iFi iDSD Diablo 2: The world’s best portable DAC?

iFi flirts with the diabolical, with a portable powerhouse of over 5 watts. iDSD Diablo 2 supports high-resolution audio files and also features lossless Bluetooth audio.

By / 11 December 2023 - 8:00 am
iFi iDSD Diablo 2: The world’s best portable DAC?

iFi Audio is known for their small, smart hi-fi products – often very nicely priced. But they can also go big and deliver some of the most advanced products in their class. The iDSD Diablo 2 falls into the latter category, as it’s a portable DAC and headphone amplifier that costs a considerable amount of money. On the other hand, the manufacturer is keen to claim that this is the best product of its kind in the world.

The iDSD Diablo 2 is called a portable DAC amplifier, even though it doesn’t exactly fit in your pocket. But it’s compact and packed with advanced features that will give us an exceptional audio experience wherever we are.

iFi iDSD Diablo-2 cropped
Photo: iFi Audio

Diabolical powerhouse

While the original iDSD Diablo was already one of the most powerful we’d ever heard of – with 4980 mW into 32 ohms, and a whopping 611 mW into 600 ohms – the levels of energy are turned up a notch with Diablo 2. Admittedly, not by much, but with 5180 mW, the 5-watt limit has been exceeded. Which is pretty insane and is said to make this model the most powerful portable headphone amplifier ever.

Fortunately, there are various gain settings so you don’t rupture your eardrums when more common headphones – and especially earbuds – are plugged in.

xMEMS – how was that again…?

The iDSD Diablo 2 has a special circuitry specifically customised for xMEMS headphones. These use a lightweight silicon diaphragm, combined with a piezoelectric layer (which generates electricity from motion), which together create a speaker unit that should have superior transient and phase response. Specifically, 150 times faster than traditional drivers. Such drivers are voltage-driven, not current-driven, which places special demands on the amplifier.


iFi iDSD Diablo-2 front2 iFi iDSD Diablo-2 rear
Photo: iFi Audio

Superior audio format support

The iFi iDSD Diablo 2 uses the latest Bluetooth 5.4 technology, but more importantly, it supports “all” codecs, including LDAC and even aptX Lossless – the only Bluetooth codec that provides lossless CD quality over Bluetooth.

But if you want the very best sound, you should use a USB cable. Both high-resolution PCM up to 768 kHz and DSD up to 512 times the CD frequency (22.5 MHz) are supported. Full MQA support is also in place.

The iDSD Diablo 2 is equipped with one 6.3 mm unbalanced headphone output and one 4.4 mm balanced. A 6.3 to 3.5 mm converter plug is included so you can connect all your headphones.

The portable DAC amplifier has four removable “wings” that allow for both horizontal and vertical positioning.

iFi iDSD Diablo-2 stand2 iFi iDSD Diablo-2 stand3 iFi iDSD Diablo-2 stand
Photo: iFi Audio

iFi iDSD Diablo 2: Price and availability

The product is already available in the US market and we expect to see it here soon. The price is listed at around $1,300, which is $300 more than its predecessor.

More information:

iFi iDSD Diablo-2 inputs & functions iFi iDSD Diablo-2 det iFi iDSD-Diablo-2-contents iFi iDSD diablo-2-pcb iFi iDSD Diablo-2 front
Foto: iFi Audio

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