iFi pitches the xDSD primarily as a mobile DAC with an onboard headphone amplifier, its 2200mAH rechargeable battery sufficient for up to 8 hours’ playtime. The line-out mode also makes it suitable for connection to the pre-amplifier section of a loudspeaker system, bypassing the unit’s volume control but also the xBass and 3D ‘tone controls’ – useful with headphones, less so with loudspeakers. A healthy 2.1V output seals the deal.
So — is this £399 / $399 / €448 xDSD DAC a true multi-tasker? Only if it distinguishes itself in both mobile and home roles and in a product segment not exactly short on alternatives. Even iFi’s own £299 xCan runs close to the xDSD’s utility: a headphone amplifier with a (Bluetooth) DAC on board.