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iFi Audio iDSD Diablo
Foto © iFi Audio

iFi Audio iDSD Diablo – Hot red Devil

The design of the new portable D/A converter and headphone amplifier from iFi Audio could not be more eye-catching: it presents itself in bright red and has been aptly named iFi Audo iDSD Diablo.


iFi Audio is well known for its extraordinary solutions. Based on technologies developed in-house, the company always knows how to present impressive products that not only stand out for their quality, but also for their special design. The latest solution from iFi Audio, however, really stands out with its design, because it presents itself not only with a slim form factor, but with an actual bright red finish, namely the iFi Audo iDSD Diablo.

Once again, iFi Audio presents the new iFi Audo iDSD Diablo, a portable D/A converter including a headphone amplifier, whereby they were careful to realise a particularly flexible solution. Digital inputs in various forms are available as well as Bluetooth, and on the “analogue” side there is no reason for complaint when it comes to the selection of interfaces.

To ensure that the new iFi Audo iDSD Diablo can actually be used flexibly, the slim housing is made of solid aluminium, as is usual for iFi Audio. It measures no more than 166 mm in length, 72 mm in width and 25 mm in height. It weighs 330 g.

The most obvious feature concerning the case is, as already mentioned, the bright red paint. The name “Diablo” is quite justified, because the new iFi Audo iDSD Diablo looks devilishly good.

The heart of the new iFi Audo iDSD Diablo is once again a converter of the highest quality, using components from Texas Instruments of the type Burr-Brown True Native Chipset.

Although the new iFi Audo iDSD Diablo offers both an optical and coaxial S/PDIF interface as inputs for digital sources, the USB port is probably the preferred connection to source devices. This is in the form of a USB 3.0 Type A port and supports the Superspeed USB standard. The full power of the iFi Audo iDSD Diablo is accessible via this port, and this includes all relevant data formats in Linear PCM, DSD, as well as content encoded in MQA. For Linear PCM signals, data is processed with up to 32 bits and 768 kHz, for DSD data with up to DSD512.

By the way, the signals are transmitted via a low-latency XMOS 16-core chipset, which uses a clock speed of 2,000 MIPS and a buffer memory equipped with 512 kByte and has XMOS firmware optimised by iFi Audio.

When it comes to the construction of the analogue modules, the manufacturer emphasises the balanced, differential analogue circuit design, which, according to the company, should guarantee optimal separation of the channels as well as the lowest possible noise. The new iFi Audo iDSD Diablo also benefits from a number of refinements in the balanced dual-mono topology with short, direct signal paths, which the manufacturer calls iFi Audio PureWave.

In terms of analogue assembly, the manufacturer highlights the balanced, differential analogue circuit design, which the company claims guarantees optimal channel separation and the lowest possible noise. The new iFi Audo iDSD Diablo also benefits from a number of refinements in the balanced dual-mono topology with short, direct signal paths, which the manufacturer refers to as iFi Audio PureWave.

Another key technology in the new iFi Audo iDSD Diablo is iFi Audio OtimaLoop, it says. Normal amplifier circuits rely on negative feedback to compare the output signal with the input signal and correct errors, and to control gain and reduce distortion…. However, this has disadvantages, according to the manufacturer. A generally applied, blanket thus global negative feedback can also highlight various problems, such as distortions of the error signal, phase shifts and the like, which ultimately has a negative impact on sound quality.

According to iFi Audio, different parts of a circuit benefit from specifically optimised feedback loops, so they have developed a feedback system that is much more accurate than the usual approach. It incorporates multiple feedback paths instead of one global loop, with each path optimised for a specific function, resulting in optimal overall performance.

A key criterion for the quality is, of course, the power supply, whereby special importance is attached to the fact that each component is operated separately in order to always provide sufficient power on the one hand and to prevent any negative influences between the components on the other.

Hardly any other manufacturer is as willing to provide information about which components they use as iFi Audio. After all, only high-quality components from renowned manufacturers are used, be it Texas Instruments, TDK, Panasonic, Vishay or muRata.

On the analogue side, the new iFi Audo iDSD Diablo has a 6.3 mm jack connector for unbalanced headphones and a 4.4 mm PENTACONN connector for balanced headphones. In addition, there is a 4.4 mm PENTACONN connector, which is designed as a balanced output with a fixed level for connection to an amplifier, for example.

Once again, the performance of the new iFi Audo iDSD Diablo is remarkable. The manufacturer states that it delivers up to 5,000 mW, which is more than enough to operate even particularly critical headphone models without any problems. Incidentally, three modes are available for adjustment, namely Turbo, Normal and Eco.

The volume is controlled in the proven manner by a high-quality potentiometer, which can be found on the front next to a status LED and the connections for the headphones.

The iFi Audo iDSD Diablo is equipped with a 4,800 mA lithium-polymer battery that guarantees operation away from the power socket for between six and twelve hours, depending on individual use.

The new iFi Audo iDSD Diablo comes with everything you need to use it in a variety of ways, according to the manufacturer’s promise. This starts with a high-quality iFi Audio iPower 5 V power supply, a short USB C to USB A cable, a USB C charging cable and an adapter from 6.3 mm jack to 3.5 mm stereo mini jack. Even an adapter cable from 4.4 mm PENTACONN to two XLR connectors can be found in the package. A transport case is also available.

Getting to the point…

Once again, iFi Audio presents the new iFi Audo iDSD Diablo, a portable D/A converter including a headphone amplifier, whereby they were careful to realise a particularly flexible solution. Digital inputs in various forms are available as well as Bluetooth, and on the “analogue” side there is no reason for complaint when it comes to the selection of interfaces.

Manufactorer: iFi Audio
Distributor: WOD Audio
Price: € 999,-

About Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.com, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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