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iFi iPowerX Power Converter – Power Up The Lights

iFi iPowerX Power Converter – Power Up The Lights

 

 

iFi iPowerX is a high-quality power converter made for devices with the standard power plug (no laptops or anything very power consuming), and it relies on iFi’s proprietary tech to provide a better experience for music and this time around… lights. There’s absolutely nothing else I can compare it to, but I will be comparing it to the default power delivery the devices came with for every situation. iPowerX is priced at around 100 USD, and comes with plugs for every country on the planet earth (won’t work for Mars and Jupiter). 

 


 

 

 

Introduction

 

iFi has always been right at the edge of what could be considered snake oil, magic, and really nice scientific breakthroughs, but every single time they deliver one more unique piece of tech, they tend to add quite a bit of marketing to it, so it is quite hard to read between the lines on what everything is and what it delivers. Like with all my reviews on power tweaks and such, please take everything with a grain of salt, judge by yourself and don’t risk your money if you can’t afford to lose any.  For this review in particular I have relied a bit on reviews left by actual customers too, since I really want to be impartial and offer you the best overall view on what iFi products are and how they work. 

 

 

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with iFi Audio. I’d like to thank iFi for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with ifi iPowerX. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it. The purpose of this review is to help those interested in iFi iPowerX find their next music companion. 

 

 

Product Link

 

Did you know that you could help me feed my family and provide more and better, neutral and impartial reviews by using the purchase links I provide in my reviews? I would be really thankful if you would check them out, I work two jobs, and keeping up Audiophile-Heaven is a really heavy task for me, I had to skip meals in the past to afford to keep doing this, so please, if something is interesting and useful to you, feel free to use those links. Products will not be more expensive, and will most often offer the best deal you can get, as I try to find the best I can for you. Thank you!

 

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3B7pamU

 

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/3in4yPY

 

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3A0IHnA

 

 

Packaging

 

First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:

 

 

 

The package is one of those eco-friendly ones that iFi always has, and includes all of the plugs you could need to use iPowerX while traveling around the world (North Korea is yet to confirm, but should be ok for the other countries). 

 

 

There are adapters inside the package for USB Type-C, along with different plug sizes and shapes, so you don’t have to worry if your device has one of those non-standard connectors for power. 

 

 

 

 

I reviewed the iFi iPower in the past and that one comes with more accessories and is better equipped…

 

 

 

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Functionality

 

iFi has a thing for white devices, and iPowerX is fully white, with a white cord (does not match my desktop so well), but it has a solid construction, and iFi did indeed place better components inside than your run of the mill OEM power converter. You should keep in mind that at least if you’re attracted to computers you may have some kind of mental affliction, but you also probably know that you can’t build a high end PC with the cheapest PSU, or you’ll turn the entire thing into a smoke machine. Same rule should be applied to audio, and the default OEM power converters most devices come with are better at producing a spark and a fire in your house than converting power, so something like an upgrade is always welcome.

 

 

That being said, I have very few audio products that use an external power converter, and I would have higher chances of success testing iFi iPowerX with my router, as most of my audio products have inner power converter solutions so they don’t and won’t need this kind of power adapter (which by design usually is the weakest link in your chain). The best usage scenario I can find for the iPowerX is to use it with the Type-C adapter and use it with some DAC/AMPs like the Palab M1 Mini, which has separate plugs for power and data, and iPowerX should be more silent than your computer in providing power to it. 

 

Since I have the 5.V / 3A variant, it should have exactly the same power delivery as a USB plug, so it should be safe to use with any DAC/AMP that has a separate power input, especially in Type-C.

 

 

I tested it with a variety of equipment, including PALAB M1 Mini, but also my lights setup for my camera, I tried it with my recorders, and other DAC/AMPs, to see if it made any difference compared to the original power converter, or using my PC to power devices through the USB Cable.  

 

 

Audiosciencereviews are very unenthusiastic about iFi products, and it looks like measurements do not show a difference for your typical power filter, but it is also possible that measurement rigs are already pretty high quality and would have low noise floors. I like measurements but need much more money for equipment to start measuring if I am to ever try it.

 

The vast majority of customers are happy with it, and when you already spent over 1000 USD on a DAc/AMp, you can afford to lose 100 USD trying to filter the basic power converter out, as usually those come with really poor quality OEM power converters. I don’t want to believe either side, so let’s judge with the organ we’re trying to tickle here, the ear. 

 

 

 

Sound Quality

 

I would want to say that there is absolutely no difference in sonics and that every power converter sounds the same and close this review. But honestly, I can’t quite do that. It is true that we’re not exactly comparing apples to apples here, and that 100 USD is a price to pay for a power converter, but in the end I could notice some differences in the final audio reproduction when inserting iPowerX in the mix of DACs, even USB DACs. The biggest differences are audible with IEMs rather than headphones, and especially with IEMS that have a very low impedance and high SPL. The higher the impedance and lower the SPL, the less likely you’re to notice the differences from your everyday power converter. 

 

 

The largest difference is by far with the background, where with certain DAC/AMPs you can hear a slight noise always happening in the background, especially at really loud volumes, and that becomes more silent with iPowerX. I can also talk about something like a blacker background, and what seems to be more control at high volumes, especially in very dynamic and contrasty passages in music. I can’t say I would notice it all the same at low volumes, at least if I wasn’t looking for it. But if you really focus, you can hear some differences at low volumes too, where iPowerX seems to bring out more contrast and more dynamics in music, more detail. 

 

While scientifically I can’t quite measure it (I don’t have the equipment), the differences are all there. I can’t say I noticed any differences when inserting it in my lights system, but the main reason for this might be that I’m not using a very cheap lights system, and it does not flicker by default. I trust ifi on their word that iPowerX can solve flickering lights issue if you have a cheap or dying power converter, but at least with my setup, I could notice it more with double listening blind tests. I can guarantee for sure that if I’m doing the USB Type-C cable trick and connecting the same DAC/AMP, iPowerX is far more silent than using the Power brick converter from my Xiaomi and Black Shark phones, and those are extremely noisy and introduce an audible amount of noise. My computer is not as noisy and the differences are smaller. 

 

 

 

 

To sum up the differences in sonics, and what you can expect if inserting something like iPowerX in your sonic chain, you can expect more dynamics, better highlight of dynamics, more contrasty passages, and a cleaner sound with less background noise. It won’t add any detail that isn’t there, and it won’t change the tuning, sonics, or signature of your DAC/AMP. It can help refine it a bit. It surely can work better than a dead PSU, and if your power supply of your device died, especially soon after you bought it, maybe go for something of a higher quality instead of purchasing the same power converter for about the same price. 

 

 

 

Value and Conclusion

 

At the end of the day, I don’t want and won’t recommend iPowerX as a high value item, because at 100 USD, it is quite pricey, and because ifi includes it for free with their Zen Can on Drop, and that sells for 250 USD, if you’re willing to wait for one. So it ain’t exactly sunshine and butterflies in terms of value. But it is a solid power converter that I don’t have to worry will burn my other equipment, and it can improve the sonics a bit. If you’re currently powering any audio rig / setup from a smartphone power brick, changes will be huge. If your computer has an entry-level motherboard, changes will be huge. 

 

 

I know iFi would have wished for me to not afford a higher end computer motherboard, because the older one I had, the one I had when reviewing the iFi iPower the original, was extremely noisy, and the case USB plugs also were extremely noisy, so the differences were much higher while testing. With every upgrade on the other components, I am noticing less improvements from tweaks, but that’s not something negative, it just means that everyone is doing a good job with their product. And that is a positive thing. 

 

 

But at the end of the day, iFi did deliver on their promises, they do deliver a power converter that has audible effects on most setups and which should improve your system, even if just a tiny bit, and since power converters are usually the cheapest lowest quality parts of any package you purchase, iFi’s iPowerX should be able to help quite a bit. Especially if you have a low end PC, the differences will be higher if using iPowerX to power your DAC/AMP than if using your computer’s USB ports. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

Did you know that you could help me feed my family and provide more and better, neutral and impartial reviews by using the purchase links I provide in my reviews? I would be really thankful if you would check them out, I work two jobs, and keeping up Audiophile-Heaven is a really heavy task for me, I had to skip meals in the past to afford to keep doing this, so please, if something is interesting and useful to you, feel free to use those links. Products will not be more expensive, and will most often offer the best deal you can get, as I try to find the best I can for you. Thank you!

 

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3B7pamU

 

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/3in4yPY

 

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3A0IHnA

 

 

 



 

 

 

— Please remember to stay safe, and always have fun while listening to music!—

 

 

 

 

 

Full Playlist used for this review

 

 

 

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.  PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!

 

If you have a dime to spare (donate), it would make my day much brighter, as it would help me improve things around the website and increase the frequency of my posts.

 

Youtube Playlist

 

 

Tidal Playlist

 

https://listen.tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

 

 

 

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