iFi audio iDSD Diablo - A portable reference done our way!
Sep 15, 2022 at 10:19 AM Post #2,372 of 2,561

OCC7N

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Shills are scared of the Diablo. That's why goldensound showed how it has high sinad, and claims iDSD signature sounds better. 😆
I tested the iDSD Pro(not signature) I liked the Diablo better.
 
Sep 15, 2022 at 10:27 AM Post #2,374 of 2,561

OCC7N

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iFi needs to come up with a new desktop line. A downsized Pro but a beast = Diablo.

ZEN
Diablo
Pro
 
Sep 17, 2022 at 8:52 PM Post #2,375 of 2,561

whitedragem

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iFi Diablo is: pure engagement, holographic, "airless" with dry analog touch, raw, upfront, personality, scissor sharp. It definitly beats(imo) the RME ADI-2(by far), but saying it beats more expensive DAC, can be misleading, because this beast has its own personality. It can be fatiguing for long session. This dac really reveals itself in movies and games. I encourage anybody to test this up against more expensive dacs for gaming and movies, in that competition it beats my TT2, with a clear YES!

I hope iFi hears my request and makes a no-bs dac like diablo again, but in desktop version, with a dedicated LPSU(optional). Im just not into the Signature series to many features I don´t use.

iFi are you listening??? :pray::pray:


Another note: I hate reviewers saying this DAC "is good for a portable a dac, but...". They sound so non profesional, amatueur! Its dekstop performance for portable use!!!

(Sorry I read you post wrong, my impressions is from SE and 4.4 Headphone output.
reflection on BOLD text:
This was a test I DID run for many many hours....
Using a Chord Hugo (as an example of the Chords' method of "handling digital"), the high tap count 'filter' method that Chord uses plays with localisation information (the 'edge' of sound if you wish...) and was notorious (to me) for bringing certain aspects forward or homogenising aspects of the sound (eg voices in symphony vs individualised)..
Whilst this inarguably (SUBJECTIVE, yes!! so erm 'very arguably'?!) made some audio discs play back with a sense of improvement,.. the change in the resultant sound VERYU MUCH affected localisation information...
Under headphones this was obvious (including PS5 tempest audio (and Ghost of Tsushima as well)) and feeding two channel output and ruynning through 20k of surround sound (using tech like dolby steering etc),.. there wasn't any aspect of the Chord 'altered' sound output that beat out the Diablo as a clinical 'studio' source (as required for precision/pin point sound localisation).

No doubt a great Chord DAC would still prove an upgrade over using a headphone output from a controller etc, and we are really at the 'splitting hairs' level of comparison, where majority of audiopeeps wouldn't know which traits to look towards -(and could just as easily prefer one over the other for a range of preferences towards a sound type that suits them); the Diablo is clearly the cleanest and nicest gaming DAC/amp I have ever tested or used.

Gaming locational accuracy (and thusly movies as well) was such a delight and clear step up- letting go the Hugo was easy - not necessarily so when comparing product features and connectivity etc... but for actual 'headphone surround' capability, the Diablo is the nicest box I can find.. (and I have used both a Cambridge DAC and a Fiio BTA30 to convert Playstation USB output into a usable format that a Topping D90 (and a slew of others) could run with.

The Diablo is a gamers delight (sure it doesn't amplify footsteps frequency range or other such features as some (toy) gaming DACs do..), but then it DOES also perform exceptional music conversion that was ALSO of a 'top tier' level...
Based on price point, the Diablo really is the last stop on the (train) line of 'price to performance' value to be found in DACs...
Sure everyone can improve audio with a budget DAC (even just Netflix/TV 'dialogue and soundstage and layering' will be improved with a 'budget DAC' to give VASTLY better sound that what most 'consumer grade' 'one box fits all' solutions that we all praise as 'this device does everything'..
Perhaps this is in part to most 'top tier' surround amps (typical consumer stuff) using only mid tier DAC chips... (vs any dedicated DAC that will typically part select a DAC chip for 'marketing reasons')..


But;
given that a DAC sound output has a lot more to do with whole circuit and 'house tuning' (and technology) than 'the actual DAC' chip itself (ie the 'mid tier' DAC chips in an Anthem surround amp sound 'alright'!); the Diablo is a product that shines for sound quality of a very high tier/calibre.

A lot of money/'high pricepoints' can buy extra connectivity and features,.. but as a basic HOME DAC goes, the Diablo is a svelte and exceptionally impressive performer.

Also, and 'as a bonus', vs Chords' methods for improving low sampling rate sound (etc), the GTO filter works wonderfully for gaming and movie sound, without affecting the sound field /localisation info necessary for pin point accuracy.

From Call of Duty to Ziggurat, knowing where enemies are (off screen) based on audio cues is VITAL to many players, and the Diablo is the top of the tree (for still somewhat 'sane' money outlay) to gamers as 'the perfect DAC/headamp'.

Being able to put the Diablo easily in any room and take to bed/'the other parents house' is just a bonus,.. but then it is really only a discerning audiofool with $ that has the option to try this out, and sadly, humans are very inconsistent with interpreting sound and are unliklely to agree on what level of DAC sound quality is required for any given situation (and we all plug into different systems, with equipment that reveals different nuances and traits..).
Strickly speaking, the very mid tier DAC chip used in a 'lowly' Fiio BTA30 is phenominal in terms of capability.
Many gamers wouldn't need much more than this.. (I will not argue with them the joy to be found with such a neat little product),..
but as someone who has bought 20+ PC sound cards, run many high end amps and external DACs from high end PC audio output etc; the Diablo is 'king of the hill' for gaming sound quality. (again:not necessarily features!).

Quite literally: "Diablo FTW" (for the win)!
 
Sep 18, 2022 at 4:56 AM Post #2,376 of 2,561

OCC7N

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Here is another observation of mine:

TT2 vs Diablo

I have finally found the difference between my diablo and tt2.

"I'm sitting at a table, with some friends in a club/bar"

The whole club is the TT2(FIL1 XFD0), I can hear everybody, the vibe, the atmosphere. I feel like dancing...

From nowhere suddenly an interesting subject comes up, I get tuned into the subject, I'm focused(diablo) only on the conversation at the table, everything else is "blurred"

Both is amazing in there way…

My disappointment, comes from people calling the diablo a “portable sound”
rather than “desktop performance in portable formfactor”

They hear with there eyes..

—————-

So I used the stock ifi diablo output cable and AB tested them into audio-gd.

Only con about the diablo was the noise, maybe bad cable, but there was a noise.

Diablo has better resolution on the top notes of the bass. TT2 has a wider approach. Its exactly as my description above.

Diablo soundstage tall
TT2 soundstage wide
 

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Sep 18, 2022 at 5:07 PM Post #2,377 of 2,561

Bob Parish

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First the stock charger, then the iPower X charger…now the Elite for the Diablo.

This “portable” keeps getting better…

I sincerly hope the next desktop from iFi will be inspired from this organic sounding beast.

Edit: OMG! there is an emphasis in the low end. The Diablo is pure goosepumps!

1-2hours of burnin…the micro-details are insane. Holy moly, will the TT2 still be my favorite.

Its like Arya has open even more up!

Edit2: iPower X vs Elite is night and day!...it feel like the planar is covering the earpads. Feel like the first time I bought the Aryas.
Great to confirm about that! I listen to the Diablo charging the battery all the time and it sounds better than in the battery only mode.
I asked @iFi audio after receive my Diablo almost two years ago, and they said that an Elite power supply wasn't improve its sound.
The weak link of the Diablo is the DAC section, with an ancient Burr Brown chipset...
After use it as only head amp, I never more listened to it as a complete DAC/Head Amp. My Oppo Sonica DAC, even three years older than Diablo sounds much better as a DAC.
 
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Sep 18, 2022 at 8:36 PM Post #2,379 of 2,561

whitedragem

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"ancient" DAC chipset; (?!)
being sarcastic- 'yes', cause designed for mass market that favours 'esoteric sampling rates' and 'long battery life' as features greater than tuning (top priority) being absolute SOUND QUALITY, flavours the NEW MARKET CHIPS towards measuring well.

I seriously consider my DAC chip (that will be implemented in a circuit design, for me- ideally without wireless radios nearby), and as someone who listens to 99% of my audio source files (CD/'redbook' being 44khz @ 16bit), as needing to do this one simple task well.

Back before large corporation buyouts when Wolfson and BurrBrown were 'the stuff', they built designs that did the task 'very well'.
The job required by the redbook format (established in the seventies?) was 'pretty confident' and a task that was now refined and affordable/doable with 'simpler' REFINED chips.

The market had kept what worked- the desire being ULTIMATE TWO CHANNEL audio...

But then market direction wanted surround formats, and licensed (royalties expiring) for Philips/Sony on redbook; needed a new replacement format. Minidisc never got the traction needed for a market dominance, and hi res format wars (DVD audio and SACD) never were widely adopted, so all the hybrid DACs and 'crap' that was churned out whilst the 'small' (by todays' standards) audio chipset companies were easy buyouts to larger corps (like Texas Instruments).

Cirrus Logic liked being 'cutting edge' (were the PC soundcard chipset of choice mostly) and targetted spec sheets numbers more than the companies building 'audio' first designs.
The modern company equivalent was the ESS designs (pretty sure a whole slew of sound cards in the early nineties may have been ESS, but then I am not going to do research for a 'coffee rant post', and don't care about the origins of a lot of the companies that have seldom delivered a chipset that I care for.

I know that some late eighties Philips used parts were phenominal, and those players held there own very well OVER A DECADE LATER, vs the 'better spec sheet' Wolfson and BurrBrown designs of the late nineties/early 2000s.

The market wants and eight channel DAC chips that sips power, and two channel DACs (ideally that can do other functions than just two channel Digital Audio conversion), and filters and all sorts of things that a great design may have used OFFBOARD to the DAC chip (and required DAC chip pinouts for flexibility in implementation.)

The designs that were floating around in the market circa 2000 (give or take four years) were very refined, supported methods that allowed a clever circuit builder to 'take them MUCH FURTHER' (meaning total BOM for any given product being highly flexible), and didn't waste a tonne of their silicon space with multiple pathways for various formats and unproven sampling rates in case a user wanted to dabble with some 'soon to be forgotten about by the market' piece of tech.
(and I have DVD audio and SACD sources and discs)

@Bob - yes I know you like DSD conversion of everything you play
@majority of worlds consumers.. mp3s are great and subscription internet audio (or chewyyoube) as audio sources is acceptable for a wee bluetooth speaker (including 'in ear' variants)..
Given that most of the world listens to audio contained in formats that are not as good as 16bit CD (eg MQA on 'non MQA kit', and well anything compressed from a CD 'master'-=ahem=-), a great DAC chip from a time period when audio actually mattered FOR THE SOUND QUALITY is all fine and dandy.
Most wouldn't care and majority of DAC chips existing or used in majority of the worlds' tech would LOVE an upgrade to the 'lowly' BurrBrown 'sound'.

Like all 'future formats'; technically brilliant and deliver excellence when implemented in perfect circuits and review well, they are then implemented in lesser kit and sold to the mainstream and generally considered as 'great' based on the white DOC spec sheet of the chips used in the circuit (and not the measured output of the ACTUAL IMPLEMENTATION), things like HDR and 4K start to equal what the elite owned in their reference kit of the 'old generation tech'.
As an example - flagship parts (TVs or surround receivers) of the old tech is generally matched in performance by the 'newer' replacement tech after it starts to become 'mass produced'... (and the quality output slips back to what the mass market can 'get away with').
That 4K TV that has 600 lines of motion resolution is no better (for motion resolution) than many a flagship 720p ('high def') TV sets.
The rich get to own the nice stuff, and then the mass market gets stuff compatible with it.

Some companies have streamlined this process, and is why companies like Panasonic leave markets cause Samsung are so great at 'fudging numbers' and representing products as better (when they are inferior) and consumers being 'yellow belt consumers' all buy based on spec sheets.

Well- DAC chips are products than need to market themselves and so target 'the numbers'. This wasn't necessarily 'always the case', or the number/spec measured points didn't need to scale/vary by large margins to be 'all things to all people', and so the designs still were largely capable of being tuned for musical quality output.

Any circuit builder working with a part that they know how to squeeze the most from (DAC chip white DOCs often give a few suggestions for a range of ways to implement the chip); I'd take a part that can be maxed out or pushed to perfection reliably, over a part that may never get the support (software/firmware) to make it shine, or 'just does a few formats to achieve sales sheet "bullet points"!'.

True I have only played with DSD output from DAPs and PC 'a little'.
I find that the DSD sound can improve things, sure,..
But feeding redbook into a GTO filtering iFi product gets me to the same place, quality wise, give or take a smidge (I prefer it), and is a lot easier to implement (even my Nintendo Switch gets to enjoy the benefit).

The majority of the time I use high quality transport and Non OverSampling (NOS) purity.
This has often been a hard 'high watermark' to get right.

Most consumers don't notice dithered 44khz (say, playing at 48khz sampling rate), so semantics is super easy to argue here.
True,"most consumers" break the notion of any chance at audio being a subjectively agreeable thing.
An mp3 with an overall louder presentation is going to sound 'better' to most people. Enough so to skew any results as to be meaningless when testing kit and using blind testing or whatever some fanbase decides are needed to 'prove themselves right' *the phenomenological universe is filled with stimulus and observable exchanges that will support findings towards just about any outcome- 'the world is a large place' and so "we (can) see what we want to see"/"can find evidence to support just about any notion"..

No matter how we feel towards the numbers written on the pages of the accompanying spec sheets of modern world 'refinement' DAC chip parts- whether a chip built with its first goal being to 'use less power' (an attractive spec sheet measurement as majority of consumers WANT THIS more than quality), and lost a quarter of its total die space to supporting formats an end user may never use (or risk being passed over for a product that allows "more sales sheet bullet points"), I have no qualms using 'an older design' built in a time period ignorant to future format wars (that amounted to *nothing*)..
And given how cheap most mainstream stuff needs be made in order to compete in the market, off board high quality filter chips etc is generally passed up as a function more cheaply handled by using a general purpose CPU reprogrammable to do whatever is needed to handshake and provide compatibility for anything a consumer may desire, if only for bragging rights or 'feeling safe' that their new purchase can DO EVERYTHING and is THE BEST.


In my experience, 'the best' is often performed by parts built to do one task and do one task 'well'.

I have DVD players from the nineties with red colour output that actually nearly matches typical 'last generation' flagship laserdisc players, and even flagship settop boxes with red colour output that is very impressive.
But everyone wanted cheaper products and their set top boxes built into the TV, which for 'cost savings'/'competitive' reasons, couldn't afford the space and implementation cost (or heat) and so were 'compatible' with the standards, but didn't really deliver what the reference units were establishing that the products were capable of.

In hundreds of 'fast switching' moments comparing the Diablo vs a Topping D90, the Diablo sounds like a super high quality DAC box...
The edge of human voices and drum tonality and texture are HUGE giveaways that these products are simply not in the same league.
From an engagement perspective, one piece of tech is simply mass market junk by comparison (or 'very obviously' not doing the same outstanding job of turning zeros and ones/'digital' into analogue wavelengths... )

From a marketing perspective, being close to the same pricepoint, and the D90 doing a plethora of functions and having the joy of using 'unlimited power' to do so, whilst containing 'fifteen years+' newer DAC chip part(s), it has a very obvious 'digital grain' or 'thinness' that the Diablo simply does not- by comparison the Diablo has a warmth to every instrument (if called for), and sounds like large expensive DACs built at the height of two channel audio..
The Diablo isn't equal to the best, sure,.. but given most consumers can't spot sampling rate mismatches, or discern volume discrepancies as 'better', the shortfallings in the Diablo sound (vs esoterically priced stuff, and GOOD R2R), is 'good enough' and of no real difference, especially when played back into 'matching price point parts'.

@Bob Parish - like you mate, I use a vastly better sound setup (by price point) than the DAC cost I spend, on 'flavour of the moment' technology, that DACs seemed to have become.
Like replacing Valves to tune an amplifier sound, the DAC could be considered/implemented this way, sure..

I actually feed my Diablo through a Grace Design m903, that uses a near identical BurrBrown DAC chip with a great circuit implementation too; but the magic that iFi once bought, when having an experienced top tier engineer, a veritable legend, come up with a total design that squeezes WELL BEYOND the rated spec sheet performance that these 'ancient' BB DAC chips were listed as giving, is proof/testimony that knowing a part and implementing it well might just yield better than being flavour of the moment and simply targetting ALL consumer wants.
We know the old saying; "jack of all trades (master of none)".
The Diablo is a master of 'some', and it just so happens that 'some' is the EXACT SECRET SAUCE I want my DAC to perform.
The Diablo blows away the Grace m903 (but not in terms of features) and if sound quality was my single goal, the Diablo is hands down the best DAC box I have come across for sane money.

The Diablo might fudge its brilliance in ways that I am not aware, but that is fine- it is called suspension of disbelief and it does its sole task admirably.

If I really want the sound that all these 'future formats' that have come along since the old BurrBrown designs, then I can always employ the iFi "GTO" filter.

With a massive price miss-match in my system design (and all sorts of silly spendings on power conditioners and cables and 'stuff'), the lowly Diablo holds its' prestige well in a system that might simply use a Diablo as a doorstop (by price point)..
I'd not say the DAC part of the Diablo lets down the amp part (I use it the 'other way around' personally) (improving the DAC output by using better amps downstream!).

YMMV
(new isn't necessarily better)
 
Sep 19, 2022 at 9:28 PM Post #2,383 of 2,561

whitedragem

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Try DSD512 upsampling with Roon 1.8 and let me know if you liked!
Cheers (and ‘smiles with’);
Actually I find ‘good audio’ from a PC an oxymoronic proposition.
It can be done, sure…
But even VS a decent DAP/source, a 25 year old CD player spinning ‘gold CDs’ is outstanding sound.

I used to keep the ‘gold CDs’ aside, in a retail role where I upsold hifi/stereos, and I could generally sell the ‘worst’/‘smallest’ stereo kit, when fed from ‘good GOLD discs’ due to the extra surface reflectivity assisting the laser to read ACCURATELY the data contained within.
Quite overtly, the difference is ‘easily noticable’; better bass notes/bass definition, sweeter treble etc.
Error correction does get in the way of good sound… sure it keeps the show rolling,.. but, BETTER ZEROS and ONES makes such a difference, and is fundamental principle that many ‘theorists‘ cannot see (believing digital is always the same/perfect)..

This isn’t psuedo science or ‘unqualifiable’; it is fundamental to basic digital principle, and anyone experiencing this quickly realises that ‘digital cables DO matter’ etc. (but lets leave these eternal arguments at the door, shall we:wink: )..

Playing with PC sound means I’d have to add the crappy experience of dealing with modern PC heartaches, whereas my 25 year young CD player delivers OUTSTANDING audio quality into any device I care to share it with; AND the (iFi) GTO filter can handle ‘upscaling’ the sound to modern ‘wet’ formats and methodologies.

Given the gaming consoles (ie Nintendo Switch and Sony Playstation) can make use of the DAC directly, and GTO is automatic and ‘without fail’ (if called for), I leave DSD conversion to dedicated devices for such a task (a FiiO DAP does so ‘on the fly’).
DSD, for me, is for when the hardware prefers the pathway..

Gold discs and a ‘good DAC’ and pure transport does the task admirably, and has done for decades.
Maybe I want to simply enjoy the music and ‘chasing my tail’ /work, isn’t my interest.

I gather there is a cost outlay for the PC software that does the DSD conversion task (substantially?) better than simple android software like HF Player (only goes as far as ‘high quality 5.6Mhz’)..

I did play with PC software for DSD for a wee bit,.. but love having NO HARDWARE SOUND from equipment when listening to audio.
Given I have multiple PC hardware builds that are fanless, or whisper quiet (I enjoy building quiet under ‘full overclocked load’ and running 4K gaming at Ultra settings PC rigs’), I just generally remove any hardware from my ‘good’ two channel setup that makes a sound…

Heck I have retired $8.5k pricepoint surround amps from duty due to having fans that *MIGHT* be audible during a silent movie scene.
I generally won’t buy a disc spinner with a fan (or a budget chassis build that doesn’t isolate the disc transport ‘noise’ from the environement), cause, lets face it; a significant amount of our battle for perfect audio sound is thrown out the door if the listening environment is ‘less than ideal’.

Why spend mega bucks on power isolation that drops the noise floor if the noise floor is masked by, erm, noise?

That being said, @Bob Parish, you have made me aware (for awhile now) of the benefits of well done DSD 512 rate as a source.
Definitely NOT POSSIBLE to perform on the digital feed from most consumer toys and kit, so too small a part of the audio spectrum to take my attention (for the time being).
 
Sep 21, 2022 at 1:39 PM Post #2,384 of 2,561

OCC7N

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Can somebody confirm what class amp the Diablo is?

Im guessing Class D.
 
Sep 21, 2022 at 7:44 PM Post #2,385 of 2,561

whitedragem

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Can somebody confirm what class amp the Diablo is?

Im guessing Class D.
This question has been bandied around a few times; the consensus points towards 'Class A'.

The iFi reps who maintain this board, I believe were happy doing the 'we will get back to you' line, with a follow up being a photo of the internal main board from the Diablo having the words 'Class A' printed on them...

I suppose whether the box has this printed on it or not would be a good indicator towards the reality of 'what is really going on'; as the world can prove a place that holds a subset of litigious beings who would truly roast such a misrepresentation of the truth if it made it to print on the official media attached to the product.

The webpage advertising the iFi Diablo lists/listed a few points regarding the Diablo that were either promised via firmware or advertised as features (at launch) that may not have (yet) come to pass, but 'being Class A' isn't really a 'firmware upgradable thing'...

Many of my home amplifiers operate in a Class A mode if the volume dial is 'low enough', so as to where the truth lies with the Diablo, I HAVE NO IDEA!

Fairly 'informally' it is being called a 'Class A' amp...

?Reps want to chime in?

I had postulated that the front switch controlling the ECO/Normal/Turbo mode may have been responsible for taking the device from an AB mode to a 'Class A' (based on sound quality in those modes and a slight change in the delivery of audio more specifically between Normal and Turbo), but this was clarified by the circuit designer not to be the case.

The subtle audio differences between those modes could then simply be an impedance change and the audible differences being MY HEADPHONES/CABLE reacting to the impedance difference from those modes...

I found the sound output profile of the Diablo (as an amp) to be the most similar to a Sennheiser HDVD800 when comparing a bunch of home amps to the sound profile/capability of the Diablo (as an amp).
This is a high accolade (the HDVD800 being a pretty penultimate amp), and whilst I would say that the amp circuit of a Sony PHA3 can outmuscle the Diablo in a few regards (feeling like a true class A), but as for portable amps sounding LIKE THIS....; the Diablo is a pretty tight design and delivers incredible bang to buck as far as 'this industry' goes...


I have been comparing the Diablo (as a DAC) vs a Topping D90 and mostly they sound TIERS apart in terms of sound delivery (and that is not even using the GTO filter that iFi provide for their product lines).
The Diablo is a fairly solidly built, decent looking little audio 'do-hickey'.
For me, it replaced a Chord DAC (old model), and that was because of aspects to the Diablo that could trounce the Chord, which the amp is certainly a strong point, and 'with the recent EASTER EGG' (that revealed the Diablo has an analogue input and can be used in ways never advertised), it is truly a product to keep.

The firmware update that allowed connection to the console gaming systems directly was a boon, and the serviceability of the circuit (being able to swap batteries/iFi support to maintain the unit) combined with potential upgrades from higher tiered power supply shows that the part can scale to 'better'...

I use it as a HOME DAC, into a fairly nice two channel system, AND replaced a DAC that was 2.5x the price point (and considered EXCEPTIONAL).
VS a Topping D90, it hints at the naturalness and fluidity of nice R2R DACs whilst delivering perfect nuances and detail as required by gaming systems for positional accuracy etc.. (and unlike a cheap R2R DAC, like a Denefrips Ares II) is exceptional at electronica genres as well.

I didn't expect it to come across as more dynamic than well built home DACs that have the benefit of running from wall power (many battery powered devices can have a problem with this aspect of sound), and the 'blackness' of the background holding its' own against a spec sheet perfection Topping part is a high accolade too.

When switching blindly between a D90 and the Diablo, the family has chosen the Diablo approximately 98% of the time.
My child has spotted some detail retrieval moments that the Topping may have delivered (of the fatiguing variety), that would 'give the edge' to that unit *sometimes*, but more than 19/20 times, when fast switching, the Diablo takes the crown.
and it required a LOT of genres to find some discs that *might* favour 'some other part'.

For me, the Diablo is the DAC to beat up to this price point (easily).
The amp and portability are just freebies.
Nice one iFi!

Now that being said- the iFi Diablo in 'non GTO mode' does have a digital edge to some vocals/instruments (if I am being super picky and rating it against some of the best DACs I have ever owned/heard (that weigh about ten-twenty times MORE), it is like the 'waxy edge look' of JPEGS from an early model Fuji XTRANs camera; something about the image, when being compared to higher priced point technological marvels, is 'a little fake'.

Given our audio reproduction systems are all about compromise and 'the ones we are willing to take to save a $', and still find acceptable to us... the 'slight "waxy edge" (to liken to an old Fuji Xtrans camera sensor) is actually amazing as certainly when doing a fast A/B compare to technically competent DACs in a similar price range- is apart of 'the trick' that elevates the part to sonically offer next tier+ up sound quality..

In my eyes it outperforms its' price point admirably.
and might even be a class A headphone amplifier to boot... (was also a factor important to me when buying...)
 
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