iSilencer3.0 Quick Review

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wushuliu

iSilencer3.0 Quick Review
« on: 19 Apr 2017, 06:25 pm »
I've gotten into headphones recently and acquired a Dragonfly Red. Feeling guilty over not getting an i-something I decided to get an iSilencer to go with it. The whole usb thing is frustrating in my experience, as there's so much variability. The iSilencer turned out to be no exception, albeit with some positive results.

Since the iSilencer is designed for usb3 I started with that. I attached it to the DFR and plugged them into my PC. The headphones are Sennheiser 599s. There was an immediate reduction in noise and mids smoothed out even more. Very easy to notice. However, the treble sounded harder and overall there was a dryer, less organic presentation to the music. I think objectively some would say it was better and odds are it is highlighting the inherent flaws of my pc, but still, it didn’t feel right to me. 

For kicks I swapped the combo out of the usb 3 slot and into a usb 2 slot. Sound quality worsened. Not a good match. Then I removed the iSilencer and listened through the USB 3 port. Hm, not as clean and the treble hardness was still there. Finally, I swapped back to the usb 2 port, again no iSilencer. This was the original slot before I ordered the iSilencer. Voila. The music returned to the organic, beguiling flow I’d been listening to the past few weeks. Weird. But this has happened with me before. For some reason some usb slots tend to sound a little better than others, and the usb 3 slot can have a cleaner but drier presentation. But all this is a reminder to me though of why I abandoned usb for my main 2 channel setup for an Ethernet based solution. USB is just too dang finicky. The iSilencer works as advertised and is not at fault. I highly recommend it given its cost.

Pez

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Re: iSilencer3.0 Quick Review
« Reply #1 on: 21 Apr 2017, 06:34 pm »
Thanks for the review! iSilencer is great and makes marked improvements in most situations.

Quote
For some reason some usb slots tend to sound a little better than others, and the usb 3 slot can have a cleaner but drier presentation.
What you are describing with USB slots is exactly why iFi focuses so much on solutions for USB. While the iSilencer is a beast when it comes to what it does, but it can't fix all the potential issues with USB. Since you have slots that sound drastically different my guess would be that you have noise issues with your computer which is common place. My suggestion is to give the iUSB3.0 a shot on your USB 3.0 slot. It'll work either way, but I'd be curious to see if at least some of the odd issues where iSilencer sounded great and sometimes didn't are partially because of USB noise issues.

jrebman

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Re: iSilencer3.0 Quick Review
« Reply #2 on: 1 Jun 2017, 06:28 pm »
If. you are talking about a macbook here, the usb 3 port shares some common internal circuitry with the Thunderbolt port and that may be part of the problem. I also have found that with most iFi gear that the more you play it -- up to a point -- the better it sounds.

-- Jim

wushuliu

Re: iSilencer3.0 Quick Review
« Reply #3 on: 21 Jul 2017, 02:10 pm »
I have now added an iDefender to the iSilencer. So far so good. Definitely impacted sound quality immediately. In my case I have a cheap dac that is being fed externally by a linear power supply. The +5v pin is covered but ground is still shared between pc and linear PS. Adding the iDefender has so far lowered noise and taking an extra touch of grain out of the sound, like a nice polish. I'll continue to experiment but I'm impressed with this right out the gate. Next up is an iPurifier2. The chain is looking a little silly but it is still cheaper than say, getting a nano iusb AND an iDefender, etc. etc. Especially as the iDefender properties can only be found in the micro iUSB I believe.