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iFi audio xCAN - The Official Thread

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  1. Wiljen
    So you agree that the combination puts the sound quality into the iBasso DX200 / AK 240 territory? I think it is pretty close.
  2. dafos58
    For my ears the DX200 with Amp8 is better than the AK240. I will have to compare it with a balanced headphone, but my first impression is that this combination will be at least very near the DX200/Amp8.
  3. iFi audio
    iFi audio – The 2018 Summary
    It’s been quite the year…

    Dear community,

    2018 is coming to an end and we’ve decided to use this occasion to share with all of you good people a word or two. Many of our product ideas were developed from what you had to say, so we’re extremely grateful for your support. You’re the fuel to our fire, thank you!

    The end of the year is also a good time to summarize what we were able to achieve in the last 12 months. Without further ado, here’s what we did:


    March – xDSD


    Before this product came to be, we knew that we had to develop something very different from what we’d done before. We thought about many things – toasters with built-in speakers, a wind-up DAC for use in the dessert…only kidding! We aimed for a portable device with wireless functionality as good as a wired connection, improved volume control and a new look. Suffice to say, we strongly believe that with xDSD we were able to deliver on all counts. The toaster has had to wait!

    May - Pro iDSD


    The Pro iDSD is the most ambitious and complex product of ours to date. It started many years ago as a rather simple machine, but the more time passed, the more advanced it became. After years of suffering (and here we mean both ours AND yours, just take poor Curtis as an example), the Pro iDSD eventually came into being as a state-of-the-art desktop platform loaded with so many features that it's far easier to list things it doesn't do! Not only this, but the Pro iDSD also has A LOT in common with AMR's upcoming Diablo DAC. The former is actually a scaled down version of the latter and we're exceptionally proud of how it turned out.

    June - iFi OTG Cable


    We released this item due to huge demand. It's reliable, affordable, looks sleek and there's no rocket science behind it. It does the job where it should. It's useful. Hey, if we're capable of delivering headphone amps and DACs, who said that we can't make a quality OTG cable? And nope, before anyone asks, we can’t make the equivalent Apple cable – if we could, we (and the rest of the world) surely would!!! Sadly, Apple don’t share the tech that we’d need to make one work. Would you, if you were Apple?

    June - DC iPurifier2


    All our iPurifiers were developed to show that even a small and affordable item can really improve sound quality if backed by solid tech. The iPurifier2 is a step up over previous versions of this product, simply because our in-house developed circuitry got better over time. Practice makes perfect!

    · July - iPurifier3.0


    USB sorters have always been of utmost importance to us and the iPurifier3.0 shows our attitude towards these items. This product might look nothing like our nano or micro iUSB3.0 machines, but its roots are the very same. It was designed to audibly improve the USB interface and very positive feedback from you guys out there showed us that it does just that! Thank goodness!

    October – xCAN


    Yet again X marked the spot in October! We really looked forward to releasing the xCAN. On the surface, it resembles our xDSD; they have similar set of features and they look very much alike, but the differences end there. Yes, each has finely implemented Bluetooth receiver, DAC and headphone amp in one neat enclosure BUT the xCAN is a portable and fully analogue amplifier above ALL else and its D/A conversion option is a cherry on top, whereas the xDSD - a DAC in the first place - is the exact opposite. Plus these two can work as a team and we have photographic evidence from you guys to prove it!

    November - Ear Plugs


    This one you didn't expect, huh? Us neither. But then again, we like silence and it’s yet another way to give you guys a low noise floor! (Plus they can protect your ears from the squeaks of protest when your loved one finds out you’ve bought yet another piece of audio equipment!) We try to think of everything…


    March - MQA firmware for all nano and micro products

    This firmware was one of the most important things for us in 2018. We didn't want to include MQA functionality in just one or two products, we wanted to roll things out across all suitable iFi goods, even some discontinued models. Even though the 5.30 'Cookies & Cream' firmware has some limitations, this is the one to go after if you'd like to listen to MQA regardless of the iFi audio DAC you use.

    October - GTO filter firmware for all nano and micro products

    The GTO filter was a tricky thing to develop, but in the end, it surely was worth the effort. To our ears it sounds amazing enough to surpass every other filter out there and we encourage everyone to give this one a try. Hey, it comes at nil cost, improves sound and if you don't like it, you can always use our previously released firmware. That's a win-win right there.

    November - Beta MQA firmware for the Pro iDSD

    Fully operational MQA on our Pro iDSD took us a fair bit longer than expected for a reason. (Poor Curtis was turning in his grave!). The amount of work needed in order to have this signal fully decoded was nothing short of staggering. Everything had to be coded from scratch. Both our team and MQA's engineers were involved in this project and we're ecstatic that we were able to finally have this functionality ready. Enjoy!


    Additionally, one thing we’re very proud of is that we were able to push our head of sales out of the UK office for well-deserved holiday. Blindfolded, the man was in shock and had no idea where he was transported. Since no laptops or comms with his team were allowed, after the adventure he told us that withdrawal shivers kicked in hard. But once he got off the plane and acknowledged he was in Iceland… Long story’s short, after this trip he returned as a new man. Even though he’s a good lad, we didn’t miss him at all but shhh…
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/iFiAudio/ https://twitter.com/ifiaudio https://www.instagram.com/ifiaudio/ https://ifi-audio.com/ info@ifi-audio.com
    HungryPanda and rafaelo like this.
  4. MarkF786
    I was about to purchase an xDSD (though still hesitant due to the bluetooth bug some have reported when using an iPhone), then I discovered the xCAN, leading to some indecision. It seems both the xDSD and xCAN have their relative strengths, with the xCAN gaining some features over the xDSD but at the same time losing some. Ideally iFi would create one product that combined the strengths of both; maybe that will be a future product.

    Does the xCAN and xDSD contain the same bluetooth chipset? I'm curious if the xCAN bluetooth implementation fixed the bug reported with the xDSD (though maybe the latter would catch up with a firmware update).

    I'm leaning towards the xDSD, since my primary use case is as a portable bluetooth amp for use with IEMs, and I'd value the better DAC of the xDSD than the better amp of the xCAN. For higher-impedance headphones, I'd generally stick with my desktop stack (Bimby + Lyr 3), and thus the xDSD's amp should be sufficient for my IEMs (Solaris, Andromeda, SE846, and EX1000).

    Which would you recommend for IEM use?
  5. hamachan
    Read this article first;

    I have no issue xDSD to connect iphone/ipad regardless wired or wireless (bluetooth). For me xDSD is the best for portable (outside of my house) because I mainly use it via wired connection which is of course better sonic and I do not have high impedance cans.
  6. Wiljen

    I have both the xDSD and xCAN. Full disclosure, I was given the xDSD by iFi during the review tour (I was lucky). I purchased the xCAN after hearing it for less than a day as part of its review tour because of it synergy with the Opus #1S which is my daily driver.

    I will say that I would tend to lean toward xCAN as I think if your primary use case is bluetooth it is slightly better and the better dac is never likely to come into play unless using the xDSD in wired mode as bluetooth simply lacks the bandwidth to do better than what the xCAN is currently doing with it. If you want to use the xDSD in USB Mode, then by all means, go that route. I love the synergy of xDSD to Campfire Cascades via my laptop - great pairing. I like both devices, but find the xCAN a little easier to use as a bluetooth device while the xDSD seems to be a bit more fiddly in that regard.
  7. iFi audio
    Since you use mainly IEMs we'd go after xDSD as its headphone out is more than suitable for these and it's a notch above our xCAN as a DAC. But that's just us, @Wiljen would go with xCAN an that's perfectly fine too.
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/iFiAudio/ https://twitter.com/ifiaudio https://www.instagram.com/ifiaudio/ https://ifi-audio.com/ info@ifi-audio.com
  8. Wiljen
    The obvious solution is to get both.
  9. davidmolliere
    Probably also depends on your sources and usage, if you use it with a good DAP then the DAC matters less so xCAN gives you extra power range and the ability to be run balanced... if you use it with your phone / computer / tablet then xDSD will probably be better with IEMs and less demanding cans.
  10. iFi audio
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/iFiAudio/ https://twitter.com/ifiaudio https://www.instagram.com/ifiaudio/ https://ifi-audio.com/ info@ifi-audio.com
  11. Grimbles
  12. iFi audio
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    https://www.facebook.com/iFiAudio/ https://twitter.com/ifiaudio https://www.instagram.com/ifiaudio/ https://ifi-audio.com/ info@ifi-audio.com
    Grimbles likes this.
  13. Wiljen
    I've got 3 of the 4 and think you hit the nail on the head. My experiences are similar and I find myself pairing each differently as a result.

    Cayin n3 - xDSD via OTG cable lets the N3 act as transport only and passes decode to the xDSD. Paired with a good iem this is a great little setup
    Opus #1s - xCAN via 2.5 balanced output this puts the combination into AK240 / Ibasso DX200 / Opus #2 territory.
    Micro BL - Desktop dac/amp at work paired to laptop with Campfire Cascades (Great in this role but less than portable).
    Grimbles likes this.
  14. Grimbles
    Thanks for your comments buddy, I actually really enjoyed devising then doing this shoot out! My favorite pairings are:

    Laptop->xDSD(USB)->FIBAE ME/CA Polaris
    Note 8->xDSD(Bluetooth)->FIBAE ME/CA Polaris

    Laptop->Micro BL->HD600/CTM DaVinci X

    AK70->XCan->CTM DaVinci X/FIBAE ME (though this much cable and kit isn't really that portable!)
  15. Keshi
    Is the xCan suitable for driving 14ohm planars? Also, is there a good way to use a 4 pin xlr can with this?
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