For a fair price, the iFi iPurifer 3 gets you a lower noise floor, more space, less ringing and more clarity in your music, and even if the differences are very slight (depending on your chain), they’re still there. It won’t affect all types of noise (like power ground loops), but it will reduce most other types of noise – including USB power noise – and do so without needing a separate, bulky external power supply or additional cables.
Depending on your setup, the fit can be an issue, and the weight of the shell can unbalance lighter DACs, so keep this in mind when you first try it, and be ready to swap in different cables or use the various adapters that come in the box to make it work for you.
While not quite as effective as a more robust solution like a DDC, the iPurifier 3 is more practical, especially when used with portable DACs. It’s also a third of the price and almost at the same level of performance as other similar solutions on the market.
THE HEADONIST VERDICT
If you’re just starting out with USB audio, or want something a little more sophisticated than basic, single-function devices like Audioquest’s Jitterbug, iFi’s iPurifier 3 should be top of your list. It’s not perfect, can be a bit awkward to fit, but there’s nothing I’ve seen that does what it does for the price. Highly recommended.