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Sony engineers should get their asses whipped for releasing a product with a price tag this high. ifi dsd bl beats this out of the water for half the price. Oh, did I forget to mention that it also has way lower noise floor and higher resolution?
I politely disagree with this assessment. I have never owned the iDSD BL because it's always been beaten off by the Chord Mojo, no matter how many times I try the iDSD and force myself to like it. And the PHA3 is getting more audio time with me than the Mojo. Thye iDSD is a nice product. But it's nowhere near the sound quality of the PHA3.
I also have to add in, Sony invented DSD in 1999.... I doubt anyone knows it better than they do... I hate to sound like such a Sony fanboy, but seriously... They are the innovators, I don't understand all the hate... Every single time I buy a high end Sony product I am impressed.
I think the hate also stems from the fact that Sony, while innovates, also protects. So much of their stuff forces others to change, like the dual 3.5mm plug then the 4.4mm pentaconn. And now, their products have a scary synergy with each other that when you use something else with a Sony product, you might not get what it was originally intended to sound like.
I highly doubt the iFi micro iDSD Black Label is "nowhere near the sound quality of the PHA3". It may lack the (proprietary) balanced-out, but its sound is ultra transparent and spacious. And compared to the PHA3, the iDSD has more features, additional inputs/outputs, and significantly higher power output... for hundreds of dollars less.
I tested the iDSD countless of times. I found no reason to get it. But the minute I heard the PHA3, despite being must less in features, I knew I had to have it. And it's got nothing to do with the balanced output. If youv'e not heard both side by side, I highly recommend you do so. :) FWIW, I do own some iFi stuff. They make great components. But in my opinion, the iDSD isn't a shining example of what they can really do.
Did you hear the Black Label edition? How does it compare to the PHA3? May I ask, what headphones were you using?
The iDSD isn't a shining example of what iFi can really do? It's one of the best values in portable audio - period.
the ifi idsd black label looks sweeeeet... I haven't seen that before... But that ifi model has some big guns on it. It's just too big! I mean how is that portable?
I only tested the black label. Not the original idsd. I used my ie800s, HD800S, and Z1R.
It's roughly the same size as the PHA3.