iFi Journal

Seb Chiu: My iFi audio Home Set-Up

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A little about me

Hi! My name is Sebastien. I work remotely with iFi and am based out of Colorado. I recently graduated from the University of Colorado at Denver in Film Production but ended up making a career out of my shared passions in high-end audio, publicity, and social media. iFi audio ended up being the perfect combination of that where I get to apply a little bit of all of the above and in an industry that I love so much.

In my spare time, you can find me at the gym, practicing Kali Escrima and Kickboxing (two different MMAs), watching movies, gaming, and of course music. Most importantly, what takes up most of my time is volunteering with the 501st Legion and our sister clubs, like the Rebel Legion and Mandalorian Mercs. The character I wear for the world’s largest costuming club is Kylo Ren, which is always a hit at whatever charitable event or con we do when things start ramping up again! Star Wars has had a huge impact on my life, and among many things helped me find my major in uni and career. Some of my favorite experiences include visiting Children’s Hospital and supporting our local community all around.

Some context…

I recently had the opportunity to relocate to a new place and wanted to take advantage of the newfound space, and re-vamp my desk to be a set-up that could be used for work and play, and rode the fine line between clean and powerful Being on the community team at iFi requires me to have a working knowledge of our products and how they interact with different audiences, so I generally have a lot of gear on me or by me at once. I’m also a hobbyist at heart – my passion for audio is what led me to work in the industry, and naturally have quite the collection of headphones and IEMs that are quite influential to my day to work.

The core

Whether one is a gamer, a video editor, coder, and so on, the one thing we share in common is the knowledge that the core of our set-up, a laptop, a workstation, a gaming tower will drive our productivity. For me, as someone who is always on the go, even more so when industry trade shows kick up again, portability gets the highest marks.

I decided on the RoG Zephyrus G15, a gaming laptop with a ton of power that deliberately isn’t too “gamy” at first glance outside of the very tastefully done RGB material on the lid that only shines with direct sunlight. Being picked up in the time before scalpers and insane GPU prices were the norm, I consider myself very lucky to be rocking an RTX 2070 Max-Q Design, i7-10750, and thanks to the usual number of upgradable components, 32 GBS of ram and 2 TBs of SSDs. It answers all my questions and has been a beast since Day 1.

The View…

On any given day, my role can take me to a forum like Head-Fi, social media, or a massive excel sheet. It was a given that I had to find the fine line (sense a theme here?) between screen real estate and flexibility between work, play, and entertainment.

A 35’ Curved UltraWide 21: 9 ultrawide monitor found its way to me from Sceptre and I have no regrets for the small hole it burned in my pocket. Sheets have never been so beautiful to look at and smooth to scroll through, nor has playing Warzone and Battlefront II been so beautiful during my off time since picking it up.

Sometimes depending on the task, I will only be using the ultrawide, or I will be using both – the laptop ends up often being the place where secondary/communications applications end up like Spotify, Roon, Discord, and Teams.

The power…

One of the unexpected joys of being with iFi has taught me the importance of how clean power can influence a setup that’s more entry-level to one that’s top of the line. I run my set-up between our SuperNova, iPower Elite, and Powerstation!

The sources…

You might recognize the above set of headphones as the RAD-0 from the mind of Alexander Rosson and the small team at Rosson Audio Design, who make these incredible planar magnetic headphones for the pretty penny by hand. Until mine is made, Alex and the team kindly lent me this beautiful unit that like all the others is a 1 of 1. Even though they don’t take much to drive, they scale so well with the proper equipment. Without a doubt, the best synergy I have found is with our Pro iDSD stacked with our iCAN. It’s so tough to describe how incredible it sounds until it’s experienced in person. P.S., if you stop by a booth when shows start happening and I’m there, chances are your world can be rocked with this pairing.

On the day-to-day, our Pro iDSD and Pro iCAN give me so much flexibility whether I need to drive a set of IEMs and the Grado SR80e to the Sennheiser HD600 and the RADs at a moments notice. For someone who loves having plenty of switches and knobs to adjust to my preference, it’s pretty much heaven.

On The Go

Being someone that isn’t always at his desk, and in non-COVID times, someone who loves to work at a coffee shop or outside, I will generally have some sort of audio on me when I am out and about. When I know I’m going to be at a place working for a while or traveling, I always take my Micro iDSD Signature and Campfire Audio Andromeda 2020/Solid-Body the Portland-based manufacturer

I always have a rule of owning (at least) one Campfire Audio IEM at a time, and they generally have great synergy with our products. My favorite pairing has to be with our Micro iDSD Signature for it’s built-in IEMatch and xBass, which add a ton of fun on a black background when I need it considering how sensitive the Andromedas are.

Truly, a pairing that will go down in the books as my eternally recommended list.

When I am not using the Andromedas, I felt it would be worth it for me to grab a closed back that would offer a different experience than my much loved IEMs. There isn’t anything more proper in our industry grabbing a set from Focal, the legendary French manufacturer. A more intimate, yet still dynamic sound with plenty of punch and detail retrieval the brand is known for fit my bill perfectly. Paired with our xCAN, the comfort, and isolation resulted in the Celestees being on my head for much more than I initially expected, with the added bonus of me being able to take them with me out for a walk or shopping for groceries.

Wrapping us out in sound

Our Aurora sits on a pedestal (thank you, IKEA for your wonderful organization that has many creative uses) is there to serenade me with its fantastic automatic room tailoring that works great for a set-up that doesn’t have room for a set of standing speakers or some on my desk.

It’s the perfect fit for streaming music over Wi-Fi when I need something light going on the background and/or am taking a break from headphones, and its Bluetooth function is equally wonderful for that theme of flexibility when it comes to me getting the most out of my set-up and room.

All in all, I am incredibly happy and grateful for the accessibility the team has provided me to our list of products. As someone who doesn’t have access to the office, I learn best by touching and listening to things – not from a manual or tech notes no matter how important those are to my work generally speaking. Safe to say, music was what got me through COVID-19 and lockdown after lockdown – there’s always something playing, somewhere!

You can find me on the interwebs on Head-Fi, Reddit, The Headphones Community, and HiFiGuides as well as an audio show near you when things kick off again in the States later this year!

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