iFi Micro iDSD VS Black Label

Sound quality is very important for your experience but there are also lots of factors that decide your audio and sometimes we need additional equipment like iFi Micro iDSD Vs Black Label to improve it. This is not a must for everyone but can be necessary for some types of headphones or those systems with some issues on the components of the audio chain. If you need one, let’s see below about what these popular DAC can offer and which of them will be the better option.

In this comparison, we are going to talk about:

  • Are You Currently Looking for a DAC
  • What are iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label
  • How are the Design of iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label
  • What are the Functions of iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label
  • How are the Sound Quality of iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label
  • What else iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label can offer
  • iFi Micro iDSD Vs Black Label

What is DAC

DAC as the name suggests is a converter, it is literally the short of digital to analog converter so the main function will be converting a digital audio signal into an analog one to be played by the headphone or speaker. It is not always a standalone equipment because in most cases the chip is already implemented in your main device such as laptops, phones, and portable music players. It is very similar to headphone amplifiers, coming out as the solution to poor audio quality.

This seems to be very common on computers so this audio source is seen as an issue itself for playing audio. There are cases when the DAC will have poor filtering or improperly shielded thus, introducing some noise or the power supply may not be as closely regulated and affecting the output. In real-life, there are just so many that affect your audio quality from lower sample rates and badly encoded audio files; things many of us have experienced in the past.

But, just as you see how people are moving into TWS and ditching the corded listening device to now smartphones no longer featuring a headphone jack, digital music has improved so much from back then including streaming services that provide lots of high-quality codecs to improve your experience. This is why you don’t see everyone buying a DAC or using one with their laptop at the office or café where we often see people focusing on their work since what they got is already sufficient.

 iFi Micro iDSD Black Label
Best Offerclick hereclick here
Product Dimensions6.97 x 2.64 x 1.1 inches
5 x 3 x 2 inches
Shipping Weight7 ounces10.9 ounces

The reason why you want to buy a new DAC is for the current system that we have whether it is from the computer, smartphone, or other sources. If they have an audible or noticeable noise, distortion, or artifacts that you can capture then it is a wise thought to have one. There are some cases when they can’t play high bit rates of audio files as well. For this type of issue, considering spending on a DAC is good because chances are there is something we can fix.

The way a DAC works is by taking digital samples that make the recording and turn it back into a nice and continuous analog signal and in order to do this, they need to translate the bits of data from digital files into an analog electrical signal at thousands of set times per second or also known as samples. The equipment then outputs a wave that intersects all of those points and when they are not executing it properly, you can find issues like jitter too.

About iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label

Since there are so many of them out there, it can be quite confusing yet, shopping for a DAC can be very convenient too when you choose to base it on the specs. They are driven by the specs so as long as we can match the choice with our other device, it will work just good. Of course, there is always a better option if you can spend the money and depending on how much of a difference they can offer.

Unlike when choosing for the headphones, there is not that many brands to consider when it comes to DAC since most of us tend to go with the popular options like Fiio Q5S Vs Chord Mojo but, each brands usually carry more than a pair of good equipment, such as iFi with its range of promising DACs to consider. This brand has some of the most interesting, convenient choices to go for but they are not exactly the same to each other.

It is good to choose based on which seems to fit you the most but usually we have to spend more in order to get the higher experience, just like what you can get from iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label. They are actually the same model but in different variants and as you can guess, the latter is quite more expensive in comparison and thus, this is also the more promising choice over the original or also often called the Silver model.

In comparison, the Black Label seems to have a better or higher-end component inside which makes the sound it can deliver much better too. In general, it has the same character over the original model but gives more kick and oomph for your favorite songs. As for the ease of use and purpose, the iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label are very similar too and in case you don’t want to add the budget, we still think the Silver variant is a good choice for the price point.

iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label Design

Just like most DACs, they are not going to be very much different from each other but, in general the two are not compact either compared to many smaller choices; it is about the size or our older smartphones. The construction is very robust as they are made of metal but you can easily tell them apart by the fashion. As the name suggests the Black Label is full black while the original variant is Silver. The control scheme is also identical.

Personally we prefer the layout of these DACs especially the rear digital input which makes the setup somehow looks more streamlined compared to when both the input and output are both placed at the same side. The overall layout is the same such as the three switches located at the side of the DAC and another two placed on the bottom. The knobs and switches on these equipment are very robust and have some great feeling to them as well.

iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label Functions

The most important part in iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label is probably their ability to decode MQA files which means we can listen to the master quality tracks available on your favorite streaming service. The two are pretty much the same in terms of ability because they provide the same functionalities. At the front we can find a 6.3mm jack and nearby we can find the typical 3.5mm jack as well so whether we have the high-end headphones or typical variants, they are still going to be compatible.

You can notice some functions here as well and they are exactly the same or we have two; one called XBass and the other is 3D+. As you can guess, the XBass will boost the bass range while the latter is used when you want to expand the soundstage or imaging. It is overall making an impression of a wide scene on your song, probably useful to emulate an experience of an open-back headphone.

iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label Sound Quality

Now for the sound quality, the iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label are clearly not the same. We are unsure about what makes these DACs that are just so identical to sound different at the same time. In our opinion Black Label makes the headphone produce cleaner sound and subtly improve the clarity too. What’s so interesting is the Silver or original model doesn’t really give that much of bass when XBass is activated but it is much more prominent on the Black Label.

It doesn’t mean the Silver one is bad since it is already very good performing yet, in comparison the Black Label feels like it is polishing something that is already good. The bass is more powerful and pronounced without disturbing the other frequency. It has a certain color now and sometimes it can even improve bad records to sound better too.

iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label Features

Lastly on the additional features, both iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label are also coming with the same set of features or switches we have mentioned above. Some people call these as sliders and the first one is for a digital filter to choose between bit-perfect, minimum phase, and standard. The next slider is for Polarity so you can invert the phase using this function. The last slider is for Power mode or the gain to set on Eco, Normal, and Turbo.

iFi Micro iDSD Vs Black Label

Both iFi Micro iDSD and Black Label are good options and they will improve your audio quality but slightly different. In general the features and functions are not different at all as you can find the same set of abilities on both DACs but the sound they produce are not the same. The Black Label is better as it improves what’s already good. The bass range is more noticeable, especially when XBass is activated. It is also more detailed and slightly better at clarity that it can even improve bad records.

- This OV series operational amplifier is another example of a top-notch component used to get extremely low noise, low distortion (0.0001%) and wide bandwidth.
- With output power up to 4,100mW, this headphone amplifier drives all headphones with ease. It has 3 power modes – Eco, Normal and Turbo. Power and gain can be dialled-in perfectly to suit ALL headphones.
- iFi’s exclusive S-Balanced® circuit delivers maximum performance from single-ended and balanced headphones alike.
- 3D+ Holographic® delivers an immersive, deep soundstage.
- HIGH RESOLUTION AUDIO - Playback any hi-res audio format natively with our signature Dual Core Burr Brown True Native digital to analog signal processing chip, which means media file formats and information remains unchanged for the truest sound. Now supports native PCM 384, quad DSD 256, and MQA (rendered) straight out of the box or choose high resolution audio up to PCM 768kHz and Bit Perfect Octa Speed Octa DSD 512 with a quick firmware update
- POWERFUL AMPLIFIER - Experience the full dynamic range of high impedance headphones with an impressive dual mono headphone amp. Direct Drive circuitry to delivers up to 4,000mW of power per channel, driving headphones from 16 to 600 ohms. Three power output modes (Eco, Normal and Headamp Turbo) so power and gain can be dialed in to suit ALL headphones. Also can be used as a preamplifier
- UNIVERSAL DESIGN - Constructed with a stylish black matte finish and a durable but lightweight aircraft grade aluminium case that is unbeatable in EMI and RFI handling. A Rechargeable lithium polymer battery with up to 12 hours of playback, depending on usage, and a 5V/1.5A SmartPower USB that can be used as a power source to charge another device when not in use. All making it perfect for use on desktops or on the move
- TECH PACKED - 3D Matrix Plus and XBass Plus performance tuning delivers an incredible sound stage and phenomenal bass boost, while the AMR Global Master Timing precision clock system upgraded for ‘super low’ phase-noise and jitter, and built in iPurifier technology rebalances the USB signal to reduce jitter and packet errors. IEMs are made super quiet with our built-in iEMatch for sensitive in-ear monitors

Conclusion 

The option is all yours because they are impressive options but, if you can spend the additional amount, we are going to recommend choosing the Black Label as this is the better choice and better at delivering the higher audio experience. 

 

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