iFi Audio Pro iDSD - 4.4mm Balanced
Overview: The iFi Audio Pro iDSD is a flagship DAC (digital-to-analog converter), digital music streamer, and headphone amplifier. The Pro iDSD lets you connect a wide variety of digital sources, from computers and routers to CD transports and NAS drives, and from memory cards and USB drives to an external HDD. The unit has a reference-level DAC chip that supports PCM up to 768kHz and DSD1024. You can even choose between tube and analog output stage. With all of the different configurations available, the Pro iDSD gives you the ability to listen to more of your favorite music in the most ways possible. Dimensions: 8.387"W x 2.498"H x 8.1126"L; Weight: 4.37 pounds.
Digital-to-Analog Conversion: The Pro iDSD plays Hi-Res audio in the original format, including MP3, DSD (up to 49.152 MHz [DSD 1024]), DXD and 2xDXD, and PCM (up to 768 kHz). You can also listen to MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio (up to 384/352.8 kHz). It uses a quad-core Burr-Brown Multi-bit/DSD hybrid DAC. The signal remains in its native format, so you get the best of each format.
MQA (Master Quality Authenticated): The Pro iDSD includes MQA rendering technology, which enables you to play back MQA files and stream MQA audio from sites such as Tidal Masters. MQA delivers the sound of the original master recording, so you'll hear the music exactly the way the artist intended.
Inputs: The Pro iDSD features a wide variety of digital inputs to choose from. All inputs, including the USB, feature full galvanic isolation for ultra-quiet operation. The front panel Input Selector lets you select from the following inputs (or groups of inputs):
- Wi-Fi / Ethernet / Hard Disk / Micro SDHC:
- Wi-Fi: Using the MUZO Player app, you can stream Spotify, TIDAL, Napster, QQ Music, and other services (up to 192kHz/32-bit) via Wi-Fi. You can also wirelessly stream music from a DLNA audio source. Your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac computer can also stream music via Airplay.
- Ethernet: Connect your router or NAS (network attached storage) Drive via Ethernet. Stream Spotify, TIDAL, Napster, QQ Music, and other services using the MUZO Player app.
- HDD: Using the USB (Type A) Host input, you can connect an external (self-powered) Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or USB drive for playing music through the MUZO Player app.
- microSDHC: The device has a slot for a microSDHC memory card with MP3, FLAC, or DSD files for direct playback. Cards between 32GB and 128GB and formatted in FAT32 are supported.
- Device USB: This Type B USB port is USB 3.0 compatible (and backwards-compatible with USB 2.0 standard), and can be used to connect your PC, laptop, or music server. A USB 3.0 cable is included.
- Coaxial / Optical Digital Input: This combo RCA coaxial and 3.5mm mini optical input is for connecting a S/PIDF source, such as a high-end CD transport, or a CD/DVD disc player with a digital output. A Toslink-to-mini optical adapter is included.
- XLR Digital Input: This single AES/EBU XLR-3 input allows you to connect an XLR single link source unit, such as a high-end CD transport or a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
- BNC Digital Input: You can connect a device, such as a high-end CD transport, in this BNC multifunction input (S/PIDF / AES3id). You can also use the BNC connector to sync to an external clock device, and output the sync signal to another device via the second BNC connection. A rotary selector lets you choose the correct clock device: Atomic Clock, DARS (Digital Audio Reference Signal), or 10MHz. You should select "Standalone" if no external clock source is used.
Digital Filters: The Pro iDSD offers the following choices of digital processing, selectable on the front panel:
- Direct - Bit-Perfect: Both PCM and DSD signals are not processed in any way. This is sometimes called "non-oversampling" or "zero-oversampling" for PCM. DSD is retained in its original format, and directly converted to analog without any digital processing. You can select "Bit-Perfect" or "Bit-Perfect+".
- PCM - Upsampling: PCM is up-converted to 16x PCM (706.5 / 768kHz) using a choice of digital filters: Gibbs Transient Optimised, Apodising, or Transient Aligned. DSD remains completely unprocessed.
- DSD - Remastering: You can choose all incoming DSD audio to DSD512 or DSD1024.
Output Modes: Like the Pro iCAN, the Pro iDSD has both solid-state and tube output stages. Using the front panel 3-way switch, you can select from the following output modes:
- Solid-State Mode: The device employs a pure solid-state circuit using J-FET transistors, with fully-discrete Class A performance.
- Tube Mode: The two NOS GE5670 tubes are engaged, and the J-FET circuits are bypassed, to give you an all-valve Class A operation.
- Tube+ Mode: The Tube+ position reduces overall loop-gain and minimizes negative feedback. This mode produces more of the tubes' natural harmonics, resulting in an even more luxurious sound.