Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review

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mtruong34

Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #20 on: 23 Jan 2017, 03:45 am »
Thanks for the feedback Zero. I think OzarkTom used an aftermarket power supply with the iTube1, correct? Eagerly awaiting his review. Thanks in advance.

jk@home

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Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #21 on: 23 Jan 2017, 12:15 pm »
I'm surprised no one mentioned using the iFi iPower with these units. Bought one for my original iTube, and since have also added 3 to other (non-iFi) components.

charmerci

Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #22 on: 23 Jan 2017, 01:00 pm »
An enclosed tube buffer - doesn't it get really hot?

Tyson

Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #23 on: 23 Jan 2017, 04:08 pm »
An enclosed tube buffer - doesn't it get really hot?
Mine gets hot, but not tooooo hot.  You can still touch it.  I think the metal case helps dissipate the heat. 

I'm surprised no one mentioned using the iFi iPower with these units. Bought one for my original iTube, and since have also added 3 to other (non-iFi) components.
I think it comes with the iPower, if I'm not mistaken?  Honestly I plugged it in at the back of my system 2 weeks ago and didn't even pay attention.

sonicxtc

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Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #24 on: 23 Jan 2017, 06:04 pm »
Thank you Tyson for the review.  :thumb:

I have a few questions:

Does anyone know if the tube is replaceable? User replaceable only? Factory replaceable? And, what's the expected tube life?

How well does this rate as a pre-amplifier? If this is truly a great little tube pre-amp, then that certainly opens some options.

If someone is already using a great tube pre-amp, then how does a tube buffer necessarily improve upon the "tube" sound when using a tube pre-amp? I'm not challenging anyone's sentiments; rather I'm trying to understand the concept of using a tube buffer WITH a tube pre-amp.

Thank you.

jk@home

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Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #25 on: 23 Jan 2017, 06:05 pm »
Mine gets hot, but not tooooo hot.  You can still touch it.  I think the metal case helps dissipate the heat. 
I think it comes with the iPower, if I'm not mistaken?  Honestly I plugged it in at the back of my system 2 weeks ago and didn't even pay attention.

Yes, you are right, good deal. http://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/micro-itube2/

Pez

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Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #26 on: 23 Jan 2017, 08:17 pm »
Thank you Tyson for the review.  :thumb:

I have a few questions:

Does anyone know if the tube is replaceable? User replaceable only? Factory replaceable? And, what's the expected tube life?

How well does this rate as a pre-amplifier? If this is truly a great little tube pre-amp, then that certainly opens some options.

If someone is already using a great tube pre-amp, then how does a tube buffer necessarily improve upon the "tube" sound when using a tube pre-amp? I'm not challenging anyone's sentiments; rather I'm trying to understand the concept of using a tube buffer WITH a tube pre-amp.

Thank you.

1. Good questions. Quick answer: No the tube is not user replaceable. Long answer: The GE JAN 5670 tube is an absolute BEAST of a tube. Long life, tightest tolerances on grid current, low noise and microphonics, thick glass, and most importantly exceptional longevity not to mention, musical beyond belief. I will be posting tech notes for both the iTube2 and the GE JAN 5670 tube soon so keep your eyes open. As with all iFi gear we stand behind the quality and if for any reason there is ever any issue let us know. One note of caution, we cannot speak to the specs and installation of any tube by a the end user. This will void the warranty and is discouraged. There is a reason we use this specific tube. It's because it is the best and most reliable in this application.

2. How does it do as a preamp? you tell us! http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=148127.msg1584465#new Check out our iTube2 AC exclusive Tour! 

3. How does it improve upon the 'tube' sound when using another tube preamp? For one, impedance matching, for two gain control if you wanted more gain, you got it! just flip the switches on the bottom of the unit for +9dB for preamp or +9 for buffer. But again I encourage folks to find out for themselves by signing up for the tour!

Hope this helps.  :thumb:

Pez

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Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #27 on: 23 Jan 2017, 08:21 pm »
An enclosed tube buffer - doesn't it get really hot?

One of the best parts of the iFi Micro line design is the thick aluminum chassis. This design is excellent at dissipating heat. I recommend using logic in the iTube's placement. Don't stack it beneath other equipment and don't place in an area where heat dissipation and air flow is limited. aside from your standard common sense warnings, the iTube2 is designed to operate in a myriad of configurations safely, warm though it may be.

rodge827

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Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #28 on: 23 Jan 2017, 08:34 pm »
iFi also has the 5670 connected to an adapter for use as a drop in replacement for 6922 tubes, NOS 6922. On Saturday I put a pair into my dac and have been very happy with what I'm hearing. The Sound stage exploded in all dimensions with very good tonal balance as well. Listening to live music is a treat. Ray Brown Trio Live At LOA "Summer Wind" is a fave for listening deep into the music. With the iFi NOS 6922 a 3D landscape is had in a huge way. The 5670/NOS 6922 is an awesome tube and will bring out some serious change in any system.

http://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/accessory-nos-6922-2/

Tyson

Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #29 on: 24 Jan 2017, 04:06 pm »
I've been using the 3d setting at the "30 degree Plus" setting for my HT setup (which is 2 channel) lately.  Using it, I notice that for a LOT of 5.1 to stereo downmixes, there's really odd things that pop up fairly regularly including a bit of a hollow sound to voices as well as strange "hard jumps" during pans.  The 30 degree Plus setting really helps ameliorate that stuff and also still gives you all the tubey goodness.

mtruong34

Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #30 on: 27 Jan 2017, 03:12 am »
I've already got an original iTube1 being used as a buffer. Thinking of getting an iTube2. Instead of selling the iTube1, any opinions if there would be any benefit using it in conjunction with an iTube2? Like in a daisy chain? iTube1 -> SS preamp or VC -> iTube2
« Last Edit: 30 Jan 2017, 09:13 am by mtruong34 »

rodge827

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Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #31 on: 27 Jan 2017, 01:32 pm »
I've already got an original iTube1 being used as a buffer. Thinking of getting an iTube2. Instead of selling the iTube1, any oinions if there would be any benefit using it in conjunction with an iTube2? Like in a daisy chain? iTube1 -> SS preamp or VC -> iTube2

Try them in both locations and decide what sounds best?  :dunno:

I would think that the iTube2 should be installed down the chain from the iTube1 as in your example.

Tyson

Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #32 on: 30 Jan 2017, 04:47 am »
Just another quick update - the thing I kind of love about the iTube2 is that it defies my conventional audiophile notions.  Namely that buffers are unneeded additions to the signal chain and that they always cause loss and never a gain.  That, in fact, they mess with the purity of the signal and that is always bad, per traditional thinking.  And that if we could all just get a signal that was pure enough, then we'd all have amazing systems.  But the iTube2 subverts all of that.  It makes you system sound better with an addition, not a subtraction.  I really do love that.

mtruong34

Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #33 on: 30 Jan 2017, 09:14 am »
Can the iTube2 be run from a 12V power supply without any loss of quality?

Zero

Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #34 on: 30 Jan 2017, 09:56 am »
mtruong34,

- Daisy chaining iTube's strikes me as rather redundant - unless of course you're going for an ultra warm, homogenous presentation.  As Rodge said, you can try it out and see what happens.  Personally,  I think you'd be better off with just one unit in the chain.

- Ex-nay on the 12v power supply stay.  While there are some hefty 12v supplies that actually measure closer to 15v, it's best to stick with the 15v power supply that comes with the iTube 2. 

mtruong34

Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #35 on: 30 Jan 2017, 10:21 am »
mtruong34,

- Daisy chaining iTube's strikes me as rather redundant - unless of course you're going for an ultra warm, homogenous presentation.  As Rodge said, you can try it out and see what happens.  Personally,  I think you'd be better off with just one unit in the chain.

- Ex-nay on the 12v power supply stay.  While there are some hefty 12v supplies that actually measure closer to 15v, it's best to stick with the 15v power supply that comes with the iTube 2.

From ifi's description "There is nothing like it. You can put the micro iTube2 before a solid-state preamp and another one after it, creating the effect of tubing the whole audio chain."  I was asking for potential buyers who already own the iTube1 if there might be any significant benefit of daisychaining the mk1 with the mk2.

I also read in the user's manual that the iTube2 can be run off 12V car battery power. So wondering if a quality 12V LPS would be OK since many audiophiles might have 12V LPS but very few 15V LPS.

OzarkTom

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Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #36 on: 30 Jan 2017, 02:40 pm »


I also read in the user's manual that the iTube2 can be run off 12V car battery power. So wondering if a quality 12V LPS would be OK since many audiophiles might have 12V LPS but very few 15V LPS.

Try the stock PS first, it is an Ipower. The sound is fantastic and I doubt if you will be disappointed. My Astron is 9v, so I never tried it. Astron makes variable PS also that goes 12-15v.

Does anyone need an Itube1 at a good price?

EVOLVIST

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Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #37 on: 22 Feb 2017, 07:08 am »

Your System is Shitty
I'm sorry but it is.  You might not think it is, but you are wrong.  I include myself in that statement.  That's a bold statement, but unless you are a part of the very small minority of audiophiles, it's true.  Why?  Because most of us pursue systems that are "true to the source" and that "reproduces the recording with as much fidelity as possible".  That is a trap.  I've been an audiophile for more than 20 years and I also fell into this trap. 

Because Recordings are Shitty
It seems so logical and obvious to want a system that's as close to "straight wire with gain" as possible.  But as someone that attends live performances of real instruments unamplified (in fact I saw a performance of Schubert's string quintet just last night), AND as someone that has over 8000 hirez recordings (including a massive number of DSD recordings) I can say this with certainty - recordings suck.  All of them.  Yes, even the "good" recordings.  They don't capture correctly how instruments and music sounds in real life.  So any system that merely reproduces the recording will never be satisfying.  Which is why you see audiophiles constantly "upgrading".  They are always searching for that next thing that will finally make their system fully satisfying.  But, to quote Indiana Jones "They are digging in the wrong place!"  Haha.

The Root of the Problem and How to Fix It
The main problem is that during the recording process itself, even order harmonics are stripped out.  Unless the recording was done using tube equipment.  Which is why even ‘great’ recordings are more edgy and less emotionally engaging than attending the performance in real life.  So, if even order harmonics are stripped out, how do we fix that?  Easy, use tube equipment.  And the closer you can use tube equipment to your source, the more impact it has.

Finally I Talk About the iTube2
If you don't want to replace your existing gear then just insert the iTube2 between your DAC and Preamp (or whatever your source is).  It connects with regular old analog RCA connectors.  The iTube2 adds the tonal richness and removes the shittiness that you never even realized was there in the first place.  You keep the goodness of your existing equipment while fixing the core problem that modern recordings represent.  Finally, you are digging in the right place! 

Final Thoughts
Inline tube gear has been around for a while.  I’ve even owned some in the past, the Musical Fidelity X-Tube to be precise.  It sucked.  Most of them seem to suck.  Because they caused a loss of resolution even while improving tonality.  The iTube2 does not suck.  It loses no resolution and still gives you the magic of tubes.  Even if you already have tubes in your system (like I do), you should still try it.  It seems to work, not by adding goodness to the signal, but rather by removing shittiness from it.  It doesn’t make your system more true to the recording.  It makes your system more true to real life.

Okay, soooo... Are there any papers or studies that would point me to what has been stated as fact in this review that recorded music is stripped of even-order harmonics, and that the only way to rectify this is to add distortion where it once was? To me tubes have always made the music sound either slightly diffuse or bloated.

Now, my caveat is that I've been listening to nothing but headphones since about 1983, so with tube gear I might be getting an earfull of mush that I wouldn't normally get with speakers. Nevertheless, this is the first I've heard this claim about even-order harmonics. Sure, I've heard people express their preferences, but not in these absolute terms.

Anyway, I'm not dogging you; simply educate me by pointing me in the right direction.  Thank you.

rajacat

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Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #38 on: 22 Feb 2017, 09:42 am »


Anyway, I'm not dogging you; simply educate me by pointing me in the right direction.  Thank you.
It's simple :D; most people prefer tubes somewhere in their rig and most people find an all SS system relatively uninvolving, dry and somewhat irritating.
Now are you saying that most should force themselves to listen to exclusively SS gear because theoretically, it has less distortion? SS gear must be leaving something out if it just doesn't sound as musical to most people. Are you saying that you should listen to noise in preference to a more musical sound just to be consistent in the pursuit of the straight wire with gain? Second order distortion might not be the "something" that's missing from the SS presentation but there's something there that SS gear often misses despite vanishing low distortion numbers. Also, tubes "fix" digital haze. It's one reason Lampizator DACs are so popular among the very high end crowd who can afford anything. The Lampys' do very well in blind A/B tests.
Personally, I'd much rather have the tubes integrated into the amp/pre/DAC rather than tacking on a buffer. Stringing together iTubes seems somewhat ridiculous adding unnecessary interconnects and clutter.   

" with tube gear I might be getting an earful of mush" :scratch:

You've probably never heard high quality tube gear.


EVOLVIST

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Re: Tyson's iFi iTube2 Review
« Reply #39 on: 22 Feb 2017, 03:33 pm »
It's simple :D; most people prefer tubes somewhere in their rig and most people find an all SS system relatively uninvolving, dry and somewhat irritating.
Now are you saying that most should force themselves to listen to exclusively SS gear because theoretically, it has less distortion? SS gear must be leaving something out if it just doesn't sound as musical to most people. Are you saying that you should listen to noise in preference to a more musical sound just to be consistent in the pursuit of the straight wire with gain? Second order distortion might not be the "something" that's missing from the SS presentation but there's something there that SS gear often misses despite vanishing low distortion numbers. Also, tubes "fix" digital haze. It's one reason Lampizator DACs are so popular among the very high end crowd who can afford anything. The Lampys' do very well in blind A/B tests.
Personally, I'd much rather have the tubes integrated into the amp/pre/DAC rather than tacking on a buffer. Stringing together iTubes seems somewhat ridiculous adding unnecessary interconnects and clutter.   

" with tube gear I might be getting an earful of mush" :scratch:

You've probably never heard high quality tube gear.

I'm not saying anything, save asking a question about even-order harmonics being stripped from the music in the recording process. Moreover, does this claim relate to recording to magnetic tape, digital or both?

As far as what I've heard: I've heard tube and SS gear in multifarious configurations ranging from $500 to $50,000, just for the amps, buffers, preamps,  monoblocks, etc., alone, both vintage and modern. I have even owned an iTube for about a month, and I'm a great fan of iFi gear. But none of that is really the question.