Let me start off by saying thank you to Pez and Co. for the audition of the iTube 2.
Here is my take after mucho listening.
I think iFi makes cool well engineered products. These actual user reviews are more important to me
than the Pro reviews for obvious reasons we all know about. There are so many different systems out there and add in our tastes you have hundreds of configurations. The iTube2 is a “Swiss army knife” of customization a good way to put it. Much fun listening to the changes. I like to look at it as…. It’s not a fixer but a flavor changer. I have no problem with the form factor. Classy, small well made as is the iPhono2.
Dedicated Room 11 X14 here, Nothing fancy all reasonable priced just well chosen components that work great together. My way of thinking I like to keep things straight up simple. Primary listening is CD and Vinyl. I don’t have Computer files so nothing is Ripped. Computer is used strictly for Streaming and new music selections.
Everything I’m about to report on has to do with flavor and not really improvements in my system. I very much like the way the system sounds as is and as far as improvements I would have to throw a bunch of money at it which I’m not about or need to do. I like iFI products for their excellent cost to value ratio.
System: Picts in Gallery
Usher Cp6371 > 91db/4 ohms
RedGum RGi120 ENR 275W/ch at 4 ohms, It’s a monster! Pathos Classic One MKII not used in audution
Schiit Yggdrasil DAC, Itona Industrial version, with a Curious link for streaming to the DAC. From HP Envy i7 12 gig, Samsung 850EVO 512 SSD HD, Win10
Cambridge CXC Transport
Clearaudio Emotion SE, CMB, Carbon Satisfy Tonearm, Phoenix Falcon Power Supply
Phono, iFi Phono 2 , S Booster LPS
AT 33 PTG II
Everything Wywires, or WE16ga SC or Belden 8402 IC.
BrickWall Line Filter AUD15
50# Granite, and a 27# 3" Maple Butcher block, various Herbie's offerings MG Room Tunes
Some folks like to see our listening lineup.
Diana Krall> Greatest Hits, Wallflower
Dire Straits> Brothers in Arms
Donald Fagen> The Night Fly
Dave Brubeck>Time Out
Fleetwood Mac> Tango in the Night, Rumors
Norah Jones> Little Broken Hearts
Grover Washington Jr> Winelight
Steely Dan> Greatest hits
Read the instructions! Use a round toothpick to change the dip’s and turn off as advised when doing so.
Runs warm as expected. A Tube start up warmup LED feature, very nice! I left it on and had no problem.
Comments on using the iTube2 Using the iFI Phono2 with the S Booster LPS is the star here. Another reviewer did not like the iTube using his phono he was using. Adding a LPS was mentioned in the review referenced by Pez over on the AGone Board. It was mentioned in detail with the iTube 2 and the iPhono2 combo with sound approaching the fat AMR phono in the area of $6k. Adding the LPS increased the goodness factor by 2X.
All was auditioned with the iPhono2 and the iTube2 using Buffer settings 0 gain. Very much liked the SET setting at times but settled on the middle Tube classic setting best . I could not test it as a stand alone Pre. When using the Pre settings seemed to be a bit veiled and fuzzy and I sure don’t need the gain. So the buffer settings with gain were not used but tried. The sound stage 3D setting I did not care for here, as instructed used for nearfield smaller desktop setups. Some things came across as too much of a good thing in the 3D high setting.
The +6db base vs bass enhancement off depending on the music . Seemed a bit bloated on some albums/songs more than others. Your system will be different. Just the S Booster LPS changes things to an increased very relaxed , separation and tone that sounds live. So the iTube 2 here is a flavor changer to your own taste. You will be flipping stuff on all your selections.
Pieces of a Dream> All In
Gerald Albright> Slam Dunk
Berk and The Virtual Band> Jazz Chill 1,2,3
Michael Lington> Soul Appeal
Jessy J> Hot Sauce
Jim Peteriik> Life Force
Paul Brown> Truth Be Told
Fat Burger> TGIF
Streaming Spotify only, No Tidal, won’t give them the $$ but that’s me.
Using the Yggdrasil DAC I’m not about to change much on this excellent DAC. I bought it because of the way it is voiced and upgrade ability. So here we go with flavor changes and the iTube was used that way. Pretty much mirrors the above Vinyl use settings which thinking about it has more to do with the voicing of the Redgum which is a passive pre Integrated. The Redgum sound is huge and has realistic size and slam. It has startling realistic dynamic swings when called for. Ya gotta watch the volume. Prodigious tight real bass, naturally presented, no bloat in my room on my speakers. No need for sub here.
Again,the iTube 2 I used as a tube buffer, no gain. A little difficult changing the DIP switches for quick flips as the caution states having to shut it down when making these changes.
Listened mostly to the Tube buffer 0 Gain, Studio Setting, but the SET setting was nice again too. For some reason on Vinyl and Digital didn’t care for the PP setting, seemed to be messing with the midrange separation too much.
The Yiggy has a special bass so I didn’t like the X bass settings. This takes a lot of listening with all these settings to play with.
I won’t go into too much more detail because ya just gotta try it.
A remarkable engineered product to make these changes. You need to leave ithe iTube 2 out in the open because you are going to mess with it!! Maybe too much?
Lots of Products with more coming on and a bit hard to keep track of.
Good show AMR/iFi !!
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