The iDefender+ is a more specialised USB audio device, specifically designed to tackle ground (or earth) loops that can cause real issues with some computer-based systems, typically resulting in an irritating buzz or hum from the speakers. When plugged into the source device’s USB socket, the iDefender+ detects whether there is a ground loop problem, caused by the presence of multiple earths that add noise. It breaks the ground loop by ‘intelligently’ disconnecting the computer’s earth; as well as eradicating audible ground-loop hum it lowers the system noise floor, improving resolution and dynamic contrast. When used with a DAC that relies on USB power from a computer, rather than power from the mains or a built-in battery, the iDefender+ offers an additional benefit. If an external power supply is plugged into the USB-C socket on its side, it blocks power from the computer and instead feeds the DAC with power from the external supply; if a high-quality, low-noise power adapter such as iFi’s iPower is used, the performance of the USB DAC will be significantly improved. Like the iSilencer+, the iDefender+ upgrades the performance of the outgoing iDefender3.0 with the addition of low-ESR Tantalum capacitors for input and output filtering. It, too, is available in three versions to suit the connected equipment – USB-A to USB-A, USB-C to USB-A, and USB-C to USB-C. Again, the USB3.0 and USB2.0 standards are supported and the connectors are gold plated.
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