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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
Friday, 13 November 2015
Article Index
iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews
Set Up and Use

iFi was especially concerned about RF (Radio Frequency) noise as well, and according to them, “the Gemini cable is fitted with three custom-made metal oxide ceramic RF noise silencers. Each with different effective ranges; thus they greatly broaden the range over which RF noise is silenced.” I adjusted the noise silencers as iFI suggested, at each end, and in the middle of the cable. They easily slide in either direction.

The Micro iUSB 3.0 is housed in the same compact chassis as the iDSD and other Micro components. One difference from the iUSB, is there are two identical USB ports on the side of the chassis. According to iFi, what the iUSB 3.0 does is essentially purifies the USB signal going into the input of our DAC. They say it does this by correcting the signal balance, suppressing frame and packet noise, eliminating ground noise, and correcting impedance issues, It sends ultra clean power to DACs that require it. All of this creates lower jitter and a higher signal integrity they say.

iFi also has some far out sounding technology in the iUSB 3.0 in regards to its noise suppression. They say some of this implementation is drawn from esoteric military radar technology. It’s beyond me, but sure sounds impressive. Essentially, noise is cancelled by matching the noise signal in the opposite phase. This is applied in warfare by doing the same to the enemy radar signal, therefore making it disappear, so to speak. It should be noted the iUSB 3.0 also ships with iFI’s iPower 9V power supply, which itself retails for $49. iFi claims their iPower supplies, which are available in other voltages as well, are quieter than batteries.

Set Up & Use

I used the Gemini cable and the iUSB 3.0 with the iFI’s own Micro iDSD DAC in two different systems. System one consisted of components far more expensive than the iFI gear, including a Simaudio 760A power amp, a CIAudio passive controller, Bryston Mini T, and Magnepan .7 speakers, a Bryston BDP-2 file player, and Transparent and Acoustic Zen cables. System two consisted of a SOtM sMS-100 file player, a CLONES Audio 25p power amp, a Tisbury Mini Passive II, and Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 speakers.

Installation was simple. I plugged the iPower into the iUSB 3.0, ran a DH Labs Mirage USB cable from the source to the iUSB 3.0, then ran the Gemini cable from iUSB 3.0 to DAC. All that was left is to stream tunes. And once the listening began, I could clearly hear what the iUSB 3.0 and Gemini bring to the table. With those those two components in place, there was more body, more weight, and less hash on every recording I played.

The improvement in presentation was there regardless of musical genre or recoding vintage. The great Richard Thompson’s new album, Still, produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, in 24/96 FLAC, is a clean, upfront production. Thompson’s baritone sounded rich and well recorded, and his sublime guitar playing was as present as I have ever experienced. Sticking with guitar players, Buddy Guy’s groundbreaking Damn Right, I’ve Got The Blues album sounded better than I ever remember it, and the song “Five Long Years” was so visceral I could practically see the sweat pouring off of Guy’s forehead and he milked this slow blues track.


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