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iFi iDSD Nano BL Black Label – REVIEW

by Yigit

Now we got our hands on iFi iDSD Nano BL. Audiophiles are familiar with iFi brand and we know they’ve been waiting for this review ;). iFi Nano Black Label is one of the on-the go product unlike other DAC/Amps. It’s also great Desktop DAC/Amp thanks to its rectangular shape.

iFi founded in 2012 at Southport, UK. They are known for personal listening products especially in Music Systems, DACs and Amplifiers. iFi draws attention with its above-average products. Also they are respectable for environment by using %100 Recycleable Packaging.

iFi iDSD Nano BL – Box

Box is usual iFi box: On front side there’s image of the product with its award logos, on rear there are specs with vector drawing of iFi iDSD Nano BL. On sides there’s logos like MQA etc…

Name is quite long and my day isn’t, so let’s shorten the name as iDSD. iDSD is capable of playing MQA tracks and DSD256 files. Since iDSD have 10x Power of smartphone audio output, it’s able to drive nearly all of the headphones in the world. Also there’s iEMatch output for IEMS that may cause hiss using standard output. iFi also claims that iPurifier module delivers clean sound without hiss or buzz. Beside these, iDSD also have S-Balanced circut which provides Balanced Output Quality such as lover crosstalk rates in Single Ended Output. Heck, this iDSD have lots of tricks. Oh wait— I nearly forgot mentioning battery which lasts for 8 to 9 hours.

box with mqa logo
ifi dsd nano specs
ifi dsd box side
ifi dsd nano bl in box
ifi dsd nano bl
connected to the gear
hands on ifi
downside
ifi dsd nano bl ports

iFi iDSD Nano BL – Sound

iDSD sounds natural and fresh! Wide stage with 3D Presentation. Background is black (without hiss or buzz) and instrument separation is really good which provides dynamism to the sound. You are able to change the sound filter with Listen/Measure Switch:
In Listen Mode, sub-frequencies are gaining volume while higher frequencies loses some which makes sound much fun.
In Measure Mode, sound became ER2XR-esque: sub layers become more clear and unlike Listen mode’s warm sound, you get more dried-up and neutral sound.

In iEMatch Output, sound gains dynamism and body without background distortion. Also S-Balanced tech allows you to listen 3.5mm output in balanced output quality. It’s ideal deal for most of the headphones!

In Direct Output, power is much higher and this output even drive Planar Headphones easily in return of slight background noise. This kind of output power can drive Audeze LCD 2.0 perfectly.

iFi iDSD Nano BL – Conclusion

Specifications are quite long, this iFi iDSD Nano Black Label have lots of tricks. With iDSD’s powerful output you can juice up your stubborn and hard to drive headphones in street, office, bed -anywhere!
Sincere thanks to iFi for the review unit. You can buy iDSD from official retailers like Amazon.

Specs:

General 
Input(rear):USB2.0 type A ‘OTG’ Socket (with iPurifier® technology built-in)
Output(rear);1 x audio fixed line out L+R 3.5mm
Digital Filter:2 positions. 2 filters
Outputs(front):2 x 3.5mm headphone audio outputs. ‘Direct’ and ‘iEMatch®’
DAC 
DAC:DSD, DXD, PCM DAC by Burr Brown Bit-Perfect DSD processing, Bit-Perfect DXD processing
Clock:Low-jitter crystal clock
Audio Formats:DSD 256/128/64/12.4/11.2/6.2/5.6/3.1/2.8
 DXD 384/352.8kHz
 PCM 384/352.8/192/176.4/96/88.2/48/44.1kHz
 MQA 88.2/96/176.4/192kHz filters
Filter–PCM:Listen (transient optimised minimum phase)
 Measure (frequency response optmised)
       –DSD:Listen (extended bandwidth transient optimised)
 Measure (narrow bandwidth, low output band noise optimised)
       –DXD:Fixed Bit-Perfect Processing
       –MQA:Fixed MQA Filter
Headphone Amplifier 
Amplifier:Dual Mono 2 x 285mW Direct Drive, coupling capacitor free circuit for highest fidelity
Volume Control:3.5mm TRRS with Balanced compatible wiring
Dynamic Range(including DAC):> 109dB(A) @ 3v (Direct)
 > 107dB(A) @ 0.5V (iEMatch®)
THD &N (@ 125mW/30R):< 0.005%
Max. Output (<10% THD):> 3.5V @ 600Ω Load (Direct) (20mW/600Ω)
 > 2.9V @ 30Ω Load (Direct) (285mW/30Ω)
 > 1.7V @ 15Ω Load (Direct) (200mW/15Ω)
Output Impedance :< = 1Ω (Direct)
 < = 4Ω (iEMatchsup>®)
Channel Separation:> 79dB @ 600Ω Load (Direct)
 > 79dB @ 15Ω Load (Direct) (1kHz, TRRS plug Balanced wiring)
Line Output 
Dynamic Range(Line):> 109dB(A)
THD & N(0dBFS Line):< 0.004%
Output Voltage(Line): :2.15V (+/-0.05V)
Output Impedance:< 240Ω
Channel Separation:> 99dB (@ 1kHz)
Jitter(correlated):Below test set limit
Dimensions:96(l) x 64(w) x 25.5(h)mm
Weight:139g (0.31 Ibs)
Warranty period:12 months

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