Browse portable DAC and amplifier iFi Micro iDSD Black Label

Once the company iFi decided to release maximum heaped polupostelnyj DAC. They took their popular model Micro iDSD, he transformed her gain, modified a number of other things and got a solution, still not having analogues in a number of ways. They called the resulting device Micro iDSD Black Label.

Of course, to call this monster the portable, length is almost 18 inches and 300 grams of weight does not make it a hospital, but to carry this miracle in my pocket is obviously not going to work. Instead, the developers put in housing:

  • incredible power amplifier, capable of delivering up to 4 Watts peak and 1 Watt constantly for the load at 64Ω
  • brand IEMatch attenuator that allows the device to work without problems with sensitive headphones
  • support resolutions up to 768 kHz and DSD512
  • battery that provides 6 to 12 hours
  • filtering technology USB iPurifier

Well, imbued with respect? Me too. The price tag is, of course, was visible, $ 600, but even reading the section “Features” on the website makes it clear where it came from and why this.

Specifications

  • DAC: BurrBrown DSD1793
  • USB maximum resolution: 768 kHz/24 bit, DSD512
  • Maximum resolution S/PDIF: up to 192 kHz/24-bit
  • Dynamic range: > 115 dB
  • Output power: >1000 mW @ 64Ω
  • Total harmonic distortion+noise: <0.008%
  • Output impedance: 0.34 switched off IEMatch Ω, 4.1 Ω at IEMatch High Sensitivity, 0.95 Ω Ultra Sensitivity
  • Work time from a single charge: 6 to 12 hours DAC
  • Dimensions: 177 mm × 67 mm × 28 mm
  • Weight: 310 gr.

Packing and delivery

In the case of the iDSD Black Label it is possible to say that his box is deep and full of accessories. Externally there is a standard elongated rectangular box made of cardboard with the simple printing on it. Inside the top is the device itself, but under it starts to get interesting, the kit laid out so much that one time when BL iDSD, it is very difficult gently pack back. In the box you will find:

  • velvet pouch for storing the DAC
  • USB wire to connect the device
  • a couple of USB adapters made in different form factor
  • 6.3 mm adapter
  • adapter for optical S/PDIF
  • short cable with two 3.5 mm plugs
  • elastic bands for attaching the source to the DAC
  • dual RCA cable to the line out

In my memory, is the most extensive package for DAC, and any other gadgets too.

Design and management

Overall, the appearance of iDSD remained almost untouched since the first models of the company: the same extruded aluminum case, but this time in black. The inscriptions of orange that looks good and improves readability. In the first revision of the processor, the text was black in color, but different shade, so they were difficult to see. In iFi listened to feedback and adjusted erognomic device. Overall build quality is just great, customized everything perfectly, not loose and not loose, when using the DAC there is always a sense of secure device.

The dimensions of this processor superior to even some conventionally is a stationary device, so consider it in the classical sense, not the portable, in spite of the presence of battery just because the street is not diarrhea. On the other hand, in the bag much space it occupies, so to carry it, for example, to and from work — it is possible. Perhaps it is time to introduce the category of paupertatis (it is necessary where-that to carry the top models A&K).

Control from the iDSD BL much, so I placed them as best I could.

Let’s start with the front panel, there are:

  • headphone output (6.3 mm only)
  • switches features Xbass+ and 3D+, I note that the toggle switches are very cool, they are nice to click
  • line-in 3.5 mm jacks
  • the volume control combined with on / off switch. Using high-quality potentiometer, so the course is smooth, the imbalance of channels missing

On the rear panel is placed USB connector, as the novelty xDSD, it is made in the form of a recessed USB-A “Pope”. Such a solution is becoming increasingly popular as it allows you easier to use USB OTG adapters and other mobile adapters. This port is used for charging the device. There are two RCA line-out connector and S/PDIF.

On the side closest to the rear face, put a normal USB port that allows to use the processor as the most expensive in the history of powerbank. By the way, if you are already talking about the charge, the maximum turbo mode this megamonstr works up to 6 hours 15 minutes, with minimal “eco” — 12 hours and 10 minutes. Fully charging the battery takes just over 6 hours, if you do not use at this time, the combine.

For all the indication meets a multicolored led, located on top, towards the rear of the device. It shows the battery status, and the resolution of the signal and various additional data, so that a future user will have to peruse the instructions.

On the side placed three switch:

  • power mode (eco, normal and turbo), as you can guess — controls the power of the “exhaust” of the combine. However, in most cases it will be quite minimal “eco”.
  • polarity
  • filter: bit-perfect, minimal phase and standard. Traditionally, the difference between the filters is very small and noticeable mainly for the HF range

But even this number of tumblers seemed to developers a little and scratched his head, they decided to give more toggle God toggle switches. As the place was over, a few switches, placed right at the “bottom” of the device. Far switch allows you to choose whether to adjust the volume level on the linear output, the middle includes a built-in attenuator IEMatch. The latter, perhaps, is one of the best finds iFi Audio, converting a “Black mark” in just the same universal solution.

In General, summing up this section, iDSD BL was very beautiful, the color black instead of silver went to use, and the unusual proportions of the body immediately distinguish it from other harvesters.

Sound

To listen to the device used the following headphones: iBasso IT04, 99 Meze Classics, Audio Zenith PMx2, Noble Kaiser Encore, Campfire Andromeda Audio, Unique Melody Mason V3, HUM Pristine and others.

Unlike xDSD, slightly accented bass iDSD Black Label tuningova in a more neutral audiophile style. I think he would really fit the name of the iDSD Pro, but iFi decide that the prefix Pro will receive their stationary line.

Bass is fast, good texture and perfectly separates the tools. It is perfectly controlled, which is not surprising with such power, is Lescott, drums and a very decent depth. In General, almost perfect bass for fans of their monitor feed without “navarivanija” (of course, artificial, when the bass is in the recording in considerable quantities, you BL him in the same amounts and issue). Function Xbass+ surprisingly works very carefully, she slightly emphasizes the deep bass that adds a little sound of “monumentality”, but it does so without undue emphasis, resulting in a smearing of the bass. In General, this is not a typical boost of style “included, all buzzed, woke up Satan.”

The middle also serves in a neutral manner, but without excessive dry monotonnosti and unnatural accentuate micro-contrast. Combine perfectly conveys all the nuances and emotions inherent in the recording, but adds nothing, so quality tracks are almost a necessity. Gadget perfectly reproduces the character of the tools and all the features vocalists of both sexes. An imaginary scene more average in depth and width, not huge, but very good. The default width a little more depth, but the inclusion of 3D features+ adds a bit of depth, but the division of plans becomes a bit unnatural, so this opportunity I would advise to use only with old records with bad information.

The upper frequency neutral, they have a normal resolution and a very decent length. Perhaps this is the only portion of the range to which you can stretch to complain about, iDSD BL quite a bit not enough “cleavage”, also partly simplified the attack and decay, but it is compared to the top segment of audio. Overall, the treble is very natural, with no plaque to the synthesis, so that with their problems they can cope at a good level.

And, of course, about the comparisons. I intentionally omit functionality because there iFi, perhaps, out of competition and will speak only about the sound.

iFi xDSD In General, two portable DAC from iFi are positioned quite differently, but the questions “how are they in comparison?” will still be. xDSD has a more warm, slightly lower resolution, but with a little added weight on the midrange (especially lower part), so here we have a classic confrontation “monitormost VS warmth”.

Hidizs ‘DH1000 Very interesting portable DAC from Hidizs’, enchanting beautiful HF. The rest of the band is noticeable the dominance of the iDSD, and that’s not to mention power. However, the price difference here is not even 2 times.

FiiO Q5 If you discard rates, wireless technology and power, the FiiO is slightly better defined treble (though still not quite ideal), low parity (but because of the power iDSD often get more confident to play this range, so the difference depends on the headphones). Midrange Black Label pulled ahead due to better weight and dynamics.

CEntrance BlueDAC of Course, these two devices are incomparable in terms of design and features, so purely about the sound. BlueDAC a little more detailed, but also more neutral and better to the quality of the recording. CEntrance have better treble, midrange they have about the parity, but the lower part of the range of tastier and more interesting sounds from iDSD.

Compatibility

In terms of working with a variety of load hero of today’s review absolute confidently holds the palm in the portable. For tight and high-resistance models he had stashed turbo mode, issuing a prohibitive amount of power. Some users even listened to it with HiFiMan HE-6, noting not ideal, but is tolerable for disclosure, but of course this is a clinical case and most headphones still differ much more sensitivity. But what really deserves respect, is a built-in IEMatch to listen to even sensitive IEM without any problems like background noise. The main thing here is to look at the switches before enabling, as a drop of nicotine kills a horse, and hamster ripping. Similarly, the processor is able to behave with a sensitive IEM in turbo mode.

Stylistically the device completely universal, provided that you like neutral flow leaving you alone with headphones and recording. The quality of the material the sensitivity is high, somewhere in the 8 out of 10 points.

According to tradition, a few tracks as example

Five Finger Death Punch — Lift Me Up Well, to start with just the track, demonstrating excellent control of all frequencies: the division of parties of guitars, a tight rhythm section, energetic vocals all that is necessary for an “Zaruba”.

Cold War Kids — Love is Mystical is a Beautiful example of a bit of pop rock, mixed with many related genres, showing strengths iDSD: powerful blows, ease midrange, excellent control of the entire range.

Beastie Boys — Sabotage To extend the range take absolutely not an audiophile track, however, carefully remastering in 2005. Here the hero of today’s review as well shows his best side, attacking the listener with shattering beats combined with a striking scratch.

Insights

I don’t know why this harvester mounted battery, except you can carry it in your bag, but even in the role of a hospital iDSD Micro Black Label. Neutral supply, excellent power supply, support for high-resolution, seamlessly work with any headphones — what more could you ask for?

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