Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Recenzie iFi xDSD

Difficulty: 0

Hello and welcome to a new episode of Dusty TV.

Today we are looking at the newest combo of dac and amp

from iFi named xDSD.

This unit is offered for review by AVStore and can be bought

for 1999 RON.

iFi seems to want to dominate the market of portable dac amps combos.

After the launch of the ever so powerful

Micro iDSD Black Label and then the Nano Black Label

(for those with smaller budgets) iFi launches and places

xDSD right in the middle splitting the differences

of price and performance

but adds Bluetooth and a new design.

So whats inside? We have the same dac

as on the Micro iDSD Black Label, which is a good thing.

Which means it decodes PCM up to

768 KHz and DSD

up to 512. The output power is

500 mW at 16 ohms,

270 mW at 50 ohms and

48 mW at 300 ohms.

We also have a battery of 2200 mA

that should last between 5 and 6 hours.

It is of relative small size, half the size of a regular phone

and weighs only 127 grams.

The first thing that struck me is the small dimensions.

From the marketing materials it looks like its the same size

as FiiO Q5, but its smaller

and lighter. Considering how large the other

dac amp combos from iFi and their design

the x series seems to change everything we know about

the iFi products. Having this wavy case

I'm asking myself how am I supposed to attach it

to a phone.

The same as the other iFi products, Nano

and the Micro series, xDSD has a USB input of type

A, allowing the use of the Camera Connection Kit cable

for the iPhone and iPad.

To use it connected to a computer iFi offers a

USB 3.0 cable. To charge it

you have to use a micro USB cable in another port.

This allows listening and charging at the same time. When I use the

Camera Connection Kit cable I dont receive

alerts, as it happens with other dacs,

that xDSD is draining my phones battery. What do you do

if you have an Android device? Taking into consideration

that the Android ecosystem is so chaotic with the

USB implementation

iFi decided to let the user

chose and buy a compatible cable. The users of iOS

devices suffer the same fate.

Camera Connection Kit must be bought separately and its expensive.

Its very well constructed, mainly made out of metal with little rubberized plastic

at one end for the wireless antenna

and regular plastic for the buttons. The metal is chromed,

its a fingerprint magnet and it scratches easily.

My unit already came with a little scratch

and the chrome color is already gone in that spot.

Being of a small size its difficult to create a stack

with a phone that allows the use of the buttons in

a useful manner.

The front has a jack 3.5 mm named S-Balanced

that can be used for single ended cables

and balanced cables. It also has a multi-functional button

that doubles as a volume indicator,

and another button that switches between

XBass and 3D.

We also have 4 LEDs that indicate the type of input,

the file type and

if XBass and 3D are activated.

The back of the unit hosts the USB A Port

for the data, a micro USB port for charging,

a line in port that accepts optical and coax,

and a switch for filters, a filter for listening

and a filter for measuring. I personally didn't hear

any difference between the filters in my tests.

xDSD is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and AptX.

iFi decided to not go for AptX HD

They tried to do what FiiO did

with their Q5 and every modification

of this type requires recertifications and

in some cases very little improvements and

increased costs to justify the effort. For those who dont have

phones that support AptX, the AAC codec is used.

Having very little buttons iFi created

a bunch of combinations to be able to change the functioning

mode of the xDSD. If you don't read the manual

you will not be able to

activate some functions, but once learned

the combinations are easy to execute. The volume button

is illuminated indicating the volume using different colors

from blue to red. OK, lets get to the

interesting part. How does it sound? xDSD has the same

Burr Brown MultiBit DSD dac as its bigger brother

Micro iDSD Black Label which

I like because the bigger brother is what I use daily

at my desk because of the dac quality.

It sounds identical with its big brother having the same

neutral tonality with a slight bass emphasis.

Whats not the same is the implementation of the

XBass and 3D functions. I was disappointing after

the first listen because their effect is

reduced compared to the Micro iDSD Black Label.

The effects are done in the analog domain as

on the bigger brother offering an emphasized bass

that doesn't preclude in the other frequencies and doesn't sound artificial,

in the case of XBass, and an emphasis of the highs and a wider sound stage in the case of 3D+, but 3D+

disappoints because there are tracks on which

it works great and on others at all.

I don't use this function at all, not even on the iDSD.

The main reason why I would buy this amp is

XBass+ and because its not the same as the one on iDSD

Black Label, I cant justify the purchase.

I don't know what constraint iFi had when they made the xDSD

but they shouldn't promote it as having these functions

because they are going to disappoint many exiting iFi customers.

The preinstalled firmware allows the decoding of

MQA files but its limited

to DSD 256.

You can change the firmware

to remove the MQA decoding and

allow decoding of DSD 512.

OK, what kind of headphones we can use with it? xDSD

has and amplifier named Cyberdrive which

detects the headphones impedence no matter if they are iems or over ear

so that a switch to change

the type of headphones found on any other iFi model no longer exists.

Cyberdrive is actually a complex system

that handles the amplification, volume, the battery management

and the XBass+ and 3D+ functions.

So, how does it handle different headphones?

Using iems it handles excellent. There is so much power

that you should be careful not to reach the red

color of the volume indicator.

For iems from 16 ohms, like the FiiO F9 Pro,

to 60 ohms, like the HiFiMan

RE2000, I didn't notice any background noise

and there is no channel imbalance at lower volumes.

When we are talking about more powerful headphones xDSD

can't handle everything. Although iFi claims that it can

properly power the Sennheiser HD800, I found its not true.

Yes, there is a decent volume with high impedance headphones,

but that doesn't mean there's enough power to make the most

out of that driver. Listening to the Sennheiser HD800 with the xDSD

I felt they are under-powered. But the Audeze LCD2C

were powered very well

and I didn't notice any issues. If you think that the xDSD is

a replacement for the Micro iDSD Black Label,

think again, because it is not.

So, what do I think about it?

In this segment of the market of portable and wireless amp dac combos

iFi decided to be represented by xDSD.

And its represented very well with a product that

has a futuristic design, a series of advanced functions,

an excellent dac and envy worthy specs,

considering its size.

It takes a while to learn the button combination so

you will look in the manual for a time.

Its a very cable combo that you can use as a desktop amp dac

or a portable one. Its missing a few things, though.

First thing thats missing is the cables for iOS and Android devices.

FiiO offers cables, at least for iOS devices.

The second thing thats missing is the USB C ports. The only two other

products that battle this one are

FiiO Q5 and Chrod Mojo.

A direct comparison will be made in a future video.

Ok, that was it. I will see you in the next video. Ciao!

The Description of Recenzie iFi xDSD