iFi Audio Micro iDSD Black Label DAC and Headphone Amplifier
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 iFi Audio Micro iDSD Black Label DAC and Headphone AmplifieriFi Audio Micro iDSD Black Label DAC and Headphone Amplifier 

iFi Audio Micro iDSD Black Label DAC and Headphone Amplifier

  (2 Reviews)
£499.17 Exc. VAT |  



iFi Audio Micro iDSD Black Label DAC and Headphone Amplifier

The original iDSD set a new benchmark for portable DAC/Headamps in the US$500 sector. Nothing came close to its sonics, flexibility and outright power. Nothing at least until the micro iDSD ‘Black Label.’

The evolution into the ‘Black Label’ covers these main areas:
Satin black chassis with ‘burnt orange’ silk print
Major parts changes to the very latest available
3D Holographic+® and XBass+® new implementation are very easy to discern
Sonically, much smoother, more weight and with a full-bodied mid-range. The bass is deeper and cleaner. The Black Label is in every way, the ‘turbo charged’ version of the normally aspirated micro iDSD.

Perhaps ‘Double Black’ is a more apt description because it is different on the outside as well as the inside. The matt and gloss black anodising is set against the ‘burnt orange’ silk print. While keeping in essence the same design philosophy, we re-engineered the micro iDSD after taking into consideration suggestions and integrating the most advanced and newest components available.

Special Features

· DAC digital signal and digital power sections upgraded
· AMR Global Master Timing® femto-precision clock system upgraded for ‘super low’ phase-noise/jitter
· Analogue signal and power sections revised
· 3D+® performance-tuned / XBass+® performance-tuned 
· Latest Output stabilisation network offers less distortion
The Digital Engine:
DAC Power supply upgraded with iFi custom ultra-low noise Operationsverstärker OV2028
DAC reference voltage decoupling changed to Panasonic audio-grade ECPU film capacitors
Digital power supplies upgraded with ultra-low impedance Panasonic OSCON capacitors
GMT® Femto precision clock system power supply upgraded for super low phase-noise/jitter

The Analogue section:

Analogue section upgraded with iFi custom low noise FET input Operationsverstärker OV2627
Analogue power supplies upgraded with Ultra-low impedance Panasonic OSCON capacitors
3D+® performance-tuned
XBass+® performance-tuned
Re-designed Output Stabilisation network for less distortion

For 3D+® & XBass+® we adjusted based on wide ranging customer feedback after a period of field testing different adjustments.

3D+® is deeper and wider, and more spacious.

XBass+® is deeper and cleaner bass and is more audible.

With the original iDSD micro, iFi already pushed parts quality to a very high level. Yet after long-term testing and with new parts now available to us that were not available at the time of the original production version of the iDSD micro, we were able to wring meaningful improvements in sound quality by substituting specific parts with higher grade (and more expensive) alternatives.

Specifically, with the upgrades applied we were able to produce a sound that is smoother sounding than the original, yet with increased level of detail and improved dynamics and slam. These are not ‘night and day’ differences but the difference is very discernible. To gain meaningful sonic improvements on a product like the iDSD micro was no small challenge.
Os-Con's originally from Sanyo (now taken over by Panasonic) have been around for a good while. Among the larger value capacitors useful in power supplies, they hold a special place.

In a ground breaking series on capacitor performance published in the late Nineties and early Noughties in Wireless World, Cyril Bateman showed they persistently outperformed all alternatives at high frequencies and were second in low-distortion only to Elna Silmic types.

AMR CD-77 Digital Processor

At AMR starting from the CD-77 Compact Disk Processor, we have a long history of using Os-Con's.
After the Panasonic takeover, supply chains were changed and they became difficult to obtain. Testing alternatives offered by other manufacturers showed them to be dramatically inferior to the original Sanyo product and not much better then generic Electrolytic Capacitors.

Further, originally Os-Con's were not available in the values/voltages/sizes needed for the relative miniature equipment in the iFi range.

In recent times, the supply situation has improved and Panasonic has introduced a new range of ‘miniturised’ Os-Con's suited for iFi equipment. So despite their steep cost (around 10x that of common electrolytic capacitors) the micro iDSD Black Label is the first to start to feature them as an alternative where Elna Silmic capacitors cannot be accommodated; be it because of cost or size constraints, as they are physically much larger for the same capacitance and even more costly.
iFi/AMR ‘OV’ series stands for ‘Operationsverstärker’ (German for Operational Amplifier). iFi/AMR’s ‘OV’ range IC's use HCOFC copper lead-frames and 4N Gold bond-wire which is streets ahead of mainstream commercial chips that use inexpensive aluminum bond-wire and low-grade and low-cost copper in the lead-frames.
It is seldom found because it requires custom packaging of chips from wafers and has a very high MOQ (30,000 pcs per part and purchase) to do. Therefore, the parts used in the micro iDSD BL are ‘above and beyond.’
Specifically the iFi OV2028 is a BJT input Dual OV with extremely low-noise, wide bandwidth and high slew rate. 

The iFi OV2627 is an FET input Dual OV with low noise, extremely wide bandwidth and very high slew rate.








Inputs (rear) USB 2.0 type A “OTG” Socket
(with iPurifier® technology built-in)
Compatible with computers (Apple/Win/Linux), iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android Devices, camera kit or USB-OTG cable required. (Full USB3.0 port compatible)
  Intelligent SPDIF® Coaxial 3 Way combo SPDIF port (Coaxial In/Out; Optical In); Up to 192kHz PCM
  SPDIF Optical  
Outputs (rear) Audio RCA L+R  
  Intelligent SPDIF® Coaxial Up to 192kHz PCM
Output (right side) SmartPower® Socket Fast charge all portable devices. Compliant with USB Battery Charging Standard 1.2 – 5V @ 1.5A


Controls (front)    
- HP Output Audio 6.3mm Headphone Jack  
- Volume with Power On/Off switch Precision analogue volume control <2dB Tracking error
- 3.5mm Input   Auto disable the digital section when this is in use
- X-Bass® On/Off  
- 3D Holographic Sound® On/Off Auto-switching for Speakers® and Headphones® (two separate and distinct circuits)
Controls (left side)    
- Power Mode Turbo, Normal, Eco Computer controlled power and gain scaling
- Polarity Normal/Inverted  
- Filter 3 positions, 6 filters (see filter section below)
Controls (bottom)    
- Line Direct/Preamplifier Preamplifier function Enable/Disable, 0/9dB gain selectable Fixed 2V or variable with up to 5V available
- iEMatch® Perfect-matching circuit for IEMs (eliminate hiss) Off / High Sensitivity Headphone / Ultra Sensitivity Headphone

DAC section

DAC Dual-core DSD, DXD, PCM DAC by Burr Brown 2-DAC Chip; 4-Channel; 8-Signals, custom interleaving for maximum SNR
  Bit-Perfect DSD processing, Bit-Perfect PCM processing  
Clock Ultra low jitter GMT computer controlled Femto Clock RMS jitter 12kHz – 1MHz < 280 Femtoseconds
Audio Formats DSD 512/256/128/64
All native decoding, no internal hardware conversion
  DXD 2x/1x
All native decoding, no internal hardware conversion
  PCM 768/705.6/384/352.8/192/176.4/96/88.2/
All native decoding, no internal hardware conversion
- PCM Bit-Perfect Processing/Minimum Phase/Standard Digital filters selectable
- DSD Extreme/Extended/Standard Range Analogue filters selectable
- DXD Bit-Perfect Processing Fixed analogue filter

Specifications (DAC Section)

Dynamic Range (Line) >117db(A)  
THD & N (0dBFS Line) <0.003%  
Output Voltage (Line) >2V  
Output Impedance (Zout) < 240Ω  
Jitter (correlated) Below AP2 test set limit  

Headphone Power Output

HP Amp Output Power (max) Power (continuous.)
- Turbo mode 10.0V/4,000 mW @ 16 Ohm >1560 mW @ 64 Ohm
- Normal mode 5.5V/1,900 mW @ 16 Ohm >950 mW @ 32 Ohm
- Eco mode 2.0V/500 mW @ 8 Ohm >250 mW @ 16 Ohm

Specifications (Headamp Section)

Dynamic Range (HP) >115dB(A) (Eco Mode, 2V Out)  
THD &N (HP 500mW/16R) < 0.008%  
Output Voltage (HP) >8V (Turbo Mode)  
Output Impedance (Zout) <1Ω (iEMatch not engaged)  
Maximum Output Power 4,000mW @ 16 Ohm Load when using sinewave testing the iDSD micro may engage protection circuits
Continuous Output Power 1,000mW @ 64 Ohm Load  
Average Rating (2 Reviews):  
Write a Review and share your opinions!

A Magnificent Headphone DAC!
19 May 2019  | 

Whilst a little larger than the norm this iFi Headphone DAC/Amp reveals quite superb detailed sound with a good pair of headphones - and it will handle most makes! It’s bass is never overblown but realistic whilst stereo separation is a revelation. This is one happy customer!!!

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IFI Audio Black Miracle
26 September 2018  | 

I have spent few days listening to high resolution audio music from my laptop (powered by Windows 10 Home 64bit OS) using JRiver Media Center 24. I am trully impressed with the sound. It is neutral and detailed with plenty of power to drive any headphones (I have used Sennheiser HD 660S and Beyerdynamic Amiron Home). Using ASIO windows drivers provided on IFI Audio website, installation is simple and fast. And everything works from the box - no additional adjustments are required. There are hearable clicks during start and end of playback, but this is nothing compared to sound quality the DAC offers, choice of available analogue filters and plenty of power it provides. Highly recommended to anyone who loves the music, has collections of hig resolution music and needs plenty of power to drive any headphone.

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