iFi ShootOut - xDSD, xCAN, Nano BL, Micro BL
Jul 20, 2019 at 10:13 AM Post #31 of 70

gazzington

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Posts
4,465
Likes
2,947
Location
Wales
Ha, I only live 5 mins from work so transport not a problem. Do you all use phones with the ifi or us there a well designed dap good for that purpose
 
Aug 11, 2019 at 5:31 AM Post #34 of 70

Womaz

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 3, 2015
Posts
1,038
Likes
446
Location
Newcastle , England
What a great comparison. I am looking at the ifi products at present as my Taurus desktop amp has just died. As I am moving to a new house my HP use will go down so I am not looking to replace my desktop amp.
I am now looking for an amp to use with my iPhone XR. I have the HEK and HD800S headphones at present so the micro BL looks the most attractive option for me I think.
A great write up. Thank you
 
Aug 11, 2019 at 5:54 AM Post #35 of 70

Grimbles

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Posts
336
Likes
227
Location
Uk
What a great comparison. I am looking at the ifi products at present as my Taurus desktop amp has just died. As I am moving to a new house my HP use will go down so I am not looking to replace my desktop amp.
I am now looking for an amp to use with my iPhone XR. I have the HEK and HD800S headphones at present so the micro BL looks the most attractive option for me I think.
A great write up. Thank you
Thanks mate, glad you enjoyed it. I think for a predominantly desktop setup with the option of portability, the micro bl is my favourite. Of all of this line up it also, imo, sounded the best! I have just had a pro idsd for about a month and will be writing that up soon too, but it is a totally different price point and ethos to this lot! Good luck with your purchase - share pics of your rig when you get it too!
 
Aug 11, 2019 at 6:06 AM Post #36 of 70

Womaz

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 3, 2015
Posts
1,038
Likes
446
Location
Newcastle , England
Thanks mate, glad you enjoyed it. I think for a predominantly desktop setup with the option of portability, the micro bl is my favourite. Of all of this line up it also, imo, sounded the best! I have just had a pro idsd for about a month and will be writing that up soon too, but it is a totally different price point and ethos to this lot! Good luck with your purchase - share pics of your rig when you get it too!

I think I am going to move away from a desktop rig but I think the micro BL can maybe do both jobs. It does not need to be portable but the main use will be with my iPhone XR
 
Sep 5, 2019 at 4:21 PM Post #37 of 70

coolbluewater

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Posts
294
Likes
1
Nice comparo and write-up.
I just granned a lightly used iFi Micro BL from Ebay so I had to chime in to thank the OP, as now I feel my own findings are confirmed.
 
Sep 6, 2019 at 9:27 AM Post #38 of 70

Grimbles

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Posts
336
Likes
227
Location
Uk
Nice comparo and write-up.
I just granned a lightly used iFi Micro BL from Ebay so I had to chime in to thank the OP, as now I feel my own findings are confirmed.
Thanks man, no worries! Love my Micro BL, using it now.
 
Nov 20, 2019 at 7:35 AM Post #43 of 70

audiomonkey777

New Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 15, 2017
Posts
46
Likes
20
Location
Spain
This is a ShootOut review of some of iFi's most recent line-up – namely the two black labels and the two new "x" products. Before I start however, I thought worth setting out a few ground rules and my method, followed by a dive into scoring. Slightly differently to normal, I have given my method first before my conclusions (so that the conclusions have some context). I then go into a deeper dive for each category I have scored, giving my reasons and detail.



Method

For the purposes of this shootout, I have scored the iFi Micro iDSD Black Label ("Micro BL") , Nano iDSD Black Label ("Nano BL"), xDSD ("xDSD") and xCAN ("xCAN"). You will see in the table set out in the Scores section below, that I have ranked each of these products in the categories listed, giving each of them a total score. The product which is the best in each given category is ranked "1" and the worst ranked "4". Accordingly, the lowest overall score is the winner. I think worth noting that I am not saying that any of these products is objectively good or bad – I cover that detail in the full reviews (see below). What I am saying is that, ranked amongst the four iFi products I am looking at for the purposes of the ShootOut, the product which receives a score of 1 is the best of the four in that category.

To try to keep things consistent, I have reviewed the sound quality ("SQ") of these products by:

(i) plugging in headphones, playing a constant 10khz tone, then adjusting volume to the same level using the microphone on my Samsung Note8 and the SPL Meter app (to get an approximate volume match);

(ii) reviewing using the Sennheiser HD600 headphones and the CTM DaVinci X IEMs which I had on loan from CTM for a review (in both cases, volume matched as above); and

(iii) using the same tracks from Tidal (all 44.1/16, not MQA) through USB input on each of the Nano BL, Micro BL and xDSD, and Bluetooth input on the xCAN (given it is an amplifier, I found it quite source dependent for SQ – as one would hope!) . Just for clarity, this means the xCAN is not being fully and fairly compared in these sections, but it is a different product (an amp with a Bluetooth input rather than a "full" amp/DAC).

I have decided not to mark for boxing and accessories as all products would receive the same mark here – top class product packing and all necessary accessories included in box.

In the full ShootOut section below, I then go into some detail justifying each of my scores. I have also written full reviews for each of these products:

Micro BL – to follow

Nano BL - https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/ifi-audio-nano-idsd-black-label.22770/reviews#review-19514

xDSD - https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/ifi-audio-xdsd.23046/reviews#review-20586

xCAN – to follow

Conclusion

My overall conclusion is that, if you were planning to spend your money on one of the four products reviewed, the best buy is the Micro BL. Controversially though, it isn’t the one I would choose to buy! The device that I keep going back to, and that I want in my stable is the xDSD. I could have rigged my scoring system to deliver the result I wanted, but I have tried to be objective, and I stand by the conclusion that, objectively, the Micro BL delivers the most out of all of these iFi products… it is also the most expensive. However, it is most definitely a desk based unit, and the perfect mix of SQ, features and overall desirability for me is the xDSD. As ever, YMMV and you would be perfectly entitled to tell me that this whole ShootOut was a massive waste of time because despite the fact it was designed by me, I disagree with the result.






Great review. I'm still pondering what to do. Been thinking about an xDSD for a while none and keep scouring these threads when I can. Might have to throw the micro BL into the mix by the sounds of things...
 
Nov 21, 2019 at 1:07 AM Post #45 of 70

Grimbles

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Posts
336
Likes
227
Location
Uk
Great review. I'm still pondering what to do. Been thinking about an xDSD for a while none and keep scouring these threads when I can. Might have to throw the micro BL into the mix by the sounds of things...

Thanka buddy. If you can stretch I think worth spending the extra on the xDSD... if only for the additional features and flexibility of bluetooth.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top