This thread is to discuss our newly launched iDSD Diablo, our new flagship portable/dac amp.
iFi ushers in the New Year with the best battery-powered DAC/headphone amp the company has ever produced – the devilishly brilliant iDSD Diablo. Engineered to sit proudly at the top of iFi’s range of mobile and transportable devices, the Diablo is built for the purists – the true headphone enthusiasts who crave pure, unadulterated sonic performance.
With dimensions of 166x72x25mm, its size is similar to DAC/amps in iFi’s long-running, transportable micro iDSD series, with a built-in, quick-charge-compatible battery that makes it easy to move from desk to living room to travel bag. Its sleek new design and fiery red finish, however, mark it out as distinctly different.
A few important aspects to highlight…
PureWave – balanced circuit design for the purest sound
iFi has gradually introduced fully balanced circuit design across its range – first in the flagship Pro Series components, then in the entry-level ZEN Series devices. The company’s two newest DACs, the mains-powered NEO iDSD and transportable iDSD Diablo, benefit from further refinement of their balanced, symmetrical dual-mono topologies with short, direct signal paths. iFi calls this circuit concept ‘PureWave’, referring to the sonic purity it achieves thanks to exceptional linearity and infinitesimally low levels of noise and distortion.
Powerful amplification delivers musical gratification
Already renowned for the performance of the amp stages in its DAC/headphone amps, iFi has ensured the iDSD Diablo is its best-ever transportable amplifier, designed to deliver reference-level sound. Able to drive all manner of headphones with ease, from highly sensitive in-ear monitors to current-hungry planar headphones, it delivers prodigious power (up to 5000mW), propulsive energy and engaging dynamics, coupled to a remarkable ability to resolve fine texture and detail.
An important aspect of the iDSD Diablo’s circuit design is its direct-coupled nature (no coupling capacitor is present), achieved without a conventionally applied DC servo; iFi calls this design Servoless Direct Drive. Also important is the use of a high-quality analogue potentiometer to control volume – its sonic transparency compared to chip-based volume controls makes the most of the clarity and resolution of the amp stage.
OptimaLoop – negative feedback that is purely positive
Recognizing that different parts of a circuit benefit from specifically optimized feedback loops, iFi has developed a negative feedback system that is much more accurate than the usual approach. This incorporates multiple feedback paths instead of one global loop, each path optimized for a particular function and working synergistically with the others to deliver optimal overall performance. iFi calls this new configuration OptimaLoop.
This power does not corrupt
In keeping with the iDSD Diablo’s focus on pure, unadulterated performance, much attention has been applied to the power supply circuity. Battery power provides a theoretical performance advantage over mains power, with ultra-clean and stable DC current avoiding the issues that can be introduced by mains electricity with its dips, spikes, and noise-inducing RFI/EMI pollution. There are also potential sonic downsides to battery power, however, resulting from low output voltage and inconsistent output impedance as batteries discharge – these issues are fully tackled by the iDSD Diablo’s design.
A package worthy of reference status
In keeping with a reference-level product, iFi has been generous with the accessories supplied with the iDSD Diablo. It all adds up to a package of accessories worth around £300.
Delivering devilishly good sound for headphone lovers, iFi’s iDSD Diablo is available from selected retailers (headphones.com included, go get it from Taron and team!) from Friday 15th January at an RRP of £899, (€999, $899)
For more info, check out our site here: iDSD Diablo by iFi audio | New DAC/amp. Pure power and performance by iFi audio
P.S. ~ if you’re interested in checking this out on a headphones.com tour for the community here, chime up now so my team can get a good gauge of the interest!