First Listen: iFi Micro iDSD portable headphone amp/DAC/preamp

Digital-to-analog converters,
Headphone amps and amp/DACs
iFi Audio Micro iDSD

Then, with the amps settings changed (to Eco mode with either the High Sensitivity or Ultra Sensitivity iEMatch switches engaged, the Micro iDSD shifted gears (downshifted, if you will) to become a fine and very quiet companion for the Noble K10 CIEMs (many amps, you see, tend to overdrive the K10s, but with the proper settings the Micro iDSD the match was an excellent one).

Honestly, the only other portable amp/DAC I know of that can compete with the Micro iDSD in terms of compatibility with a very wide range of transducers is the dramatically more costly Chord Hugo (though one might argue, of course, that the overall sonic presentation of the Hugo is more sophisticated and refined—as well it should be given the huge price differential involved). But at its $499 price, I think the Micro iDSD may prove well-nigh unbeatable (time will tell).

Observation 4: The iFi Micro iDSD retains the classic, eminently musical, iFi ‘house sound’

When you get right down to it, one of the reasons people either choose to buy (or not buy) iFi products involves the firm’s ‘house sound’, which is quite natural-sounding with generous helpings of organic warmth and an also generous helping of punchy-sounding dynamics. For many, this sound comes pretty close to a working definition of the term ‘musicality’, though for other a slightly leaner, more stringently neutral (and even a little bit analytical) sound might be more to their tastes.

If you love what iFi (and its bigger brother, AMR) have done in the past, there’s a very good chance you will enjoy the Micro iDSD as well.

I’m going to limit further comments on the Micro iDSD for now, partly to gain more listening experience with it, but partly so as not to spoil the formal review we will be preparing for Hi-Fi+ in the future. Watch for it in the months to come and until then, listen well.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Featured Articles