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

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

  1. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    One question. The ifi hip Dac, like other ifi portable DACs, supports firmware upgrades right? Would there be a possibility of a firmware that allows it to use the driverless UAC1? A lot of my devices (notably consoles) still don't support more than UAC1.
     
  2. furiossa

    furiossa Rando

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    Probably but I don't see any for iFi Hip Dac https://ifi-audio.com/downloads/
     
  3. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    I'll ask about that at the HQ. Stay tuned!

    And there's one review I'd like to share. It's Russian (www.audio-ph.ru) but a nice read about hip-dac nonetheless (CLICK ME).
     
  4. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    Anyone know what the output impedance is single-ended? I'm missing it on any of the literature, but maybe I'm just overlooking it...
     
  5. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    It's around 1 ohm.
     
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  6. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    If you'd like to know what Rafe Arnott of InnerFidelity had to say about our hip-dac, please (CLICK ME).
     
  7. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    iFi audio hip-dac: Tech Note #3

    Actively goes where none have gone before

    The new hip-dac sports a dual-mono headphone amplifier with 4.4mm balanced wiring all the way to the amplifier.

    [​IMG]

    The hip-dac offers balanced in/out to take full advantage of the growing availability of balanced sources and headphones. The hip-dac uses the W990VST analogue volume control with digital Cyberdrive control. For amplification, our own OV4627 amplifier chips (4 channel) are used to deliver exceptional sonic performance on-the-go.

    This S-Balanced technology in hip-dac means that, despite the amplifier being single-ended, this delivers all the benefits of balanced wiring.

    Why did we feel the need to develop this?

    Let’s take a look. The problem with TRS connected headphones:

    [​IMG]

    The left and right headphone shares a single ground connection. This causes crosstalk and extra distortion. The lower the impedance of the headphone, the worse the problem. IEMs, in particular, are heavily affected.

    Balanced connection (can be TRRS though here shown with XLR):

    [​IMG]
    Left and right ‘negative’ are separate, the negative connection runs all the way to the separate amplifiers and no crosstalk/distortion happens.

    Balanced output Amp:

    [​IMG]


    The second amplifier doubles both signal levels and noise/distortion, and so, such a balanced amplifier has more output but also MORE noise and distortion than an unbalanced amplifier. This perversely makes such a balanced connection LESS

    IDEALY-SUITED for IEMs. However, a dedicated negative wire per channel makes sure there is no crosstalk between the channels.

    Plugging in unbalanced headphones with a TRS connector instead of TRRS will not be compatible, it will cause distorted sound and may damage the amplifier.
     
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  8. furiossa

    furiossa Rando

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    This is a piece of very useful information. Thanks.
    Last week I bought iFi Zen DAC and I'm very happy with the sound and all the other stuff it has to offer.
    Zen DAC is currently connected to Samson QH4 Amp via dual RCA to 3.5mm cable (unbalanced).
    Samson QH4 also supports balanced input but instead of XLR, it uses two 6.35m (1/4") TRS stereo inputs.
    [​IMG]
    I'm interested in making a balanced cable 4.4mm Pentaconn to dual 6.35mm TRS cable
    but I'm not sure if this is the right way to wire this type of balanced cable.
    Do you have any suggestion?
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Just took delivery of this today at work.

    First impressions are very positive!

    Took it out of the box 30 min ago and plugged it in my laptop and hooked my Solaris to it.

    The hip dac first tricked me into thinking it would be quiet enough to run the Solaris without the IEMatch: when I first plugged them in I could hear no hiss whatsoever, with the hip dac turned on but no music playing.
    Turns out the output (or the amp?) is muted when no music is playing. I definitely heard the noise floor pop up when started music through it. Oh well...

    At first glance, the sound is really balanced, slightly warm but with great punch and definition. Granted, I just turned it on and am not listening critically. But it's a better sign than if I were cringing with piercing sound in my ears...

    Good stuff, so far!
     
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  10. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    Does it hiss even with power match or gain switch being turned off?
     
  11. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Yes

    Correct me if I’m wrong: PowerMatch seems to be iFi marketed term for the more common “gain switch”.

    They really can’t help it...
     
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  12. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    Yup!

    Nope, we can't ;) We like our marketing slogans very much ;)
     
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  13. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    With sensitive IEMs there might be mild hiss.

    I'll get back to you with this one.
     
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  14. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    Also folks, how do you know if your headphones match your DAC/Amp? iFi's Headphone Calculator is here to help!

    The hip-dac is now available on the Headphone Calculator! (CLICK ME)
     
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  15. furiossa

    furiossa Rando

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    Ok thanks.
     
  16. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    @iFi audio, can you confirm this? I ordered one today and will provide review later...
     
  17. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    For those of you who have Roon and access to MQA files (e.g. via TIDAL), you need to set the MQA capabilities to Renderer Only.
    The volume LED turns magenta, as expected.
     
  18. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    Sony standard (from tip to sleeve): L+/L-/R+/R-/ground.
     
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  19. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    Yup. hip-dac is small and it has a lot of stuff going on inside. We do what we can to save battery life.
     
  20. furiossa

    furiossa Rando

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    Yup. I know about Sony Pentaconn standard but what interests me is whether I have made good
    wire connections (see schematics that I posted earlier) that go from 4.4mm plug to 2 TRS plugs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020

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