DACs... which one?

MikeT.

Senior Member
Forgive me this has been stated elsewhere already but does someone have the iFi micro black iDSD? I am looking between that and the musical paradise unit recommended above. Anyone who could compare the two? I know they both have their pros and cons and are not identical units per say other than direct DSD comparison. @MikeT. I know you mentioned having the black, is this nano or micro?
I have the Nano Black Label. Very nice unit. The Micro has higher native sample rates, something called 3D and X Bass, more power for headphones and better overall construction. I’m not a big headphone guy.
Frankly though, I’ve been looking at the MP unit, the iFi Micro and the Chord Mojo. The Nano is USB powered which is OK but an option to manage the battery charging, as with the Micro and Chord Mojo is a plus. The MP I think is just a superb main DAC.

MQA is nice to have but I’m pretty sure I could live without it if the overall performance were superior. The Chord Mojo gets rave reviews at a pretty attractive price, in the neighborhood of the Micro. Still trying to decide if I go with the Micro or the Mojo. The MP is out of my range in the foreseeable future. (Maybe if I sell my Thorens though.....hmmmmm).
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Interestingly, the DAC I'm using almost ended up in my system by accident. I needed a DAC, and my local dealer is awesome with trades. He had one of these, slightly used, that he'd offer me a great trade in allowance on. I'd been trying most of the usual suspects in the $1500- $2000 range, but this was the the first one that didn't sound like anything. Intenso_grande.png

It's been in my system for about a year and a half, and I've had zero thought of replacing it. Not totally true. I did have some thoughts when I heard the same companies totl DAC. But that isn't in the cards right now.

What I love about this DAC is that it draws no attention to itself. It just goes about its business, making music. It doesn't sound notably warm or detailed. Neither tubey or solid state. I've never felt the need to do any tube rolling with it, which is a good thing, as it had no tubes to roll.

My only negative on it is that it's a bit questionable ergonomically. The controls don't work the way I would want them to. But, I don't mess with it enough to make that a huge issue for me.

So what is this DAC? It's the Italian made, North Star Intenso.
 

airdronian

Junior Member
I have the Nano Black Label. Very nice unit. The Micro has higher native sample rates, something called 3D and X Bass, more power for headphones and better overall construction. I’m not a big headphone guy.
Frankly though, I’ve been looking at the MP unit, the iFi Micro and the Chord Mojo. The Nano is USB powered which is OK but an option to manage the battery charging, as with the Micro and Chord Mojo is a plus. The MP I think is just a superb main DAC.

MQA is nice to have but I’m pretty sure I could live without it if the overall performance were superior. The Chord Mojo gets rave reviews at a pretty attractive price, in the neighborhood of the Micro. Still trying to decide if I go with the Micro or the Mojo. The MP is out of my range in the foreseeable future. (Maybe if I sell my Thorens though.....hmmmmm).
I bought a micro iDAC2 recently and really like it. Wish I chose this a couple years ago instead of the Schiit, but live and learn. The MP was out of my range too.
 

DC

Active Member
I bought a micro iDAC2 recently and really like it. Wish I chose this a couple years ago instead of the Schiit, but live and learn. The MP was out of my range too.
I think I'm DAC "shopping" - recently had my arm twisted in to a Tidal subscription and already had Roon on a audio-dedicated computer (which I've barely used since setting it up).

How do you like the iFi micro iDAC2? Still enamoured with it?
 

Ilusndweller

Junior Member
They’ve also suggested that a better DAC will have more impact on sound quality than a new CD transport. I just don’t know.
I wish I had personal experience with this without having to go through the process. Ive never cared about transport until recently (like a month ago or less). I assumed they all performed about the same until my last set of testing (and Im still not sure if the surprising results were due to this or the stock PS of the Topping D30). I thought I had things figured out with my assumption that “transports dont matter” lol. $$ factored into this theory a small amount as well. Why by something when I already have something that will do it? At some point things did a complete 180, though Im proud of myself for not thrifting recently. On the relative importance of dac/transport/dac power supply/digi cables. Mostly I think I underestimated the importance of a transport and dac power supply. Earlier I had thought I underestimated the importance of digital coax cables, but then remember the first one I bought (AQ Video 2, identical to audio version except different color outer jacket, about $80/half meter in 95) was good. At some point I got other cheap(er) coax cables did fairly detailed comparisons, couldnt tell any difference, drew my conclusion, stopped caring about 75 ohm coax cable performance or quality. Based on my tests they all always worked and they all always sounded the same. I was willing to spend more (I think it was middle of 3 models) than lowest model bc it was to input my dats thru my opcode datport (coax/usb convertor box) to my computer. TOTL was way more expensive. Havent messed with optical cable comparisons.

What about a PS upgrade for the Modi MB?
 
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airdronian

Junior Member
I think I'm DAC "shopping" - recently had my arm twisted in to a Tidal subscription and already had Roon on a audio-dedicated computer (which I've barely used since setting it up).

How do you like the iFi micro iDAC2? Still enamoured with it?
I do still like the DAC. I've had the settings I prefer set for quite a while now and really don't think about it, which is a good thing IMO.
 
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DC

Active Member
I do still like the DAC. I've had the settings I prefer set for quite a while now and really don't think about it, which is a good thing IMO.
Thanks, I'm thinking that's a more cost-effective approach (entry-level?) to a Hi-Res, MQA-enabled DAC and probably a better alternative for me than a more superlative DAC (and perhaps slightly older) that isn't MQA.

Second-quarterly taxes were just due for us here in the 'States, so I'll see what's left over.
 

airdronian

Junior Member
Thanks, I'm thinking that's a more cost-effective approach (entry-level?) to a Hi-Res, MQA-enabled DAC and probably a better alternative for me than a more superlative DAC (and perhaps slightly older) that isn't MQA.

Second-quarterly taxes were just due for us here in the 'States, so I'll see what's left over.
It is full featured, which was one of the attractions for me. The unit I received needed a firmware update to be able to decode MQA. The iFi website now states they are compatible out of the box, so I am guessing the shipping model now has that firmware from the factory. I liked the GTO filter that firmware provided as well and have been using that.
 

MikeT.

Senior Member
It is full featured, which was one of the attractions for me. The unit I received needed a firmware update to be able to decode MQA. The iFi website now states they are compatible out of the box, so I am guessing the shipping model now has that firmware from the factory. I liked the GTO filter that firmware provided as well and have been using that.
iFi ended up allowing me to upgrade to the Micro iDAC2 due to a minor battery issue I was having with my set up, very good customer service BTW. I'm with @airdronian in that I was looking for a full-featured DAC with MQA that didn't break that bank and that sounded good. iFi sounds VERY good. I'm not looking to replace any time soon. I've listened to one other, MUCH more expensive, that sounded better. But not 4x better.
 
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Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
I ended up going old-school - I went back to an Adcom GDA-600 (recapped / upgraded) for that sweet, sweet, NOS sound.
 
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