Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an optimal settings for headphones?
As a rule, the power mode for the iDSD micro which places the volume control at around 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock with a given headphone offers:

  • Maximum Class A power, before switching to Class B
  • Lowest measured distortion
  • Lowest noise

If it not possible to get the correct loudness using Eco and iEMatch will keep the noise levels under control and generally distortion levels will remain low.

Some of our customers seem to prefer the sound of the iDSD micro with more distortion added. Due to the nature of the power-amplifier, if not operated at clipping, the distortion will be very "tube like".

Example: Selecting Turbo Mode and using iEMatch they create a lot of tube-like distortion, similar to (say) a very mild setting on a guitar distortion pedal.


Generally we do not recommend to combine iEMatch and Turbo, as it could damage the resistors in the iEMatch network, though so far we have not encountered such a case.

In the end the choice between a crystal clear, very low distortion Class A solid state sound or a more tube-like more distorted but subjectively warmer sound is up to the user.

Further reading:

Question: If I use the iCan Micro, will it help to get more out of the iDSD Micro, since its Class A? 

  • The iCan Micro is on a fundamental level similar to the headphone amplifier in the iDSD Micro operated in "Normal" mode in terms of power etc, but it enjoys a far more elaborate design with much more complex and much higher capacitance power supplies. In addition the actual gain stage is fully discrete using our TubeState circuit. This is not a "discrete op-amp", but a radically different structure, which ultimately is designed to deliver tube sound from solid state, but not by generating a lot of even/low order distortion the way many tube emulators do, but by making the circuit electrically close to tube circuitry in many other areas, while retaining low harmonic distortion.

  • As a result of this the iCan Micro is a better headphone amplifier than that found in the iDSD Micro.


 Last updated Thu, Jul 6 2017 2:26pm

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