True Native® Playback
Latest iteration of
Exceptional parts quality
Heart of Dual-Core
Both Analogue Signal Processing
Only AMR/iFi goes
MELF, C0G and Sanyo
|The iFi micro iDSD Black Label is the newest iFi micro flagship product.
At the heart, beats the Burr-Brown DSD512/PCM768/2xDXD True Native® DAC with headphone amplifier.
The Black Label looks very good on the outside yet the inside is even better where relentless attention has been paid to advancing the sonics with the very latest components:
|• DAC digital signal and digital power sections upgraded
• AMR Global Master Timing® femto-precision clock system upgraded for ‘super low’ phase-noise/jitter
• Analogue signal and power sections revised
• 3D+® performance-tuned / XBass+® performance-tuned
• Latest Output stabilisation network offers less distortion
The micro iDSD Black Label. The best, evolved.
|The High-Res heart remains – DSD512/PCM768/DXD2x|
|The micro iDSD BL retains the unrivalled technical capabilities of its predecessor. This means it is capable of true native playback of all music formats from MP3 all the way up to 512DSD/768PCM/2xDXD.|
|Burr-Brown Chipset x 2|
|The Burr-Brown DAC chip used was one of the last chipsets from BB Japan (though it was introduced post-merger). This chipset was Burr-Brown’s ‘swansong’ and embodied all their converter technology. It is unrivalled in terms of subjective musicality and is a mainstay of the iFi line including the micro iDSD Black Label and is used in the upcoming showstopper, the Pro iDSD.|
|3D+® and XBass+®|
|The latest iterations of 3D+ and XBass+ are appreciated technologies that further enhance the enjoyment of music. With a larger soundstage and deeper, tighter bass respectively, both are even more engaging and satisfying than ever.|
|iFi/AMR ‘OV’ series stands for ‘Operationsverstärker’ (German for Operational Amplifier). The ‘OV’ range IC’s use HCOFC copper lead-frames and 4N Gold bond-wire which are streets ahead of mainstream commercial chips that use inexpensive aluminum bond-wire, low-grade/low-cost copper in the lead-frames.
|It is seldom found because it requires the custom packaging of chips from wafers and has a very high MOQ (30,000 pcs per part and purchase) to do – a small insight into the parts used in the micro iDSD BL which are ‘above and beyond.’|
|Sanyo OSCONs are go|
|Os-Cons, originally from Sanyo (now taken over by Panasonic), have been around for a good while. Among the larger value capacitors useful in power supplies, they hold a special place. They have been used in AMR components up to the revered CD-77 Reference Class CD Processor.
|So, despite their steep cost (around 10x that of common electrolytic capacitors), the micro iDSD Black Label is one of the first <US$1,000 products to feature them.|
|There are three power output modes, Eco, Normal and Turbo. If used in conjunction with the built-in iEMatch, the micro iDSD BL is able to have the power and gain dialed-in to perfectly suit all headphones from the super-sensitive Sennheiser IE-800 up to the hyper-hungry HiFiMan HE-6.|
|Intelligent In/Out SPDIF Digital Optical/Coax|
|Digital Audio Players (DAP) and home SPDIF sources are abound. Flexibility remains key and the micro iDSD BL retains the intelligent SPDIF in/out socket for optical/coax signals. So for those who wish to upgrade their DAP, simple use it as a transport and feed the micro iDSD Black Label.|
|Battery for music on-the-go|
|From the very hungry HiFi Man HE-6 down to the Sennheiser IE-800, the micro iDSD Black Label is able to play hi-res out and about for 6 to 12 hours respectively. Even when not in use, it is able to charge an iPhone from 0% to 100% two times through its side USB charging port.|
|Inputs (rear)||USB 2.0 type A “OTG” Socket
(with iPurifier® technology built-in)
|Compatible with computers (Apple/Win/Linux), iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android Devices, camera kit or USB-OTG cable required. (Full USB3.0 port compatible)|
|Intelligent SPDIF® Coaxial||3 Way combo SPDIF port (Coaxial In/Out; Optical In); Up to 192kHz PCM|
|Outputs (rear)||Audio RCA L+R|
|Intelligent SPDIF® Coaxial||Up to 192kHz PCM|
|Output (right side)||SmartPower® Socket||Fast charge all portable devices. Compliant with USB Battery Charging Standard 1.2 – 5V @ 1.5A|
|– HP Output||Audio 6.3mm Headphone Jack|
|– Volume with Power On/Off switch||Precision analogue volume control||<2dB Tracking error|
|– 3.5mm Input||Auto disable the digital section when this is in use|
|– 3D Holographic Sound®||On/Off||Auto-switching for Speakers® and Headphones® (two separate and distinct circuits)|
|Controls (left side)|
|– Power Mode||Turbo, Normal, Eco||Computer controlled power and gain scaling|
|– Filter||3 positions, 6 filters||(see filter section below)|
|– Line Direct/Preamplifier||Preamplifier function Enable/Disable, 0/9dB gain selectable||Fixed 2V or variable with up to 5V available|
|– iEMatch®||Perfect-matching circuit for IEMs (eliminate hiss)||Off / High Sensitivity Headphone / Ultra Sensitivity Headphone|
|DAC||Dual-core DSD, DXD, PCM DAC by Burr Brown||2-DAC Chip; 4-Channel; 8-Signals, custom interleaving for maximum SNR|
|Bit-Perfect DSD processing, Bit-Perfect PCM processing|
|Clock||Ultra low jitter GMT computer controlled Femto Clock||RMS jitter 12kHz – 1MHz < 280 Femtoseconds|
|Audio Formats||DSD 512/256/128/64
|All native decoding, no internal hardware conversion|
|All native decoding, no internal hardware conversion|
|All native decoding, no internal hardware conversion|
|– PCM||Bit-Perfect Processing/Minimum Phase/Standard||Digital filters selectable|
|– DSD||Extreme/Extended/Standard Range||Analogue filters selectable|
|– DXD||Bit-Perfect Processing||Fixed analogue filter|
Specifications (DAC Section)
|Dynamic Range (Line)||>117db(A)|
|THD & N (0dBFS Line)||<0.003%|
|Output Voltage (Line)||>2V|
|Output Impedance (Zout)||< 240Ω|
|Jitter (correlated)||Below AP2 test set limit|
Headphone Power Output
|HP Amp Output||Power (max)||Power (continuous.)|
|– Turbo mode||10.0V/4,000 mW @ 16 Ohm||>1560 mW @ 64 Ohm|
|> 166 mW @ 600 Ohm|
|– Normal mode||5.5V/1,900 mW @ 16 Ohm||> 950 mW @ 32 Ohm|
|> 100 mW @ 300 Ohm|
|– Eco mode||2.0V/500 mW @ 8 Ohm||> 250 mW @ 16 Ohm|
Specifications (Headamp Section)
|Dynamic Range (HP)||>115dB(A) (Eco Mode, 2V Out)|
|THD &N (HP 500mW/16R)||< 0.008%|
|Output Voltage (HP)||>8V (Turbo Mode)|
|Output Impedance (Zout)||<1Ω (iEMatch not engaged)|
|Maximum Output Power||4,000mW @ 16 Ohm Load||when using sinewave testing the iDSD micro may engage protection circuits|
|Continuous Output Power||1,000mW @ 64 Ohm Load|
“Pros: Clarity, power, versatility, build quality.”
” It is with great pleasure that I can say that I have been selected to take part in the iFi Micro iDSD Black Label listening tour…a DAC utilising a dual core Burr-Brown DSD512/PCM768/2xDXD chip and headphone amplifier..The iDSD BL came with a generous amount of accessories…There are so many things this little beast can do…(orange on black is very legible, thank you!)…It had copious amounts of power when called for…The iDSD BL is unwieldy, but is indeed portable enough to move from room to room, or take with you for listening while writing in a coffee shop or other stationary activity….The iDSD BL did pair easily to my Samsung Galaxy S7…I do think most people will opt to use this primarily as a DAC/amp, either on a desktop, or portably with a laptop..I enjoyed the iDSD BL so much…I lean slightly towards the iFi…I am truly sorry to see the iDSD BL leave…iFi has done a great job with the iDSD BL. It’s well built, very versatile, has plenty of power on tap and sounds fantastic…you do get a lot for your money….I can definitely recommend checking it out if you’re in the market for a DAC/amp. It is definitely worth a listen.”
Thank you jinxy245 for your superb review.
“Pros: Great all around bang for the buck.”
“…it feels like a well made piece of gear…I found it extremely sturdy and very spacious…Listening to a few tracks the iDSD BL sounds balanced to me and very similar to what I’m used to hearing out of the Mojo…has nice warmth and the mids sound proper, not thin….the BL sounds a bit more laid back than the Mojo…The iFi BL tends to have a softer sound…the iDSD BL did really well on my desk…In my opinion iFi have themselves a winner in this device and I would have no reservations recommending this to anyone who is in the market for a DAC/AMP combo in this price range and a bit beyond really, whether it be desktop, transportable or portable. This thing is very good and certainly up there with the Chord Mojo on a short list of what to by under $1000. Great bang for the buck!”
Thank you wormsdriver for your review.
“Pros: Desktop class sound, DAC/amp very versatile for a wide range of iem/hp pairings, neutral and resolving yet engaging sound signature that pairs easily.”
“Thanks and appreciation goes out to iFi Audio for organising this tour – it is a privilege to be given this opportunity to review the BL… The BL is solidly built, and beautifully finished. I personally love the metallic black finish and aesthetically I prefer it to its predecessor in silver. It is a compact design…it is definitely transportable…The volume knob allows you to do very fine adjustments which can be very useful and is quite smooth but retains enough traction for accuracy…The XBass and 3D switches feel sturdy and have a nice tactile feel when flipped…allowing for fairly convenient volume manipulation on-the-go…the audible difference is already significant…Norah Jones’ voice is more focused, instrument placement increase in definition and clarity and soundstage also gains more width and air…I loved the presentation with both the XBass and 3D switches turned on. The 3D switch rebalances the tonality of only the XBass switch by giving the music a treble lift…Vocals become a bit more forward and engaging without loosing transparency. The soundstage increases in height, fills up the imaginary areas somewhere above your forehead…Greater immersion into music with excellent resolution, transparency and musicality…gives your desktop class performance that you can actually carry around in a messenger bag…The iDSD Micro BL is truly a formidable device with a fantastic DAC and a ton of functionality, suited to the most sensitive of in ear monitors to the most inefficient and demanding headphones…Its functionality and small footprint is an added bonus. Bravo, iFi Audio, for a most excellent product!”
Thank you mejoshua for your excellent review.
“Pros: Feature rich with high performance to price ratio. Multi-platform compatibility. Isolated USB and analogue ground with excellent USB EMI noise rejection.”
“Many thanks to iFi for the tour program, to let us have some experience with the new iFi micro iDSD Black Label!…The iFi micro iDSD Black Label is the improved version of the previous iFi micro iDSD…The improvement is more on the sound quality….In summary, the iFi micro iDSD Black Label is an excellent sounding, feature rich DAC & headphone amplifier….Transparency, clarity, speed and detail retrieval are still the main characteristics of the iFi micro iDSD Black Label sound signature…And iFi has improved it further in a more musical manner on the Black Label version..Besides some technical improvement from the proviso iFi micro iDSD, the sound quality improvement that I observed on the Black Label are transparency, dynamic and instrument separation. The Black Label is more transparent and realistic sounding than the already transparent sounding iFi micro iDSD….it actually sounds more musical to me….iFi micro iDSD Black Label has excellent stereo imaging, spacious and holographic with good depth. The headphone output is powerful with lightning fast transient, always giving the impression that it can drive any IEMs and headphones with ease…be the sound engineer favourite portable DAC.”
Thank you earfonia for your brilliant review.
“Pros: Superbly clean output, lots of power, dynamic, practical, Features (3D Holographic & XBass), battery life, construction, design, value.”
“This company AMR iFi, is remarkable to start with. They have made so many amplifiers and dads with different functions, size and price points, all to their signature minimalist aluminium block design. All of their products have performance which far exceeds their price point, making every purchase, worth it. …I am very much impressed with every single one of them…When you first open the box, like every other of their products, it feels like you are unravelling something of very high quality, which turns out to be true…Everything required is present and it felt like it was all geared up to go….The famous iFi 3D Holographic, it widens the sound-stage of your music beautifully….It really brings your music to like, makes it more tangible and believable, even for headphones…All these features are already good enough to be sold on their own!…it reduces the noise of your noisy source input, like from your laptop or PC, all digital-electric noise will be eliminated as this brings your on board DAC, outside…A show piece indeed, take a look at that beautifully finished aluminium brick, as minimalist as design can get, sticking true to the rest of their iFi series of products, this one blends in perfectly. It is as durable as it seems, knobs and switches feel like they are of quality. The overall product has a very nice quality weight to it, which make it feel really premium unlike other amps which uses plastic to ‘reduce weight’ which simply made it feels and look cheap…Until now, iFi has never made a product that disappoint, they are a truly remarkable company which makes remarkable products.”
Thank you potatoe94 for your excellent review.
“If you’re an audiophile who loves new gear and you haven’t heard of iFi portable amplifiers and DACs, you’re really missing out. There’s a wide range of products available from this UK based company and one of their hottest items right now is the micro iDSD Black Label DAC and amplifier. This could looking portable DAC/amp is packed with features to keep even the most demanding audiophile happy….The micro iDSD Black Label uses a USB digital input. You can connect your smartphone or digital player directly to the input for instant digital audio conversion. Once your audio signal is converted you’ve got several options in customising your output..The XBass is of course a hot bass-boost function and the 3D Sound switch adds a little soundstage and high-end to your music…The micro iDSD Black Label is compatible to several forms of digital audio including DSD, DXD and PCM. This premium quality portable headphone amplifier is one of the hottest selling DAC amps in the world and for good reason. This quality DAC/Amp is packed with desirable user options and built to last….pick up the iFi micro iDSD Black Label before they’re all gone.”
Thank you Audio46Headphones for your superb review.
“iFi included a great number of bits and pieces with the Black Label. Pretty much anything you could possibly need to use this device are included in the box. You get a simply 3.5mm audio interconnect if you only want to use the Black Label a an amplifier, or you could use the RCSA cables if you want to connect it to stereo speakers or a different amplifier…Featuring an all-black body and orange label, the Black Label is indeed a ruggedly handsome device…The Black Label sounds incredible. Honestly, how is it even possible for a portable audio device to sound this damn good?….the Black Label is just something else….quite a strange sensation to feel like you’re almost listening to a surround sound system…Everything just sounds so open, so natural, so immersive and surrounding…..the Black Lable does exhibit some sonic differences….the Black Label does sound a bit clearer, and has a wider sound stage…I honestly don’t know if a stand-alone portable player that sounds this good even exists….The iFi makes perfect sense for someone who would prefer to use their smartphone as the source. I say this, because relatively speaking, that works out cheaper…
Thank you samma3a for your excellent review.
Pros: “Sound improvements across the board vs the original (silver) iDSD, greatly improved headphone sound.”
“I was fortunate to be part of the iDSD BL Tour (US)……I find most of the knobs and switches useful for dealing in a good combination with whatever particular headphones I a using…appreciate the flexibility these different settings provide for personal customisation….I listened solely to the BL…I enjoyed the heck out of the BL. It’s a more immersive experience than the iDSD…BL’s black color is classier than iDSD silver….BL has better dynamics, air, soundstage depth and bass control. BL has a fuller, more refined presentation…BL seems considerably more powerful…I think BL’s 3D and xBass are better….the major difference ws the overall sound improvement….just wanted to maximise my time with the BL…Job very well done, iFi. The BL is an evolutionary improvement…the BL is noticeably better and well worth the audition, even if you are considering more expensive gear.”
Thank you dburna for your review.
Pros: “Plays just about anything, great build quality, good sonic.”
“….iFi follows some great design and build practices, high quality material and parts are standard on every iFi products I’ve seen to date….The BL comes in a nice box with a sleeve on the outside that has the graphics….There is a ton of accessories….the BL is more of a desktop solution….the BL is like a swiss army knife….The BL and all the accessories it comes with are actually very nicely built. The chassis feels very solid and all the ports, knobs and switches feel solid….Overall, the BL has a very good build quality and is what you would expect at this price point….The battery. It lasts a long time….I found the BL to be extremely competent….I think the BL is a great example of what is possible today in audio….A device that can easily be transported, plays basically every format …provides a ton of options and flexibility…”
Thank you silvrr for your review.
Pros: “Flexible with lots of input and output. Musical Powerful AMP.”
“….a tweaked to the roof original Micro iDSD…a satin black version (with silk orange writings) of original Micro iDSD…sonically much better version of original Micro iDSD….loaded with latest 3D+ and XBass+ tech, superior over ones in original Micro iDSD….a clean and good support to the DAC circuit….much high class than the original silver colour….BL has powerful AMP inside…. with more bass and better sound stage….It was a musical DAC, warm sound with good punch…”
Thank you stevenyu2000 for your review.
“Pros: True hifi gear – Quality for money – Powerful enough output to drive power amps”
“Immediate comparison between the Standard and Black label unit shows indisputable improvements…Voice are more natural, I would say more transparent, but without loss of impact and presence….Bass seems to extend deeper, lighter, but this extension comes without any negative artefact..The unit is more dynamic than the standard iDSD…I clearly prefer this new unit. It is more to my taste: closer to the reality of dynamics…A true bargain.”
Thank you Mathieu89 for your review.
“iFi Audio is a brand that requires little introduction here on Head-Fi….Uk’s largest manufacturers of high-end audio systems…one-stop shop for computer audio….the greatest depth and breadth in USB power and signal clean-up devices on the planet…by a huge margin….iFi Audio has a deep understanding of how and why clean power is important to computer audio, and that understanding drives their product design and product enhancements…The most recent product to benefit from this understanding is the new micro iDSD BL…Think of the iDSD BL as the personal audio equivalent of one of those big, fat pocket knives with a dozen or two different tools…This new DAC is fast…you get the sense that the DAC is tracking each string and the associated harmonics with tremendous speed and accuracy. No details are lost…The sound is energetic, punchy, and engaging both in the big rig and with headphones…the new BL is going to be your favourite by a mile…so the contrast in presentation between the Mojo and the BL is quite stark…the BL presents a blacker background with greater dynamic contrast and is my pick between the two for best value for money.”
Thank you dsnyder for an excellent review.
“Smooth delivery of orgasmic sound. Powerful enough to drive a planar, whilst gentle enough for sensitive IEM…the iDSD BL presents a harder bass kicks in the opening, overall enhacing the imaging and musicality of the song….The iDSD BL brought Norah Jones directly to my room. The darker Black Label makes her voice sound as smooth as honey….The notes from the double bass and piano was well rounded and punchy which added some depth to the sound….I would call this unit a more matured iDSD with minor refinements that makes it great….The iDSD BL would be more polite to most songs, and also able to satisfy your inner bass-head…”
Many thanks aftercrasher!
“On a side note, they are a customer-oriented company. A rare thing nowadays……..iDSD Black Label comes with a well designed, elegant cardboard packaging. You can find everything about the Black Label on the box. Specs, features, technologies…
I must congratulate iFi for thinking and including the accessories like no company ever does….The only difference in the accessories between regular iDSD is the improved USB3.0 cable. It looks more durable now!…Black Label’s finish is truly mesmerising…BL looks utterly amazing….Black Label sounds more organic and musical compared to regular iDSD. I personally, always wanted my regular iDSD to sound fuller, more natural.. Well, I definitely got what I wanted!…….If you are looking for a DAC/AMP between 350-750$ this is your safest bet. Go get one!”
Thanks for the review Aero!
“So what is the BL model and what can the iDSD do?… The iDSD is a Decamp…It can be fed music from a laptop with it’s high quality USB cable….The iDSD also can be used as a preamp or direct line out, to form part of a full sized HiFi….The iDSD will easily outlast your phone so should be able to keep it going until you can get to a proper power source…The packaging is beautiful. The unpacking of the unit was a sensual pleasure…The iDSD is a clear winner …The iDSD BL offers an awful lot of options for the money….”
Thank you Takeanidea for a superb review.
“….this Micro IDSD as much as its evolution Black-label give me a great listening pleasure. They are powerful, autonomous, resistant in time thanks to their all-metal short design a beautiful object and a high-performance product!….For iFi-Audio the work done on the first version of the IDSD seemed so fair, and well-designed that they simply did not want to replace the Micro IDSD. They have updated the components, taking care to choose the most recent and the best performers. So they have evolved with some optimizations and adjustments here and there the original model…..the IDSD or the IDSD black each has arguments and gives a lot of fun. On both the dynamics is excellent, one will be more sharp the other will be a can more tolerant!….I think it will not be very useful to continue to divide these two excellent amp / dac.”
Many thanks for an excellent review Darktores.
“This model dresses black for a special edition that has seen some internal components replaced by more qualitative models, a cosmetic evolution without touching the fundamentals….With the title You Win Again Album The Warner Bros. Years 1987-1991 Bee Gees, yet we are treated to a beautiful sound reproduction from the DAC micro iFi Black Label Edition, dense and warm and very present voice….As for the 3D process, it brings a pleasant feeling of space while preserving the salt of music, so to speak, with the headphones as listening on speakers, which is rather good.”
Merci beaucoup Philippe Daussin of Qobuz and iFi:France (Elite Diffusion)
Translated with Google
“Go get one. What the heck are you waiting for? There isn’t a so easily transportable DAC/Amp combo out there with the technical capabilities of the iDSD Black Label. It has a crisp, transparent, neutral presentation. It can power headphones from the most delicate flower sensitive custom IEMs all the way up to the man eating Bengal tigers of audiophilia: the HE-6 and other rare beasts. Beyond having power and finesse, it also plays any kind of music you throw at it natively—no signal degrading conversion. If you needed some dessert with this 15 course dinner, the XBass and 3D effect switches give it to you. Have all the pudding you like, I promise the enhanced treble and bass won’t screw up your appetite.”
“Pros: Tonally similar to its predecessor yet packs in that last ounce of oomph, slam, musicality and finesse in just the right spectrums of audio. Worth it!”
“Went into the shop to audition the original Micro (my current desktop setup) vs the BL…….I have concluded that the upgraded components really make that last ounce of difference in an already fine product! Bass slam that was already pretty good in the original, is now more pronounced and adds to the oomph and color and the low end. Overall clarity, already good on the original, is now slightly increased and subtly smoother and sweeter. Overall image width and height, on the Senn HD599, is about the same to me, but then, with the added clarity+sweetness+slam, that same stereo image suddenly snaps into sharper focus on good recordings. On bad or average recordings the BL actually makes the music tolerable due to the added musicality. Ahhhh… musicality… that is the one elusive trait which could justify giving up my beloved Micro. The BL definitely has a palpable increase in musicality which I didn’t even know I was hungering for, til today. ”
Thank you Hardlok!
“So – why talk about the micro iDSD now?
iFi have today announced an updated version. The new Black Label edition has, as its name suggests, been moved to a satin black chassis with orange accents. However, this is no superficial re-skinning; it’s a complete overhaul. The upgrades can be summarised thusly:
· re-designed output stabilisation
· OV2627 op-amps upgraded analogue section
· Panasonic OSCON capacitors loaded power supply
· OV2028 op-amps loaded DAC power supply
· DAC voltage decoupling based on audio-grade ECPU film capacitors
· GMT® Femto precision clock system power supply upgraded”
Thank you John H. Darko!