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ZenWave Cables and SurgeX ZenWave Edition Review
REDGUM BLACK RGi35ENR Integrated Amplifier Review
Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review
iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews
Marantz M-CR611 Network CD Receiver Review
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iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews  Print E-mail
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Written by Andre Marc   
Friday, 13 November 2015
Article Index
iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews 
Set Up and Use
Conclusion
 

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, of the revivalist band Carolina Chocolate Drops, sounded ever so present on her solo album, Tomorrow Is My Turn (24/96 FLAC). It is an old school, nicely-produced recording and the emotion in her performances really came through. It really was hard to believe that all of this I was experiencing was through a digital front end costing just about $1000 even, when the cost of the Micro iDSD, Micro iUSB 3.0, and the Gemini cable area all added up.

One of my final listening sessions with the iFi digital bundle was Seal’s magnificent album, System, from 2007. Great songs, great recording. The three pieces working together in my opinion, extracted the most from the music and allowed me to lock into the fusion of acoustic guitars and very tasteful electronica, with Seal’s voice riding on top. It could be the noise floor was kept to an absolute minimum. It could be jitter was reduced to vanishingly low levels. I’m not sure but I know that I find both the iUSB 3.0 and the Gemini essential parts of my system now.

http://www.avrev.com/images/stories/equipaccessories/ifi/geminipic01.jpg

Conclusion

iFI makes a lot of claims about the iUSB 3.0 USB solution and Gemini USB cable. My ears tell me all the engineering has paid off. Not only are the sonic improvements palpable, but the build quality and attention to detail, for such relatively inexpensive high-end audio products, are easy to see.

There is currently a lot of competition in the USB audio enhancement market, and iFi is up to the task. However, according to James Haner, of Avatar Acoustics, iFi’s US distributor, “iFi originally created this product category four years ago with the original iUSB Power. The new iUSB3.0 is a complete reimagining and reiteration of the original meant to be the absolute best in the entire category.”

I would also note that the iUSB 3.0 and Gemini should work with the majority of DACs there, regardless of price, and not just their own. Providing the cleanest signal to the USB input lightens the processing load of even megabuck DACs. Of course, as always, if possible, try before you buy. But I suspect very few audiophiles will not satisfied with the improvements.

Specifications


iFi Gemini USB Cable: $189
iFI Micro iUSB 3.0: $399

www.ifi-audio.com
www.avataracoustics.com

Review System 1


Server: Bryston BDP-2
DAC: iFI Micro iDSD
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Server: Bryston BDP-2
Preamp: Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0, CIAudio PLC-1 MKII
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Simaudio 760A
Speaker: Bryston Mini T
Cables: Stager Sound, Acoustic Zen, Element Cable, DH Labs
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks and Svelte Shelves, Shakti Stone, Bryston BIT-15, Salamander rack

Review System 2


Music Server: SOtM sMS-100 w/ Battery XPS,
DAC: iFi Micro iDSD w/i Micro iUSB
Power Amplifier: CLONES Audio 25p
Tape Deck: Sony TC-350
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3 Magnepan MMG
Cables: Stager Sound, Transparent, DH Labs
Accessories: Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Sound Anchors Stands, Audience aR6










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