micro – iDAC2

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All-new chipset:
Burr-Brown

Handles the
very latest formats

Class A all the way

Direct-Coupled

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LOGO ver1.5color

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True Native® playback
of DSD and PCM

Quad DSD256 or
PCM384kHz

One of the very
few that can

The audio signal has
the purest path

The iDAC was good. It was very good and cultivated a very loyal following among customers and reviewers alike. The iDAC2 is the all-new 2015 version. It is a totally new design that has drawn upon the widespread praise garnered by the nano iDSD and micro iDSD.

What is it?

State-of-the-art DAC/headphone amplifier

For home, desktop or portable use.

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Signal stays original: Burr-Brown True Native®

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Starting with the EISA award-winning Nano iDSD, the Burr-Brown chipset has become an integral part of the iFi Audio DNA. That is True Native® playback on DSD and PCM. What does this mean? the iDAC2 (and all other iFi DACs) will keep the integrity of the file format unchanged all the way through. So DSD stays DSD and PCM stays PCM. From beginning to end. You hear it as the artist intended.

Quad-DSD256 and PCM384kHz. Future-proofed by iFi

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iFi’s unique approach to outstanding sonic performance and exceptional value for money is well-known. From 16/44 through to Quad-Speed DSD256, the iDAC2 is able to handle all these formats with consummate finesse.

This evokes a sonic ‘rightness’ about listening to music on the iDAC2 as there is no format conversion or re-sampling.

Class A on RCA

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AMR/iFi’s roots lie in single-ended valve amplification so it is no surprise that the iDAC2 operates in Class A.

The iDAC2’s analogue stage has two special audio grade, Elna Japan Silmic II (the highest available grade and likely the best audio grade electrolytic capacitor money can buy). These are the same ones used in the ‘uber’ AMR machines.

The Analogue stage also uses a discrete, Class A buffer that combines an N-Channel J-Fet and a PNP bi-polar transistor that allows this buffer to handle loads of even 600 Ohms. This was originally designed for the upcoming Pro range so its pedigree is beyond reproach.

Have DAC A/V amplifier? Just connect

USBSPDIF

Drawing on the popularity of the nano iDSD and the micro iDSD, the iDAC2 also features an SPDIF output which means it is able to receive a USB signal and then convert it and output a digital SPDIF signal to another device such as Sonos streamer or an A/V amplifier (with an onboard DAC).

As your system changes over time, the iDAC2 will simply follow suit. Performance and flexibility in abundance.

Highest-quality components, the iDAC2 is no different

Elna Silmic II

AMR/iFi prides itself on the very best component quality: from Japan Elna Silmic II, TDK C0G capacitors to Vishay MELF resistors, the iDAC2 has them all.

Take the DAC’s power supply including our new ‘Super Regulator®’ a rather unique shunt noise filter which cleans the USB Power for the DAC. For the DAC there is a critical pin called reference. We always pay much attention to this pin, however the iDAC2 already benefits from trickle-down technology from the Pro range where we found a high-grade Panasonic Japan made Film Capacitor for surface mounting. This combined with a smaller value C0G capacitor provides the cleanest reference pin voltage yet. On the Audio Precision 2, the measurement graph is impressive indeed.

It is clear that behind its diminutive size beats the heart of digital and analogue circuitry that is of unrivalled design and execution (matched only by other iFi machines).

micro-iDAC2-specs
 

Specifications:
Input: USB3.0 (USB2.0 compatible)
Output: SPDIF RCA (only PCM up to 192KHz)
Audio RCA
3.5mm Headphone
Formats: 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/384KHz PCM
2.8/3.1/5.6/6.2/11.2/12.4MHz DSD
353/384KHz DXD
DAC: Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown (1-DAC Chip; 2-Channel; 4-Signals)
Filters:
-PCM: Bit-Perfect/Minimum Phase/Standard, Digital filters selectable
-DSD: Extreme/Extended/Standard, Analogue filters selectable
-DXD: Bit-Perfect Processing, Fixed Analogue filter
Line Section:
Output: 2.1V (+/-0.05V) fixed
Zout: < 39 Ohm
SNR: > 114dB(A) @ 0dBFS
THD+N: < 0.0025% @ 0dBFS (100k Load)
< 0.025% @ 0dBFS (600R Load)
Headphone Section:
Output: > 350mW (2.40V) into 16R (<10% THD+N)
> 34mW (3.20V) into 300R (< 0.1% THD+N)
Zout: < 2 Ohm
THD+N: < 0.0025% (1V into 16 Ohm, 0dBFS)
SNR: > 114dBA (3.2V into 16 Ohm, 0dBFS)
Power consumption: <1.5W
Dimensions: 158(l)x68(w)x28(h)mm
Weight: 265g(0.58 lbs)

User Manual
UserManual

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Micro iUSB3.0, iDAC 2 Micro, iPurifier 2 are all reviewed by Headphone Guru!
The system configuration: MacBook–> Mercury–> iPurifier2–> micro iUSB3.0–>Gemini–>micro iDAC2–> 3.5mm analogue output

“The main and the most impressive part of the system is the iUSB3.0 that improves the sound quality dramatically good…..The reviewed system is not cheap but the total price is justified when we consider its general sound quality and competitive in the industry. The stronger unit in the system is the iUSB3.0 that significantly improves the sound. Surely, the other units are also good, but iUSB3.0 takes the lead……All in all the whole system sounds slightly warm, natural, dynamic and very satisfying.”
Thanks Ates Berberoglu, headphone Guru and Dukkan HiFi, iFi:Turkey!

http://headphone.guru/ifi-micro-iusb3-0-micro-idac2-system-review/

iDAC2 is knighted!

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“iFi Audio is one of those brands that have really powerful technological facilities. It is standing behind her legendary British company Abbingdon Music Research…..iFi Audio iDAC2 is a great product……Apart from the aspects of sound and fantastic value for money, this versatile product, operating flawlessly, rich in features. It’s hard to go unnoticed if it is about 2 000 zł to spend on this type of equipment”

http://hifiknights.com/reviews/sources/ifi-audio-idac2/

Translated with Google

Thank you HiFiknights and Dawid Grzyb!


Nick of TNT reviews the iDAC 2! “if we gave stars, it would get five!”

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“Summing up, the iDAC2 is an impressive box of tricks. That it will act as a USB converter, as well as a DAC and headphone amplifier, is commendable, but add in its ability to play just about any format of music fed to it, and it reminds me of a Swiss Army Penknife. Its sound, great as it comes, better with a top quality PSU, is simply divine when playing hi-resolution music. iFi appear to go from strength to strength, and the iDAC2 continues their short tradition of bargain products that offer real value for money, thanks to their association with parent company AMR. If we gave stars at TNT-Audio, the iDAC2 would get five from me!

Thank you Nick and TNT Audio!

http://tnt-audio.com/sorgenti/ifi_idac2_e.html


iCan SE, iPurifier 2, iDAC2: Evolved into the second generation!

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“First the iDAC2 connected PC and the USB, I tried to play the high-resolution files in combination with pre-main amplifier and two-way speaker. “Akiko Yano + Tinpan Wichita Linemanin”, make me obediently comfortably hear the sound rounded of this song. Bass drum is higher sense of resolution Shi sink moderately and thud, vocals are finely depicted until smooth and breathing……”

Translated with Google

Thank you Stereosound and Ito RyuTsuyoshi!

http://www.stereosound.co.jp/review/article/2016/06/08/46883.html


“How I became addictive to iFi” says Jeroen!

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“I wanted to buy an affordable and compact desktop DAC. After some wandering and trying various products (including many setbacks) I was made ​​aware of iFi Audio… I have been waiting for the (then) brand new iFi iDAC2 . That little machine I bought, and I am still amazed at the image quality…..The next upgrade: the iFi Micro iUSB3.0….. I really believe what it says. The iUSB3.0 the iDAC2 the display takes on a different dimension. A more dynamic, more calm in the background, a stereo image that grows in all directions, more refinement, an even more natural sound, etcetera.”

Translated with Google

Thank you Kees Jan and Jeroen Boomstra!

http://artsexcellence.com/site/van-ifi-idac2-tot-dc-ipurifier/

ThePC enthusiast highly recommends the iDAC 2!

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“This isn’t my first experience with iFi Audio’s products. I was using the nano iDSD before, followed by the micro iDSD that quickly became my favorite portable DAC/AMP. So it’s no surprise to me if the micro iDAC2 sounded great…..With the iDAC2 you get what you feed it with. Throw a 16/44 kHz audio and that’s what you get, throw a 24/96 or even a DSD256 and the iDAC2 won’t complain at all. The sound quality and signature simply stays at its original form and you get the cleanest and purest signal. It’s very neutral sounding and natural. Think of it this way, if the iDAC2 was a monitor or TV, the colors are not too saturated or washed out…..Overall, it was and until now is a really nice and enjoyable listening experience with the iDAC2. This is simply a no-nonsense product that is very easy to use and operate. If you want a neutral-sounding DAC without costing you too much, then the iFi micro iDAC2 should be on your top list”

Thank you PC Enthusiast!

http://thepcenthusiast.com/ifi-micro-idac2-review/

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Blindfold test of USB DAC, Yes, iDAC2 is Top3 of under 70,000-yen!

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We have received the following article from iFi:Japan which says the iDAC 2 is Top 3 USB DAC’s under 70,000-yen inside Digi-Fi Magazine!

Japanese viewers, do take a look!

Thanks Digi-Fi Magazine and Top Wing (iFi:Japan)!

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iDAC2 Micro: Possibly iFi’s best DAC yet! (5 star Amazon review) from David of the iClub!

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” the iDAC2 seems to be more intended for use at your desk or in your home audio system. There’s no on/off switch, and the analog RCA outputs completely bypass the volume control, which is what you want for best sound quality. The iDAC2’s feature set is more similar to the nano than the micro iDSD. While its headphone amp does not have the crazy power of the micro iDSD, it is significantly more robust than the nano iDSD and able to drive even my Sennheisers to more than satisfying levels. However, where the micro iDAC2 really shines is in my home playback system. With the Class-A output stage, it excels at micro and macro dynamics. It shares the iFi house sound with the iDSD models but is slightly more forward and alive in the mids without ever sounding harsh. Sound stage is huge, extending far outside the left and right loudspeakers. Quality is really surprising for a $349 DAC, and in my opinion, is slightly better in my home system than the more expensive and feature rich micro iDSD.”

Thanks David!

https://www.amazon.com/review/R2RAU0LH053JTP/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Victor of Positive-feedback.com reviews both the iDAC 2 and iUSB3.0 micro!

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“The impact of computers as a source for high quality musical enjoyment cannot be underestimated. Computers allow listeners to store and stream massive amounts of musical data from the convenience of a laptop or other device in a manner that no other platform could before. Getting the most musical sound out of all those files is the objective of companies such as iFi.

iDAC 2: “The iDAC2 skillfully rendered the various musical details in the arrangement that capture your attention for an instant before fading away like images in the periphery of vision as you drive down the road at pace. And my foot pumping an imaginary bass drum showed that the iFi indeed keeps excellent pace, rhythm, and timing.”

iUSB3.0 Micro: “The iUSB3 installs before and USB DAC with an additional USB cable. The iUSB3.0 micro must be plugged into an AC power outlet with its dedicated noise reducing iPower 9v wall wart. Maximum benefit can be achieved by using iFi’s Gemini USB cable, which splits the data transfer and power supply leads. The overall affect of the iUSB3 in the chain was a significant reduction of background noise, increased depth of perception, and vacuous silence between notes.”

Cheers Victor Chavira and Positive-feedback.com!

http://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/ifi/

Math89 of Enceintes & Musiques expresses his thoughts on the iUSB3.0 and iDAC 2!

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“Same philosophy as the previous system. May be more musical, more soft and airy, large tonal and harmonic richness. Probably a little less punch than the iDSD but this is compensated by going back slightly noise…….In the end two very consistent and musical ensembles. The analog side, music liquid without any tensions, extra music, made us spend great moments of listening. Frankly we focus more on music and performance artists on the stereo.”

Translated by Google

Thanks ​Matthieu, math89 and Elite Diffusion (iFi:France)!

http://enceintesetmusiques.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2545&p=74780#p74780
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iFi iDAC2 and iCan Pro makes it into the HiFi + magazine!

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Get on down to your local store or purchase the PDF version online to read the review!

Thanks HiFi +!
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Sandal Audio, Japan, reviews the iDAC2!

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“On the rear panel, and a USB input, coaxial S / PDIF digital output, and there is a switch for the filter settings of the DAC……Headphone amplifier circuit is done by a dedicated amplifier chip for each left and right channels……Affordable PCM 384kHz, DSD256 support of micro iDAC2 is a high-quality model than you think. Sound of habit is small, and I thought it was simple, accurate D / A conversion.”

Translated by Google

Thanks Sandal Audio and Top Wing Corporation (iFi:Japan)!

http://sandalaudio.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/ifi-audio-micro-idac2.html

iDAC2 appears on StereoLife Magazine as a reference DSD USB DAC!

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The following is from StereoLife Magazine which helps customers to understand DSD in a little more depth. The iDAC2 appears as the DSD USB DAC.

“To play DSD files you need a few things, which you may already have. The first is a computer to play the files using music player software that will translate the DSF files and send it to your hi-fi system. The second is a DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) in your hi-fi system – a device which allows you to play music from your computer, usually via a USB cable. And, of course, you will need an amplifier and speakers or headphones, whatever you use to listen to music at home. If you are going to play DSD files for the first time, you may have to configure your software for that purpose. ”

Thanks Tomasz Karasinski, StereoLife and Native DSD!
http://www.stereolifemagazine.com/news/item/1195-stereolife-magazine-dsd-album-volume-1



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Sil3nce of Head-Fi reviews both the iDSD micro and iDAC2!
Sil3nce of Head-Fi reviews both the iDSD micro and iDAC2!

“As a reviewer, I’m not being paid nor am I endorsed in any way, shape, or form. All impressions are solely my own opinions……Here’s a shout-out to @iFi Audio for generously providing me with the Micro iDSD and the iDAC2 for this review. I’ve received nothing short of stupendous customer service from Kate (Abbingdon Music Research U.K.) and Tyler F. (iFi USA)”

“iDSD micro: I found the iDSD a very interesting listen. Quite frankly, it’s as close as you can get to reference for the price of $499……The iDSD also excelled at imaging and transient speed. Fast and difficult recordings were played back without a hitch with perfect instrumental placement. It is this particular trait, coupled with an “open” sound that allows the iDSD to be considered reference in my book…….Clarity, cohesion, openness, and accuracy. The Micro iDSD has all of them in spades. Conclusively, I highly recommend the iDSD for a long-term purchase that doesn’t disappoint. Score: 8.9”

“iDAC2: Coming from the iDSD, I was not expecting anything particularly impressive from the iDAC2. It’s safe to say I was wrong. This just goes to show that you shouldn’t have preconceived notions, even when a manufacturer designates a product in a certain competing bracket…..Overall, the iDAC2 is an enchantress. It’s highly musical, surprisingly with better dynamics and transients than the Micro iDSD. Every instrument and sound could be clearly distinguished in the background, with good tonality and timbre. Score: 8.4”

Thank you Sil3nce!
http://www.head-fi.org/t/798562/portable-amp-dac-shootout-ifi-micro-idsd-vs-resonessence-concero-hp-vs-chord-mojo-vs-ifi-idac2-vs-hrt-microstreamer

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Darku of Head-Fi and Sound News reviews the iDAC2 – “Small but Strong”
“Chain sound used is: PC> iUSB3> IDAC 2> headphones Sennheiser HD630VB, HD650, Momentum 2.0> active speakers Audioengine A5 +”

“Today I will talk about a similar product, namely about iDAC2 – a desktop DAC…..The first impression you leave IDAC two is that all is well placed in the field of ear, stereo image is very well rendered and I can walk easily through records of quality……The construction is solid, the design seems nice and simple…..The sound was pleasant surprise, detail, transparency and sound extra airy DAC sites with modulator Delta-Sigma is not a surprise, the surprise was naturalness, outline thick of the notes, bass fast and deep and real-world environments and tangible, so more rarely from Delta-Sigma designs, IFIs bravo!!

“Pro:
– Solid construction, highest quality
– Small size> easy to carry
– Device 3 in 1 (DAC dedicated transport digital headphone amplifier)
​​- Detail, high transparency, micro detail is easily discernible
– Natural sound full and rich tonal
– Bas played on several levels, impressive
– lack definitively distorted harmonics”

Translated by Google.

Thanks Darku!

http://soundnews.ro/2016/02/07/ifi-audio-idac-2-mic-dar-voinic/

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The iDAC2 lands a Qobuzissime!
“iDac2 can decode the PCM audio up to 384 kHz sampling frequency and the DSD64 and DSD128, and connectivity offer, more USB input which is now the USB3.0 standard, a coaxial S / PDIF output. And as it sounds great, the micro iDac2 landed a Qobuzissime….To test the microphone iDac2 DSD, we used the software Korg Audio Gate whose setting is infinitely simpler than Foobar2000. It’s Allegro from Violin Concerto in D Major by Mozart (2L.no test file) we have listened, in its Version 2.8 MHz and 5.6 MHz in his version and in both cases the sound reproduction is of the highest caliber with sharp climbing easily and without any hardness and with great finesse, and whether on speakers or headphones. And as we sometimes say, premium restitution gives always want to listen (this is quite normal) and also to push the volume and forget a little work to devote himself to pleasure, and c is the case with micro iDac2…..Finally, decidedly ifi Audio designs devices whose sound services are still considered by our ears as excellent, and this is still the case with this micro iDac2 which we award our Qobuzissime reward.”

Thanks Philippe Daussin, Qobuz and Elite Diffusion
http://www.qobuz.com/FR-fr/info/Hi-Res-Guide/Bancs-d-essai/ifi-Audio-micro-iDac2-la-marque177958

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iFi Audio Micro iDAC2 + iPurifier2 (Natural combo for all)
Reviewer Oscar Stewart get his hands on the latest iFi products…..
“The iDAC2 is easy to set up, just download the driver from the iFi website, plug in the iDAC2 and install. You can also download a tool to update the firmware, and iFi are brilliant, there are different firmwares for people using the iDAC2 in different systems. I am running the Vanilla firmware as I have no specific requirements for the iDAC2….. Well most DAC’s nowadays strive for neutrality and clarity, the original iDAC was a great piece of kit, it was incredibly detailed and very crisp. But the iDAC2 is more pleasurable to listen to due to its more natural sound…..The iPurifier2 is a great little device too, it reduces a tiny bit of harshness, and in doing so does increase listening pleasure. A great little combo, which sounds great and has a few nifty features, excellent for at home and also on the go usage.
Sound Perfection Rating: 10/10 (for the price, I cannot find any negatives)”
Thanks Oscar!

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“grabs the hammer to kill your piggy bank”
“The iFi Micro iDAC2 is, to some extent, the non-portable version of the Micro iDSD. He has no battery on board, so it is really meant for (desktop) use at home….The warm, transparent sound that iFi patent seems to have been also in the iDAC2 immediately recognizable. It reminds me of very good multi-bit CD players ‘vroegâh’ and I can spend hours wallowing in delicious me there during long, leisurely listening sessions.”

Translated with Google
Thanks Kees Jan Lankhaar!
http://artsexcellence.com/site/ifi-ipower-ipurifier2-idac2-iusb3-0-review/


EnjoytheMusic.com enlightened by the iDAC 2!

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“Am no stranger to iFi Audio as have reviewed their Micro iDSD….When listening to the iFi Audio iDAC2 my ears instantly ‘recalibrate’ to how incredibly well music can sound when certain limitations are not present. Then again it could simply be that the iFi Audio iDAC2 sounds far more refined than many portable audio units that am throwing the proverbial dart at the board on what is to blame for the mesmerizing sound I hear with the iDAC2 versus portable audio devices…..Stereo separation and dynamics are gloriously gushed forth with the iDAC2. Nothing feels forced or restricted….Album after album I find myself more relaxed within the music and drawn in versus being drawn to the music……From tightly center to backup singer pairs off-center and expansive hall sound, the iDAC2 delivers it far beyond what I felt was possible at this price level. There is a natural spaciousness to the sound that flows naturally when this type of sound is within the recording…..If you’re curious what all the hi-fi and music enthusiasts are going on about with Hi-Res Audio, then the iFi Audio iDAC could be just what you’re looking, and listening, for!”
Thanks Steven & Enjoythemusic,com!

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/1015/iFi_Audio_iDAC2_Amplifier_Review.htm

iDAC2: Spilling the Secret Sauce (6/6)

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Almost 940uF power supply capacitance directly supports the DAC Chip analogue power supply and a further almost 470uF dedicated to the digital supplies. The digital supplies incorporate three low noise series regulators for the 3.3V supply voltages of different parts of the digital section (including one dedicated for the Audio Clocks only).

To maximise dynamic performance, especially with bass, the analogue stage is backed by audio-grade ELNA Silmic Capacitors dedicated only to the analogue stage and additional capacitors giving a total of 1,400uF, while the Headphone Amplifier uses by almost 2,000uF in local power supply capacitance, located within a few mm of the audio circuitry supplied.

All in all, of the iDAC 2 micro printed circuit board, nearly 50% is taken up with power supply circuitry while the rest is used for all other functions. By using such extreme and elaborate power supply circuitry, the iDAC2 micro achieves a new level of dynamic performance in USB powered DACs and a USB powered performance (objective & subjective) that previously required either battery or external mains power. As we always say, the proof is in the pudding.

iFi iDAC 2 Specifications:
Input: USB3.0 (USB2.0 compatible)
Output: SPDIF RCA (only PCM up to 192KHz)
Audio RCA
3.5mm Headphone
Formats: 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/384KHz PCM up to 32 Bit
2.8/3.1/5.6/6.2/11.2/12.4MHz DSD
353/384KHz DXD

DAC: Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown (1-DAC; 2-Channel; 4-Signals)
Filters: -PCM: Bit-Perfect/Minimum Phase/Standard, Digital filters selectable
-DSD: Extreme/Extended/Standard, Analogue filters selectable
-DXD: Bit-Perfect Processing, Fixed Analogue filter

Line Section:
Output: 2.1V (+/-0.05V) fixed
Zout: < 39 Ohm SNR: > 114dB (A) @ 0dBFS
THD+N: < 0.0025% @ 0dBFS (100k Load) Headphone Section:
Output: > 350mW (2.40V) into 16R (<10% THD+N) > 34mW (3.20V) into 300R (< 0.1% THD+N) Zout: < 2 Ohm THD+N: < 0.0025% (1V into 16 Ohm, 0dBFS) SNR: > 114dBA (3.2V into 16 Ohm, 0dBFS)
General:
Power consumption: <1.5W Dimensions: 158(l)x68(w)x28(h)mm
Weight: 265g(0.58 lbs)

Hans Beekhuyzen reviews the iDAC2!

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No need to read this time guys, with a well presented and thorough video, Hans sheds some light on the iDAC2 and special features you can find inside.
Be sure to check his channel and review of the iDAC2.
Some comments; “this is a very good sounding D A converter given its price…”
Thank you Hans an Daluso (iFi:Netherlands)

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qPbJAEYOHQ

iDAC2: Spilling the Secret Sauce (5/6)

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Active Noise Cancellation® gives >1,000X noise reduction
Another new feature used is the Active Noise Cancellation® power supply conditioning. First seen here in the iDAC2 micro and specially developed for USB-powered devices. They are not ‘Regulators’ in the classic sense of the word, but instead they only work on noise on the power supply voltage, without actually ‘regulating’ the voltage.

The traditional approach (see first graphic) using filters and regulators sees DC voltage lost AND noise is not comprehensively eliminated, there is still a residual level.
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However, in comparison to the iFi ANC system, there is no DC voltage lost AND the power is noise-free:
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We all know that USB Power from common USB ports is very noisy (usually tens if not 100’s of millivolts of noise). So normally, power supply regulation is required to remove this noise. Common regulators use regulation elements in series with the powerline and require at least several 100mV to several Volt to work. In a USB-powered device this loss is not acceptable as we need at least 5V to give sensible levels for line outputs and headphones.

The all-new Active Noise Cancellation® avoids the loss of power supply voltage, while achieving similar or better rejection of power line noise as classic regulators. No extra series elements are needed. The Active Noise Cancellation® circuit cleans up the incoming USB power before it is distributed inside the iDAC2. A further such Active Noise Cancellation® circuit is cascaded after the first before supplying the headphone amplifier and analogue stage with power. A third Active Noise Cancellation® circuit is cascaded after this to give the DAC Chip the cleanest possible power source.
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This multi-stage cascade achieves a reduction of USB noise by over 60dB (1,000 times) at low frequencies for the headphone amplifier and analogue stage. At higher frequencies where switching noise from switched mode power supplies is found, the noise attenuation is even greater.
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At the DAC Chip the noise is reduced by over 90dB (31,600 times) for low frequencies. So even very high noise levels of several 100mV are suppressed below the self-noise of the analogue circuitry and DAC Chip, giving the iDAC 2 micro a Signal/Noise ratio of > 114dB(A) or an equivalent number of bits of > 19 Bits. Many DACs with an extra ‘zero’ on the end of the retail price do not go this far.
iDAC2 – Spilling the Sauce (5 of 6)_ 17 Nov 2015
PDF

Next time, Power Supply – with great power come great responsibility (final, part 6)

iDAC2: Spilling the Secret Sauce (4/6)

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DirectDrive® look mom, no coupling capacitors
Commonly, coupling capacitors are employed to ensure the output from the DAC is free from DC (Direct Current). As the signal directly passes through coupling capacitors compared to other components in the system, these have an uncommonly large impact on sound quality. There is an after-market in coupling-capacitors. Take these rather special audiophile capacitors (pictured is the Duelund CAST Copperfoil Capacitor – yours for a cool 2,700 USD EACH). They are huge in size and expensive, sound every bit as good as their price yet a simple straight copper or silver wire invariably ‘impacts’ the signal less.

In the iDAC2 the analogue stage is direct-coupled (read: no coupling capacitors). In the iDAC2 a DC Servo is employed to ensure the output is always DC-free, however the DC Servo is implemented such as to make it effectively ‘invisible’ sonically-speaking, by using the same type integrated amplifier as for the actual signal path to perform the DC servo duties (so the DC servo is of the same level of quality) and the influence of the Servo on the signal becomes 20 times less than that of the main audio path through the circuit design and so completely disappears from measurements as well from the subjective sound quality.
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In the iDAC2 we use MELF resistors as well as C0G filter capacitors (these are at least as good as polystyrene and approach Teflon capacitors for performance) for the low-pass filter. Additionally, the filter is a mixed-mode type where a passive filter first removes the unwanted very high frequency noise from the DAC output, which would be detrimental to the integrated amplifier performance before an active filter implements the final roll-off.

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Dual-Mono Headphone section
The headphone amplifier is a non-trivial section either. It is an all-new dual-mono design with 350mW output into 16 Ohm and a maximum of 3.3V output available to drive high impedance headphones (> 100 Ohm). Using Direct Drive® technology it too is fully direct-coupled and MELF resistors are used for the gain setting network.

From above….

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From above….

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With a well-respected pair of headphones such as the Fostex TL50-RPs, this reasonably-priced ‘plug ‘n play’ combination really shines. It even surprises one or two far more expensive setups.

iDAC2 – Spilling the Sauce (4 of 6)_ 13 Nov 2015.pdf
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Next time, Active Noise Cancellation® (part 5)

iDAC2: Spilling the Secret Sauce (3/6)

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Analogue section: Secret to the ‘Analogness’
The analogue stage uses a Burr-Brown (by TI) Soundplus® J-Fet integrated amplifier with an added discrete Class A output buffer. The Class A buffer is a unique design combining J-Fets and bipolar transistors in a single-stage and allows the iDAC2 to handle even 600 Ohm Loads without breaking a sweat.

The ‘Soundplus®’ integrated amplifier selected for the iDAC2 easily goes up against the ‘ultimate’ audio integrated amplifiers from Burr-Brown (OPA627 and OPA827). Rather than relying on ‘fashion’ and selecting a ‘fashionable’ Op-Amp, we selected a specific Burr-Brown part because of its performance when combined with our unique Class A TubeState® output stage and in our mixed passive/active filter Analogue stage, it goes up right against the most expensive options (both in objective measurements and in listening).

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We start from the datasheet specifications in the comparison table below itself which speaks for itself. Using industry benchmarks such as Input Noise and GBWP the BB Soundplus® compares well with both the BB OPA627B and OPA827….

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1 Input Noise, a measure how much noise the Op-Amp produces, lower is better
2 Stands for Gain Bandwidth Product, a measure how ‘fast’ the Op-Amp is, higher is generally better
3 Stands for Total Harmonic Distortion & Noise, a measure how linear the Op-Amp is, lower is generally better

….BUT where we finish is by adding the extra discrete J-Fet + BJT Class A output stage to the iFi selected Burr-Brown, distortion performance is improved beyond that of the OPA627 and OPA827 from an already pretty good 0.00005% to a gobsmacking 0.000017%. This is another instance of where we go beyond the datasheet to wring a higher measured performance level.
The next question is, nice number but can one hear this in the real world?
Our answer would be a resounding ‘yes’ – we compared and we found audibly better dynamism with more difficult loads.

iDAC2 – Spilling the Sauce (3 of 6)_ 11 Nov 2015 (1)
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iDAC2: Spilling the Secret Sauce (2/6)

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Digital section: ‘True Native’ augmented by latest gen Octa-Core Transputer

At the heart of AMR/iFI products including the iDAC2 micro is the same Burr-Brown ‘True Native’ chipset which we have explained before in the micro iDSD thread. This particular Burr-Brown chip offers two separate signal pathways for PCM and DSD. What this means is that one chip offers the ‘best of both formats’ as the signal quality remains native.

Choosing the right DAC topology significantly effects the final sound. We loved the dynamics and slam of the multi-bit topology (e.g. the legendary Philips TDA1541A), however when a High-Definition signal is used, the Multibit topology (actually no true multi-bit DAC chipset available yet) doesn’t have the low-level linearity of the Delta-Sigma topology.

So to get the best of both worlds, we need:
· Multi-bit for dynamics and slam (the higher bits of the PCB data);
· Delta-Sigma for the low level linearity (the lower bits of the PCB data);

So the DAC chip we picked for the micro iDSD has the following topology:
· Top 6 bit: true multi-bit;
· Lower bits: Delta-Sigma.

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As a result, the iDAC2 micro also supports DXD and DSD up to DSD256#. Three Digital Filters are included; Bit-Perfect (Non-Oversampling), Minimum Phase and Standard and three selectable analogue filters for DSD.
# DSD256 is available on Windows via ASIO DSD and with special firmware on OSX, Windows and Linux via DoP DSD

Running alongside the Burr-Brown ‘True Native’ chipset is the 8-Core XMOS. But with one essential difference – our own firmware. Such update to the XMOS Design and Firmware introduced by iFi include Star Clocking as first outlined in the iDSD micro.

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The IDAC 2 implements Version 4 AMR XMOS Platform and uses the latest generation 8-Core 500MIPS XMOS1 transputer derived main processor. These processors are quite unique in their architecture and are based on a technology that once was considered to have revolutionized computing, the INMOS Transputer: which allows extremely high sample rates, supporting 384kHz/32Bit PCM and 11.2MHz single bit (DSD).

1INMOS transputing to XMOS

The ‘Transputer’ (Trans – Com – Puter) was a pioneering microprocessor architecture of the 1980’s, intended for parallel (multi-core) computing. It was designed among others by David May and produced by Inmos, a semiconductor company based in Bristol, United Kingdom.

For some time in the late 1980’s many considered the Transputer to be the next great design for the future of computing. While INMOS themselves ultimately faded from the scene, their pioneering parallel computing platform is echoed in every modern PC running Dual or Quad Core CPU’s and in any Smartphone or Tablet featuring multi-core CPU’s.

XMOS was started among others by David May and modernised the Transputer core architecture. XMOS ‘Transputer’ Chips have since found many applications where their unique architecture outperforms both traditional CPU’s and FPGA systems, not the least in USB Audio.

While the digital section is very extensive and based on fairly unique items that stand out from the crowd, without a commensurate highly dedicated analogue section, the iDAC2 would not be half the DAC it is.

iDAC2 – Spilling the Sauce (2 of 6)_ 9 Nov 2015.pdf
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The iDAC2 – spilling the secret sauce (part 1)

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The iDAC2’s musicality has wooed – most recently the iDAC2 + iPurifier2 + Pro iCAN at the Fujiya AVIC Headphone Festival in Tokyo where the market is probably the most demanding on the planet.

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Source: http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2015/10/ifi-retro-stereo-50-ipurifier2-at-fujiya-avic-2015/

The Pro iCAN was one of the show ‘best sound winners’ so the small but mighty iDAC2 + iPurifier 2 combo deserve some credit for producing the digital-to-analogue conversion to feed the Pro iCAN.

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At the show, the quite technically proficient Japanese press asked us on more than one occasion why the recently-launched iDAC2 sounded so nice. And this is a press pack that has turntables in heavy rotation so they know their onions. This gave us the idea to put finger to keyboard.

Source: http://www.fujiya-avic.jp/blog/?p=21041

Bake-Off: the iFi recipe behind a really good DAC
The following are our thoughts only. The application of the parts budget as common industry practice is similar to what we did in the iFi iDSD nano which is more indicative of < US$1,000 DACs. Often a very large part of the budget is needed for the digital platform (after all, we need a DAC Chip that headlines and a good USB processor). Power supplies and analogue stages receive the remaining budget.
Hence, the three key cost areas in the electronics of a digital-to-analogue converter:

1)Digital section cost – is much the same across the board, chipsets/clocks vary but slightly and software is usually ‘off the shelf’ like the XMOS firmware and off the shelf DAC Chips of usually comparable cost. In a USB DAC the USB Processor is usually the biggest ticket item before the DAC. Clocks and their power supplies often cost as much as a DAC Chip.

2)Analogue section cost – from a simple double Op-Amp for 20 cent to things done much more extensively cost varies. The iDAC2 has BB Soundplus integrated amplifier and a discrete JFet and BJT Class A output stage. Further it employs C0G Capacitors and MELF Resistors for all signal positions, all this adds cost.

3)Power supply section cost – Often USB DACs have minimal power supply arrangements with generic 3-pin regulators. If done more extensively, then the cost is higher eg iDAC2 uses ELNA Silmic Capacitors and Active Noise Cancellation® to eliminate the USB power noise.

iDAC2 is no piece of cake
Things are different in the iDAC 2: we started with a larger budget, we could have spent it in a number of ways, like more DAC Chips or different ‘fashionable’ DAC Chips or fancy clocks. Instead we chose to put the extra budget where it impacts most, namely analogue stages and power supplies.
The iDAC2 has a similar cost digital section as with other DACs out there (and to our iDSD nano) but its analogue and power sections are more extensive hence its overall cost is greater so its pie chart area is larger.
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The iDAC2 (part1)
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StereoLife gives the iDAC2 a recommendation award!

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“it’s been a long time since I was in the hands of the last big hit IFI Audio – iDSD Micro tested a year ago…..an opportunity to meet again….The latest model IFI Audio does all of this – it offers a well-balanced sound in which nothing is missing. That’s what I expected after him, or indeed even demanded it. But, but … In addition to energy and clarity we get something here that in the land of the budget DACs is extremely rare – a little lamp in color and very good cohesion and elegant finish of treble. Thanks iDAC2 game nicely, musically, sometimes even mildly…. I do not know how the designers IFI Audio is done, but the first time they were able to create a device that in addition to the dynamism and transparency also what is most important – musicality. For me this is the greatest advances in the short history of the company.”

Thank you Tomas Karasiński and StereoLife!

Translated by Google

http://www.stereolife.pl/2327

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New user, Lupus_Kazee of HiFi-forum.de blogs about the iDAC2!

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I have long benefited as a diligent reader of your tips and tricks in the hi-fi forum. Thank you! Almost three weeks ago, I bought myself a new headphone amplifier and would like to share with you my experience in a small review, I have found my model here is not so much. These are the: iFi micro iDAC2. At home I have the amplifier AM-777 AMR (Abbingdon Music Research), a fine British high-end forged with headquarters in London. So why seek far afield? Looking for a compact headphone amp with DAC I became aware of iFi Audio….Almost three weeks with the new amplifier I cross heard me through the musical vegetable garden and discover still new and quite positive sides….Voices seem more present and spaces get more distance….I think that’s surprising. The music has more power, appear more vivid, fluffy. This is also very fine details benefited because individual instruments can better hear…..Well done iFi Audio! The headphone amplifier provides a significant improvement for me. It is easy to use and exploits the potential of my headphone out significantly better than the feeble output of my notebook. Price-performance is absolutely fine with me and meet my expectations.”

Thank you Lupus_Kazee and enjoy your time on hifi-forum.de!

Translated with Google

http://www.hifi-forum.de/viewthread-211-736.html

IFI micro iDAC2 – Test preview!

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“Yesterday I received the latest product of the British brand IFI audio (which is part of Abbingdon Music Research – AMR). This small IFI micro iDAC2, which is a DAC USB with DSD signal reading and a full headphone amplifier operating in Class A. Of course, iDAC2 is also a converter USB-S / PDIF…..Hence, this device has a maximum resolution Quad-DSD256 and PCM 384 kHz, which is more than impressive…..AMR / IFI has a best components applied in their outfits: Japanese capacitors from Elna Silmic II by TDK C0G, to Wishaya MELF resistors – iDAC2 has it all. In addition iDAC2 benefits of technology, Pro, where there are high-quality Japanese film capacitors from Panasonic, surface mounted. In conjunction with a small value C0G capacitor provides the clearest, stable voltage level of the reference pin. Chart of measurements made on Audio Precision 2 is really impressive. It is also worth noting that the degree of analog iDAC2 has two capacitors special audio quality. This Japanese Elna Silmic II (the highest quality and probably the best capacitors available on the market). These are the same elements which appear in the AMR device.”

Stay tuned!

Thank you Stereoikolorowo!

Translated with Google

http://stereoikolorowo.blogspot.hk/2015/10/ifi-micro-idac2-zapowiedz-testu.html

“drop your ear to iDAC2”

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“Ifi Micro iDAC2 defies any evaluation of the reserved devices in this price range. The game obscenely well not only against the background of similar in terms of budget competition, but calmly can grate your nose far more expensive structures. Is that good? Of course. Finally, for really little money you can enjoy a full-blooded Sound Hi-Fi knowing that even if some compromises on the stage of R & D took place, it’s still nothing and nothing about them speaks volumes. If, therefore, you are just at the stage of seeking USB DAC integrated into the headphone amplifier for around 2-4 thousand. PLN at least out of curiosity drop your ear to iDAC2.”

Thank you Marcin Olszewski of audiostereo.pl!

Translated with Google

http://www.klub.audiostereo.pl/recenzje-akcesoria/ifi-micro-idac2-art494.html

iDAC2: Great performance from a small box!

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“The iFi iDAC2 Micro is the latest DA converter iFi Audio and replaces the original IDAC….After that I started a quest for me and there were three DACs on which it eventually became none. This was because at the last moment presented itself a fourth DAC, namely the iFi iDAC2 Micro USB DAC….. I am surprised how this all fits into such a small ‘box’ which is not larger than a portable 2.5 “hard drive. I find it very convenient that iDAC2 is powered by the 5V USB port of my Mac mini……Just bluntly, the result that is displayed by this iFi Micro iDAC2 through my speakers is phenomenally good. The iDAC2 can for me measure with DACs that are far more costly. Apparently the size says nothing on sonic performance. ….As already stated, file formats such as DSD shown phenomenal! ….The 3D presentation and refinement are in the sound at a level as I do not often hear, especially not at this price. Let me stop there with me because I can so go on and on. I would say, see for yourself just how much you get with a DAC under 400 euros…..Once you’re used to this honest and natural-sounding DAC discover your entire music again, believe me. The iFi Micro iDAC2 you will definitely not disappoint!”
Thanks Kees Jan of Art’s Excellence, Richard Kuipers and Daluso (iFi:Netherlands)
http://artsexcellence.com/site/ifi-micro-idac2-review-van-klanten-voor-klanten/

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iDAC2: ‘has it all’

“Micro-reaching although the first was good and had a lot of fans, this according to the manufacturer iDAC2 is noticeably better and was developed from the ground up as a completely new design…..There are no format conversion or resampling results correctness and regularity of music perception…..The degree analog has two capacitors Elna Silmic II, which are designed to ensure the highest sound quality – they are probably one of the the best capacitor available in the market…..AMR has a best components applied in their devices – from Japanese capacitors Elna Silmic II by TDK C0G, to Wishaya MELF resistors – iDAC2 has it all.”

Thanks

Margaret Karasińska!

http://www.stereolife.pl/archiwum/newsy-sprzetowe-lista/2287-ifi-audio-idac2-micro

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Philippe of Hautefidelite reviews the iDAC2!

“The range of products iFi Audio has a constant: a stunning reproduction quality, we can not imagine at first, unless you have already tried these products…..This DAC iFi contains components audiophile-quality, such as, for example, a pair of electrochemical capacitors of Silmic series (radial models mounted flat, black and gold livery) incorporating silk as a dielectric mounted in the power supply circuit…..Musicality and versatility make this DAC entirely conceivable installation on a high fidelity sedentary chain. The different functions of the Micro iDAC2 and simplicity of operation are as many assets facilitating the choice of this device, as compact affordable.”

Merci Philippe David and hautefidelite!

http://www.hautefidelite-hifi.com/index.php/actualites/302-ifi-audio-micro-idac2

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Karl of Audiophile.no covers the iDAC2!

“Ifi Audio launches a new improved version of their Micro IDAC. Micro IDAC2 is renewed on a number of areas….Micro IDAC2 is a further development of the Micro IDAC, and there are some drastic changes. The DAC chip has been changed, from an ESS SABRE to a chip from Burr-Brown. Thus, they have also given IDAC2 extended competence – it can play PCM with sample rate up to 384kHz as well as DSD128 and DSD256. IFi Audio emphasizes that the signal is kept in its original form all the way through DAC. That means DSD is never converted to PCM on its way to the analog signal. Micro IDAC2 has two sets of analogue outputs. We start with RCA outputs that are fixed level, and operating in Class A. However, this box also has a set of headphone outputs, of course with volume control. IDAC2 also has a SPDIF digital output, which makes it possible to use this box as a D/D converter, then in the form of USB to SPDIF. It enables integration with other DACs that lacks USB, or the amplifiers with digital inputs.”

Cheers Karl Erik Sylthe!

http://www.audiophile.no/news/item/1854-micro-idac2

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Airy Fidelity of Youtube reviews the iDAC2!

A video covering the latest iFi product, iDAC2, which Airy Fidelity explains the new features from the previous original iDAC1 and also does a short comparison.

In short the iDAC2: More dynamic, energetic, close up vocals, improved soundstage, 3D sounding, musical instrumental details.

Many thanks for your review Airy Fidelity!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf6x0ml-Xjw

iFi USB Audio Driver Installation & Download

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iDAC2 – Spilling the Sauce (1 of 6)_ 6 Nov 2015                                      iDAC2 – Spilling the Sauce (2 of 6)_ 9 Nov 2015

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User Manual
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