Back in 2021, iFi introduced its best-ever battery powered DAC/headphone amp: the iDSD Diablo. Engineered to sit proudly at the top of the company’s range of mobile and transportable devices, the Diablo was built for purists— true headphone enthusiasts who crave pure, unadulterated sonic performance. Since then, iFi’s industry-leading design team raises the bar once again. iFi has now launched the iDSD Diablo 2. The iDSD Diablo 2 is now available from selected retailers starting for $1,299.
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Here’s what the company’s press release had to say about the new iDSD Diablo 2:
iFi Audio Announces iDSD Diablo 2
The iDSD Diablo 2 has been thoroughly redesigned inside and out, building on the performance-tuned design philosophy and prodigious power of its predecessor’s amp stage with technical advances across the board. While similar in size to the original it is more transportable than pocket sized, and its versatility has been enhanced too; while the original Diablo focused solely on cable connectivity from the source device, the Diablo 2 adds the latest generation of iFi’s famous Bluetooth engine, complete with aptX Lossless support. 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.
Diablo 2’s new aluminum enclosure is boldly colored red and sports an eye-catching new grooved design dressed in a new shade of metallic crimson. The 22 grooves aid with thermal dissipation and 8 of which are compatible as 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.
The iDSD Diablo 2’s digital stage incorporates a Burr-Brown DAC chip that iFi uses extensively, selected for its natural-sounding ‘musicality’ and True Native architecture. Two of these chips are installed in a custom ‘interleaved’ configuration, enabling four pairs of differential signals (two pairs per channel). This lowers the noise floor, improves channel separation and enhances the DAC’s ability to resolve fine musical detail and micro-dynamics.
The iDSD Diablo 2 also incorporates a 32-bit, 16-core XMOS Cortex microcontroller to optimise sound quality and unlock the full potential of the Burr-Brown DAC chip. Extensive jitter-eradication technologies are also applied, including the latest version of iFi’s GMT (Global Master Timing) femtosecond-precision clock and smart storage cache. This combination of technologies forms the basis of a proprietary ‘digital engine’ that is unique to iFi.
Hi-res audio support is state-of-the-art handling PCM data to 32-bit/768kHz and all levels of DSD to 22.5792MHz (DSD512). With the Burr-Brown DAC chip’s four-channel True Native design, PCM and DSD take separate pathways – this enables DSD, as well as PCM, to remain ‘bit-perfect’ in its native form right through to analogue conversion. MQA is supported, with full decoding/upsampling of MQA files right up to the format’s highest 384kHz specification. The iDSD Diablo 2 also includes iFi’s newly redesigned Bluetooth module, making it the first portable device that supports Bluetooth version 5.4 as well as aptX Lossless— the first Bluetooth audio format capable of streaming CD-quality (16-bit/44.1kHz) audio ‘losslessly’.
In addition to aptX Lossless, a full suite of Bluetooth formats is supported, including aptX, LDAC, HWA/LHDC, AAC and SBC. This means that every source device is covered at the highest resolution its Bluetooth specification allows. iFi’s Bluetooth module can also be updated over-the-air, so further codecs may be added as they emerge in the future. iFi’s NEO iDSD 2 was the world’s first DAC to include aptX Lossless decoding; now, the iDSD Diablo 2 becomes the first portable DAC to do so, benefitting from iFi’s close collaboration with Qualcomm to ensure the format’s benefits are maximized. The Diablo 2 stores up to eight paired Bluetooth source devices in its memory, making it easy to switch between them.
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