The iFi iDSD Diablo 2 is a groundbreaking portable DAC/headphone amp that supports aptX Lossless technology. Discover the amazing features and superior audio quality of this innovative device.
The iDSD Diablo 2 is the latest portable DAC/headphone amp from iFi that is designed to be a significant upgrade over their original iDSD Diablo flagship product. It has been thoroughly redesigned inside and out, with technical advances across the board.
Most notably, it features a new Bluetooth engine that supports apt-X Lossless, making it the first DAC/Amp to support the lossless (CD-quality) Bluetooth audio format. That’s a big deal, granted you have a device (smartphone, transmitter) that can send out apt-X Lossless. There aren’t many at the moment, however.
The iDSD Diablo 2 is slightly larger than its predecessor, but it is still portable enough to be used on the go. It has a new grooved design dressed in a new shade of metallic crimson. The 22 grooves are not just for show; they aid thermal dissipation and double as fixing rails for the detachable “wings” that can be used to stand the Diablo 2 up on a desk or table.
The iDSD Diablo 2, like the original, is designed to be a powerful amp that can drive all manner of headphones, from highly sensitive in-ear monitors to current-hungry planar headphones. It’s also said to offer excellent sound quality, with exceptional linearity and infinitesimally low levels of noise and distortion.
Furthermore, the iDSD Diablo 2 features a digital stage with a Burr-Brown DAC chip chosen for its natural-sounding ‘musicality’ and True Native architecture. It utilizes two of these chips in a custom ‘interleaved’ configuration to enable four pairs of differential signals, resulting in a lower noise floor, improved channel separation, and enhanced ability to resolve fine musical detail and micro-dynamics.
This DAC/headphone amp boasts a USB DAC input that supports PCM up to 768 kHz 32-bit and DSD up to 22.5792 MHz (DSD512). This high-res DAC, featuring Burr-Brown DAC chips, ensures that PCM and DSD files take separate pathways, maintaining their native form up to analog conversion. Additionally, the amplifier is praised for its seamless support of MQA files, providing full decoding and upsampling of MQA files up to 384kHz.
The amp stage is said to deliver prodigious power with propulsive energy and engaging dynamics with a remarkable ability to resolve fine texture and detail. With an output power of 5,180mW/12.9V into 32 ohms and 611mW/19.2V into 600 ohms through its 4.4mm balanced output, it claims more power than any other portable DAC/headphone amp.
The device features three gain settings, including Normal, Turbo, and Nitro, as well as an IEMatch attenuation mode for super-sensitive IEMs. Additionally, the volume is controlled by a high-quality analog potentiometer for sonic transparency.
The iDSD Diablo 2 is also equipped with a high-capacity 4800mAh lithium-ion battery, which enables powerful amplification and extended runtime. Additionally, it can be used while connected to the mains using the iPower 2, an AC/DC adapter featuring an active noise cancellation circuit for stable and clean DC current, thus enhancing the device’s sonic performance.
Additionally, the Diablo 2 supports xMEMS, which is a new solid-state micro-speaker technology that is supposed to transform the headphone and in-ear monitor market. This tech leverages micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) manufacturing processes, integrating semiconductor technology with moving parts, resulting in a silicon diaphragm combined with a piezoelectric layer to create tiny speakers with good phase and transient response.
These speakers are supposed to offer superior high-frequency fidelity compared to conventional moving-coil drivers, making them a game-changer in the industry. The xMEMS micro-speakers are voltage-driven, requiring specialized amplifiers to optimize their performance, such as the limited-edition version of the iDSD Diablo called the Diablo-X, released by iFi earlier this year, and now the Diablo 2.
As stated earlier, this DAC/Amp features aptX Lossless, the first ‘lossless’ Bluetooth audio format, capable of streaming CD-quality audio ‘losslessly’ at 16-bit/44.1kHz. It achieves bitrates of up to 1.2Mbps, more than twice the maximum bitrate of aptX Adaptive and aptX HD, and roughly 20% higher than LDAC’s maximum figure.
This technology aims to bridge the gap between CD-quality audio and compressed Bluetooth audio, preserving the original data while applying a form of compression.
The iFi iDSD Diablo 2 is the first portable DAC to support aptX Lossless and Bluetooth version 5.4, offering the greatest wireless range, stability, speed, and low latency. It can store up to eight paired Bluetooth source devices, allowing for seamless switching between them.
As far as connections go, it features a 3.5mm S/PDIF input that accepts both coaxial and optical connections, alongside a separate USB-C port for mains power/charging. The device also has a standard 6.3mm single-ended headphone socket, a 4.4mm output for headphones offering a balanced connection, and a second 4.4mm socket at the back that can be used as a fixed-level line output.
The iDSD Diablo 2 comes with a generous accessories pack, including various digital audio cables, adapters, and a premium-quality travel case, making it a premium portable package. It is now available from selected retailers at an MSRP of $1,299.
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