ifi Audio USB Gear just arrived from Avatar Acoustics

Eagerly waiting, breath bated.

Elk said Eagerly waiting, breath bated.
Elk. Sending back. If anything all that stuff reduced SQ. Very disappointed. Money would be better spent on upgraded USB cable - IMO.

A word or 2 regarding support: 1) Avatar Acoustics support is iffy (no pun) at best; 2) ifi Audio support is excellent - however, keep in mind that they are located in the UK.

[Here are the snaps that I must have deleted from the OP by mistake.]

Shiloh the Golden Retreiver said

If anything all that stuff reduced SQ. Very disappointed.

I fully agree with you.

See my post (post #45) in the thread “List of USB cables that work with DS”, where I first read about the Purifier (wish I hadn’t).


But now we know. :)

Well they certainly look pretty! :slight_smile:

I use the iFi power in my system with the Light Harmonic cable and it made a positive difference. The iFi purifier for some reason will not feed the music signal do the DSD so I could not evaluate it. There must be a mismatch between the cable and the purifier. I have to ask Shiloh the Golden Retriever if you evaluated each piece separately and if you gave them sufficient time to break in as you were adding 3 new pieces to your system which is a lot of changes at one time. I am not being critical but you want to be fair to the manufacturer because there are other people on this forum who might be interested in the iFi gear. A brief explanation as to how you broke in the gear ,how you evaluated it for example each piece separately or just together and how much time did you spend evaluating it would be invaluable to others .

Whether reading an equipment review by a professional reviewer or a write up by one of your fellow audiophiles one should at best use these opinions carefully. Just because something sounds great in my tube based system it might suck in your solid state system. Remember what you are reading is an opinion. I have tried a lot of cables over the years and on several occasions I tried one that one or more reviewers raved about and they just didn’t cut it in my system. I have also tried cables or gear that reviewers had words of caution on or outright dismissed but they worked well in my system. For example, TAS says of my speakers Martin Logan Summits that you need solid state amps to properly drive them. My Cary 211 AE amps will easily drive them to sound pressure levels that are louder then I am comfortable listening at. Essentially what I am saying is trust your ears when evaluating equipment and give anything new proper time to break in like what we have found with the DS DAC.

I wish I never started this thread. Of course I am only writing to my own experiences with the ifi Audio gear. Who else’s experience would I be addressing?

In theory I like the idea of separating out the noisy power wires from the USB feed and only rejoing them at the last minute. It just did not work well in my system.

I will try the Schiit system next week. We use their headphone amps at the audio shows and they are exceptional. Plus, I like the company name and the zanies who are the Schiit.

Makes perfect sense to me. On all counts.

Let us know what you think of the Schiit.

Excellent results from the Schitt Decrapper (gotta love that name). The madman at Schitt are famous (infamous?) for their no bull-Schiit approach to audio.

Results of Schiit as compared to the iffi 3-part system (also 3x more expensive):

The ifi Audio system is a high quality, sexy USB filtering outfit. The results on two streaming systems were a very tube-like SQ. We felt that there was an overall softening (rounding?) of SQ as compared to the crisp, accurate sound emerging from the DirectStream alone. We greatly preferred the DirectStream as a stand-alone USB streamer. However, as the reviewer on AudioStream commented, the more noisy your USB stream is, the more benefit you will achieve using the ifi Audio system. I would recommend you start with the affordable iPurifier. Should you like that sound using the $99.00 iPurifier, then you can move up the chain by adding the iUSB Power Supply and the excellent quality Gemini cable. As I wrote, we felt some of the great benefits of the DirectStream were lost IN OUR SYSTEM using the ifi Audio 3-piece outfit.

The Schiit Decrapper is another matter. We heard instant benefits using the Decrapper USB filter. The Decrapper is “only” $99.00 and served to enhance the accuracy & crisp quality we relish from the DirectStream (300+ hours break-in). We do not want to lose that “magic” sound produced from the DS. In simplest terms: The Schiit Decrapper did not get in the way of the DS sound.

In sum: In our system (see below for components) I would recommend the Schiit Decrapper and use the savings over the ifi Audio 3-piece outfit to purchase the best quality USB Cable you decide to afford.

One final note: I cannot over-stress the benefits from short USB runs using highest quality USB cable. The shorter the USB run the less interaction between the power & data wires.

Some people suggest not using a USB cable shorter than 1 meter. Has anyone compared, say, 0.5m and 1m cables of the same type? (I’m using a 0.5m Kimber silver cable but don’t have a 1m to compare it to).

stevem2 said Some people suggest not using a USB cable shorter than 1 meter. Has anyone compared, say, 0.5m and 1m cables of the same type? (I'm using a 0.5m Kimber silver cable but don't have a 1m to compare it to).
I believe you are referring to the phenomenon of "bounce-back." It is also applied to short analog cable runs. Although it has been written about the question is bounce-back a real issue?

When I was building cables for one manufacturer, they believed the shortest (and ideal length) was RMS which is 0.777M when applied to cables. Is this theory true? Who knows? Just as Cardas holds forth with the Golden Ratio it depends if you can hear it or not. Cardas does make some pretty damn good cable however.

I have read the not less than 1m comments too, but I don’t remember reading any direct comparisons of the same cable in <1m and >1m lengths. I don’t know if this comes from experience or some transmission line theory or just somebody’s voodoo wild assed guess…


Same here.

The 1m rule is based on entirely different arguments for a power cord, an analog interconnect and a digital interconnect. I don’t buy it for most normal analog connections and I use what ever length suits me. If a power cord is a filter then you want longer lengths, if a power cord is a low impedance connector you may want shorter lengths.

Usually the 1m rule is applied to digital interconnects. Since you can’t properly terminate a single ended S/PDIF connection that uses an RCA connector and nothing is ever ideal anyway there will always be a certain amount of interference from the reflected wave fronts (constructive or destructive) with a digital signal. When a cable is too short there can be a horrible mess (but then again even shorter and it doesn’t matter again :slight_smile: But these lengths depend on the speed of propagation in the cables as well as specifics of the design of the transmitter and the receiver. I test with short runs (1/2 meter) of digital cables just as a sanity check.

I have seen 1.5 meter as the recommended length. This is from Steve Nugent of Empirical Audio and Michael Ritter, founder Pacific Microsonics and Berkeley Audio Design.

See, e.g., click