iFi Nano iDSD portable DSD DAC/headphone amplifier

Digital-to-analog converters
iFi Audio iDSD nano

No less impressive is the Nano iDSD’s performance through Oppo’s full-size PM-1planar magnetic headphones on the Gordon Getty “Overture to the opera ‘Plump Jack’, for Orchestra” from Orchestral Works by Gordon Getty [Marriner/Academy of Saint Martin in The Fields, Pentatone]. This enjoyable yet demanding test track presents a roughly 12 minute-long orchestral obstacle course for any DAC, amp, or headphone to negotiate—a test made all the more challenging by the abrupt musical ‘mood swings’ the music presents. As an example, listen to the transitions you will hear between the 6:00-minute and 9:20-minute marks in the track. During that brief span the music swings through melancholic and pensive moods, into lighter and more wryly humourous passages, on through to a section where we hear loud, low frequency percussion statements offset against ferocious brass section outbursts. Throughout, the Nano iDSD faithfully captures not only the distinctive textures, timbres, and dynamics of each section, but also their overall feel. In my notes I wrote, “The PM-1 shows just how articulate and nuanced the Nano iDSD’s mids and highs really are, and also how soulful, punchy, and well-defined its low-end can be.”

In sum, when paired with appropriately revealing, accurate, and high-sensitivity transducers, the affordable Nano iDSD DAC/amp provides an amazingly versatile and sonically sophisticated high-end solution. The only caveat is that, for best results, you must avoid asking the iFi to drive ‘phones whose power demands exceed the Nano iDSD output capabilities. Just keep that one rule in mind and you will be in for a serious sonic treat, and one that comes at a ‘cheap thrills’ price.  But, should you require additional clout, flip back a few pages, to iFi’s Nano iCAN…

Technical Specifications

Type: Battery/USB-powered, portable high-resolution DAC and headphone amplifier

Digital Inputs: High-speed Asynchronous USB 2.0
(32-bit, 384 kHz)

Formats supported: PCM from 44.1 to 384 kHz, 16 to 3- bit; DXD (352.8 or 384kHz, 24-bit); DSD (2.8, 3.1, 5.6, 6.2 MHz)

Digital Outputs: S/PDIF (coaxial RCA)

Analogue Outputs: 3.5mm mini-jack headphone output, stereo analogue (variable level, via dual RCA jacks)

Power: Depending on start-up conventions followed, the Nano iDSD can be either USB-powered or
battery powered

Battery capacity: 1400 mAh

Headphone amplifier output: 130mW

Dimensions (H x W x D): 28 x 67 x 106mm

Weight: 167g

Price: £165

Manufacturer Information: iFi


Distributed by: Select Audio


Tel: +44(0)1900 601954

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