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iFi Audio nano iDSD Black Label

Portable USB DAC and headphone amplifier

Item # 246NAIDSD

Listen to music on your phone or laptop with a serious upgrade in sound quality.

Listen to music on your phone or laptop with a serious upgrade in sound quality.

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Item # 246NAIDSD

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About the iFi Audio nano iDSD Black Label

Better headphone sound from your computer or phone

These days, you can just fire up your phone or laptop, throw on some headphones, and listen to pretty much any song you want. The portable iFi Audio nano iDSD Black Label offers serious sound quality to go along with that convenience. This battery-powered headphone amp/DAC connects via USB and overrides the audio circuitry inside your device. 
iFi Audio nano iDSD connected to a phone.

The iFi Audio nano iDSD connects to your phone and delivers powerful sound to your headphones (adapter sold separately).

Better headphone sound from your computer or phone

These days, you can just fire up your phone or laptop, throw on some headphones, and listen to pretty much any song you want. The portable iFi Audio nano iDSD Black Label offers serious sound quality to go along with that convenience. This battery-powered headphone amp/DAC connects via USB and overrides the audio circuitry inside your device. 

From there, iFi's top-notch digital technology — purpose-built for audio — takes over. And the built-in headphone amp ensures your headphones have enough power to perform their best. A durable metal shell protects the sensitive DAC and amp circuitry during travel. So you can enjoy better sound with more punch and clarity, anywhere you go.  

Who is iFi Audio?

iFi is an award-winning British audio company that may not have the recognition of some of the big-name brands we carry. But in the world of high-end headphones, their name rings out. I saw it first hand when I visited CanJam NYC 2019, where the iFi Audio booth was crowded all weekend with personal audio enthusiasts. This company offers well-built gear, packed with sophisticated circuitry to deliver the sonic goods.

Ready for all of your digital music

The nano iDSD features a high-grade Burr-Brown DAC chip that can squeeze out more musical detail from Spotify®, Apple Music®, YouTube, and other digital audio sources. This DAC will decode high-resolution music files up to 32-bit/786Hz resolution, including DSD. It also offers full MQA support.   

nano iDSD connected to a laptop

The nano iDSD is an easy way to get cleaner sound from your laptop.

iFi includes their "iPurifier" technology to keep your sound as clean as possible. This helps reduce noise that's generated by all the other stuff going on inside your connected phone or computer — all that extra activity unrelated to audio. It also "reclocks" your source's digital audio stream, providing a clean, jitter-free path for your music.  

Versatile connections

USB cables are included for connecting to a PC. You can also connect to your phone with an additional adapter (such as mini-USB and USB-C adapters for Android™ phones, and Apple Lightning® adapters for iPhone®). There are no USB drivers to download, but you might have to dig into the audio settings on your phone or computer.

Don't let that last sentence scare you. This is one of the more intuitive DACs around, and iFi includes some pretty thorough instructions. Plus, we offer lifetime Tech Support on all Crutchfield purchases if you need help setting things up.  

High-powered headphone amp for all types of headphones 

iFi uses what they call "S-balanced" technology for their built-in headphone amp. Their dual-mono circuitry keeps the left and right audio channels separate for as long as possible to avoid cross-talk and distortion.

There are two front-panel stereo 3.5mm mini audio outputs for connecting headphones. One of these outputs has been optimized for highly sensitive headphones, like in-ear monitors (IEMs). It uses iFi's proprietary iEMatch technology to adjust the amount of power while still preserving the sound signature of your 'phones. The other headphone output is a more traditional headphone jack that can power harder-to-drive headphones with impedance up to 600 ohms. 

For powered speakers, too 

iFi also includes a 3.5mm line-level output on the back panel. You can use an optional stereo mini-to-mini cable or mini-to-RCA adapter to feed a line-level signal to a pair of powered speakers, power amplifier, or receiver. 

A note about charging

The nano iDSD has a built-in rechargeable battery that offers about 6-10 hours of music listening on a full charge. But unlike some DACs that can draw power from a connected device, this one runs completely on battery. So make sure this DAC is charged up when you take it out and about.   

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Product highlights:

  • battery-powered portable USB DAC with built-in high-performance headphone amp
  • improves sound from your PC, digital music player, iPhone, and/or Android phone
    • USB-A and USB-B cables included
  • compact design with metal chassis
Built-in digital-to-analog converter:
  • Type A USB input for connecting PC, smartphone, and other mobile devices
  • Burr-Brown "True Native" digital-to-analog converter chip for high-quality sound
    • allows for separate signal pathways for PCM and DSD
  • supported sample rates: up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM; DSD 256
  • offers rendering for MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio files
  • built-in "iPurifier" technology for reduced line noise and jitter
S-balanced headphone amplifier:
  • two 3.5mm mini headphone outputs:
    • 1 direct drive output
    • 1 output optimized for sensitive headphones (like in-ear monitors) by iFi's proprietary iEMatch technology
  • iFi's dual-mono circuitry helps reduce crosstalk between the left and right audio channels
  • output impedance: 15-600 ohms
  • output power:
    • >1.7V / 200mW @ 15 ohm
    • > 2.9V / 285mW @ 30 ohm
    • > 3.5V / 20mW @ 600 ohm
  • fixed line output mode for connecting to powered speakers or powered amplifier
  • manual power switch/volume control dial with 40dB-0dB attenuation
General info and specs:
  • 1 3.5mm line-level output for connecting a powered speaker or amp
  • rechargeable battery provides 6 to 10 hours of playback on a full charge
  • completely self-powered, cannot borrow power from your computer, phone, or playback device during use
  • color-coded LED indicator for incoming sample rate
  • includes selection of rubber straps
  • cloth storage pouch
  • headphone output impedance: < 1 ohm (direct); < 4ohms (iEMatch)
  • 2-9/16"W x 1-1/18"H x 3-1/2"D
  • weight: 5 oz.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • MFR # 304008

What's in the box:

  • Portable DAC / headphone amplifier
  • 39" USB 3.0 cable (Type A USB male on one end and Type A USB female on other end)
  • 7" USB adapter (Type A USB female on one end and Type B USB female on other end)
  • USB adapter (Type A USB female on one end and Type B USB female on other end)
  • 2 Rubber straps
  • Cloth storage pouch
  • User Manual
  • Note for charging
  • 3 Easy Steps
  • iFi connection diagram
  • MQA setup on Tidal

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More details on the iFi Audio nano iDSD Black Label

Mark G.

Product Research

Features

Overview: The iFi Audio nano iDSD Black Label is a portable DAC (digital-to-analog converter) and headphone amplifier that will increase the sound quality of your digital music collection, and provide a boosted signal to your headphones or your home amplifier. It is designed for use with your smartphone or tablet, as well as your home or office computer. It has a USB Type A input, and requires an Apple CCK (Camera Connection Kit) cable or Android OTG cable (both sold separately) to use it with your smartphone or tablet. The DAC is equipped with dual 3.5mm balanced (TRRS) headphone outputs and a 3.5mm stereo line output. Dimensions: 2.5"W x 1"H x 3.5"L (3-13/16"L including knob); Weight: 5 ounces.

Digital-to-Analog Conversion: The nano iDSD Black Label plays Hi-Res audio in the original format, including MP3, DSD (up to 256), DXD (up to 384 kHz), and PCM (up to 384 kHz). You can also listen to MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio. It uses the Burr-Brown "True Native" chipset, which offers separate signal pathways for PCM and DSD. The signal remains in its native format, so you get the best of both formats. The nano BL utilizes Zero Jitter®, a low-jitter crystal clock to provide a precisely buffered digital signal to the DAC's USB input. The nano iDSD Black Label portable DAC is compatible with the following audio formats:

  • DSD: 256, 128, 64, 12.4, 11.2, 6.2, 5.6, 3.1, 2.8
  • DXD: 384, 352.8 kHz
  • PCM: 384, 352.8, 192, 176.4, 96, 88.2, 48, 44.1 kHz
  • MQA: 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz filters

MQA (Master Quality Authenticated): The nano iDSD Black Label includes MQA rendering technology, which enables you to play back MQA files and stream MQA audio from sites such as Tidal Masters. MQA delivers the sound of the original master recording, so you'll hear the music exactly the way the artist intended.

LED Indicator: The nano BL has an LED that indicates the sampling frequency received from the source. It also shows the charging and battery status. The LED color scheme is as follows:

  • Power On:
    • Blue: DSD 256
    • Cyan: DSD 128 / DSD 64
    • White: DXD, PCM 352.6 kHz / 384 kHz
    • Yellow: PCM 176.4 / 192 kHz
    • Green: PCM 44.1 / 48 / 88.2 / 96 kHz, PCM
    • Magenta: MQA (all sample rates)
    • Green (flashing): Waiting for USB connection
    • Red (alternating with one of the above colors): Battery is fully discharged, USB power is being used to play music but battery is NOT being charged.
    • Red: Battery is <10% and requires charging
    • No LED: Battery is empty
  • Power Off:
    • Blue: Charging

Headphone Amplifier: The iFi nano iDSD Black Label has a strong headphone amplifier that can drive most headphones and in-ear monitors. The 2 x 285mW direct drive, dual mono headphone amp provides over 10 times the maximum output power than a common smartphone (27mW). The extra power can drive most headphones that are poorly driven direct from a smart phone. The headphone amp features a precise analog 2-track volume control potentiometer with a power switch (40dB - 0dB attenuation) that doesn't degrade the sound quality.

iEMatch: Two 3.5mm headphone outputs are provided. One of the outputs has iFi's iEMatch technology. iEMatch uses MELF resistors to give you transparent matching of very sensitive headphones or in-ear monitors (IEMs), driving them at 0.5V with virtually the same dynamic range as at a normal output of 2V. The Direct drive output can produce up to 3.5V into high impedance headphones (600 ohms).

3.5mm Line Output: The DAC/headphone amp has a 3.5mm line output to provide a connection for devices with their own volume control. This includes Active Speakers, Aux Inputs, and Hi-Fi Systems.

S-Balanced: The nano BL's exclusive S-Balanced® circuit delivers maximum performance from single-ended and balanced headphones. The full benefit of the S-Balanced wiring is experienced with balanced headphones and in-ear monitors, with lower noise and distortion, and the headphone channel separation is unchanged with the load. Even single-ended headphones benefit from S-Balanced technology, cutting crosstalk in half.

Digital Filters: The nano iDSD Black Label DAC is equipped with selectable digital filters for PCM and DSD listening. The advanced minimum phase (Bezier) digital filter is applied when the Filter switch is in the "Listen" position. It is optimized for sound quality and enjoyment. The Listen position provides extended bandwidth and is transient optimized. In most cases, the switch should remain in this position. For those who prefer the sound of standard FIR linear phase filters, or are required to take objective performance measurements, the "Measure" position should be selected. The measure position provides a narrower bandwidth, and is optimized for lower output band noise.

USB Input: The nano iDSD Black Label has a Type A USB 2.0 input that can be used with your smartphone, tablet, or home/office computer. For iPhone and iPad, you will need an Apple CCK cable, such as the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter or the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter (sold separately). For Android, an OTG (On-the-Go) cable (with Type C or Micro USB, depending upon the device) is required. When connecting to your home or office computer, you should use the included USB 3.0 cable.

iPurifier: The nano iDSD Black Label's USB (Type A) input features built-in iFi iPurifier technology to reduce USB power line noise, so your digital music files play back with no buzzing, hissing, or noise.

Power: The nano iDSD Black Label is powered by a built-in Lithium-Ion battery. When fully charged, the battery provides between 6 and 10 hours of continuous playback time. You should always switch on the power first, before plugging in your device.

Specifications:

  • Headphone Amplifier:
    • Power Output: Dual Mono 2 x 285mW Direct Drive, coupling capacitor free circuit for highest fidelity.
    • Connectors: 2 x 3.5mm TRRS balanced headphone audio outputs; one direct + one with iFi iEMatch integrated
    • Volume Control: Analog 2-track potentiometer with power switch, < 2dB tracking error; 40dB - 0dB attenuation
    • Dynamic Range (including DAC):
      • > 109dB(A) @ 3V (Direct)
      • > 107dB(A) @ 0.5V (iEMatch)
    • THD+N (@125mW/30R): < 0.005%
    • Max Output (<10% THD):
      • > 3.5V @ 600 ohm load (Direct)(20mW/600 ohms)
      • > 2.9V @ 30 ohm load (Direct)(285mW/30 ohms)
      • > 1.7V @ 15 ohm load (Direct)(200mW/15 ohms)
    • Output Impedance:
      • </= 1 ohm (Direct)
      • </= 4 ohms (iEMatch)
    • Channel Separation:
      • > 79 dB @ 600 ohm load (Direct)
      • > 79 dB @ 15 ohm load (Direct)(1 kHz, TRRS plug Balanced wiring)
  • Line Output:
    • Dynamic Range (Line): > 109 dB(A)
    • THD+N (0 dBFS Line): < 0.004%
    • Output Voltage (Line): 2.15 V (+/- 0.05V)
    • Output Impedance: < 240 ohms
    • Channel Separation: > 99 dB (@ 1kHz)
    • Jitter (correlated): Below test set limit

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