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AMR / iFi announce iLink USB to S/PDIF converter

  • iFi Micro are about to add another unit to their already excellent Micro range. This time it’s a USB-S/PDIF converter called the iLink.

    According to the press release they “analysed the complete transmission/conversion process.”  Two new (trademarked) technologies – Super Digital Output® and Jitter Elimination Technology JET® have been deployed within the iLink recipe in order to best combat jitter. The USB input handles up to 24/192 data asynchronously.

    iFi are boasting output jitter measurements that best Empirical Audio’s Off-Ramp:


    If my superb listening experiences with the iUSBPower and iPhono (coming in TONEAudio 55) are anything to go by, the iLink will be a real winner, especially at its US$249 price point.  Australian pricing to follow.  Australian price will be AU$299.

    Further Information:  iFi iLink

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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    1. Curious to hear how it compares to the Wrd4sound uLink, especially running the uLink on battery. I switched from using my Transporter as the front end to using JRiver > uLink > Gungnir. Wow! large upgrade in sound! Got to love this new digital revolution we in the midst of!

    2. I’m thinking of using it in the following way:

      Computer > J.River > iFi iUSB > iFi iLINK > Eichman Silver Bulet RCA Cable> Schiit Gungnir.

      Will let you know how it sounds versus a Glass Optical Cable. So far i could tell Glass Optical sounds better than Optical, which sounds better than USB.

      – Artemis Cables

      • So is it better than the optical cable?

        Has anyone tried this against the empirical off ramp?


    3. To Nev,
      Yes, it is much better than both plastic and glass fiber optical cables. There is much more transparency which is a word to describe how life-like is sounds or “analog”.
      The empirical off ramp 5 sounds a little more pronounced and analog, then again, it’s 4 times the cost.
      The Offramp 5 outputs AES/EBU, l2S, and BNC which are better than the Digital RCA Out on the iLink as RCA’s are not true 75 ohm due to size. Even if using Canare 75 ohm connectors, regardless of how 75ohm the coax is, once it hits the center pin it is no longer at the ideal 75 Ohms.

      I currently have two iLink’s and will compare them to the empirical audio 5.
      One iLink i will leave the RCA’s while the other is modded with a 75 Ohm BNC Output Jack. Will see if the BNC jack improves it further.
      The digital cable used for testing is the Oyaide DB-510.


      Timothy of Artemis Cables

    4. Thanks for the great update Tim. Look forward to your results against the Off ramp normal and modded with the BNC outlet.

    5. Nev,

      After the mod there were no sonic differences but according to iFi it most likely will do worst than the original RCA’s.

      “The reason is that we have fine-tuned the drive circuit to offer optimum performance with the original RCA connectors and this means the connectors parameters are part of the tuning, thus I would have expected them to make the performance worse”

      Anyway, now using both of the iLinks (whichever one, bnc, rca), they’re as good as the Empirical Offramp, IMO. Both sound stellar and much better than the Bel Canto uLink that i just sold. Much more analog/transparent than optical or straight up USB connection. I highly recommend the Off-Ramp 5 and iFi iLink, but of course more in favor for the iLink due to low budget concerns yet getting likewise performance.
      Save the extra money and pair it the iUSB for even better performance. 0.1uV, less than 1 micron digit of noise is what the iUSB outputs which is incredibly quiet and would make the iLink shine even more.


    6. Thanks Tim for the detailed reply. Clearly you have assisted to make my mind up and trial the ilink with the iUSB.

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