Saturday, April 6, 2013

iFi USB Audio Power Supply

A friend reviewer sent me the unit of ifi usb power supply to test out, as I was very sceptical on what it can do, and also what it"says" it can do. This is the statement they call from the site:
The most important feature of any USB audio device (USB DAC, USB Amplifier and USB Speaker etc.) is the power supply. The USB system as well as audio, carries its own power. Perfectly adequate to power anything from USB memory sticks to tablet computers; it falls far short from being a suitable noise-free power supply for high-quality music reproduction. 

To improve all USB audio devices out there, we wanted to develop not just a better power supply, but the best power supply for all audio devices. With the iUSB, quiet passages are whisper quiet. The climaxes are fiercer, and everything in between is richer, more vibrant and no longer grainy.

At first, i thought that man, this could be yet another B.S. marketing gimmick that is too good to be true. The my friend there, Mr Su as I would call hence forth, told me that it does condition the equipments to perform cleaner. I didn't buy the idea, so I asked for the unit to test, so here it is.

At my first test, in comparison to direct plug in, on my DACPort LX, things seems to get a better synergy then what there is from direct cable. Soundstage is where I could find the difference. Things get better separation, and bass gets slight accuracy up.

Then into further listening, i noticed that gain has slightly increased. My volume on my amp doesn't need to go more, instead, it is decreased, but with better conditioned music, no more static etc. I am now kinda buying this idea and quite liking it. After all, Hi-Fi needs power conditioner to make the synergy enhancement, why not us head-fi, right? ^^

Now into the specifications and packaging, which at this point, important notes that is our concern is forked out, remaining are for those interested to see the marketing side.

Up = On IsoEarth
Light ON = IsoEarth active

Now this IsoEarth (The Red Square) is something that ifi designed. It's main function, as from the site states:
Our engineers developed the advanced IsoEarth technology specifically for the iUSBPower. By breaking the noisy DC ground connection between the computer and your USB audio device, this further reduces the ground noise by a factor of 10. Your USB audio device can now operate in the cleanest environment possible; allowing your music to flow.
My own test, well, to be frank, i cant quite find the difference, maybe due to the DACPort LX itself has a very good grounding. So this section might be for those DAC that are slightly poorly designed or doesn't have grounding along with it. If you hear a lot of buzzing in your audio frequently, having this "might" clean it up.

Left = DC, mid = IsoEarth, right = USB input
Left = power only; Right = Power+ Audio

Image above is the 2 sides of the unit, as you can see, there are 2 outputs. 1 for pure power, easy to use to charge USB devices and thats all, no audio intended. 2nd is where audio counts. So in a typical setup, use that one with the audio out.

Input side, ensure that the connection is complete, that means USB input and 9V DC is inserted before initiating the device. The middle part is the IsoEarth. Pop up = On.

Final thoughts

Some people may not still get the idea of this PSU, but i do, and with the right amount of cash, it is well worth it. Normal retail in Malaysia takes this @ RM860.00. I say it is worth the money IF you believe in the changes that it can do. Suggest you test it out if possible, before buying it.

Side note: if you are not going to use the same USB port as you used in previous without ifi USB PSU, gamers and web audio may not work, mine didn't. So that's a heads up for you guys.

4/7/13 update: found a work around on the issue, apparently in comparison with direct usb to centrance, the device doesn't do downsampling, so, here is what we have to do to get it working.

1. Press the volume on taskbar and head to "mixer"
2. Press the speaker button on "speakers"
3. Go to "Advanced"
4. On "default format", instead of 96KHZ, drop down menu and find the 44.1KHZ instead.
5. It should be up and running now

Special thanks to Mr Su from for this loan unit


  1. sup , my setup is DacPortLX--> Uha.6S.MKII--> UM Miracle

    do you think that the iUSB will give me extra cleanness, smoothness and less harshness?

    i don't mind the price at all , i just wana know how good is the leap.

    1. it's quite hard to be definite, but majority of the people do appreciate it

    2. already bought it :P looking forward for it :D, you bought one too? or went Meh was a good experience XD

    3. would have bought it if i had the money