Review: iFi Audio iSilencer 3.0
Firstly I would like to thank iFi Audio for loaning me this device for review, I do not think it benefits from burn-in but nonetheless it has been used for well over 100hrs.
Gear Used: HP Laptop / Dell desktop > iSilencer 3.0 > JDS Labs OL DAC / Topping D30 > JDS Labs O2 / Topping A30 / S.M.S.L SA-50 > 64 Audio U6 / Noble Sage / Grado SR60e / Denon SC-M50
Packaging and Build quality:
The iSilencer 3.0 comes in a very small white iFi branded box, the box has info and specs on the back. It is small, simple and attractive in the typical iFi styling. The iSilencer 3.0 is held in a foam insert inside the box.
The iSilencer 3.0 is very well made, both USB sockets are sturdy and tight, the outer plastic casing is covered in a soft rubber like material. There is a small LED light on it that shows it is on, and there is nothing on it that can really go wrong.
What it does:
The iSilencer 3.0 has a standard female USB on one end, and male USB on the other. It is designed to go before your cable as it plugs into your PC, it is slim in size so does not interfere with other USB cables that may be plugged in next to it.
According to iFi it has the following features:
1. Active Noise Cancellation® technology
2. Reduce jitter + packet errors
3. REbalance® the USB signal
4. USB3.0 technology for optimal transfer
Also iFi state that it doesn’t just work on the port you have it plugged into due to most USB boards sharing the same power BUS. Also if you have 2 iSilencer 3.0’s it will double the noise reduction.
The iSilencer 3.0 is not designed to alter the sound, it is designed to reduce noise from USB ports which is a real issue when it comes to audio playback. Now I do not find myself having too many noise issues with my setup, but there is always room for improvement. The iSilencer 3.0 is less than £50 and fixes a very real issue, the sound becomes better separated with a quieter background, and I found that it almost made it sound like there was better dynamic range.
Details became a tiny bit more apparent and there was a more focussed image and soundstage. Now these differences are not night and day, they are very subtle in my system. Your mileage may vary as it all depends on how noisy your USB ports are, but even with fairly clean ones this little device can bring a slight improvement.
Conclusion: I’m not going to say the iSilencer 3.0 is a magical device that will solve all your USB issues, but to reduce jitter and noise in a small form factor for a great price, the iSilencer 3.0 is well worth looking in to. It is well built, backed up by excellent support and customer service from a company that knows what they are doing. For £49 it is less than some audiophile USB cables, and will likely bring more improvement.
Sound Perfection Rating: 10/10 (helps reduce USB noise for a very reasonable price)