iFi USB Power + iFi iLink USB Converter

Hi all,

Just to share my personal experience when I added these 2 little components from iFi(whose parent company is AMR, UK).

The Usb Power cleans up ac noise from the computer with a dc battery. It is a clever device that splits the power and the audio signal via a twin-headed usb cable called the Gemini.

From here the audio signal is routed thru the iLink usb converter to the coax input of the dac section of my Esoteric K-01 player.

What can I say? Hi-rez never sounded so good before and indeed hi-rez downloads so far have trumped redbook playback of the same music via the K-01's transport.

The 192/24 download of Kind of Blue is a notable example. So is Herbie Hancock's River in 96/24 format.

It is clear that the K-01's coax input for hi-rez is way better than the usb input. We have heard about spdif being plaqued with jitter. To minimise jitter the iLink has a jitter elimination switch which the instruction manual advises that it be left on all the time.

Here's a summary of the connections :-

Windows 7 PC with JRiver v17 -> Oyaide usb cable -> usbPower -> Gemini twin-headed usb cable > iLink usb converter -> Oyaide BNC digital cable -> coax input of K-01.

All these are added at half the price of the Bel Canto RefLink.

K-01 owners owe it to themselves to try these products for a most revelatory intro into hi-rez audio.

Happy listening thru the 12 days of X'mas!
Thank you JonJon. I've been planning on trying out these same components. Did you try a regular USB cable instead of the Gemini? I am curious how much difference that cable makes.

Hi Tboooe,

Yes, I did compare the Gemini with the Oyaide usb cable which was the original cable between the PC and the K-01. It was indeed a night and day difference. Every sonic parameter was bettered with the Gemini.

Hi all,

Just a cautionary note to all K-01 owners thinking of getting seriously into hi-rez audio with the above set-up.

If you still have JRiver MC 17, please keep it. Do not, repeat, do not upgrade to MC 19. I downloaded MC 19 to see if I could get any sonic improvement over MC17. Well, I did not but worse, the sound deteriorated. Also, keep away from JPlay which made things sound muffled and totally lost. All the magic simply went out the window with JPlay and/or MC19.

When you hook up the iFi iLink, the required driver from AMR is Wasapi-based and that is how the K-01 likes it too. JPlay requires that you switch to ASIO and that's where the incompatibility arises.

So, for the most glorious audio you can extract from your K-01, hi-rez is the way to go, and MC17 with the iFi set-up above is for now the best way to go.

Happy New Year! Cheers!
I owe all K-01 owners my most humble apologies as I put out an addendum to my last post.

Here's what I have found out just now.

The K-01 now supports Windows 8 with the new driver downloadable from the Esoteric website.

After installing this and JRiver MC19 in my Windows 8 laptop with 12 GB RAM, I then installed the AMR driver for the iLink.

And now playing hi-rez thru MC 19 with the iFi set-up and coax into the K-01 as above, I must say Windows 8(plus more RAM now) with MC 19 sounds a whole lot better than MC 17. MC 19 also supports both Wasapi and ASIO output modes for the AMR driver which MC 17 did not, so it will only be a matter of time before I try out JPlay again.

But for the time being, I am at a much higher plane in audio heaven and will stay there for quite a while yet.