iFi Audio unveils iDSD Diablo 2 DAC/headphone amp

iFi Audio has released a new premium-level portable DAC/headphone amp, the iDSD Diablo 2. Modelled on its predecessor, the iDSD Diablo, the latest version has undergone a thorough redesign inside and out, shifting the focus from purely cable connectivity from the source device to incorporating the latest generation of iFi’s Bluetooth engine, complete with aptX Lossless support.

IFi claims this makes it the world’s first portable DAC/headphone amp capable of processing lossless Bluetooth audio – “the convenience of wireless connectivity delivered with the best possible sound quality”.

The iDSD Diablo 2’s digital stage incorporates two Burr-Brown DAC chips installed in a custom ‘interleaved’ configuration, which enables four pairs of differential signals (two per channel) lowering the noise floor, improving channel separation and enhancing the DAC’s ability to resolve fine musical detail and micro-dynamics.

It also incorporates a 32-bit, 16-core XMOS Cortex micro controller. PCM is handled up to 32-bit/768kHz and DSD512. Thanks to the DAC’s four-channel True Native design, PCM and DSD take separate pathways to remain bit-perfect in their native form right through to analogue conversion. MQA is also supported up to the format’s highest 384kHz specification.

The iDSD Diablo 2 is the first portable device to include aptX Lossless – the first ‘lossless’ Bluetooth audio format, which is capable of streaming CD-quality (16-bit/44.1kHz) audio ‘losslessly’. In addition, it is also the first to include Bluetooth version 5.4 – the latest standard. The Diablo 2 can store up to eight paired Bluetooth source devices in its memory.

The iDSD Diablo 2 also features the latest generation of iFi’s PureWave design, further enhanced to elevate audio quality and headphone amplification power, and the output power is a claimed 5,180mW/12.9V into 32ohm and 611mW/19.2V into 600ohm through its 4.4mm balanced output.

As well as wirelessly over Bluetooth, source components such as PCs/Macs, smartphones, tablets and other digital entertainment devices can connect asynchronously to the iDSD Diablo 2’s USB-C port. A 3.5mm S/PDIF input is also available – accepting both coaxial and optical connections (a 3.5mm-to-Toslink adapter is supplied). Balanced analogue outputs are on hand, while at the front, alongside a standard 6.3mm single-ended headphone socket, resides a 4.4mm out for headphones offering balanced connection. A second 4.4mm socket resides at the back; this can be used as a fixed-level line output, bypassing the headphone amp to connect the iDSD Diablo 2 to an external amp/speakers in ‘pure DAC’ mode. This enables a fully balanced connection to high-end amps and powered speakers with balanced inputs, while single-ended connections can be made via an adapter. This 4.4mm socket also doubles as a balanced analogue input, bypassing the DAC stage so that source devices with an analogue output can connect to the Diablo 2’s headphone amp.

The iDSD Diablo 2 is similar in size to the original – 166 x 85 x 28.5mm (WxHxD), weight 455g – so it’s more ‘transportable’ than ‘pocket-size,’ designed to: “sit on a desk or table, or sling in a bag and take travelling”. Still coloured red, it sports an updated grooved design dressed in a new shade of metallic crimson. The company reveals that the 22 grooves are: “not just for show; they aid thermal dissipation and double as fixing rails for the devilish ‘wings’ supplied with the iDSD Diablo 2. These detachable appendages act as a desk stand and can be positioned in different ways, allowing the Diablo 2 to be placed horizontally or vertically as its owner prefers”.

Available to buy now for £1,300, you can find out more about iFi Audio's iDSD Diablo 2 here.

iFi Audio