iFi expands portable DAC range with £399 xDSD

The iFi xDSD slots in above the nano iDSD Black Label in the company's range. It can play music over aptX Bluetooth or be wired to a laptop, tablet or smartphone via its USB type-A connection.

There’s a 3.5mm jack that doubles as a coaxial/optical input for connecting other devices, such as a TV, and a 3.5mm output on the front panel for headphones.

Playback from a single charge is a claimed 10 hours over coaxial/optical, eight hours via Bluetooth and six hours over USB – similar to rivals such as the Chord Mojo and Oppo HA-2 SE.

The iFi also supports PCM files up to 384kHz and DSD256 via its USB input. That can extend to 768kHz & DSD512 via a firmware update available on the company’s website. However, playback over coaxial/optical is limited to 24-bit/192kHz.

Like some of iFi’s DACs, the xDSD also supports MQA technology, which is handy for those who have access to Tidal Masters or MQA files from a hi-res music download store.

The xDSD uses the Burr-Brown DSD1793 DAC chip found in the company’s micro iDSD BL, but has a number of extra features.

Firstly, a 3D+ function provides two separate circuits: one optimised for headphones and the other for loudspeakers. The Cyberdrive headphone amplifier stage has a new circuit design aimed to drive a wide variety of headphones with different impedances.

Bass lovers can try the XBass+ function, too, which puts the emphasis on low-end performance.

Priced £399, the xDSD is entering Chord Mojo territory. Needless to say, we look forward to hearing how it fares.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.