iFi Ear Buddy - impressions and review - expatinjapan
Head Pie 2:03 PM
iFi Ear Buddy - impressions and review
Crank up the digital volume control for better tunes.
Get the full High Res experience – recover the lost 2Bits of resolution.
Just plug in and play. No more annoying hisses or pops.
Special earplugs, airplane adapter and personal travel pouch.
Ear Buddy Accessories
• aircraft socket adapter
• Warranty Card
• User Manual
What iFi Ear Buddy does:
*Via iFi website.
The Ear Buddy® gets rid of annoying hisses and buzzes and allows you to turn up your digital volume to a higher level to improve resolution and quality without making you deaf!
And for those who like a bit more tech with their cuppa…
With your Smartphone or DAP, normally you probably listen to music with the digital volume control set at 60%. This means you have lost 2Bits of resolution. Basically, it’s like watching HD TV with some of the pixels from the screen missing. It’s okay – but you are not getting what you paid for.
You can turn it up to full volume but your ears (or the people around you) would not thank you for it. Adding the Ear Buddy® ‘attenuates’ or adjusts the volume and safely allows you to crank up the digital volume on your smartphone or DAP without painful consequences! This equals more music information being conveyed and gives you back those 2Bits and the full High Res music experience!
All smart devices use a digital volume control. The very nature of digital volume controls means that at normal 50% listening levels, the actual resolution is 14-Bits instead of 16-Bits!
If a source has (say) 114dB dynamic range and the Headphone is 30dB too loud, once the volume has been turned down 30dB the dynamic range is reduced to 84dB, or below CD quality, from what is an excellent result for a high-solution source.
Bye bye hiss
Hiss is very annoying when listening with headphones. This is caused by the mismatch between too much power from the smartphone/DAP when used with headphones which are high sensitivity.
The solution by IFI is to ‘attenuate’ or adjust the signal that cuts out the hiss and puts the enjoyment back into listening.'
High-Gain(-16dB) sensitivity adjustment
6N copper matrix wiring
Gold-plated printed circuit board with audiophile components (eg MELF resistors)
Gold-plated 3.5mm male/female connectors
Input Impedance: > 16 Ohm
Output Impedance: < 2.7 Ohms
Amplifier Loading: ~18 Ohm
conditions:16R headphone/iem connected < 1R Amplifier output impedance
Compatible Headphone impedance: 16 Ohm to 600 Ohm rated impedance
12.5 Ohm minimum impedance
Weight:Weight: 6.0 g
Total Length: 116mm
Warranty period: 12 months
iFi iEMatch review
iFi Ear Buddy review and impressions
When using the sensitive Campfire Audio Andromeda with CEntrances Hifi-M8 ( A device crowd designed on Head-fi back on the edge of Wild West of audio days) a noticeable hiss is detected.
Do take note though that the Hifi-M8 as you can see by the main plug jack was primary designed as power house for bigger cans. It was also hoped at the time it would also serve IEMs and had 3 gain settings, 3 output impedance settings. It was fine with many in ears but not for the more sensitive. Although once the music started playing it was often ok.
CEntrance at the time offered a service to make it more sensitive friendly also. Later they released the Mini-M8 which was more geared towards IEMs.
With any gain setting I experienced quite a noticeable hiss, I chose to use the Hifi-M8 for this very purpose, and the Andromeda. I am no hiss master like some people. But it is very audible in this case.
Again I chose this set up to rally check the iFi Ear Buddy.
I assembled the harshest conditions I could.
Enter the iFi Ear Buddy. It being essentially a stripped down iFi iEMatch (in my mind anyway).
Low gain, All ok. I maxed out the volume. Also I made sure I chose tracks which didn't already possess hiss in the actual recording.
Mid gain. still all good. No hiss detectable.
High gain. No hiss again. Only when I when to the very end of the volume pot to unlistenable levels was a small amount barely detectable.
The iFi Ear Buddy does reduce hiss to non-existent levels. A useful dongle for many a user.
The iFi ear Buddy is a useful tool If you experience hiss when using a dap, phone or dac/amp etc.
Its a simple device, but very effective in achieving what it purports to do.
I don`t know about the recovered 2Bits of resolution, as I am not an engineer and have no way to test it, but I trust the guys at iFi. I look forward to further experimentation with daps such as iBasso DX200 and Opus#2, and some TOTL earphones. More to come!
The iFi Ear Buddy simply performs as advertised.
Reducing hiss and hence allowing for enjoyable listening sessions.
No use stretching this review out and waxing lyrical over the iFi Ear Buddy. It works.
Thank you to iFi for sending Head pie the iFi Ear Buddy for review.