I have been using this for nearly four months now and it has become indispensable to me. It was not an easy decision to choose this over the nano iDSD BL, or one of the cheaper chi-fi alternatives; it was the Hi-Fi News review that swung it, in particular the lab report, which measured significant improvements over the nano.
My intention at first was to use the xDSD on my bedside table for late night listening, but I am also using it in bluetooth mode when I’m out and about, and often in my lounge where I have a proper Hi-Fi.
I see from user reviews and forums that many people are connecting to their phones or DAPs via bluetooth, I don’t think they are realizing the best performance of this device. Bluetooth on the xDSD is certainly better than on my TV or streamer, both plugged into my Hi-Fi DAC (I have no experience of aptxhd or LDAC), but the USB connection is clearly superior in sound quality. As I said above, I use bluetooth when I’m out, and you don’t lose too much with compressed music such as BBC sounds or Spotify. The xDSD really earns its asking price with upper tier Qobuz and Tidal subscriptions played via the USB audio player PRO app on my Android phone, the sound really is of Hi-Fi quality. The XBass and 3D settings are subtle enough not to alienate audiophiles like me, I find them useful for perking up compressed formats, but with good recordings in flac I notice an increase in distortion.
Forcing myself to be critical, I have to say that the DAC half of the equation outshines the amplifier. In line out mode it performs almost as well as I would expect of a mains powered DAC at this price. Of course it is not fair to compare a battery amp to a proper one, and the headphone amplifier I plug it into at my bedside is obviously superior. The xDSD has plenty of gain, but harder to drive headphones such as Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 250 ohms, or TINHiFi P1, sound lacklustre; easy to drive ‘phones such as HIFIMAN HE400i and Shuoer tape, are much better matches.