a handwriting (Signature) type, but the blog layout didn't provide that extravaganza.
  2. I have re-read my 2021 review about these two iFi devices, which I wrote between December 20 and Mars 21, and found that the work is likely worth to be published, even it is seemingly kind of old news, as the Neo iDSD has already received a revamp. I will make a series of entries out of the material, starting today with Part 1 1. Review intro and overview 2. The Micro iDSD Signature - Great Expectations 3. NEO iDSD - HIGH HOPES 4. The red elephant & the art of product life cycle enhancement Great expectations, high hopes & the elephant in the room iFi Audio Micro iDSD Signature & NEO iDSD review In 2020 most informed readers may have noted that top shelf DAC performance can be had starting 500 quids and climbing up the ladder gives you usually a plethora of choice on desired features, like build quality, architecture & implementation of DAC chip(s) in use, display, Pre-Amp functionality or headphone amp (HPA) integration, while balanced output design nowadays starts south of the 200$ coastline. If a company like IFI Audio, which had brought us in 2020 already affordable & powerful devices like the ZEN series with balanced design and a HPA output of 1150mW per channel @32 Ohm below this magic price point, announces their first upgrade to the celebrated portable series Micro iDSD since 2017with the Micro iDSD Signature, these exciting news are welcomed with great expectations. The new designed DAC/PREAMP/HPAMP device iDSD NEO with balanced analog design & output - announced just 4 weeks later - likewise is greeted with high hopes. Since December 2020 I have had both DAC / headphone amps on loan from IFI Audio/UK. The NEO iDSD is a desktop amp, best used close to your audio source in your main system or in your workstation environment. The Micro iDSD Signature, a more mobile device tagged portable by IFI, is a battery driven DAC and HPA powerhouse that allows you to drive even demanding headphones with ease. Both devices play in the 500-1000$ segment of combined DAC/HPA devices, with prices of 699$ for the Neo and 649$ for the Signature respectively at the time of writing. This review aims to have a close look at both devices, the deployed technology and attempts to classify them within the portfolio of IFI devices under 1000$. The review is not looking to compare overly the devices against each other thus to underline the distinct characteristics of each. In order to get familiar with some IFI specifics we make some excursions into history, portfolio, new & advanced technologies and the importance of firmware. Manufacturer’s description The Signature is a mobile DAC and headphone amplifier and the direct successor of the accomplished micro iDSD Black Label which was reviewed at CA/AS in 2017 here & here. ifi Audio says about the device: “The micro iDSD Signature is a micro iDSD BL, but internally streamlined and optimized, and externally equipped with several QOL (quality of life) improvements to be more user-friendly ... (it) features a Pentaconn 4.4mm headphone out, larger LEDs and a sleeker volume knob. Its internal circuitry is optimized and is more direct. (It) ... is better than micro iDSD Black Label in terms of functionality and ease of use.” The NEO iDSD is a home audio device for desktop or full system use featuring technology from different iFi devices, a new type of enclosure and a balanced design for headphones and analog output. iFi offers this description: “The NEO iDSD is our new desktop DAC/amp with bleeding-edge tech. Put simply, it is the first 3-in-one system at this price range to combine the following: 1. Hi-Res USB and S/PDIF DAC – PCM768/DSD512. Full MQA decoding. 2. Hi-Res Bluetooth DAC – 96kHz Hi-Res Bluetooth: LDAC, HWA/LHDC, aptx Adaptive/HD/LL, AAC 3. True Balanced circuit and headphone amp.” The attached table includes the available information of both devices taken from the manual and ifi Audio’s website. I put them into relation with the Micro iDSD BL which offers DAC, battery driven headphone power plus preamp functionality. The differences in features are indicated in red. Both devices share the Pentaconn 4.4 mm balanced output technology, although two different balanced designs are in play for each of the devices: "S-balanced" for the Signature and "pure wave" for the NEO. I found it useful to dig a bit deeper into specifics provided with Exhibit 2. Exhibit 1: Who is iFi-Audio “iFi audio believes that innovative high-end audio should be available to everyone, everywhere, so iFi uses the latest technology, materials and consumer feedback to provide an audiophile quality listening experience at an affordable price.” (LinkedIn) iFi Audio was launched in 2012 as the sister branch of AMR (Abbingdon Music Research), a British high end HiFi manufacturer, most famous for their innovative AM-777 designs, circa 2008. After a grace period during which iFi Audio blossomed into one of the most lauded and applauded manufacturers for portable & affordable HiFi equipment and accessories. The dormant AMR brand was revived in 2019. Trusting the Wikipedia information, AMR and iFi are subsidiaries of Abbingdon Global Limited, which is directed and owned by iFi's Sales director Vincent Luk(e). Depending on which iFi product you own, you may have spotted the information for this product: “Technology licensed from AMR-Audio, UK Assembled in China”. Vincent Luke has explained roughly the design/manufacturing process - in 2018 to 6 Moons and in March 2020 to stereonet.au - as an internationally divided organisation between their home surf at Southport, UK, their manufacturing/assembly site in China, including their design team in France/China and component supply worldwide. While there may have been supply disruption by Covidian inertia, iFi Audio has bounced back strongly with major product overhauls and new product announcements nearly every two month since last summer holidays ended. The end of 2020 saw Abbingdon Global establishing a subsidiary at the European mainland in France, where according to the articles mentioned above the new industrial design has its origins with the Studio Cocktail design company, which is officially located in the buzzing Dongguan region in China. ifi's product design has won them several awards in the last decade, from the multiple EISA’s to the famous “adesign” award in Italy. And we haven't started talking about the 5* reviews and accolades in the Audio trade press. In a nutshell, the iFi products - as we know them - are outstanding in design and technology, value for the money that often comes with the enthusiast's pleasure of selecting personal adjustments for the greatest audiophile enjoyment. The mobile audio branch has provided a steady stream of devices, enhancers, applications and even strictly @home devices like the Pro series or the wonderfully designed AURORA all-in-one music system to their customers. Having had DAC technology and headphone amplification as focal points for most of their gear in the beginnings, iFi Audio have introduced as well new product lines that may help their valued clients to overcome perceived quality issues with existing audio gear, power supplies and cabling. While most of us would think a company under influence from engineers like Thorsten Loesch and John Curl would be dominated by engineering, we have noticed over time that their marketing drive is quite remarkable, too. iFi audio has - for example - proved to be a vivid member of important audio forums throughout the last years, organizing product tours and crowd design calls . Being a company that is in full support of MQA technology’s “full ‘three unfold’ decoding process”, iFi/AMR - in 2019 - consequently have left our forums where they were highly entertaining for a couple of years (in my personal opinion). During the last two years of their sponsored forum presence here, they have faced many challenges from AS members that have left for more "objective" forums. iFi Audio's audio forum activity naturally went in the opposite direction. Since the last Munich High End in May 2019 Ifi has launched the Aurora wireless music system, some ZEN devices & the HIP DAC and overlooked the re-launch of the flagship iDSD pro 2020 4.4mm version. Then, they went into overdrive. Since the last quarter of 2020 the product pipeline didn't stop: We saw the launch of the iDSD Signature in October, a minor upgrade version of the beloved iDSD Black label and the new kid in town, the NEO iDSD, just 14 days later. 2021 has started with the iDSD DIABLO on Jan.15th plus a Signature edition of the ZEN series has been announced in February. It is a challenge to stay up-to-date with this pace because some devices are pure DACs or pure HPAs, although most of them are both. In case you find it sometimes difficult to digest the difference between these products I have prepared this overview for iFi DAC & HPA under 1000$, dated 31st January 2021. The Aurora and PRO devices are beyond the 3 digits $$$ edge, Zen & Hip below 200 and Micro iDSD are usually located above 600$.For the market space in-between the Nano iDSD and xCan/xDSD are IFI’s choice. It’s not an untamed jungle to cross although we face a serious variety of gear with different skill sets in accordance to the respective price bracket. You might be not completely on the wrong side of engineering if you think that the iFi toolbox & portfolio strategy looks like a smaller version of the Volkswagen Group modular matrix system for cross-engineering platforms & products. I.e. the iDSD pro uses a 4 x Burr Brown DAC interleaved installation, while the iDSD Micro has a double-mono set up of the DSD1793 and the NEO iDSD performs through a single BB chip, as does the XDSD. A look at mainstream* retail - main street sounds a bit flawed in these pandemic times - sites in France and the US revealed iFi Audio's marketing has made an excellent job to place these two devices in the bracket between 500 and 1000 $/€, because the fierce competition is either above or below, and nearly no other competitor can offer the range of skills & features like IFI does. Obviously some Chi-Fi devices are waiting in the shadows and I would see at the upper end the Matrix mini and the Mytek Liberty may be competing with a 30% markup to the Neo iDSD, while around the 700$/€ price point you may find brand-conscious devices from Shure or McIntosh that can’t stress the micro iDSD Signature on technical terms. *mainstream audio shops: Audiophonics, SonAudio, Bestbuy, Crutchfield, Audioadvisor, one thing in common, they have at least one of the devices under review on offer Executing a reality check where IFI Audio as a company stands in the audiophile DAC/HPA department, I had a look into the recent Headfonia poll featuring that precise market segment, which creates a pretty good impression about iFi’s strategy and success: From 69 DAC/HPA devices enlisted, 7 were from Chord (incl. DAVE, TT, TT1, Hugo1 / MScaler and Hugo2 / MScaler which imho are in a different universe, pricewise), equally 3 devices were presented by FIIO and SCHIIT respectively, while 6 devices in that list are manufactured by iFi Audio, although we miss out on the NEO iDSD here. Including the NEO and discounting the iDSD PRO from that list makes IFI Audio probably the “market leader” in the segment for devices between 100$ and 1000$,. With half of the units below 500$ - in my opinion - a real competition with CHORD is visibly not on the cards. In the aftermath of 2020 year’s end BREXIT, IFI Audio as a British manufacturer faces some new hills to climb regarding supply, shipping and service on European Mainland and elsewhere applying to new rules and procedures. It is fair to assume that the incommodities will sum up at a certain point into rising prices, which in turn means in order to support your favorite manufacturer: BUY NOW, prices may not drop further ... ( ... sorry that was March 21 ) Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 I did not check if all the links are still valid, sorry if one or the other doesn't work anymore. Especially the iFi website has overhauls regularly, that's why I will follow up with some of their documents I have either on PDF or as saved graphics. Last year, shortly after I finished my work on this review, when the slow dying of my Mum began and changed my perception of important things for the time I accompanied her and her estate. I did not follow up an Audio things back then, and when I came back from Germany in July ‘21 I had to fight many other demons rather than to concentrate on writing or publishing any review. With my mind slowly opening up again for my audio hobby I am starting to participate with refreshed energy in the forums and diving in my freelance hobby, which is represented in this blog and by being a contributor to the AS front page (Thanks, Chris!).
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