iDac2 Tour

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Pez

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iDac2 Tour
« on: 17 May 2017, 09:11 pm »
Folks on the tour, Please post your reviews here.  :thumb:

GentleBender

Re: iDac2 Tour
« Reply #1 on: 18 May 2017, 09:11 am »
Will do. Just received the iDac 2 Monday, but haven't had time yet to listen. Review coming soon.

srclose

Re: iDac2 Tour
« Reply #2 on: 18 May 2017, 06:46 pm »
Just finished listening a few days last week before sending the unit along.  Notes pending on a very worthwhile experience  :)

srclose

Re: iDac2 Tour
« Reply #3 on: 20 May 2017, 07:58 pm »
Thanks to iFi for the opportunity to audition the iDac2.  I had intended to sign up just for the music sample, but happily wound up on the iDac2 tour.  I used the iFi/MA recordings and rips of mine that I know well for listening to provide some impressions of the iDac2.

I'm adjusting to a new room and have very near a 93" equilateral triangle listening space with 26" behind the speakers.  Unfortunately, the couch is against the back wall.  There are two GIK 244 bass traps with membrane behind the speakers and three GIK art panels behind the couch, the middle one has a scatter plate.  Despite the seating placement there is a decent spatial presentation.

I have an Odyssey system with the exception of the Sony Z1ES music streamer.  The Candela preamp feeds Kismet/Khartago-case monos to the Odyssey Liquids.  The interconnects and speaker wires are Groenberg cables.  I used three sources: a) Sony Z1ES RCA outputs, b) Sony Z1ES USB output to iUSB3.0 to Peachtree DAC iTx, c) Sony Z1ES USB output to iUSB 3.0 to iDac2.  The iTx is powered by a HDPlex linear power supply.  I have a generic cable from Sony to the iUSB 3.0, and a Wywires USB between iUSB 3.0 to the Peachtree or iDac2.

I covered all of the iFi/MA recordings, which are pristine.  Very quiet backgrounds with instruments presented very cleanly.  Some of my music included Eiji Oue/Minnesota Orchestra Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances & Vocalise, Alex Di Grassi Now and Then, Big Phat Band Swingin' for the Fences, Roy Hargrove With the Tenors of our Time, and Elgar: Introduction and Allegro, and a few others.  I sampled a few tracks from each.  For many I switched out to all three sources, but I didn't like spending more time on the floor changing connections than getting to hear the music :wink:

I started by listening to the Peachtree and then switched to the iDac2.  My first thought was that the iDac2 had a lean presentation.  The Peachtree is very pleasant and enjoyable, but pretty quickly it was evident that the iDac2 wasn't dry but served everything up in a quieter and cleaner way.  It seemed very neutral to me, neither providing an etched sound or a warm, rosy sound.  The BWV 599 Nun komm track was pretty representative of how things changed with source.  The iDac2 provided greater depth and separation of instruments.  The instruments were more resonant and detailed than with the DAC iTx.  Whether voices or instruments, each were more present and had more texture.  Swingin' for the Fences had more jump with the iDac2, better attack.  Bass notes were more percussive and the timber of trumpets more accurate.  I played trumpet for years and really enjoyed the sound.  The speed and impact difference was noticeable as well with the Alex Di Grassi tracks.  The guitar more live sounding, vibrating in the room.

Overall, the iDac2 was cleaner and clearer, never fatiguing, with more space between instruments, better resonance and texture, and better spatialization front-back and side-two-side.  As much as I have enjoyed the DAC iTx, the iDac2 is in another league.  For the past several years, the iTx provided sound from a Mac mini to the entertainment system.  Recently, I've experimented with its use in the stereo system.  While the iTx sounds fine, the iDac2 brings the Sony based stereo system up a level.  As a generalization, the Z1ES RCA output stands in between the iDac2 and iTx in sound quality.  The RCA out provides some of what the iDac2 brings to the table, but it clearly loses out with respect to providing fine discriminations to the sound.  The iDac2 has now moved on to the next reviewer, but I have a new iDac2 in the house with Mercury and Gemini cables on the way.  For my tastes, the iFi provides a very substantial price-performance ratio.  So, starting from an attempt to hear some fine new recordings, I have a much better sounding system that I am enjoying the heck out of.

It's hard to pick a favorite out of the IFI/MA recordings.  I particularly liked Miserere, Gullesol, Suite 4 in E flat major, and Toto.  There is a live feel to all of these that is hard to find.

Thanks again to the folks at iFi.  Needless to say, I enjoyed myself and I hope these impressions are helpful to others.  A few pics follow.  Speakers are a walnut burl, kudos to Klaus.

Stephen






















« Last Edit: 25 May 2017, 07:00 pm by srclose »

Pez

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Re: iDac2 Tour
« Reply #4 on: 25 May 2017, 04:00 am »
srclose,
Thanks for the thorough review! I love the pics. those Odyssey's are friggin' gorgeous!

undertowogt1

iDAC2 Review
« Reply #5 on: 4 Aug 2017, 01:54 am »
I was not part of the official ifi DAC2 Tour but I would like to post my review anyways

I was fortunate enough to purchase a New in Box ifi iDAC 2 a few months ago from a fellow AC member. I bought the i DAC 2 and an i Purifier V1 for 325 USD. 325 USD equals = 430 Canadian plus the duties I had to pay was 44 CAD. So all in I paid 464 Canadian dollars. Considering the I DAC 2 in Canada retails for 469 plus tax and I get the I Purifier as well I figured this was a good time to try this thing out.
I will first explain what I have been using as a DAC for the past 5 years or so. My Main reason to buy an Audio Interface 5 years ago was to rip some of my Vinyl in order to enjoy as well as upload to a Private music tracke. I decided to buy a unit made by Steinberg (Yamaha owns them) called Steinberg UR-22       

https://www.steinberg.net/en/products/discontinued_hardware/ur22.html

I did research and decided to purchase this unit because of the reviews of the Audio Input Preamps. I really did not think of the output section. To tell you the truth I did not know any better and I didn’t think it really mattered.

I will take you back a little bit into my Audio Journey. The past 12 years or so I began to get into Vinyl and stray from CD and digital files, this is when I began my journey into a real stereo system. I enjoyed the sound of vinyl so much that all I focused on. I build isolation platforms for my Turntable, I build a bottlehead tube Phono Preamp, I upgraded my stock stylus and cart, I bought a speed box, I isolated the motor. Later I also designed and build a vacuum and an ultra sonic Record Cleaning Machine. I did all these thing to try to achieve the best vinyl playback system I could afford and I feel I have done that. The thing is during that time I pretty much neglected my digital system totally. Though I loved my vinyl playback system my main playback system was my digital setup. I have more music digitally and it is more convenient for me. I really did not think it could get any better , its all 1’s and 0’s right? I was always curious about other DACs but thought  “ Do they really sound better than my Current audio Interface” “1s and 0s go in, they must come out” The main reason I decided to explore another DAC option was I felt I was experience listening fatigue, I now know that I was, My mind has officially been blown.

My Digital system include:
ASUS i7 7th Gen Laptop  / Foobar 2000 / 20 foot USB Cable / i Purifier / iDAC 2 / Premithues Dual Mono TVC / Yamaha CR 1020 with Preamp bypassed / Spatial M3 Turbo S Speakers. / Ears

So now for my impressions of the iDAC 2 and iPurifier.
As soon as I plugged the unit in and played a song I heard an immediate improvement with my digital system. I pretty much stood there with my jaw on the ground for a few minutes listening.

I wrote some notes and here is what I heard.

-   Relaxed and smooth
-   My sound stage doubled in size, It also got higher
-   Hearing instrument characteristics and recording characteristics I have not heard before (reverb times, soft Background vocals, instrument delays)
-   ****** of course these sounds were always in the recording, I went back to my audio interface to listen again and once I knew the sounds were there I could
        hear them. My point is the iDAC2 brought out these details.
-   Bass weight improved
-   More detail in the Bass for sure
-   Overall dynamics improved
-   Space around the instrument / vocal increased
-   Even more layered than before, sounds seem to “pop” out more
-   More pin pointed vocals and instrumentation
- To put it in one staetment............................Pretty much everything was better

The tracks I listened to in order to make my notes are as follows:

Mark Knofler - Sailing to Philadelphia
Tracy Chapman – Self Titled
Bon Iver – 22 a Million – 8 Circles
Bon Iver – Holocene 
Steven Wilson – The Raven that Refused to Sing / Hand cannot Erase
Beck – Sea Change MFSL – Paper Tiger
Radiohead – OK Computer – Let Down
James tayloy – JT Album
Traveling Wilburys – Vol 1 – Last night 
David Sylvian and Robert Fripp – The First Day

After listening for a while I brought my wife down to listen. She sat in the sweet spot and listened to Muse - Star Light, a song she knows well. I played that song for her because the piano part with the iDAC2 just comes alive with texture compared to my audio interface. When the song finished I said what do you think? Here exact words were “it sounds more real”. She was right , it did sound more real, it sounded like my vinyl rig without the clicks and pops and surface noise.

Don’t get me wrong I still love my vinyl setup alot, they are two different ways and experiences for me to listen to music. But overall I am experiencing a great Digital system now for a reasonable price point.

Happy Listening.








 


 


Wind Chaser

Re: iDac2 Tour
« Reply #6 on: 5 Aug 2017, 03:25 pm »
Will do. Just received the iDac 2 Monday, but haven't had time yet to listen. Review coming soon.

How's that review coming along?