iFi audio's worst kept secret: the hip-dac!

Discussion in 'Product Announcements' started by iFi audio, Feb 3, 2020.

  1. furiossa

    furiossa Rando

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    I tried my two pairs of custom earbuds (15.4mm driver 600ohm beryllium-coated and 15.4mm driver 400ohm graphene-coated) with Zen DAC to see how these perform on SE output
    [​IMG]
    These two drivers are probably the most demanding 15.4mm dynamic drivers on the market.
    600ohm driver with the "Power Match" set to OFF, the volume knob is positioned at three o'clock,
    and with the "Power Match" set to ON, the volume knob is positioned at twelve o'clock.
    I didn't test balanced output because I don't have a 4.4mm adapter or cable right now.
    In comparison with Zen DAC, Hip DAC has 19.6% more output power on SE output, so any
    hight impedance earphone will perform even better
     
  2. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    That schematic you did looks solid to me!

    Also...

    “I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about how well that combination of the hip-dac and the (Audeze) LCD-1 was rocking my world.”

    Thank you for this fantastic review Steve Guttenberg!

    [VIDEO]
     
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  3. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    SBAF knows that Steve G is deaf. ;)

    but in this case I agree as Hip Dac is sounding great so far with Campfire Audio IEMs, has a sonic resemblance to the excellent iFi xDSD. hmmmm.... :D

    more impressions soon.
     
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  4. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Don't suppose you've heard their other budget-tier stuff like the Zen DAC? A shootout of their more affordable AIOs alongside competition from other brands might make for a useful resource (... for me at least XD).

    Looking forward to more impressions!
     
  5. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    We're up for it and I already talked to the SBAF management team to have some tours in here.
     
  6. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    iFi audio hip-dac: Tech Note #4

    The S-Balanced Solution
    (As found in xCAN, xDSD and nano iDSD BL)

    [​IMG]

    No second amplifier is used, neither are extra signal, noise, nor distortion added - perfect for sensitive IEMs. Further including the iEMatch technology extends compatibility with ultra-sensitive IEMs. A dedicated negative wire per channel all the way to each channel ’s amplifier ’s star-ground makes sure there is no crosstalk between the channels.

    Plugging in unbalanced headphones with a TRS connector instead of TRRS will cause zero issues and, in fact, will still cut crosstalk by 50%, compared to using a TRS socket.

    S-Balanced output works on TRS & TRRS headphones

    It is fully compatible with and supports balanced wired headphones on TRRS 3.5mm and the Chinese 3.5PRO balanced wiring standard maintaining the channel separation. That is, after all, the point of S-Balanced.

    It can also use 3.5mm TRS connections without problems.

    ‘S-Balanced ’ is short for ‘Single-Ended Compatible Balanced’ https://www.head-fi.org/threads/some-common-headphones-plug-wiring-for- balanced-audio.875730/

    We are compatible with Hifiman/LHLabs/3.5PRO/OPPO PM3 in the above on 3.5mm S-Balanced.

    Balanced wiring delivers the full benefits with lower noise and distortion (and lower output) than other balanced circuitry and is transparently compatible with TRS unbalanced headphones and headphones with microphones making sure neither Amp nor Headphone can be damaged.

    Which is why ‘S-Balanced ’ is so awesome and could only be invented by a Nicola Tesla level genius.
    • Compatible with A&K/FiiO on 2.5mm Balanced
    • Compatible with any 2.5mm Balanced equipped product compatible with A&K/FiiO
    The key to the S-Balanced advantage is to understand the following:
    • A balanced output includes two separate amplifiers
    • All else being equal, two amplifiers contribute both noise and distortion
    • Due the laws underpinning this, the output noise of the two balanced amplifiers MUST be at least 3dB greater (1.4 times) than that of the single amplifier
    • The odd order (unpleasant or disharmonic) distortion of the two amplifiers for the same level on each amplifier summed will also be at least 3dB greater than the single amplifier.
    With S-Balanced and XBass, we have pretty much game-changing tech. All the benefits of balanced, with none of the drawbacks.

    XBass

    [​IMG]

    XBass is there for open-back headphones or just those tracks that ‘miss that bit of bass’. By now, customers are familiar with the Analogue Signal Processing circuit that was developed in-house for our own use.

    Premium audiophile parts

    TDK high stability C0G surface mounted capacitors - C0G dielectric close to Teflon in key areas that affect the smoothest sonics.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the hip-dac really is one of those products that looks spectacular on the outside, and sounds absolutely wonderful because of what it is inside.
     
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  7. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    @iFi audio are you considering some type of loan in European lands as well? I ask because in my native country budgets are usually tight and this seems to be something more affordable that may please more people.
     
  8. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    Yes, we do. We are in touch with @ChaChaRealSmooth to make the hip-dac tour on this forum so hopefully soon we'll be able to do so.
     
  9. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    @iFi audio

    looking here and then here, am I correct that your 3.2 USB driver for Windows is not yet aware of the new hip-dac? I just received it and Roon is seeing it as a general non-DSD capable, 192khz PCM limited device even though I have 3.2 iFi (AMR) driver installed. I see you do not yet the hip-dac listed on your support page...maybe I have hosed something...

    Edit: The Windows PC I am plugging the hip-dac into is a MS Surface device, with a single USB 'C' port. So I thought perhaps the USB "OTG" A to C cable provided was the problem. After no joy trying various cables and converters I simply uninstalled, rebooted, and reinstalled iFi's 3.2 drivers and now Roon can see the hip-dac as an ASIO DSD/382PCM capable DAC...

    When in doubt, reboot! :)

    I will leave this post here unless a mod finds it superflous and wants to delete it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
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  10. Bloom

    Bloom MOT: Bloom Audio

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    I've been loving my hip-dac so far. Really nice build quality and solid sound for the price point. Love the design...reminds me of the blue iPod Nano that I had 15 years ago.
     
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  11. raif

    raif Man made lobster/plankton

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    I am going to ask a dummy question here, apologies in advance if this has been mentioned elsewhere or is just "common knowledge".

    When listening from a laptop via usb, will the hip dac be consuming battery and then require separate charging or will it be powered as it plays?
     
  12. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    the hip-dac can be powered via the USB-A port while connected to a laptop.

    disregard the above, since the iFi manual is said to be WRONG.

    so regardless of how the hip-dac is powered on with USB connected or not, it runs off the battery all the time.
    one could plug in a second cable to the usb-c port on hip-dac to charge simultaneously, although possibly at a slower charge rate when powered on.

    [ edit - corrected based on manual error regarding power knob turn on procedures. ]
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
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  13. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    It is, if you turn it on after you plug it in the laptop.
    It runs off the battery if it is on before plugging it in.
     
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  14. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    I stand corrected, thank you!
     
  15. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    I’m not sure USB DAC mode actually charges the battery?
    @iFi audio can confirm.
     
  16. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    What do you guys think so far? My first impressions (only listened to a single ended powered Verite Closed so far) is that the hip-dac is warm, with plentiful bass/sub bass that is a bit loose. On the downside the upper bass to mid transition is not that clean which leads to congestion on some tracks (granted the VC is not helpful here), but the mids and high are smooth and inoffensive. It also won't win any awards for microdetail. Timbre so far seems normal/correct. Nothing jumps out as overly 'wrong' which is an accomplishment at this price point.
     
  17. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    It's designed to always run on its internal batery.

    Not hip-dac. This one always has its internal battery engaged, regardless whether it's connected to a PC/smartphone before or after powering it on.

    The battery can be charged if the product is connected via its USB type C input, but - as per what I wrote above - it can't be charged off say a smartphone.
     
  18. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    The user manual says otherwise...
     
  19. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    I'm aware, but that's in fact a printing error.
     
  20. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    wow getting corrected twice in the same thread is rare, but maybe not a first. ;)
     

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