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When listening to music, ‘better dynamics’ are always preferable. More precisely, a wider ‘Dynamic Range’(The dynamic range being the delta between the maximum usable sound level and background noise levels. A higher dynamic range is better as it means the background noise levels are significantly lower), to allow the full openness of a recording; from the upper treble of a cymbal to the deepest bass rumble of a kettle drum to shine through.
Having very sensitive (very loud) headphones means both the background noise of the source AND the sound level is boosted. The sound volume must hence be reduced to get comfortable listening levels as we are left with more noise and less dynamic range. Thus with such sensitive headphones/earphones, the aim is to keep the background noise as low as possible.
It defeats the object of building a system around an expensive high-resolution headphone amplifier when the volume must be backed off so much due to the resulting background noise, which hurts the quality, reducing to below CD or MP3 audio quality.
By using iEMatch® one can reclaim 12 or 24dB lost dynamic range; as needed to get the most enjoyment from the source; from modern high-resolution recordings down to MP3, the difference is there to be heard.
iFi would like to use the iEMatch® to introduce its proposed new industry standard for single-ended or balanced operation. The 3.5 TRRS-Balanced headphone jack. The 3.5mm TRRS Jack is widely adopted in Smartphones and connectors, both plugs and sockets are easily available. Having 4 connections (like the 4-pin XLR), it is ideal for balanced headphones.
Headphones may be fitted with the TRRS Jack and a switch to alternate between unbalanced mode (even with microphone) for direct connection to a Smartphone and to balanced mode for use with suitably-equipped DAP/DAC/Headphone Amplifiers.
The ‘TRRS-Balanced®’ system by iFi provides a way to select the TRRS plug to offer either a balanced connection or a single-ended one.
The iEMatch® uses 3.5mm TRRS connections on both ends and is fully-balanced, so it takes full advantage of the balanced wiring in suitably-equipped headphones.
If the attached headphone is single-ended without microphone, iEMatch® is automatically converted to unbalanced operation. For any unbalanced source with a microphone connection or any unbalanced headphone with a microphone, simply switch the TRRS-Balanced® selector to ‘SE’ and convert iEMatch® to unbalanced operation.
The iEMatch® is packed using premium components from 6063-TS aluminium –magnesium alloy through to the signal transfer cable which is a 6N silver copper matrix.
The whole is even better than the sum of the parts – it just makes for the most transparent, enjoyment of music.
Included in the iEMatch® packgaging are; a velvet pouch, gold-plated airplane adapter and memory-foam contoured ear plugs (-37dB) for peace and quiet when travelling.
I Listen to IEMs at low volume for most of the day, so dynamic range at low volume is extremely important to me. My Kaiser encores however turned out to be hiss prone out of even supposedly silent sources like the chord mojo. Got the IFI IEMatch to attenuate the noise and it works like a charm. On the ultra sensitive setting it changes the output impedance of the device(Mojo) to 1Ohm and this doesn't seem to effect the sonic character of the kaiser encores, so I'm happy with the purchase. I'm more apprehensive about using the IEmatch with my campfire andromedas, which are very sensitive to output impedance and are hiss monsters in their own right, will see if there is synergy between them.