iFi Audio iEMatch Headphone Travel Accessory

Average User Rating:
3.375/5,
  1. NaiveSound
    1.0/5,
    "Ifi iematch"
    Pros - None
    Cons - Sound quality takes a hit
    Just a garbage product all over., hinders audio quality, it removes hiss from sources when played with sensitive iems/hp. But at a great cost to audio quality, this isn't a solution, it's trash. There are other attenuators but this one at least looks ok. In hifi... Any performance improvement is great, this does thr opposite, I returned it the first day
  2. ExpatinJapan
    4.0/5,
    "An ifi iEMatch made in Heaven"
    Pros - Decreases hiss, increases dynamics, solves impedance issues.
    Cons - An additional dongle.
    Ifi IEMatch Review And Impressions - Expatinjapan

    ifi iEMatch review
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    ifi iEMatch review
    -expatinjapan

    ifi iEMatch! What does it do? No one seems to know.
    Its like some magical unicorn that lurks about on Groundhog day spreading glitter upon the Earth.
    so lets find out.

    The ifi website explains it quite thoroughly though:
    http://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/accessory-iematch/

    `The iEMatch® solves the bane of headphone listening by removing hiss and improving dynamics. As most IEMs and headphones are too loud at even half the volume level, listening enjoyment is always curtailed. No more with the iEMatch® in the signal path.
    Use the iEMatch® when the headphones/in-ear monitor (IEM) is either too loud and/or there is excessive hiss from the music source. From Smartphones to airplane in-flight entertainment systems, powerful headphone amplifiers, the iEMatch® improves musical enjoyment by:
    1. Background noise – significantly reduced
    2. Dynamic range – more open, transparent
    3. Volume control – increased usable range
    The solution? Add the iEMatch® in-between the headphone and the amplifier. Set to high or ultra-sensitivity, sit back and enjoy the music.`

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    At times due to the over use of ifi website quotes this `review` may read more like a promotion piece.
    My apologies, the source material explained much more concisely and clearly the intended use and aim of the iEMatch device.

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    Specifications:

    Ultra (-24dB)& High-Gain(-12dB) sensitivity adjustment
    TRRS-Balanced® for Single-Ended and Balanced operation
    6N silver/copper matrix wiring with FINAL 6063-T5 aluminium-magnesium alloy shell
    Gold-plated printed circuit board with audiophile components (eg MELF resistors)
    Gold-plated 3.5mm male/female connectors
    Input Impedance: > 16 Ohm
    Output Impedance: < 2.5 Ohms (High-Sensitivity) < 1 Ohms (Ultra-Sensitivity)
    Compatible Headphone impedance: 16 Ohm to 600 Ohm rated impedance
    12.5 Ohm minimum impedance
    Weight: 12.2g
    Total Length : 116mm
    Whats in the box?


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    Quote: `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.`

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    Quote: `Included in the iEMatch® packaging are; a velvet pouch, gold-plated airplane adapter and memory-foam contoured ear plugs (-37dB) for peace and quiet when traveling.`

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    Balanced or Single-Ended for 3.5mm

    Explanation via the ifi website:
    `AMR/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.
    There is only ONE option that makes sense, in a commonsensical context. 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 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.`

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    Sensitivity can be set to High sensitivity (2.5 Ohms) or Ultra sensitivity (1Ohms) output impedance.
    High or Ultra Sensitivity
    Explanation via the ifi website:
    `When listening to music, ‘better dynamics’ is preferable. Or more precisely, a wider ‘Dynamic Range*’ 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.
    *Defined as the difference between the maximum usable sound level and background noise level. Usually, a higher ‘dynamic range is better’ as there is more music to enjoy and less noise to annoy.
    Having very sensitive (very loud) headphones means both the self-noise of the source AND the sound level is boosted. This is far from desirable. And to add insult to injury, the sound volume must be reduced to get comfortable listening levels. What is left is more noise and less dynamic range!
    Technical example:
    If a source has (say) 114dB dynamic range and the Headphone is 30dB too loud, once the volume has been turned down 30dB the dynamic range is reduced to 84dB, or below CD quality, from what is an excellent result for a high-solution source.
    With Headphones, especially those that significantly reduce background noise (IEM, noise-reducing etc) excessive levels of electronic background noise quickly become annoying, so noise should always be kept as low as possible.
    It literally defeats the object of building a system around an expensive high-resolution headphone amplifier when the volume must be backed off so much that the resulting background noise is so high, quality is reduced to below CD or MP3 audio quality.

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    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.`

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    Does it work?
    It most certainly does. I tried it with a number of earphones that I have that are more sensitive than others.
    Although I am not a hiss master like my friend Nathan of Ohm Image, I can still pick up on it.
    The Andromeda some find have a bit of hiss at times which often seems largely source dependent.
    I decided as my main experiment I was going to use the CEntrance Hifi-M8 which was originally designed as an all rounder but packed the power for even full sized headphones (CEntrance later released the Mini-M8 which was more designed to cater to IEM users).

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    The CEntrance Hifi-M8 later added an option to have the gain lowered to meet the needs of IEM users. I was able to do this with my ipod touch and Flacplayer app which has a gain option, although at the time I had mainly headphones and DD earphones.


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    I demoed several earphones and choose the CEntrance Hifi-M8 as it can be tricky with some IEMs that are of the balanced armature type.
    Most Daps these days have a lower floor noise. I did do some brief testing with the iBasso DX200, Opus#3, Hifiman MegaMini and Opus#2. And although the iEMatch performed successfully as expected, it wasnt as needed on these particular daps as much as some other devices would.
    I tested with a range of earphones: Campfire Audio Andromeda, Nova, Jupiter, Dorado, advanced AcousticWerkes W300U, Jomo 6R and Jomo PLB, iBasso IT03.
    I used a variety of cables, stock and after market of the single ended 3.5mm kind.
    As already noted the iEMatch performed as promised, reducing hiss, improved the possible overall dynamics in some cases and gave more space on the volume pot.

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    Value
    The ifi iEMatch retails at around US$49. Which is a nice price I think for this device.
    definitely affordable.
    It certainly comes in handy when using devices that have a higher output impedance which rips the intended sonic signature of multi driver BA IEMs to bits, and often causes an accompanying hiss.
    Also it does what it states:
    `The iEMatch® solves the bane of headphone listening by removing hiss and improving dynamics`
    Its an elegant solution to a common problem, and at an affordable price.

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    Overall
    The iEMatch although seemingly a simple device simply solves many possible issues that a listener made face in an easy and (once again) simple matter, although the device itself is not mere simple piece of design and manufacturing.
    This `review` quotes a lot from ifi website and at times reads like a unpaid promotion of the device. This is merely that it was the easiest way to communicate to you the reader what this device is, what is does and how it works.
    And does it work as intended? yes, a simple and elegant solution for many problems that plagues the usual audiophile, especially the ones who have portable rigs and sensitive in ears.

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    Thank you to ifi for sending Head pie the ifi iEMatch for review
  3. MikePortnoy
    4.0/5,
    "IFI Audio iEMatch Review"
    Pros - Eliminates hiss, no significant change in sound
    Cons - Switches could be stronger
    Introduction:
     
    The IFI is a co-brand of AMR Audio that is known by its famous audio gears such as DP-777. They produce many different audio components: digital audio converters, amplifications, speakers, cables, and active noise cancelation units. The IFI provides four main product lines: Nano, Micro, Retro and Pro. In the Nano Line, there are smaller units compared to the Micro Line. In the Pro Line, they offer Pro iCAN tube amplifier and there are stereo components in the Retro Line. IPurifier2, Gemini and Mercury cables that are included to this review can be seen in the accessories and power sections in the IFI website. 
     
    The IFI provides a large product range most of which are multi-functional with multiple outputs and inputs. It is highly possible to find beneficial and cheap solutions to close the gaps of the portable systems. As we all know, a system is no stronger than its weakest part. 
     
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    IFI IEMatch:
     
    IEMatch is one of the IFI’s newest units. According to the company, it removes hiss and provides a more dynamic presentation. 
     
    It offers a balanced plug that allows using it on sources that have balanced outputs. In addition, there is a switch on the plug for a range of output style from single ended to balanced. 
     
    On the male part of IEMatch, there is a 3.5 input and a sensitivity switch. When IEMatch is plugged to the source, earphones may need more driving power due tothe extra resistance created by IEMatch. On the ultra mode that is suitable for very high sensitive earphones, some smartphones may not reach enough loudness and driving power due to too increased ohm value. On the other hand, that wouldn't be problem for sources that are already very powerful such as desktop amps. 
     
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    The plug and the male part of IEMatch have an aluminum body, but the switches might be a little stronger. According to the website, IFI utilizes silver-copper conductors for a better sound transmission. 
     
    In the package, there are a soft carrying case, an airplane adapter, and earplugs. In this regard, IFI offers rich accessories for those who frequently travel via airplane. 
     
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    I tested IFI IEMatch on Chord Hugo, Lotoo Paw Gold, and IPhone 6. The tests maintain similar results; IEMatch relatively eliminates hiss arising out of the source with a slight change in the sound. 
     
    Some results from different custom monitors:
     
    Please note that the differences are not significant.
     
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    Westone ES60: The space around instruments becomes cleaner by a small margin. 
     
    HUM Pristine: The midrange becomes a little laid-back. 
     
    Noble Audio Katana: The mid-bass now has more control. 
     
    AAW W500 AHMorph: The high frequency becomes smoother and sub-bass is slightly tighter. The space around instruments becomes cleaner. 
     
     
    Final Words:
     
    IFI IEMatch is a nice travel accessory that can be purchased for $49. It is easy to use and can be considered as a daily unit. Although it increases the resistance by a significant value, it eliminates hiss considerably. Please check the IFI website for more information about IEMatch.    
    EagleWings likes this.
  4. Hisoundfi
    4.5/5,
    "Eliminate background hiss, EMI and source mismatches with the iEMatch from iFi"
    Pros - Eliminates the need to own several impedance adapters, Runs inline with sources and earphones, Incredibly smart design, Easy to use
    Cons - No adapter for 2.5 mm balanced TRRS
    As the rabbit hole of summit-fi in-ear monitors gets deeper and deeper, I find myself encountering the same issues over and over. Most of the high end multiple armature driver in-ear monitors in today’s market are incredibly sensitive. What happens as a result is many of these earphones have a background hiss or will pick up digital noise. It can get really annoying, especially when trying to use an earphone of this type (or any other sensitive earphone for that matter) with our favorite portable sources like DAPs, and portable DAC/Amplifiers. If we are going to shell out large amounts of cash on a high end earphone, we don’t want to be burdened by background noise, right?​
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    One of the ways to address this is with impedance adapters. Different adapters are currently sold in various impedances. Although it does help (and basically does what I’m about to cover in this review) there are drawbacks to this. First and foremost, when dealing with different impedances, the sound of our favorite in-ear monitors can change with the impedance adapter used. Second, different impedance adapters can not only impact the sound differently, it ends up being a specialized case for many of our earphone and source matchups. This means that people with several sources and earphones need to own and use several different impedance adapters. ​
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    I personally lean towards simplicity in my audio chain. I see some of the rigs on Head-Fi and shake my head at some of the portable set-ups I see. In my opinion, if you need a wheelbarrow or backpack for your portable rig I don’t consider it portable.The less stuff you have to stuff in my pocket the better. That includes impedance adapters. The folks at iFi have recognized the issue and brought to market a device that makes a lot of sense. Introducing the iEMatch from iFi. ​
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    The package contains a velvet carrying case that is big enough to hold your iEMatch, the included airline jack and earplugs, and possibly a pair or two of in-ear monitors (not included). ​
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    The iEMatch is not some revolutionary technological advancement, but I find it to be a great companion for earphone enthusiasts like myself. It’s an inline chain that eliminates the need to use various impedance adapters. ​
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    Have a sensitive pair of earphones that picks up background noise from whatever source you want to use them with? Its as easy as plugging the device into your source’s jack and using it as a bridge from the source to your earphone, then using the switches to dial in the type of source you’re using, and resistance needed to use your earphone without signal noise. ​
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    iEMatch has two switches. The first one is to adjust from High sensitivity to Ultra sensitivity (pretty self explanatory). I’m happy to say that the iEMatch was able to address issues with EVERY pair of in-ear monitor and portable source I used. With the iEMatch, picking out a source and earphone has become a much easier task. I can grab what I want to use for the day and go. As long as I have the iEMatch, the issues of background hiss and EMI are eliminated. Just for the record, the ieMatch also works with most desktop rigs as well. Most importantly, the iEMatch didn't significantly alter the sound like some impracticly applied impedance adapters do. With the flip of a switch I can dial it in and find the right setting to eliminate signal noise without significantly altering the sound of my sensitive earphones. ​
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    The other switch is to switch the jack (that plugs into the source) from 3.5mm balanced TRRS to standard 3.5 mm TRS. That’s right, you can use your earphone with a 3.5 mm balanced source. While I find this to be a nice touch, I wish iFi would have figured out a way to also use the device with a 2.5 mm balanced jack as well. As it stands, a majority of sources in today’s market uses 2.5 mm balanced TRRS as opposed to the 3.5 mm TRRS application. ​
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    The iEMatch can be purchased on Amazon market for $49 USD. While it does come in at a higher price than a few impedance adapters, this is a convenient product that will be a must have for those of us who have several in-ear monitors. I have already mentioned this device in several reviews. It addresses one of the main gripes people have for sensitive earphones. Many TOTL earphone manufacturers are already including them with the sale of their low impedance earphones. Here is a link for more information and purchase:​
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    Thanks for reading and happy listening!​
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    Fiio X7, AM3 Amplifier Module, iFi iEMatch, Noble K10E Encore Universal

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