iFi Audio unleashes iDSD Diablo

iFi Audio has launched the iDSD Diablo, its top-of-the-range battery-powered DAC/headphone amplifier. Measuring 166 x 72 x 25mm and finished in ‘fiery red’, the company explains the iDSD Diablo: “sets aside some facilities offered by other iFi DAC/amps – sonic tailoring options and Bluetooth connectivity – to focus on pure sonic power, featuring ultra-high-quality circuit components and the ability to drive any headphones on the planet with aplomb.”

The iDSD Diablo’s digital stage incorporates a pair of Burr-Brown DAC chips installed in a custom ‘interleaved’ configuration enabling four pairs of differential signals (two pairs per channel).

The XMOS chip that processes the audio data received via the USB and S/PDIF digital inputs is a new low-latency XMOS microcontroller with: “greatly enhanced processing power – compared with the current generation of eight-core chips, this new 16-core IC delivers double the clock speed (2000MIPS) and four times the memory.” Jitter-eradication technologies have also been applied to the digital stage, including an enhanced version of iFi’s GMT (Global Master Timing) femto-precision clock featuring a new crystal oscillator.

Hi-res audio support handles PCM files up to 32-bit/768kHz, DSD512 – with each taking separate pathways to remain bit-perfect in their native form – plus single and double-speed DXD. MQA decoding is also on hand.

The Diablo delivers up to 5000mW and there are settings for adjusting power and gain to suit whatever the amplifier stage is tasked with driving: Turbo ramps up the level of drive, Eco dials down the power and Normal sits somewhere between the two.

Connectivity includes 6.3mm single-ended and 4.4mm Pentaconn headphone outputs on the front and USB-A and a S/PDIF socket that accepts both electrical and optical signals (the former via a 3.5mm connector and the latter via a supplied adapter) around the back. A separate USB-C charging port is also provided, along with a fixed line-level 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced out to connect an external amp (a 4.4mm Pentaconn-to-XLR balanced cable comes bundled).

The iDSD Diablo can be powered from the mains, as well as via its built-in battery and iFi includes a iPower 5V AC/DC adapter with Active Noise Cancellation, which usually sells separately for £49. In addition, there’s a travel case and the first production run includes iFi’s iPurifier3 (£129), claimed to tackle all aspects of interference that can degrade sound quality over USB.

Available to buy now for £900, you can find out more about iFi Audio's iDSD Diablo here. Look out for a review of it in the April issue.

iFi Audio