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ifi hip dac review (DAC & Headphone Amp)

AudioSceptic

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Joined the forum just to post this comment!

So happy you reviewed this.

I just bought my Hidizs S9 Pro on Tuesday and am receiving it tomorrow!

I was between the Hidizs S9 Pro and the iFi Hip DAC, because I prefer a U sound signature and wanted the extra bass from the Hip DAC. I cannot believe how much better the Hidizs S9 Pro is.

Been talking with a friend about all this and she told me how phone adapters are becoming so good that they are becoming desktop replacements and it was hard for me to believe, but the more reviews of yours I read, the more I believe it.

Thanks so much for all your work, Amirm. You're a true master of your craft!
Yes, indeed.
 

AudioSceptic

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Disappointing measurements for sure. I guess the harsh reality, and perhaps the design target consideration, is that most people buying these products are not critical listeners, but rather are Millennials or Gen Z consumers who want digital music, much of it streamed or saved on their phone, played through headphones/earbuds, much of it in a compressed format. So perhaps a low common denominator comes into play. I am not offering that as an excuse, defense or as logic for using old DAC chips or less than stellar design, but if most of the consumers don't give a poop and an attractive price point is hit, only those of us who are hi-fi geeks really care or are annoyed. At least we have some better choices clearly identified.
But ifi are part of a high end company. There is no excuse for lack of basic competence. Even a design using old (super cheap?) Burr Brown chips should reach CD transparency.
 

Carnatux

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But ifi are part of a high end company. There is no excuse for lack of basic competence. Even a design using old (super cheap?) Burr Brown chips should reach CD transparency.

I'm still new to hi-fi but are there any good examples of well measuring/sounding units that implement the Burr Browns chips?
 

sarumbear

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I know it's all about keeping the industry and advertisers "on side", but JA never ceases to amaze me with his ability to praise products that his own measurements show to be poor, and appalling for the money.
How do you think he survived so long? The vast majority of his reviewers doesn’t understand numbers or charts. He knows that.
 

Veri

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Rottmannash

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Thanks for measuring my unit Amir! Yeah I was pretty much expecting this performance, not surprised at all. I have since moved to the E1DA 9038S and 9038D, and couldn't be happier.
The 9038D may be the best thing I've bought in quite some time-now that's a hype train worth riding.
 

dtaylo1066

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But ifi are part of a high end company. There is no excuse for lack of basic competence. Even a design using old (super cheap?) Burr Brown chips should reach CD transparency.

All quite true. My point is that vast majority of buyers/consumers don't give a poop, thus the product is just fine in their mind, if not great, and at the right price. The few enthusiasts such as those on the forum are not considered the target. The Honda Civic is not designed or marketed to the driving enthusiast. They want a Civic SI or Type R.
 

dmac6419

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I have both ifi hipdac and nx4 dsd. Both sound fine. I got the hipdac coz of the 4.4mm jack hp connection.
Likewise, like Amir said about the ethers, ifi garble up the dan clarks closed thought something was wrong with the headphones, nope hip dac ,plus the battery life is abysmal and broken.
 

Asylum Seeker

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Disappointing measurements for sure. I guess the harsh reality, and perhaps the design target consideration, is that most people buying these products are not critical listeners, but rather are Millennials or Gen Z consumers who want digital music, much of it streamed or saved on their phone, played through headphones/earbuds, much of it in a compressed format. So perhaps a low common denominator comes into play. I am not offering that as an excuse, defense or as logic for using old DAC chips or less than stellar design, but if most of the consumers don't give a poop and an attractive price point is hit, only those of us who are hi-fi geeks really care or are annoyed. At least we have some better choices clearly identified.
That's not necessarily true. The fora where this item is a bit of a darling is populated by self acknowledged, confirmed critical listeners. Indeed a point of those fora is critical listening of gear.
 

raif71

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Likewise, like Amir said about the ethers, ifi garble up the dan clarks closed thought something was wrong with the headphones, nope hip dac ,plus the battery life is abysmal and broken.
Sorry about that but my experience with the hip dac's battery life is just fine. I'm using the Sens hd 6 series, hd800 with the hip dac and iems too.
 

dtaylo1066

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That's not necessarily true. The fora where this item is a bit of a darling is populated by self acknowledged, confirmed critical listeners. Indeed a point of those fora is critical listening of gear.

I am talking buyers not reviewers. The reviewers you reference basically do not pay much or any attention to measurements. Like most buyers, they say they like the sound. Either they do not hear or perceive distortion at that level (quite possible), enjoy the effect of distortion (possible) or don't listen critically. Also, I have yet to see an audio reviewer post his or her latest hearing test. But most people's hearing is not flat, and many reviewers are middle aged or older. Most people are not adept at, or able to hear, some types of distortion until it is rather high. And no doubt many listen to their Hip DAC on crappy ear buds or headphones listening to lossy recordings. A few like those on this forum demand more from a manufacturer. Thankfully some supply that.
 

velasfloyd

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so, whats the actual King of portable dac/amp (no dongle)??

it is Topping NX4 still the best value?
 
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