How time flies. This last week-or-so has been bonkers at the day-job as well as keeping GadgetyNews ticking over. However, the launch of the iFi iDSD Black Label is something I cannot just skip over.
I and other esteemed members of the press were gathered at Soho’s House of St. Barnabus for iFi’s launch of the nano iDSD Black Label portable headphone amp and DAC.
As well as showcasing the new device, there was a table loaded with iFi’s other goodies.
iFi nano iDSD Black Label
Additionally you get a pair of headphone outputs, one of which supports iFi’s iEMatch feature. If you’re unaware, this tech lets you choose how much power to apply to your specific headphones.
There is also a USB 2.0 input and a 3.5mm line output.
The nano iDSD Black Label is battery-powered, with a stated 10 hours of battery life.
The inclusion of MQA technology makes hi-res audio streaming a reality. Furthermore, it delivers studio master quality audio to your headphones.
Furthermore, it supports PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD up to 256 times the sample rate of a CD. It is also certified as ‘High-Res Audio’ by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) and Japan Audio Society (JAS). This makes it one of the most high resolution DACs out there.
Adding to its cred, it’s the only portable DAC that lets you choose between the “Listen” (minimum phase Bezier Filter) and “Measure” (linear phase Transient Aligned Filter) options.
Black Label benefits
- The integrated iPurifier adds noise isolation for USB Input.
- The new OTG ‘A-Type’ USB input links seamlessly with iPhone/smartphones and tablets.
- The analogue stage features dual-mono design and a dedicated fixed level line out.
- S-Balanced wiring system for the headphone outputs. This gives the full benefit of balanced outputs when used with headphones/IEMs fitted with balanced wiring with low noise and distortion.
- Even cuts crosstalk in half for unbalanced headphones
I’ve been using it out and about and, after more than a week, it still impresses.
I will be carving out some time for a proper listening session. So, please stay tuned for a full review soon-ish.
Price and avilability
The retail price of the nano iDSD Black Label is €249 /£199 (incl. VAT)
iFi nano iDSD Black Label specifications
|DAC:||DSD, DXD, PCM DAC by Burr Brown Bit-Perfect DSD processing, Bit-Perfect DXD processing|
|Clock:||Low-jitter crystal clock|
|Audio Formats:||DSD 256/128/64/12.4/11.2/6.2/5.6/3.1/2.8|
|MQA 88.2/96/176.4/192kHz filters|
|Filter–PCM:||Listen(transient optimised minimum phase)|
|Measure(frequency response optmised)|
|–DSD:||Listen(extended bandwidth transient optimised)|
|Measure (narrow bandwidth, low output band noise optimised)|
|–DXD:||Fixed Bit-Perfect Processing|
|–MQA:||Fixed MQA Filter|
|Amplifier:||Dual Mono 2 x 285mW Direct Drive, coupling capacitor free circuit for highest fidelity|
|Volume Control:||3.5mm TRRS with Balanced compatible wiring|
|Dynamic Range(including DAC):||> 109dB(A) @ 3v (Direct)|
|> 107dB(A) @ 0.5V (iEMatch)|
|THD &N (@ 125mW/30R):||< 0.005%|
|Max. Output (<10% THD):||> 3.5V @ 600ohm Load (Direct) (20mW/600ohm)|
|> 2.9V @ 30ohm Load (Direct) (285mW/30ohm)|
|> 1.7V @ 15ohm Load (Direct) (200mW/15ohm)|
|Output Impedance :||< = 1ohm (Direct)|
|< = 4ohm (iEMatchsup>)|
|Channel Separation:||> 79dB @ 600ohm Load (Direct)|
|> 79dB @ 15ohm Load (Direct) (1kHz, TRRS plug Balanced wiring)|
|Dynamic Range(Line):||> 109dB(A)|
|THD & N(0dBFS Line):||< 0.004%|
|Output Voltage(Line): :||2.15V (+/-0.05V)|
|Output Impedance:||< 240ohm|
|Channel Separation:||> 99dB (@ 1kHz)|
|Jitter(correlated):||Below test set limit|
|Dimensions:||96(l) x 64(w) x 25.5(h)mm|
|Weight:||139g (0.31 Ibs)|
There has already been a software update so, if you’ve already got one, head over here.