The iDAC was good. It was very good and cultivated a very loyal following among customers and reviewers alike. The iDAC2 is the all-new 2015 version. It is a totally new design that has drawn upon the widespread praise garnered by the nano iDSD and micro iDSD.
What is it? State-of-the-art DAC/headphone amplifier for home, desktop or portable use.
Starting with the EISA award-winning Nano iDSD, the Burr-Brown chipset has become an integral part of the iFi Audio DNA. That is True Native® playback on DSD and PCM. What does this mean? the iDAC2 (and all other iFi DACs) will keep the integrity of the file format unchanged all the way through. So DSD stays DSD and PCM stays PCM. From beginning to end. You hear it as the artist intended.
iFi’s unique approach to outstanding sonic performance and exceptional value for money is well-known. From 16/44 through to Quad-Speed DSD256, the iDAC2 is able to handle all these formats with consummate finesse.
This evokes a sonic ‘rightness’ about listening to music on the iDAC2 as there is no format conversion or re-sampling.
AMR/iFi’s roots lie in single-ended valve amplification so it is no surprise that the iDAC2 operates in Class A.
The iDAC2’s analogue stage has two special audio grade, Elna Japan Silmic II (the highest available grade and likely the best audio grade electrolytic capacitor money can buy). These are the same ones used in the ‘uber’ AMR machines.
The Analogue stage also uses a discrete, Class A buffer that combines an N-Channel J-Fet and a PNP bi-polar transistor that allows this buffer to handle loads of even 600 Ohms. This was originally designed for the upcoming Pro range so its pedigree is beyond reproach.
Drawing on the popularity of the nano iDSD and the micro iDSD, the iDAC2 also features an SPDIF output which means it is able to receive a USB signal and then convert it and output a digital SPDIF signal to another device such as Sonos streamer or an A/V amplifier (with an onboard DAC).
As your system changes over time, the iDAC2 will simply follow suit. Performance and flexibility in abundance.
AMR/iFi prides itself on the very best component quality: from Japan Elna Silmic II, TDK C0G capacitors to Vishay MELF resistors, the iDAC2 has them all.
Take the DAC’s power supply including our new ‘Super Regulator®’ a rather unique shunt noise filter which cleans the USB Power for the DAC. For the DAC there is a critical pin called reference. We always pay much attention to this pin, however the iDAC2 already benefits from trickle-down technology from the Pro range where we found a high-grade Panasonic Japan made Film Capacitor for surface mounting. This combined with a smaller value C0G capacitor provides the cleanest reference pin voltage yet. On the Audio Precision 2, the measurement graph is impressive indeed.
It is clear that behind its diminutive size beats the heart of digital and analogue circuitry that is of unrivalled design and execution (matched only by other iFi machines).
Input: USB3.0 (USB2.0 compatible)
Output: SPDIF RCA (only PCM up to 192KHz)
Formats: 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/384KHz PCM
DAC: Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown (1-DAC Chip; 2-Channel; 4-Signals)
-PCM: Bit-Perfect/Minimum Phase/Standard, Digital filters selectable
-DSD: Extreme/Extended/Standard, Analogue filters selectable
-DXD: Bit-Perfect Processing, Fixed Analogue filter
Output: 2.1V (+/-0.05V) fixed
Zout: < 39 Ohm SNR: > 114dB(A) @ 0dBFS
THD+N: < 0.0025% @ 0dBFS (100k Load)
< 0.025% @ 0dBFS (600R Load) Headphone Section: Output: > 350mW (2.40V) into 16R (<10% THD+N) > 34mW (3.20V) into 300R (< 0.1% THD+N)
Zout: < 2 Ohm
THD+N: < 0.0025% (1V into 16 Ohm, 0dBFS) SNR: > 114dBA (3.2V into 16 Ohm, 0dBFS)
Power consumption: <1.5W
Weight: 265g(0.58 lbs)