Review: iFi Audio Groundhog Jan10

Review: iFi Audio Groundhog

Ground Gate If you’ve been playing this game as long as I have, then you’ve probably been buzzed at least once in your life – and I’m not talking about alcoholic euphoria either [Well, I’m out. -Dave]. No sir, I’m talking about that audible buzz you get the first time you plug some new component into your system. Very recently, I got my “buzz” on when Audeze sent me a pair of LCD-i4’s for review. Here’s what happened: after unpacking these beauties from their unmarked box, I hastily hooked them onto my ears, checked to make sure the Pro iCAN was set to low gain, and then turned...

Review: iFi Audio Nano iGalvanic3.0 Dec08

Review: iFi Audio Nano iGalvanic3.0

Introduction My Daphile based, DIY music server continues to be weapon of choice when it comes to digital audio playback.. While I feel that it’s very competitive with some pretty pricey dedicated servers, there are some limitations due to the fact that it’s based on ordinary PC hardware as opposed to hardware specifically built for audio, particularly USB audio. The folks at iFi are certainly no strangers to USB and its problems – they’ve been hammering away at them for years, and with the subject of today’s review, I believe they’ve made a significant breakthrough. Before I get to that though, let’s talk a bit about why USB audio...

Review: iFi Audio’s Pro iCAN Headphone Amplifier Feb09

Review: iFi Audio’s Pro iCAN Headphone Amplifier

Introduction As I sure many of you are already acutely aware of, we’re big fans of iFi Audio. You see unlike a lot of vendors who treat their circuit designs as if they were highly classified secrets, iFi is very open and honest about all of their products. In fact, iFi is one of the few companies I know of that even freely shares high-resolution pictures of every circuit board they fabricate. Couple that with the fact that these Brits are very community focused, vetting feature and collecting feedback constantly, makes iFi, at least to our ears, one of the defacto leaders in the low- to mid-tier marketplace. So when iFi announced...

Review: iFi Audio USB iPurifier2 and DC iPurifier Dec26

Review: iFi Audio USB iPurifier2 and DC iPurifier

Introduction At the very tail end of my review of Sonore’s microRendu, I talked about testing two of iFi Audio’s iPurifier products with my own DIY music server. In this review I’m going to go into a lot more detail about exactly what they do and how they do it, but before I get to all of that, I want to talk about the two major traditional digital audio connection formats: AES/EBU, and the Sony/Philips Digital Interface, more commonly referred to as “S/PDIF.” Professional studios often need very long cables, and for that type of environment, the 110 Ohm, balanced AES/EBU format was created to connect digital devices without the worry of...

Know Your Phono Jun02

Know Your Phono

iFi Audio has really been on a tear lately with new product introductions, and with updated variants of the company’s DACs, headphone amplifiers, and USB power source now available, it was time for their popular iPhono phono preamp to go under the knife. Low cost phono preamps are typically either MM only with fixed 47K Ohm impedance and ~40dB of gain, or selectable between MM and MC with a ~100 Ohm impedance option for moving coils, and 60dB of gain intended to provide a compromise between low and high output MC carts. Spend a few hundred more, and you’ll likely get a few gain options between 40-60dB, and a couple of choices for MC...

iFi iUSB Round Two Sep21

iFi iUSB Round Two

The folks at iFi Audio have been on quite a tear lately with multiple new product launches. Hot on the heels of their latest DAC, the iDAC2, comes a completely revamped version of their original iUSB, now simply called the iUSB3.0. The original iUSB was not only one of iFi’s first products, but also one of the first products of its kind. Users of USB converters and DACs, particularly those completely powered by the USB bus itself, quickly began to realize that the quality of the power coming from the USB ports on typical computers isn’t very good. It normally doesn’t need to be – as long as the port is conforming to spec, thumb...

iFi Audio micro iDSD Aug17

iFi Audio micro iDSD

 Introduction Does anyone remember what portable, audiophile-grade playback used to look like? I certainly do. I remember going to Head-Fi meets and being in just awe of all the insane amount of paraphernalia attendees would carry around just to play their favorite set of digital bits. Take for instance the Headroom Micro line. Consisting of both a standalone DAC and headphone amp, the Micro line was originally conceived to conquer the low to mid-tier desktop market. But because it packed a lot of performance per square inch, many audiophiles opted to go with it instead of Headroom’s own dedicated portable line, the Airhead, as their go to...