Read it carefully as this device has many options and uses.
US$399 (Amazon price).
“The good of a book lies in its being read. A book is made up of signs that speak of other signs, which in their turn speak of things. Without an eye to read them, a book contains signs that produce no concepts; therefore it is dumb.”
― Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose
The iFI xDSD follows in the footsteps of its predecessors.
Being its main aim is probably to pair up with iphones, cheap daps with Bluetooth, computers and android phones it it probably best that it is more built towards the smooth, slightly warm end of things, rather than the harsh, analytical unforgiving end of design.
The iFI Audio xDSD is a stunner: visually lavish, luminous in the right lighting, innovative in its feature set, meticulous and effortless in its sonic presentation, exhilarating when held in ones hand.
It is a captivating piece of audio gear with its extensive list of options and functions which could make some earlier dac/amps seem archaic. In short the xDSD is compelling in its basic yet exceptional form and functions.
The size is perfect for hand, pocket or carry bag. The ability to use it wired or Bluetooth adds to its versatility and renders some earlier dac/amps rather redundant.
Price at US$399 places it around mid tier.
Build as usual for iFi is excellent.
it offers several options for connections, volume control is precise.
Separate USB for power and input is a plus.
A slight hiss (with very sensitive IEMs like the Andromeda) is present, but is minimal and disappears when the music gets going. Using iFi IEMatch would solve this minor issue.
With regular ear and headphones its not an issue.
Volume seems to differ with different sources, so check volume first (Tested over bluetooth and wired).
iphone requires CCK for wired connection, or you can just go Bluetooth.
The xbass gives enough of hit to please, not an excessive jump. 3D+ was a bit metallic for my tastes.
I found I could get 6-9 hours usage between charges depending on what functions and connectivity I choose.
The xDSD is a fairly easy to use piece of gear, one needs to read the manual to learn to disable line out when not needed and also how to utilize the on/off volume pot and settings button to cycle through the various functions. then its easy.
Its slightly warm low end and smoothness may not be the signature everyone is looking for, but I have often found this in dac/amps their aim being to improve upon devices with lower audio quality. And although some may say the external dac/amp is separate and should not be affected I find that in my experience the source can have an impact in the chain whether wired or over Bluetooth.
So the warmth can soften the end result of a longer chain.
Its not an analytical beast, but is pleasing and musical.
If you are looking to improve upon your current source the iFi xDSD is one of a few legitimate choices within a vast sea of dac/amps and dap/dacs.