iFi iDSD Diablo 2 Portable DAC Amp with Bluetooth 5.4

Following the remarkable success of Diablo during the 2019 Covid epidemic, iFi’s mobile DAC/Amp line now introduces its successor, the iFi iDSD Diablo 2, a DAC Bluetooth portable headphone amp model with the highest capacity in the series.

DAC Bluetooth portable headphone amp iFi iDSD Diablo 2

Upon observing the design, featuring numerous vertical heat dissipation grooves on the thick aluminum case, it becomes evident that Diablo 2 is designed to handle substantial heat generation during operation. The iDSD Diablo 2 boasts impressive power, reaching over 5W at a balanced 4.4mm output, and supports three operating modes: Normal, Turbo, and Nitro, providing the flexibility to drive even the most demanding headphones with ease.

Distinguishing itself as the first DAC Bluetooth portable DAC/amp with a dedicated power supply circuit for headphones utilizing xMEMS piezoelectric drivers, the iFi iDSD Diablo 2 introduces groundbreaking technology. Developed by xMEMS, a startup based in Santa Clara, California, these drivers are compact, lightweight, independent of magnets and voice coils, exhibit a rapid response to input voltage, and hold promise for various applications across industries such as audio, augmented reality, hearing aids, and true wireless headphones.

Currently, only a few audiophile headphone brands, including Soranik and Singularity Industries with the ONI model, employ xMEMS technology. While initial reports indicate that Singularity Industries’ ONI delivers impressive sound quality, concerns about comfort persist. However, the anticipation remains high for future headphone models leveraging xMEMS technology.

Due to its substantial capacity, Diablo 2 may cause background leakage when paired with low-level, high-sensitivity in-ear headphones. To address this, the company has retained the IEMatch feature from the original Diablo, facilitating easier pairing.

DAC Bluetooth portable headphone amp iFi iDSD Diablo 2

A notable enhancement in Diablo 2 is the inclusion of a Bluetooth decoding circuit, leveraging the Qualcomm QCC518x chipset running Bluetooth 5.4. This circuit fully supports aptX Lossless with bitrates up to 1200kbps (aptX Adaptive caps at 420kbps, while LDAC reaches 990kbps). Although other codecs are fully supported, the emphasis on 1200kbps might disappoint AAC enthusiasts, yet iFi strives to maintain a positive outlook.

Termed a Bluetooth decoding circuit, Diablo 2 incorporates its chipset to receive and process digital signals, transmitting them to the device’s primary DAC decoding circuit. Equipped with two high-end Burr Brown chips, it natively supports DSD512, full MQA, and PCM playback up to 768kHz. Connectivity with smartphones, tablets, PCs, and laptops is facilitated via USB-C input.

This DAC Bluetooth portable amp model can operate on batteries or direct electricity; however, information about battery life is notably absent from the company’s website, perhaps an oversight amid the multitasking of designing, writing, and enjoying music.

iFi iDSD Diablo 2 price and availability

The iFi iDSD Diablo 2 DAC Bluetooth portable headphone amp is available for purchase on Amazon.com, priced at $1,299.

In a parallel release, iFi recently introduced the iFi hip Dac 3, addressing the streamlined design of the iPhone 15 that eliminates the lightning jack. Priced at $199, this sophisticated solution ensures swift connectivity with the iPhone 15 through a USB-C to C cable.

About Ankeet Solanki

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