iFi xDSD Gryphon Debuts as the most sophisticated portable headphone amplifier ever released

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iFi Audio has not taken its foot off the gas for almost two years and the British manufacturer of portable and desktop audio DACs and Headphone Amplifiers has something very special just in time for Black Friday and the Christmas/Chanukah shopping frenzy. The iFi xDSD Gryphon has been reborn from the fires of Mordor and it is the portable audio DAC/Headphone Amplifier to rule them all?

The xDSD was first introduced in 2018 and was among the most popular portable DAC/headphone amps in iFi’s range – a feature-packed model that earned a stellar reputation and a fancy mantle of awards thanks to its blend of convenience, versatility and performance.
Soon after its launch, the xDSD was joined by the xCAN to complete iFi’s mid-level ‘x-series’ of portable devices. Housed in the same distinctive contoured case with ‘dark titanium’ finish, the xDSD and xCAN perform differing functions – the former is a portable DAC/headphone amp for digital sources, with USB, S/PDIF and Bluetooth connectivity; the latter is a headphone amp with purely analogue inputs, plus the added convenience of Bluetooth reception for smartphones and so on.

The Head-Fi crowd is pretty excited about the launch of the next-generation x-series device, the xDSD Gryphon – iFi’s most ambitious portable DAC/amp yet. It replaces not only the xDSD but also the xCAN, combining the functionality of both with redesigned circuitry that elevates performance to another level.
it remains sufficiently compact to stow away in a small bag. Those who want a more eminently pocketable go-anywhere DAC/headphone amp will find iFi’s recently launched GO blu and hip-dac 2 fit the bill.

At 215 grams, it is not an overly hefty device thanks to its lightweight yet robust alloy enclosure, and its gunmetal grey finish is less prone to fingerprints than the glossy dark titanium of the original xDSD and xCAN.

The extra space provided by the xDSD Gryphon’s larger chassis is fully utilised by the entirely re-engineered tech within, harnessing iFi’s latest technical developments to deliver extreme versatility and performance in a compact, portable format
The iFi xDSD Gryphon’s flexibility is one of its key points of differentiation; digital and analogue cable inputs are provided – the former in USB and S/PDIF flavors, and the latter via balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn and single-ended 3.5mm sockets. High-definition Bluetooth reception is also provided, enabling smartphones, tablets and more to deliver a better sonic experience when listening to hi-res streaming services like Qobuz and TIDAL.

Built into the top surface is an OLED display strip, showing a range of useful information including input selection, volume level, battery level, digital audio format and sample rate, along with various other settings.
The iFi xDSD Gryphon is available from mid-November 2021 at an RRP of £599, €599 incl. VAT and $599 excluding tax
Category
Audio
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