Destroyed 3 DACs from iFi cause of Static Dischrage, need help

Yea sadly I don’t have any other metal bodied headphones. I do have 2 IEMs which have a metal jacket. And I do get static shocks on them as well from time to time. But I’ve rarely used them with my DAC, mostly I use them with my phone or laptop.
Also, I can’t really afford to “test” wether it happens with other metal bodied headphones/IEMs, cause…obviously I don’t wanna blow another one up ( ╹▽╹ )

By deduction, I agree with other statements.

The culprit is either metal bodied cans or the Sundara specifically. Blowing up another unit just to find out is not optimal…

I guess I would just my other headphones :man_shrugging:

Or the ifi products? I’m a pretty static guy (read “electronukes my phone”) and I’m daily driving Sundara’s. I’ve zapped it quite a few times while it was attached to my SMSL SH-9. Both are in perfect working order still…

I suppose the iFi products could be the culprit as well but they’re not exactly known to have these sort of failures. And 3 of them in a row? Not likely.

This is also the first time I’ve heard Sundara’s are to blame for blowing up amp’s and yet nobody seems to have an issue pointing the finger there without any evidence…

I guess it’s because ifi is English and Hifiman is China?

I have contacted the retailer through which I bought my DACs and Sundara, they have assured me that I’ll get my unit replaced (again) and this time they’ll take a deeper look into the issue. I’ve notified them about the whole scenario, and they mentioned that they haven’t ever seen anyone else burn 3 DACs in a row. They did say that it’s highly unlikely that Sundara is to blame for it, and according to the feedback they have received from all the users who purchased iFi products from them, they haven’t had any complaints like mine, even those who are using Sundaras along with iFi DACs and amps.
A short circuit is highly unlikely as well because if that were to happen 1. It would destroy the DAC the moment it was plugged in, and not after a month of use like in the first incident.
2. I would hear absolutely no sound as the short circuit would bypass the signal from the drivers to the ground. (electric current prefers the lowest resistance path, and when there is a short circuit, the driver becomes a very high impedance path compared to the short)

No. It’s because the likelihood of ONE bad headphone is much greater than THREE bad amps.

But thanks for making this political.

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Yikes, this is kinda… Well I’m just struggling to find a solution. I am not saying the 3 DACs were bad, cause how can I get 3 bad ones in a row, right? Or maybe I just have terrible luck, the probability is really low but it is still a non-zero probability of getting 3 faulty DACs in a row. Secondly, even though the Sundara seems to be at fault here, but it’s not based on facts and figures, I (or we if we include the people in the forum as well) are assuming so because it is the lone suspect in all the 3 cases. Still, I’m reluctant to blame it on the Sundara because if that were the case, why did my other dongle DACs, my motherboard’s onboard DAC and my phone as well didn’t get fried when I used the Sundara with them for about a month while my iFi DAC was gone? The how and why is kind of important here. Why exactly this combo is giving issues. For if I can come to a conclusion about that, I might decide to buy a different DAC altogether. Or maybe buy a dedicated amp and DAC setup instead of a single unit.

Did you ever contact ifi? Their engineers should be able to give insight on how possible it is to fry the DAC with a static discharge to the headphone output.

Yes I did, they gave me some general guidelines for grounding and such. But nothing more for now. My support ticket is still open and they said they will get back to me soon

Hi OP,

Can you please open a support ticket with us here? (and not just your retailer, which we appreciate you doing and are glad they are supporting you!) This does not seem to be caused by our products as this is so rare and not something we see commonly come through in returns or our tickets.

We’ll be happy to go through this with you and diagnose the cause whether it be our products or something specific to your system!

Hello @sebastien_chiu_iFi

Do you have any gut guesses as to what might be causing this?

do you happen to work for Hifiman?

This had nothing to do with politics. And you are right, there is one headphone and three amps. But they are all three from the same manufacturer and I’m just tired of the “let’s look at where a manufacturer is from” approach to judging what brand is quality and what brand is shit. Made in America does not mean good and made in China does not mean bad. Nor the other way around.

Look at what @sebastien_chiu_iFi does.
Even if it’s unlikely to be their stuff, he’s willing to see IF it is? He works for iFi (if I understand correctly) and he can see there is a chance it’s their system. That’s honestly great to see :slight_smile:

I guess I’m weird for not understanding @l0rdm0rd 's “Blame Hifiman because it’s Chinese” rampage. Maybe he’s right and I’m wrong and Hifiman is a crappy Chinese company. And if that’s so I’ll gladly see them go bankrupt and receive all of their amazing headphones for free :stuck_out_tongue:
Because no. I do not work at Hifiman. I work a boring 9-5 and when I get home good music through a quality set of can’s or IEM’s just takes off the edge. I got American cans and German cans and Chinese cans and I love them all equally :heart:

and i guess you misunderstood my Trump-meme for an actual message, that’s why i already removed it yesterday :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: The meme was completely random, is just searched for a meme with the sentence lol Given that i head the experience of a Sundara with channel imbalance, one yould assume, that i’m filled with hatred an bias towards Hifiman and want them to burn. Nonono, that also was not a message i wanted to get out. This thread is pure speculation until the true source of error has beend found. And i would speculate, that the Sundara is the source, since imo (!) it makes the most sense and should at least be checked or ruled out. Everything else was just “fun”, though, sometimes, fun can be quite harmful, especially in public. So mea culpa and i hope OP keeps us informed what has caused this.


Since the topic starter has checked the usual things he could, all that remains at the moment is to wait until the Ify is repaired and the Sundura is checked.

If it really was the Ify, it should theoretically have been noticed.
But not if the dealer simply replaced it and claimed the broken Ify.

Theoretically, something could have gone wrong in production.
That would be possible but must first be checked.

I don’t think Ify will make a statement on this. It is also very nice of them to come here and ask to see the device. That is very commendable.

The Hifiman.
Yes, it is only plus and minus cables.
But it could be that the Xlr cable was soldered incorrectly.
It is possible that the plus on the right has been mixed up with the plus on the left or with the minus.
It is also possible that the soldering was not done correctly and that the connector has a loose contact that triggers this.
A stranded wire in the cable is enough to trigger this if it has not been insulated correctly.

It is also theoretically possible that the connected driver is not earthed.
For example, a seal that is supposed to be between the driver and the housing is missing or there is not enough glue to trigger a loose contact.
This could be possible and should be considered if all else fails, when everything in the house, plugs, cables, and measurements show that everything is OK.

This is always a very lengthy process, which is annoying and costs the last nerve as well as time.
Even more so when it destroys the equipment and you don’t know why.

It makes no sense to discuss how bad or cool manufacturer Xy is.
Every manufacturer has good things in its product range as well as bad.
That is completely normal.
Some like Apple, some like Samsung and neither are bad phones.
Not everyone likes to eat fish but steaks, there are also differences in the supermarket.
Strangely enough, steak is steak and fish is fish, no matter where it comes from.

We don’t know what manufacturers sometimes do to improve.
It may or may not be that Hifiman has done something.
That will come out when you send it in and it’s checked.

A lot of manufacturers don’t bother to inspect it properly, they just replace it when it’s broken.
Topping did it before, they sent you a new L30 and let you throw away the junk so you didn’t have to worry about disposal and expensive return shipping costs and you saved money.

My wife’s Samsung Z fold has a cracked screen.
It was only opened to see if it had water or fall damage, which was negative. The screen was not replaced and she got a new one.


Hey! So I read your post, and I have been using the balanced cable (4.4mm pentacone) by HiFiMan, and it never occurred to me that the cable could be at fault. So I just tested the continuity of the cable with the multimeter, turns out the ground is not showing continuity. I believe that is the root cause of it. I’m still investigating but I think I have hit the right note on this one.
I tested the original single ended 3.5mm cable that came with the Sundara, and that shows proper continuity for each of the connections (TRRS) but with the balanced cable, the R+/R-, L+/L- show proper continuity, but the ground doesn’t. Do you think that is the issue? Because this makes a lot of sense to me. If the ground isn’t connected, the static discharge us actually happening via the signal connections. Which destroys the baalcned amp circuitry inside, cause transistors aren’t meant for 1000+V

Thanks a lot for the suggestion!
Edit: every time this happened, I had my balanced cable plugged in always.


The ground on the pentacon cable is probably not intended to be connected.
There are only 2 connections at the headphone end for each earcup, so only L+R+L-and R- are going to be connected.

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Yes, I think it may be the cause.
The installation space is relatively small and should be checked for abnormalities.
It could be that the negative contact is not 100% made, missing insulation, something went wrong with the soldering, probably a small thing with a big effect.
Did you make the cable yourself or did you buy it?

If you say that it has always been with the Pentacon cable, it is quite possible that something is wrong.
You have already checked everything else, as mentioned above.

If the cable was not expensive, I would personally replace it and open it up and check.
If it is a selfmade open and check and fix.

No it’s not self made, it’s by HiFiMan. And I think the cable was quite a bit expensive. So I’ll ask for a replacement for a refund maybe.

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