iFi xDSD Amp-Dac

Before starting this review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details.

 

Specifications:

B Input: up to PCM768kHz & DSD512 (24.6/22.6MHz)
S/PDIF Coaxial and Optical Input: up to 192kHz/24Bit
Dynamic Range: > 113dB (A)
Volume Control: -101dB…0dB in 1dB steps
Output power: > 2.82V/500 mW @ 16 Ohm
> 3.7V/270mW @ 50 Ohm
> 3.8V/48 mW @ 300 Ohm
> 3.8V/24 mW @ 600 Ohm
Line out Level: > 2.1V @ 0dBFS (& 0dB Volume)
THD &N (1V/16R): < 0.005%
Output Impedance: < 1 Ohm
Battery: 3.8V/2200mAh
Dimensions: 95 (l) x66.5 (w) x19 (h) mm
Weight: 127g (0.28 Ibs)

 

Package Details:

xDSD USB DAC

USB-A female to male

USB-B female to USB A female

USB-A male to USB B female

Toslink optical adapter to 3.5 mm mini jack

Velcro patches for attaching to phone or music player

Velvet Pouch

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Package & Design;

As you can see to the package details, Ifi xDSD comes with lots of accessories. USB cables, toslink adapter, pouch and patches. I am quite impressed by the package contents. ifi Audio put lots of accessories for their customer.

When I first touch xDSD, I was surprised because it is smaller than I thought. Body material is the combination of aluminium and plastic, it is not heavy because of plastic components. Plastic material is not cheap looking, it looks and feels premium. Also, it feels solid and durable, but it definitely feels like the kind of a thing that you never would like to drop. Ergonomically it is wonderful to use it. I used it with my AK120 DAP and they matched quite well in terms of size. Size is similar with Mojo, maybe a bit taller and thinner. Overall, I liked the shape of body, it easily fit any device and you can carry with your portable gear outside without worrying. Also, I like volume knob lights. It is like Mojo and its colors change in every level of sound.

One thing that I don’t like about the design is the glossy surface. I have to admit, it looks good, but it is like fingerprint collector. You have to clean every time when you touch it if you do not like that view. I wish iFi was made of matte surface. Also, another disadvantage of the glossy surface is, it can be scratched easily. It has some hairline scratches on the body if you look closely. Another thing about the design is the volume-knob. It is sensitive enough and feels good when you turn on, but when you turn down or up little bit hard, knob stretches little bit and rubs to the edges. This is not a big issue but it is really bothered me when I use. These are minor complaints of course but I couldn’t ignore it.

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Battery Life:

Battery life of xDSD is neither good nor bad. I had approximately 6 hours listening with my earphones, but if you use with power hungry headphones this result will change, probably you will get 3-4 hours battery life. I think it could be better if it runs like 8-9 hours. This is not the main reason of the battery life but there are too many lights on the body. When you turn on the unit, all input lights, battery light, 3D+ or xBass lights and volume lights are turning on. It could be better that if iFi turns off some lights after selected. For example, when we choose xBass feature, the light could be turned off after 15 seconds. I believe this will affect battery life very positively. Of course, I am not an engineer and these are some amateur consumer thoughts.

By the way, you can follow the battery status at battery indicate led. White (more than %75) – Green (middle of somewhere) Red – (hold the charge cable ready) Blinking Red – (Fire in the hole)

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Power:

This thing is really powerful. Piece of cake for xDSD to drive any earphones, and it drove my all earphones without any issue. Also, I tried with my HD6XX headphone and it drives effortless. I believe it is enough to drive most of the headphones with authority. In addition, I tried hiss sensitivity with my Andromeda earphone and I heard just a small amount of hiss but it is absolutely not significant. If I speak more clearly, it is better than my Lotoo Paw Gold Diana, Astell Kern AK120 and Opus#1 in terms of hiss performance.

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Sound:

The first thing that I realized when I heard of xDSD was its musical presentation. It sounds effortless and musical. No harshness, aggression or sharpness. It is not mellow like Mojo, but somewhat similar with it. I would call the sound signature of xDSD the neutral, but it leans towards the slightly warmer side. Instrument separation, resolution and details are also pretty good. It is not performing from technical side, it shows its musical side. I don’t know how many hours burned this review unit but I found trebles are tamed and relaxed. I never heard any sibilance and it is not rolled off. Details and separation level are good but not perfect. Sometimes in fast passages it loses its details, especially with prominent trebles earphones like Andromeda. Stringed instruments like violin, guitar and oud sound are also natural feeling. It is not coloured, thick or thin. No roll off at upper frequencies. Trebles are pretty extended. I did not come up with sibilance or harshness, but you may need to be careful when using with bright earphones. Overall, upper frequencies are clear and detailed. Mid frequencies are a bit recessed but it is not like deep V-shape form, it is natural and relaxed. Vocals are natural and is slightly forward. Bass is tight and controlled and the sub-bass provides good rumble and impact, but it is not reaching too deep. When you activate xBass effect it adds some quantity but still it is not the bass-head level performance. It has an average performance as a soundstage. When I compare with Mojo, XDSD has wider soundstage than Mojo but Mojo is better at depth.

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Verdict:

I always like iFi Audio products. They produced many good gears like ieMatch which I have one and great p/p product like iDSD. And now like other iFi products, xDSD is also a great little device. It is not perfect, it has some weakness but when I consider the whole cons and pros it is a great product in overall. It is very capable device and it is loaded with some good features. If you are looking to get a small but powerful, also musical and detailed DAC/AMP, iFi xDSD must be in your list.

 

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