iDSD Diablo-X DAC Amplifier

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iFi iDSD Diablo X is the first DAC/amp in the world to drive xMEMS solid state speaker technolo… More details


  • Custom designed bias circuit for xMEMS headphones
  • Custom designed EQ circuit for xMEMS Headphones
  • Custom designed amplification circuit for xMEMS headphones
  • Octa-DSD512/PCM768 and 2X DXD
  • Dual-Core Native DSD/PCM Burr-Brown chipset
  • Fully Balanced 4.4mm output
  • Digital inputs: USB 3.0 type 'A' (USB 2.0 compatible /S-PDIF (3.5mm coaxial/optical)
  • Analouge outputs: 4.4mm Balanced/6.3mm Single-Ended
  • Performance boosting Direct-Drive and Headamp Turbo
  • Zero Jitter/Femto-Clock system upgraded for low phase noise/jitter
  • Digital engine upgraded with iFi custom ultra-low noise Op-Amp Oc2028
  • Analouge section upgraded with iFi custom ultra-low noise Op-Amp Oc2627
  • Ultra-low impedance OS-CON polymer capacitors and Panasonic audio-grade EPCU film capacitors
  • Ultra-low noise Power SV power supply

The Diablo-X is the first DAC/amp on the market to support the revolutionary xMEMS‘ solid state monolithic speaker technology.

This unique technology features:

  • Ultra-fast mechanical response (~15µsec; 150x faster than a typical dynamic driver)
  • Flat 2° phase response for more accurate sound reproduction
  • +/- 1° phase matching (part-to-part) for more accurate spatial sound
  • Silicon speaker diaphragm (95x more stiff/rigid than plastic) for reduce speaker break-up (less muddy mids/highs)

Brian Lucey, 8-time Grammy Winning Mastery Engineer, calls it “truly disruptive’ with “phase performance unlike no other speaker technology”. Discover why in 3 minutes.

This level of performance requires a higher voltage solution to drive it, so iFi have partnered with XMEMs to produce the Diablo-X – a first to drive a first!

xMEMS eXplained

The xMEMS microspeaker technology uses the piezoelectonic effect to create a paper-thin solid-state speaker. These micro-speakers offer great potential to push the boundaries of IEM and headphone performance.

As xMEMS themselves say, “The inverse piezoelectric effect is created by applying electrical voltage to make the piezoMEMS contract or expand, converting electrical energy to mechanical energy. This energy excites an integrated silicon membrane to move air and generate acoustic sound waves…. xMEMS’ piezoMEMs actuators offer an increased range of movement enabling rich, loud audio”.

Diagram taken from

Still devilishly delightful

The Diablo-X can still also be used with your favourite IEMs/headphones and, just like the original, uses two Burr-Brown DAC chips and the 16-core XMOS chip to process the data received via the USB and S/PDIF digital inputs. This means the Diablo-X can handle up to PCM 768, DSD 512, 2xDXD. Both PCM and DSD remain ‘bit-perfect’. It provides full MQA decoding.

Balanced, differential analogue circuit design reduces noise and cross-talk within the signal path by fully separating the left and right channels. The Diablo-X includes our PureWave tech – refinements to our balanced, symmetrical dual-mono topologies with short, direct signal paths.

Negative feedback is used in amplifier circuits to compare the output signal with the input signal and correct errors. BUT there are drawbacks. iFi turns the negatives into positives with OptimaLoop. Read more below.

…and diabolically driven.

Able to drive all manner of headphones with ease, including those incorporating the new XMEMs tech, the Diablo-X sports fully balanced 4.4mm outputs with 4,100mW of power.

Three modes are used to adjust power and gain.

  • xMEMS – use with compatible IEMs/headphones
  • Turbo – ramps up the level of drive for current-hungry headphones
  • Normal – for most over or on ear headphones

Perfect Pairings

While we were working on the Diablo-X, two companies were pushing the boundaries to deliver XMEMs compatible earphones.

Singularity have created the ONI. This sleek, minimalist looking IEM contains two xMEMS drivers to deliver superior sound.

Unadulterated performance

The Diablo-X focuses on pure, unadulterated performance, means much attention has been applied to the power supply circuity.

Battery power provides ultra-clean and stable DC current avoiding the issues of mains electricity – dips, spikes and noise-inducing RFI/EMI pollution. BUT there are sonic downsides resulting from low output voltage and inconsistent output impedance as batteries discharge.

In order to make less efficient headphones, like planar magnetics, sing, the voltage needs to be stepped up from 3.7V to +/- 15V. We use a step-up converter running at 1.2MHz – a frequency far beyond audibility that is easier to filter than a typical switch-mode supply, enabling high linearity and ultra-low noise.

Unrivalled Components

High-bandwidth power supply circuity is dedicated to each critical part of the Diablo-X’s design, with independent linear regulation delivering excellent PSRR (Power Supply Rejection Ratio) performance.

The headphone amp stage eschews IC regulators in favour of Panasonic OS-CON capacitors, delivering 2320uF between them.

The DAC section benefits from an ultra-low-noise regulator with additional passive filtering, reducing high order harmonic distortion and, in turn, jitter.

Even the USB input stage benefits from dedicated regulation and multi-stage filtering, and the microprocessor control circuitry (often a local source of digital noise) has separate regulation, too.

Crucial components for maxed out performance, more below.

The devil is in the detail

Whether you are using your favourite IEMs/headphones or a pair of xMEMS compatible IEMs, the Diablo-X connections have you covered.

At the front of the unit, alongside a standard 6.3mm single-ended headphone socket, resides a 4.4mm Balanced output for headphones offering balanced connection.

At the back are two digital audio inputs: USB-A and a S/PDIF socket that accepts both electrical and optical signals, the former via a 3.5mm connector and the latter via a supplied adapter.

The USB-A input features a ‘male’ connector, rather than a typical ‘female’ port for greater mechanical integrity. A separate USB-C charging port is also provided, along with a 4.4mm Balanced output to connect to an external amp.


Digital Inputs
USB 3.0 type 'A' (USB2.0 compatible)
S-PDIF (3.5mm coaxial/optical)
Formats supported
PCM 768kHz
MOA Full Decoder
Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown
Frequency Response
Balanced -120dB
UnBAL -1140B
Dynamic range
Balanced -120dB
UnBAL -114dB
Balanced 0.002%
UnBAL 0.001%
Headphone Max Output
Balanced >28Vpp (@ xMEMS)
>19.2V/611 mW (@ 6005Ω)
>12.6V/4,980 mW (@ 328Ω)
UnBAL >9.6V/153 mW (@ 6001Ω)
>8.8V/2,417 mW (@ 32Ω)
Fixed Audio Output
Balanced 4.4mm
Power consumption
Turbo 12W
Normal 5W
Lithium-polymer 4800mAh approx.
Power System
Charging via USB-C
BC V1.2 compliant up to 1000mA charging current
166 × 72 × 25 mm (6.5"x 2.8" × 1.0")
Net weight
330g (0.73 Ibs)
Limited Warranty
12 months



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