Nano Idsd Black Label Head Amp/Dac From Ifi

A neat, yet solid looking DAC with an integrated headphone amplifier, Paul Rigby Review the iFi nano iDSD Blaông xã Label

If you plug headphones into your phone or your máy vi tính & play music through those devices then you will hear a melodic noise, sure, but not a great khuyễn mãi giảm giá more than that. If you want fine detail, a measure of clarity và a balanced soundstage then a basic device, spewing forth, will not provide any of that. 

The reason is that any phone, tablet, máy vi tính of even desktop is a multi-function device, not a dedicated music player. Why should you expect top chất lượng music from a device that can work out your accounts, play games, run full blown films, browse social truyền thông media và more? 

The problem with any music play on a general electronic device is the noise that gets in the way of music detail. That is, the extraneous noise caused by the continuing house-keeping of other tasks that devices vì chưng while playing music, as well as the relatively poor component quality (for sonic production, that is) and the không tính tiền & decidedly non-audiophile manner of the component layout.  

This is why Smartphone & portable, speciadanh sách headphone amplifiers and DACs are important. These third party gizmos connect khổng lồ said devices và bring an audiophile sensibility to lớn your general device.

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iFi’s nano iDSD Blaông chồng Label (BL) is one of those. A small, portable DAC/headphone amp, it is compatible with PCM/DXD audio files (treated natively và running up to 32bit/384kHz) and DSD (up to DSD256) while also supporting MQA.

You’ll find a low-jitter crystal cloông chồng, a choice of two digital filter settings, Type-A USB On-The-Go input for connection to Android và iOS devices, iFi’s ‘iPuriier’ giải pháp công nghệ and two tai nghe sockets deliver different output levels – one ‘direct’, the other with iFi’s ‘iEMatch’ for high-sensitivity headphones/earphones

This dual-mono design of the nano iDSD includes a ‘S-Balanced’ wiring system that, “…delivers the benefit of balanced outputs when used with headphones with balanced wiring and even cuts crosstalk in half with unbalanced headphones,” said the company. 

The built-in rechargeable battery delvers 10 hours of audio performance from a single charge.

I did miss a Line in socket khổng lồ readily connect a portable DAP so be aware of this omission when considering purchasing of this unit. After my direct query on the matter, iFi did add, “The nano iDSD BL is a digital input DAC only with a tai nghe amplifier, therefore Line out bypasses the headphone amplifier.”


I began with a wired connection to my iPhone 8 via the usual camera-type adaptor (not supplied by iFi, nor is a USB OTG cable) và played Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me via AAC. You have khổng lồ bear in mind that a điện thoại thông minh is not exactly an audiophile source carrier và my lossless file is not exactly the best wrapper. Nevertheless, the iDSD provided a clear &, considering that this is an AAC tệp tin, relatively broad soundstage with admirable instrumental separation to lớn enable detail to lớn be accessed. Despite a laông chồng in maturity và tonal richness from the file format, this cấp độ of analytical attention provided a measure of complexity to lớn the traông chồng that enhanced the listening experience. 

I did try the Listen EQ setting which offered a warmer, slightly subdued presentation but quickly returned to lớn Measure which appeared khổng lồ provide a more neutral but also extended response.

I then turned khổng lồ more serious musical sources &, via my máy tính xách tay, a SSD-powered MacBook, played Sonny Rollins’ with the superlative On the Sunny Side of the Street at 16bit/44.1kHz (a ripped WAV) with Sonny Stitt and Dizzy Gillespie in attendance. Gillespie provided a lovely vocal line later in the traông chồng, incidentally. 

It was here that the nano iDSD first truly swung inlớn action exhibiting a cavernous soundstage with both midrange insight plus a balanced & rather smooth tonal output. Hence, Rollins’ sax offered detail in terms of the movement of the reed and how the great man utilised it but the sax itself eased into place without much effort, such as the flowing nature of the music. 

I upped the PCM lớn 24bit/192kHz with Looking for a Home from Kevin Greeninger và Dayan Kai. For a Mobile device lượt thích this, you’re not going lớn get a sense of space achieved by lots of dynamic reach. You could hear that the iDSD was coping very well but there were limits. Anyone looking for the ultimate in sonic reproduction really needs lớn head for a desktop unit. Still, for a điện thoại unit, the performance was excellent, in relative terms, at this very high resolution. Vocals offered a sensitivity that was engaging while the guitar accompaniment was delicately coated onlớn the song. 

It was reassuring to lớn hear that the nano iDSD didn’t allow & frequency nasties to lớn occur here. No bass bloom, pinched treble or midrange smearing khổng lồ spoil the fun. In fact, fun was available in buckets here with enough focus to lớn enable each instrument to move sầu with agility và flexibility. You never felt that the music was dragging, the timing here was impeccable.

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I changed to DSD and Eric Bibb & Meeting at the Building at DSD128. This sound existed within a busy soundstage with numerous instruments và vocals popping in và out all over the place so the potential for frequency confusion was high here. The iDSD coped well with the onslaught providing space for percussive sầu reverb along with more subtle instruments such as the harmonica and accordion. Again, the general output was a smooth one that gave sầu the performers a relaxed demeanour. 


A compact unit, ikhuyến mãi for mobile use, the nano iDSD proved lớn offer superb sound for its diminutive kích cỡ. Covering a range of resolutions and connectivity options, the iFi Nano iDSD BL provides excellent value for money too.

BAD: no Line in option



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