iFi portable DAC aims to ‘set the benchmark’

Audio brand iFi, part of the AMR group, has launched its Nano iDSD Black Label portable digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) at an event at the House of St Barnabas in London.

The original Nano iDSD was launched back in 2014. iFi claimed it “changed the game” for portable DACs, being one of the first battery-powered DACs compatible with iPhone and Android.

With the new Black Label, iFi head of global marketing Victoria Pickles said it hoped to “set the benchmark” for portable products going forward.

As well as being portable, the new Black Label DAC outputs 10 times more power than a laptop or phone thanks to its iEMatch feature.

It also features MQA technology, which enables hi-res audio streaming and delivers studio master quality audio to users’ headphones – all for a price of £199.

iFi also claimed the nano iDSD Black Label is “one of the most high-resolution DACs on the market”, supporting PCM up to 32bit/384kHz and DSD up to 256 times the sampling rate of a CD.

“Everything that we do has quality components and fantastic technology, but we make sure that it comes in at an affordable price range so that everyone can have access to it,” said Ms Pickles.

Vincent Luke, director of sales, commented: “Nobody wants to spend a sizeable amount of money [on headphones] without getting a few per cent out of it. Normally, if you plug headphones into a phone, you only get around 20 to 30 per cent of the potential of the headphones, because the phone is doing three things; the storage, the conversion and the amplification.

“Most headphones need a good few milliwatts to really get the full potential out of them. So with an iPhone 6, for example, you only get 65mW and really you need another zero on the back of that. So you don’t want to spend £300 and only get 20 per cent out of it, you want to get 80 or 90 per cent. So that’s where we’re mainly coming from, to get people to up that performance without going too crazy.”