Journey to fix Hum - ifi Defender2.0 / Matrix Element H / ifi iGalvanic 3.0

Well, first post. I’m pretty much a lurker when it comes to watching Zeos Videos and I generally don’t go on forums too often, But, I finally fixed my audio hum problems after 1 year of tinkering around. Finally!

It was a journey of a time it felt like I was throwing money down a pit at one point near that end of this 1 year with my audio gear. The end of 2019 I decided to upgrade from a sound blaster G6 to a Topping D50S and SMSL SP200. I originally intended for an SMSL M100 because it suited all my needs, but i sent it back because I thought it was defective when i heard humming from my headphones. Next, thing you know I now have the D50S which I assumed that there would be a lower noise floor with a higher quality DAC. However, it turned out the issue was the USB port(s) off my computer. The hum would get more intense the higher load I throw at my graphics card. It sounded like coil whine, but I heard no actual coil whine coming off the graphics card.

Through google I learned that my problem might be a ground loop. Later on it turned out this was only one of my problems. Supposedly a ground loop is induced if you have 2 or more earths in a row, wasn’t my case since everything on my desktop configuration was powered through my UPS. I tried different outlets in my room, no change. Every time i moved my SP200 volume control past 9 oclock I would hear a high pitched hum and it got worse with the volume increase. IFI silencer 2.0 did nothing for my case, but the ifi defender reduced the hum significantly.

I still had a hum. This time it was a would pop up in my headphones when i set the volume past 11 oclock. At this point I was annoyed, but I was tired since I had so many items on return just after the 2019 Holidays. I didn’t turn the volume past 11 oclock and just endured for several months. At some point, I got really annoyed so i threw money down around November 2020.

I started with the Matrix Element H, since I read up that my problem may be a phenomenon known as USB jitter. To be honest it didn’t sound like it based on the resources I found online, but I tried it anyways. The result? Well, the audio sounded better by a little? I mean volume wise it was louder then before at the same volume knob setting on my SP200. This things main feature is its own dedicated USB and power conditioning, at least that’s what the marketing says. My problem did not get fixed.

My sanity in November 2020 went off a cliff one night and I bought the ifi Galvanic 3.0. I don’t know the technical details of this thing, but it pretty much did what the ifi defender did and suppress the hum to a greater degree. Somewhat fixed? Again not really, but i could get my audio to a slightly louder volume with no hum.

Fast forward to now, I got curious again one afternoon. Not sure if i just put in some different keywords on google or if i got lucky. I tried to see if there was fault in audio for my X570 gigabyte motherboard. Seems like that some of the built in audio devices on the motherboard didn’t operate as they should have when there is no devices plugged it, at least based on other people’s experiences. Well, cheap software fix of just disabling them in windows device Manager. Lo and behold it was gone. MY HUM WAS GONE. 900 CAD later and this was my issue. Though, I still need the ifi galvanic3.0.

In summary,

I recommend the ifi defender for ground loops coming off the usb, if you must have something for usb 3.0, but the usb 2.0 options are alot cheaper. AudioScienceReview website says there’s a measurable difference for the dedicated audio USB from the Matrix Element H, but i cant really tell. For the cost I don’t really recommend it. As for the ifi Igalvanic2.0 its expensive as hell, but its inline with some usb filtering tech they use for hospitals. It works and has gotten rid of the remaining usb noise/jitter that seems to be coming off my PC after disabling any audio devices not in use.

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I know Galvanic USB isolators for lab use to keep stray high voltage away from USB ports.
The way they work is by coupling the signals through via Opto-Couplers and isolating the power rails via isolated DC-DC converters.

I don’t think I have seen photos of the inside of the ifi power filters (except for the ipurifier).