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The devilish iDSD Diablo is iFi Audio’s new flagship portable DAC/amp

iFi Audio’s new flagship portable DAC/headphone amp, the Diablo, comes dressed in devilish red but offering a sound built for purists.

iFi’s latest portable DAC/amp aims to offer every music format at its highest quality. With dimensions of 166 x 72 x 25mm, it’s small enough to take with you and features a built-in battery that, according to iFi, features a “theoretical” performance advantage over mains powered performance.

With a sleek new design and a fiery red finish that matches its name, the iDSD Diablo loses a couple features such as sonic tailoring options and Bluetooth connectivity to focus its ability to “drive any headphones on the planet with aplomb”.

It aims to do so through its Burr-Brown DAC chip, chosen for its “natural-sounding musicality” and True Native architecture. Two of these chips are installed in a custom interleaved configuration that enables four pairs of differential signals (two pairs per channel) that reduces the noise floor, improves channel separation as well as enhancing the DAC’s ability to “resolve fine musical detail and micro-dynamics”. The onboard circuitry is able to deliver up to 500mW of power, with three settings available to adjust power and gain for sensitive or power-hungry headphones in Turbo, Normal and Eco mode.

Inputs include a S/PDIF and USB input on the rear, joined by a fixed line-level 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced output (for connection to an external amp). There’s also another 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced output for headphones at the front. The USB input also accepts Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter directly, without needing an additional female-to-male USB adaptor.

Accessories include iFi’s iPower 5V AC/DC adapter to hook it up to mains power (an additional £49), as well as a 4.4mm Pentaconn to XLR balanced interconnect cable, a 15cm USB-C to USB-A audio cable (and extension) that are all USB3.0 compliant. You also get a USB-C charging cable and adapter to connect headphones with a 3.5mm jack to the 6.3mm single-ended output. There’s even a travel case included.

The first iDSD Diablo production run will include iFi’s iPurifier3 in the bundle (available separately for £129), designed to tackle noise through a mix of tech that includes Active Noise Cancellation.

The iFi iDSD Diablo DAC/headphone amp is available from selected retailers today (Friday 15th January) for £899.

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