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"It Hits the Spot for Me"
The micro iDAC2 from iFi Audio is a state-of-the-art DAC/headphone amplifier brilliantly designed for home, desktop, or portable use. The original model iDAC was very good and cultivated a very loyal following among customers and reviewers alike. The iDAC2 is the all-new version. It is a totally fresh design that was inspired by the widespread praise garnered by the nano iDSD and micro iDSD and incorporates some of their technology.
"I like all the qualities combined of this DAC and it just hits the spot so well for me… I couldn’t be happier," reports Michael Piskor at Headphonics.com.
Signal Stays Original: Burr-Brown True Native
Starting with the EISA award-winning Nano iDSD, the Burr-Brown chipset has become an integral part of the iFi Audio DNA. It provides 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. The result is that you hear the recording and music just as the artist and engineer intended.
Quad-DSD256 and PCM384kHz, Future-Proofed by iFi
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.
Class A on RCA
AMR/iFi Audio’s roots lie in single-ended valve amplification, so it is no surprise that the iDAC2 operates in Class A. The iDAC2’s analog stage has two special audio grade, Elna Japan Silmic II aluminum electrolytic capacitors. This is the highest available grade and likely the best audio grade electrolytic capacitor that money can buy. These are the same ones used in the ‘uber’ AMR machines, with trickle-down technology licensed to iFi.
The Analog stage also uses a discrete Class A buffer that combines an N-Channel J-Fet and a PNP bi-polar transistor, which 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.
Ready for Your AV Amplifier with Onboard DAC, Too
Drawing on the popularity of the nano iDSD and the micro iDSD, the iDAC2 also features an SPDIF output. This means it is able to receive a USB signal and then convert it and output a digital SPDIF signal to another device such as a Sonos streamer or an AV amplifier with an onboard DAC. As your system changes over time, the iDAC2 will follow suit. Performance and flexibility in abundance.
AMR/iFi prides itself on the very best component quality. From Japan Elna Silmic II, to TDK C0G capacitors to Vishay MELF resistors, the iDAC2 has them all.
The DAC’s power supply including iFi's 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. iFi always pays much attention to this pin. However, the iDAC2 already benefits from trickle-down technology from the Pro range, where iFi 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 analog circuitry that is of unrivalled design and execution (matched only by other iFi machines).
"I like all the qualities combined of this DAC and it just hits the spot so well for me… I couldn’t be happier.”
- Michael Piskor, Headphonics.com