The British brand iFi Audio presented the second generation NEO iDSD , which received the index 2 in the name. Building on the success of its predecessor, this new DAC and headphone amplifier takes the sound quality of high-resolution recordings to a new level.
One of the innovations of iFi NEO iDSD 2 is support for the aptX Lossless codec , which provides lossless CD-quality audio streaming over Bluetooth. According to iFi Audio, the NEO iDSD 2 is the first DAC capable of processing aptX Lossless and streaming music over Bluetooth lossless with bitrates up to 1.2 Mbps.
In addition, iFi NEO iDSD 2 supports Bluetooth version 5.4, providing maximum wireless range, stability, speed and low latency. The model’s memory can store up to eight paired Bluetooth source devices for easy switching. In addition to the Bluetooth wireless channel, the iFi NEO iDSD 2’s switching arsenal includes coaxial and optical digital inputs and a USB-B port for connecting a computer. There is also a BNC connector for connecting an external clock generator. Analog outputs are represented by a pair of balanced XLR connectors and unbalanced RCA connectors.
iFi NEO iDSD 2 features a new color display and many customization options for improved sound quality. Notably, its updated headphone amplifier can deliver over 5.5W into 32 ohms through a 4.4mm balanced output, making it one of the most powerful headphone amplifiers in its category.
The device is designed to be placed horizontally or vertically. At the same time, the two-inch color TFT Retina display automatically changes orientation.
iFi NEO iDSD 2 offers three operating modes – it can operate as a pure DAC with a fixed level analogue line output for integration into an existing audio system. Alternatively, it can serve as a DAC/preamplifier with variable output power, suitable for direct connection to a power amplifier or active speakers. For lovers of personal audio, the new product is equipped with a headphone amplifier.
One of the key components of the iFi NEO iDSD 2 is the DAC unit, which uses a Burr-Brown chip. The new product is equipped with a 32-bit 16-core XMOS Cortex microcontroller for processing audio data received through digital inputs. The DAC is capable of decoding PCM streams up to 32-bit/768 kHz and all DSD levels up to DSD512 (22.5792 MHz). It also supports MQA and is capable of decoding and upsampling MQA files up to 384 kHz.
The iFi NEO iDSD 2 offers a range of customization options, including user-selectable digital filters and gain settings for different headphone or IEM models. Additional features include XBass II, which enhances low frequencies, and XSpace, which expands the soundstage of the headphones. The new product comes with a new aluminum remote control. An alternative would be the proprietary application for mobile gadgets iFi Nexis.
The iFi NEO iDSD 2 external DAC and headphone amplifier will go on sale in the UK in October with a recommended retail price of £899