iFi has unveiled the iDSD Diablo-X, a portable DAC/amp model tailored for IEM headsets compatible with the groundbreaking xMEMS driver technology. This latest offering is now available in the UK.
xMEMS stands as a cutting-edge solid-state driver technology, surpassing traditional designs with an impressive mechanical response speed of just ~15µs—150 times faster than standard dynamic drivers. Notably, this tech excels in synchronizing phases between components, enhancing precision in sound reproduction.
xMEMS drivers, distinct from conventional dynamic drivers, boast a silicon diaphragm membrane that’s incredibly robust—95 times harder than the dynamic diaphragm membrane. While this structure enhances mid/high-range quality and minimizes noise, it demands a significantly higher current to function.
Essentially, xMEMS leverages the piezoelectric effect, crafting an ultra-thin solid-state driver of minuscule proportions. The piezoMEM mechanical drive chains associated with xMEMS technology expand the diaphragm’s vibrations, resulting in detailed mid-range and high-range sounds.
Design and technology
The Diablo-X sports a 6.3mm and 4.4mm balanced headphone jack at the front, while the rear accommodates USB-A and S/PDIF inputs alongside a 3.5mm adapter. The USB-A port employs a male plug for a more secure connection, complemented by a USB-C charging port and a 4.4mm balanced output for external amplifiers.
Employing the Burr-Brown chipset, it supports True Native®️ technology for bit-perfect signal processing, enhanced by the XMOS X16 chipset’s 16 cores. The firmware optimization of the XMoS chipset ensures top-notch signal processing from phones and computers.
While supporting MQA format up to 384kHz via USB protocol, Diablo-X can handle MQA files from streaming services like Tidal, Roon, and Audirvana.
The analog circuit design isolates left and right channels, bolstered by PureWave and OptimaLoop technologies to stabilize signal channels and correct DAC processing errors.
It caters to xMEMS technology-supported headphones, offering a balanced 4.4mm plug outputting up to 4,100mW. Users can choose from 3 gain modes—xMEMS, Turbo, and Normal—customizing their experience. Its converter scales the signal to 1.2MHz, refining linearity, and minimizing noise.
Boasting Panasonic OS-CON 2320uF solid capacitors and an anti-interference DAC, Diablo-X diminishes harmonic distortion and limits jitter noise. The USB input stage incorporates multi-layer filtering, akin to microprocessor control circuits, to counter digital noise.
iFi iDSD Diablo-X price and availability
Available on Amazon.co.uk for £1,090, Diablo-X showcases meticulous hardware selection, prioritizing exceptional components to optimize performance.