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iFi Audio nano iDSD LE

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Frederik S, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Frederik S Staff

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    iFi Audio's nano iDSD LE is a little DAC/amp with big ambitions. It packs all the knowledge from the bigger DAC/amps in iFi's huge portofolio of products into a small package. Despite being small, it still features RCA line-outs, a very respectable headphone amplification circuit, and a 1000 mAh battery.

    To read this review go to: https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/iFi_Audio/Nano_iDSD_LE/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
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  2. pat-roner

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    Cool to see some iFi Audio gear reviewed. Have the Micro iDSD myself, and it's just a really great device. Wish more people would give them a look and chance.
     
  3. crow1001

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    Today's mobo audio does just a good a job.
     
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  4. JackDarx New Member

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    Not good enough.
     
  5. TheLostSwede

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    It's not an "odd plug" it's a USB 3.0 type B connector and perfectly standard.
    Is it a good connector design? Maybe not, but it's backwards compatible.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. NRANM New Member

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    True, for headphones on-board audio is not as good as a dedicated amplifier, but for speakers it is indeed 99% sufficient.
     
  7. CounterSpell

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    so.... i have a asrock z77-pro3 mb.
    I use a creative xtreme gamer soundcard, connected to my 5.1 HT via spdif to hear music.
    also, i use a plantronics headset to play games.


    Now i wonder:

    will i have any benefit from this AMP?

    i mean, mb sound i think its crappy from my ears.

    But will i have any sort of benefit with this?

    thanks in advance.
     
  8. apertotes

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    If both RCA and headphones outputs are being used, which one gets the sound?
     
  9. Frederik S Staff

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    How many other audio companies have adopted it?
    It is a strange/odd choice for anything marketed as portable, as it is huge.
     
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  10. Frederik S Staff

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    For cheap active speakers most on-board sound cards are good enough. Anything more serious than that you should consider upgrading. Even on cheap headphones you can hear the difference compared to on-board as the noise floor is lower and the dynamics are better, plus for efficient headphones you get better volume control.

    Most on-board solutions suffer from high output impedance which makes them sound strange with low to medium impedance headphones. Noise floor is usually a lot higher as well which detracts a lot from the listening experience.
     
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  11. sifu

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    agreed, asus employs ESS sabre DAC's into their ROG boards, ESS Sabre chips are top of the hill currently but with that being said i've never heard their implementation using it.
     
  12. NRANM New Member

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    I would go ahead and say that on-board audio is sufficient for virtually any active/multimedia speaker system, even expensive ones.
    For headphones I can agree that on-board solutions are not as good but it's due to the amp section, not the DAC, so even just an amplifier (not a DAC/amp combo) would suffice.

    Also, this "review" is laughable. Not a single word on the components used for the circuitry (USB receiver, DAC, op-amp, buffer, etc.), no graphs or measurements are provided. The entire "review" boils down to "I personally liked how the device sounded, you should buy it".
     
  13. Frederik S Staff

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    So you would know how it sounded just by looking at the components? Components play a much smaller part of the end performance than people think, you can have a look at NwAvGuy's O2 and ODAC documentation.

    If we had the capability to measure like NwAvGuy then it would make sense to provide measurements, but doing silly RMAA graphs like you see on most audio reviews just confuse people. And then there is still the problem of how well the objective measurements compared with the subjective listening experience.

    The review is based on comparison with another capable albeit slightly more expensive unit which is well reviewed all around.
     
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  14. NRANM New Member

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    If two devices are designed properly they will sound identical or with insignificant differences. After all, we are talking about transistors, not tubes.
    Knowing what components are used in a device can be a sign or lack of competence. As NwAvGuy has said it himself, some components are simply not designed for audio and using them in an audio device is sub-optimal.

    If components play a small part in the performance of the device, then what plays the larger part? The metal casing? The cable? The color of the pcb?
    And if components are so unimportant, then why do various manufacturers can't stop bragging what supposedly high-end chips they've used in their latest DAC and/or Amp?

    Just because you do not have the same equipment as NwAvGuy doesn't mean you shouldn't perform any measurements. Less accurate measurements are still better than no measurements. This and the "it confuses people" sound like very lazy excuses to not do proper reviews.

    How about graphics card reviews not mention any benchmark FPS numbers, temperatures or fan noise information.
    Reviewer would just say: "Well, the card looks nice, I couldn't hear it in my case so it must be very quiet, it wasn't too hot to the touch so I guess it's not overheating, and games played fine. Oh, and I could swear that the colors with this card are more rich and alive than the other card because it is more powerful and expensive."
    There, short and sweet.
     
  15. TheLostSwede

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    That's not what you wrote though, you just said it was an "odd plug". If you said it was an odd choice of connector, I would've agreed with you.
     
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  16. Frederik S Staff

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    Quality components are nothing without proper integration, same the other way around.

    Problem is we have no way of judging it based on photos whether the components are selected correctly as you would have to have know everything about the circuit design and goals. If you see the test methodology and amount of component combinations tested on some of the proper open-source designs, there is no way to add anything except stating what is inside. The reason why companies brag about chips is because the chips are cheaper than proper engineering. Which is why the O2 can sound nice without boutique op-amps, caps, and wires.

    Take the O2 and swap the op-amps to the most expensive on the market and it performs subjectively worse while measuring almost the same even when you have the proper test gear. Doing RMAA between two units of similar quality does not reveal anything except for the measurement variance.

    I would like to do proper measurements, but currently it is out of budget.
     
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  17. NRANM New Member

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    Actually we can judge whether components are selected correctly. Some components are objectively worse than others, some are way overpriced for what they offer, etc. We can get an idea if the manufacturer is trying to produce something decent or if (for example) the goal is to put some rather expensive components that would impress audiophiles without having any practical benefit.

    Subjective is the key word here. Without proper measurements and technical information everything in this review is subjective. That's not how science and electronics articles and reviews work.

    This is basically a glorified press release.
     

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