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 betterThe 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.