iFi Audio has introduced the latest professional Headphone Amplifier named NEO iDSD. This is the first Desktop DAC/Amp product line of the company launched with many technologies from the top Pro iDSD series.
iFi NEO iDSD is a new generation Balanced DAC / Preamp / Headphone Amp. The product will have ports that fully connect users’ needs such as USB, Coaxial, Optical, and wireless with Bluetooth 5.0 (AAC, aptX HD, LDAC, LHDC). The output ports are also pushy enough with RCA line output and balanced XLR, 4.4mm balanced, and 6.3mm headphone outputs.
The highlight of NEO iDSD digital to analog audio converter is the use of a decoder circuit called NEO Engine. Still using a Burr-Brown chip DSD1793, however, in NEO it is the use of Microcontroller of XMOS 16 Core to be able to optimize the digital signal before decoding, supported by Burr-Brown code directly. This Microcontroller chip also receives a clock from iFi’s Femto ‘Global Master Timing’ system to minimize jitter noise in digital signals. The default filter is Gibbs Transient Optimized, but the user can choose other filters like on Pro iDSD and can also be updated by Firmware.
iFi NEO iDSD USB DAC will separate the PCM signal to 768kHz and DSD 512 as well as support MQA decoding. Full-Balanced Dual-Mono amplifier circuit designed by John Curl (Parasound) specifically for the NEO iDSD model named ‘PureWave’. It uses premium components with a specially designed op-amp with extremely low distortion, TDK C0G Ceramic capacitors, MELF thin film resistors, and used Japanese inductors from Murata and Taiyo Yuden.
Unlike previous iFi products, NEO iDSD is not running at full power when the headphone port only has 1W in Balanced and 0.3W Unbalanced (32 Ohm). However, NEO iDSD’s extremely low distortion and high linearity are for those who need the highest level of fidelity when not using DSP for color grading.
The Volume Cluster of NEO iDSD is also an extremely interesting point of using a Resistor Ladder Pot which is controlled by a separate processor to ensure signal accuracy. The LED screen next to it shows the decoding format along with the sample rate and filter being used.
The iFi’s individually processed power system ensures low linearity and interference and combines the iFi iPower’s power adapter to handle mains interference from the home grid. Even after processing, the remaining noise signals will be processed by the microcontroller chip to ensure that the noise does not enter any processing area or amplification the device.
An interesting point of NEO iDSD is that users can leave this Hires digital to analog converter vertically or horizontally arbitrarily. The LED screen will also rotate in the direction of the professional Headphone Amplifier for users to monitor.
iFi NEO iDSD price and availability
The new iFi Headphone Amp is now available to buy on the Amaon.com website for $699.
Last month, the British manufacturer Black Lion Audio made available the B173 mkII and B12A mkIII preamps that deliver the British sound, based on the legendary Neve 1073 channel, and the API 312A microphone preamp, respectively.