The iFi micro iDSD Signature is the latest in iFi’s line of highly adaptable portable DAC/amp combos. The Signature follows up from the Black Label and provides some tweaks to the design as well as upgrades to the digital and analog sections of the device that take the iDSD Signature's sound to the next level.
Sporting a Space Blue finish and powered by a built-in rechargeable battery, the micro iDSD Signature is a transportable DAC/headphone amp that’s ready for anything that the universe throws at it.
Battery power means it’s ultra-clean with ultra-stable DC power and avoids the pitfalls of AC mains – dips, spike and noise-inducing RFI/EMI pollution.
And with up to 12 hours playing time, depending on the headphones and performance mode engaged, it feels like you could take it to the moon and back.
Based around two Burr-Brown DAC chips in a custom ‘interleaved’ configuration, the digital engine has four pairs of differential signals – two pairs per channel. This means
- a lower noise floor
- improved channel separation
- finer musical detail and micro-dynamics
The micro iDSD Signature handles up to PCM 768, DSD 512, 2xDXD and MQA. All this is done natively. Both PCM and DSD remain ‘bit-perfect’.
Extensive jitter-eradication technologies are applied to the digital engine, including iFi’s GMT (Global Master Timing) femto-precision clock and the intelligent memory buffer.
The micro iDSD Signature also comes with iFi’s GTO (Gibbs Transient Optimized) digital filter installed. And exclusive firmware available on our website means you can change digital filters as you wish.
With up to 4100mW of power the micro iDSD Signature can drive all manner of headphones with aplomb, from highly sensitive in-ear monitors to current hungry planar headphones.
The signal path has been refined to maximise sonic texture. High spec components featuring class-leading qualities such as low ESR (Equivalent Series Resistance), high stability and low distortion mean top-notch sound quality and maximum musical enjoyment.
Add in the direct-coupled nature of the circuit – no coupling capacitor is present – and the micro iDSD Signature definitely runs rings around the competition.
Versatile Sonic Tailoring
One size no longer fits all when it comes to quality listening.
The digital stage of the micro iDSD Signature features a variety of filter settings:
- ‘Standard’, ‘Minimum Phase’ and ‘Bit-Perfect’ for PCM files
- ‘Standard Bandwidth’, ‘Extended Bandwidth’ and ‘Extreme Bandwidth’ for DSD
The amp stage also has three settings to adjust power and gain. As well as ‘Normal’, you get
- ‘Turbo’ to ramp up the level of drive for current-hungry headphones
- ‘Eco’ to dial down the power to suit high-sensitivity in-ear monitors and/or to extend battery life
Complete this with our iEMatch technology that adjusts output level and our XBass+ and 3D+ signature sonic tweaks, and the micro iDSD Signature is flexible to the max.
The micro iDSD Signature features two digital audio inputs – USB Type-A and an S/PDIF socket that accepts both electrical, via a 3.5mm connector, and optical signals – adapter supplied.
It also houses a pair of RCA analogue outputs to connect to a pair of powered speakers or a power amp and passive speakers, to act as a DAC and preamplifier.
There is a 6.3mm output for headphones that have a standard single-ended connector (headphones with a 3.5mm jack can be connected using an adapter) and a 4.4mm Pentaconn output for headphones offering balanced connection.
Both headphone outputs utilise our ‘S-Balanced’ output circuitry. This delivers the sonic benefits of balanced connections with all headphone/earphone types – even those with single-ended connectors – cutting crosstalk and associated distortion in half.
- The Burr-Brown True Native® chipset means file formats remain unchanged. Listen to music as the artist intended in the format in which it was recorded.
- Doubling the DAC chips results in 3dB lower noise floor and better channel separation. Together with power supply advancements and advanced channel interleaving, the noise floor has been halved.
- Hi-Res True Native® playback for all music formats from MP3 to DSD512, PCM768 and 2xDXD.
- Listen to Master Quality Authenticated audio straight out of the box. Connect to Tidal Masters and check the option to stream MQA.
- This OV series operational amplifier is another example of a top-notch component used to get extremely low noise, low distortion (0.0001%) and wide bandwidth.
- With output power up to 4,100mW, this headphone amplifier drives all headphones with ease. It has 3 power modes – Eco, Normal and Turbo. Power and gain can be dialled-in perfectly to suit ALL headphones.
- iFi’s exclusive S-Balanced® circuit delivers maximum performance from single-ended and balanced headphones alike.
3D+ Holographic® delivers an immersive, deep soundstage. Check it out here.
XBass+® delivers a deep, tighter bass sound. Discover the details.
- TI low-noise ICs offer great unity gain bandwidth, very low noise and distortion, high output drive capability, Common-mode and Power Supply Rejection Ratios of over 100 dB, wide maximum-output-swing bandwidths and high slew rates.
- iFi always uses the best components possible. These OS-CON™ capacitors provide excellent noise reduction and have a long life span. They are not often found in products costing <US$1000.
- DirectDrive® equals a direct signal path which means less signal degradation. This direct signal path is unequalled in audio and is the reason why the sound is so ‘true’.
|Digital Inputs||USB 3.0 type A “OTG” Socket (USB2.0 compatible/with iPurifier® technology built-in)
S/PDIF (3.5m coaxial/optical)
|DAC||Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD, PCM DAC by Dual-core Burr Brown|
|Clock||Ultra low jitter GMT Femtosecond Clock|
|Dynamic Range (Line)||>117db(A)|
|THD & N (0dBFS Line)||<0.003%|
|Output Voltage (Line)||>2V|
|Jitter (correlated)||Below AP2 test set limit|
Headphone Power Output
|Turbo Mode||Power (max)||10.0V/4,100 mW|
|Power (continuous)||>1,560 mW @ 64 Ohm
>166 mW @ 600 Ohm
|Normal mode||Power (max)||5.5V/1,900 mW|
|Power (continuous)||>100 mW @ 300 Ohm
>950 mW @ 32 Ohm
|Eco mode||Power (max)||2.0V/500 mW @ 8 Ohm|
|Power (continuous)||>250 mW @ 16 Ohm|
|Dynamic Range (HP)||>115dB(A) (Eco Mode, 2V Out)|
|THD &N (HP 500mW/16R)||< 0.008%|
|Output Voltage (HP)||>10V (Turbo Mode)|
|Output Impedance||<1Ω (iEMatch not engaged)
|Maximum Output Power||4,100 mW @ 16 Ohm Load|
|Continuous Output Power||1,000 mW @ 64 Ohm Load|
|Power System||Charging via USB-C, BC V1.2 compliant up to1500mA charging current|
|Dimensions||172 x 67 x 27 mm
6.8" x 2.6" x 1.1"
|Weight||295 g (0.65 Ibs)|
Customer ReviewsWrite a review
At first this Amp/DAC sounded like it had lower resolution than my THX Monoprice Portable at $300.
But then I realized 'this warmness' I was hearing only seemed to apply to macrodynamics. The THX has
'cleaner' macrodynamics, but the iFI DSD Signature seems to have slightly higher resolution microdynamics
than my THX Monoprice Portable. I might be hallucinating. I've only spend 6 hours listening to one kind of music
on this. But I've also heard somewhere that the THX Feed Forward Correction Technology 'smears' microdynamics.
Now this statement makes more sense to me. And intuitivelly, it makes sense to me that software should only be able
to splice out macro distortion, thus enhanced macrodynamics, yet perhaps, not so enhanced microdynamics if the hardware
and implementation of the hardware is not as good. Reminds me of Bose using software tricks. What you are paying an extra
$350 dollars more than the THX Portable is likley better hardware components & implementation. This is good news for amplifier
companies that are not THX, if it's not merely Analytical VS Lush, but also Micro Analytical VS Macro Analytical. #QuarantineThoughts : )
Unit sounds great very dynamic and smooth, slight channel and imbalance at lower volumes
It's as big as its predecessor (the black label), which is the only real complaint I have about this beast (that, and perhaps maybe the "wish I would have waited for the diablo" factor)... OK fine, I also don't love the fact that I can't power/charge it from the same USB-C port as the connected host (although I do understand the sonic benefit of having them separate).
In short, this thing rivals any desktop DAC/Amp combo I have seen under $1k, and I have yet to find something it doesn't drive with ease (everything from delicate Campfire Audio IEMS up through my Sennheiser HD800s, Audeze LCD-4, Focal Utopia, and the full range of ZMF cans). The 3-position gain switch is fantastic in dealing with the range of power requirements, and the 3D and XBass DSP (? Filters?) give you more options to tweak the spectrum to accommodate whatever you're listening to. Battery life is spectacular (although the status lights could be a little more intuitive), the 1/4" and 4.4mm headphone outs are much welcomed among the sea of other options' 3.5mm / 2.5mm ports - and built-in RCA out allows for the iFi Micro iDSD Signature to work as a preamp for your 2-channel setup. Decoding of (as far as I know) all the high-res formats, although pretty much a given, deserves mention.
Although I'm not going too many places these days, it's nice to have a desktop-worthy DAC/Amp that I can walk around with. I find myself using my Chord Mojo less, and instead reaching for the iFi when I'm not tethered to my Violectric V280. Well done iFi!
The TL/DR summary: this unit is amazing. If you’re on the fence, go for it. You will not regret your purchase.
After deciding to move beyond the limitations of on-board decoding on my devices, I had been making do with a dongle-type DAC, using fairly easy to drive IEMs and headphones. I spent a few months researching various desktop and portable DAC options, and finally dove in when the iFi Micro iDSD Signature was announced. It was love at first listen. If you want to discover new amazing in your favorite tracks, not to mention be blown away by capabilities of your headphones and IEMs, this unit will deliver with flying colors. It also delivers across the spectrum - I’ve been as dazzled by classical tracks and remasters of 70s albums as I have the latest Billie Eilish and Kid Cudi. I don’t remember the last time I’ve had this much fun with my music.
The sound itself is impeccable, and with the various output configuration options (Power Match, the iEMatch, multiple filter options, XBass and 3D audio) you can dial in the perfect sound for whatever you may be listening to. My only challenge has been finding the right power setting with each set of headphones/IEMs to listen at lower volume - the audio can fall off in the left channel when you drop the master volume below about 25%, though this varies with the output power setting.
A month in, I couldn’t be happier - this is an amazing bit of technology in a very portable form factor.