Experience with iFi SPDIF iPurifier2

The iFi Audio SPDIF iPurifier2 is a small devise designed to clean up jitter in digital signals on the DAC end of a coax cable. If you want galvanic isolation from the source, the iPurifier2 will convert the 75ohm digital signal to Toslink optical and can output that to your DAC’s Toslink input.

Why I got one: I recently purchased a used Chord QuteHD to replace the Arcam irDAC I had been using for quite some time, most recently fed by a Bluesound Node (V3) used mostly to serve PCM music files from mp3 up to 24/192 quality from an SSD. The two DACs are similar vintage, but when new, the QuteHD cost about 2.5x as much as the irDAC, and sounds that way to me (more on that). Although it sounded wonderful, the QuteHD was temperamental connecting to the Node via coax. I thought maybe there was a problem with the QuteHD, although Toslink and USB both worked terrific. Some research on the Bluesound website indicated other examples of Node difficulty handshaking with Chord Qutest, and one remedy was to use an iFi SPDIF iPurifier. Liking both the functionality and sound of the Node/QuteHD combo, I thought I would try the iPurifier as a relatively (but not super) cheap hack.

What happened first: The iPurifier2 fixed the handshaking issue between the Node and the QuteHD, but made the DAC sound like a layer of syrup had been poured over the music. The signature Chord detail, PRAT and dynamics were all taken down a notch. I checked the iPurifier with the irDAC in place of the QuteHD, and got the same effect, although maybe to a slightly lesser degree. There was a new smoothness to the sound, especially to voices, but I was not sold. Thinking I needed the iPurifier to make the Node/QuteHD combo actually work, I doubled down on iFi and bought their iPowerX power supply to replace the stock iPower supply, sort of grasping at straws at this point. I read on Agon where someone said that an lps improved the benefit from the iPurifier. I have three aftermarket lps in my system, with both the QuteHD and my ProJect phono presmp supplied by custom lps to good effect, and I have assembled five of the PCs used in my system, so I guess I am kind of a power geek. But now this “little hack” was starting to add up.

What happened next: Wow! The iPowerX changed everything for the iPurifier2 in my system for the better. The energy and dynamics of the music returned from the QuteHD, but now had a slightly more organic sound overall. Notes suddenly flowed from one to another in a very pleasing and natural way, and decays hung in the air for just the right length of time. Both male and female voices alone, in harmony and in chorus had great touch and body with little or no unnatural sibilance. ‘Laughing’ by David Crosby in 24/192 makes me stop doing everything and just listen. The detail, the micro and macro dynamics, the solid bass and the both broad and specifically articulated soundstage of the QuteHD supported by an MCRU linear power supply were now back, but everything was more three dimensional, like the music had new connective tissue holding every together and helping it all make more sense to my ears and brain. I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Conclusion: the iFi SPDIF iPurifier2 works great, but for me, only when used in association with the iFi iPowerX in place of the stock iPower supply. I was ready to send the iPurifier back until I tried their upgraded supply. I don’t have any other switching supplies in my system, with quality power cables all around and a dedicated AC supply circuit and power conditioning, so maybe it is all down to better capacitors in the iPowerX. Whatever, a device I added to just allow sound to come out of my system at all has improved my overall digital music experience significantly. I have experimented with taking the iPurifier2 out, and it’s not a fluke, each time I am motivated to put it back in immediately.

Final note: the funny thing is, the BNC adapter that came with the iPurifier fixed the handshake problem between the Node and Qute2, but I didn’t figure that out until I tried the pairing with the iPurifier2 supplied by the iPowerX. Happy accident.


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@lowrider57 yes, I am comparing three cables at various price points that were lent to me by a dealer.  There are clear differences, but I am giving each cable some time to warm up in my system until I get consistent results.  My initial impressions were somewhat surprising, more later.

Same as my iFi Micro iUSB-3.0 with upgrade iPower-X to replace the old first gen iPower. the effect is wow for me too. 

@knownothing good for you! So many people on here drop in a cable or component and sit right down to asses. For transparent/high resolution systems, 48hours of settling is safe and what I’ve tracked over and over. Heck, I can jostle or move a cable plugged in cable and bass extension will change for a day.