iFi iPower "audiophile" wall-wart


#1

I notice that iFi has finally delivered their iPower universal audiophile wall-wart in the 12v version. I just ordered one from MusicDirect.

I’ve got a Roku 2 in my system for TV, and will be curious to see if this makes a noticeable difference there. If nothing else, perhaps it will put less noise on the power line than the cheapie that Roku supplies.

I’ve also got a Roku 4 on the way, ordered mainly because it has optical audio out separate from the HDMI, so I can eliminate my HDMI/optical-audio splitter and its wall-wart.

With luck, the combination of these two changes have potential to reduce the amount of powerline noise that both the DSD and the Roku see.


#2

Please let us know what you find when you get the PS.

I have heard for myself the difference that a linear PS can make, and I like components that deliver good value without the sometimes-ridiculous audiophile prices. So I went to Music Direct and checked out this little iFi. I noticed immediately that it is claimed to be “20 times quieter than conventional audiophile linear power supplies.” That’s enough of a claim to make me suspicious, and I would like to know how they got that figure. The specs on the MD page say that the iFi has 1 microvolt of ‘noise.’ My HDPlex PS has, according to the manufacturer’s web site, 2 microvolts of ripple noise (3 on the 19v output). Not exactly 20 times noisier than the iFi.

Again, I have nothing against the iFi unit and hope it works well. A lower-price LPS that does the job would be a good thing for those who don’t want to invest in more expensive units. But claims like this push my buttons.


#3

It’s a switcher, but they filter the heck out of the output. I have no problem with this approach and am considering one to try with the LH Labs Pulse X∞ DAC which I hope to finally receive in a few weeks.

J.P.


#4

Received the 12v version from MD today - it’s finally in stock a year or so after announcement.

(Revised after use)

I’m using it for a Roku4 (optical output) and I must say I’m not impressed for $50. Streaming music or TV is not appreciably improved. Any sonic improvement is on the order of a Jitterbug, i.e. not much.

The Roku 4 wall-wart is rated 2a @ 12v, while the iPower is only rated 1.1a @12v. However, the Specs on the Roku site say “Power Consumption 12.4W (typical) when streaming 4K UHD video”, and that’s 1.03a, so I’m not worried about it. However, I will check it with a pyrometer to verify the operating temps.

Assuming that it doesn’t overheat driving the Roku 4, it’s a keeper for $50, but don’t expect much.


#5

Certainly impressive for the money.

Thanks for following up with a performance report!


#6

It’s certainly an improvement over the $4 wall-wart that came with the Roku.

P.S. - It runs barely warm while watching TV.


#7

Looks iffy,

Can you open it up take some pics?

Might just be a stock chinese switching supply with 10 caps soldered across +/-


#8

iFi has a good reputation for quality audio equipment, I seriously doubt that they would risk their reputation by putting out a piece of crap. My impression is that this is a custom design SPS with heavy (probably multi stage) filtering. There is still some art to SPS design, but these days designing a good switcher is no great challenge. This power supply is inexpensive, but not ‘cheap’. I don’t see any great risk in acquiring one and would guess that you could sell it on for a very modest loss should it not suit your needs or preferences.

J.P.


#9

cool cool, as long as you guys know the company!


#10

“Looks iffy”

Pun?4_gif


#11

Well, that lasted a couple of months, and then it died. Since I couldn’t tell any difference in sound between it and the wall-wart that came with the Roku, I’m not too concerned…


#12

[quotes removed]

I’m confused. Did it improve the sound quality or not?


#13
EldRick said Well, that lasted a couple of months, and then it died.
The iFi products have a one year warranty, so you should be able to get a replacement.

#14
fritzg said [quotes removed]

I’m confused. Did it improve the sound quality or not?

Not enough that I noticed when I went back to the stock wall-wart. I use the Roku 4 for TV, so I'm not sure I'd hear a difference.

I’m not greatly concerned, as the design requires using a DC tip adapter for normal 12v power, and the supplied adapters make such a poor connection that it has got to be generating beaucoup noise. If I bother getting it replaced, I’ll solder a polarity-correct connector on it instead.


#15

After unsatisfactory discussions with iFi (“you should return it to your retailer”) I said the devil with it, so I gave it a few hard whacks with a two-pound hammer to see what was inside. Unfortunately the case is sturdy welded ABS, so I couldn’t crack it, and I didn’t feel like using a saw.


#16

To their credit, iFi pursued this with Roku (to verify compatibility): “…I called Roku, the iPower 12VDC should be plenty of power for your Roku and should provide a substantial improvement in both video and audio performance.

They also worked with Music Direct to verify the warrantee status. They are sending return shipping for the failed unit, and will replace it when back in stock. I’m impressed with their customer service.

When I get the replacement, I will solder on a tip to replace their loose-fitting tip adapters, and try again to hear/see a difference from it.


#17

Good to hear that you are getting a replacement. I am still curious as to how good this power supply might be and also if yours just happened to be defective or if the replacement will have little effect and die young too. Even if it is only a modest improvement over the typical wall wart it may be worth considering as the price is fairly modest.

J.P.


#18

“…I called Roku, the iPower 12VDC should be plenty of power for your Roku and should provide a substantial improvement in both video and audio performance.”

Well, this statement by the iFi tech apparently proves to be incorrect. The Roku4 I am using draws 1.05A max, which is slightly above the rated output of the iFi wall-wart, so the PSU was running at its max-rated output at least part of the time, and eventually fried itself. The OEM Roku PSU is rated 2A, although it is quite small.

Music Direct issued me a refund for the iFi.


#19

Update:

I few months ago, I ordered a second iPower unit. Interestingly, it is no longer labeled as 2 amps @12v like the first one, but has been derated to 1.8a on the sticker.

I used it to power a Netgear Ethernet switch, which is supplied with a 1a-rated wall-wart.

This iPower unit crapped out too, after about 4 months use. It failed a couple of times while in use, and finally stopped providing 12v at all.

NOT Recommended at any price, as the quality of these things is apparently garbage.


#20

That’s too bad. I liked the idea of a low cost ultra low noise power supply, even if it is a switcher. I thought that iFi was better than this.

J.P.