iFi Audio NEO iDSD Review


The treble is very successful in the NEO. Highs have great resolution, transparency, and detail, lots of detail to be exact. The treble presentation is somewhat bright and one can say that the NEO is a bright sounding device overall, but since it’s a very controlled device, I wouldn’t say it’s too bright in any case.

There’s plenty of detail and extension with good crispness. The treble is quite refined and well-executed with a good definition. Highs are also well articulated with excellent definition. If you have a piece of equipment that has a good treble performance then the match with the NEO would be awesome.

Again, it can be said that the NEO is a bit bland, unimpressive, etc., because of its neutral and flat character. But I don’t think we can deny this wonderful treble performance, no matter what. There’s nothing added or nothing taken away, it gives what your headphone gives you without any coloration or alteration.

iFi Audio NEO iDSD

Technical Performance

The overall sound stage is fairly good, wide and deep. It has good enough room and depth and I can say it’s on ideal levels. It performs nicely in terms of staging but it’s not the widest I’ve heard. For instance, I think the iDSD Signature plays wider with more space overall. But I think the NEO iDSD also performs well here.

One of the best parts about the NEO is the overall separation and background performance. It’s simply excellent in this aspect and really deserves the credit. The tonality is not very thick so there’s not too much body in the mid-range, but it has great timbre overall.

Another great thing about the NEO is also the resolution. The black background is a well-known feature of iFi Audio products so this one didn’t surprise me. Everything is well separated and defined with great texture and refinement. I can honestly say that the NEO iDSD is technically a high performer with great flexibility.

iFiAudio NEO iDSD

iFi Audio NEO iDSD

Comparison with the Micro iDSD Signature

They’re selling for the exact same price right now but of course, they serve different purposes. NEO is a desktop/home audio device with a much bigger chassis and additional features. Sure the Micro iDSD Signature is also for desktop use, but it’s much more portable when compared. NEO also has a Bluetooth feature with the latest technologies available. It has XLR outputs, fixed and variable output modes as well.

In terms of sound, the NEO gives you a flatter sound presentation with a bit more sterile approach, whereas the Signature provides a warm-ish sound that feels a bit more fluid. Both have great layering, resolution, and transparency. I think the Signature has a wider staging performance but they both have good imaging capabilities with a clean background. I feel the NEO is a bit dry compared to the Signature, with a bit more analytical sound. The Signature gives a bit more musical feeling. But in technicalities, they’re pretty close so choose depending on your needs. NEO surely is a feature-packed device.

iFi Audio NEO iDSD


The iFi Audio NEO iDSD is a hell of a unit. It is an excellent performer with a premium build, design, and internal components. It’s also very versatile with outputs and features. It covers every possible usage scenario, and in terms of sound performance, it’s also excellent with a neutral approach that allows you to add the signature of your speakers/headphones.

An IEMatch feature would’ve been perfect for IEM users and it would’ve made this device the ultimate flexibility king. I do understand that this is not specifically for portable earphones, but the background noise with IEMs is still a disappointing aspect.

However, the device gets the job done for the actual target crowd. It has an unmistakable design, a nice user experience, great sound performance with excellent resolution, and last but not least, you can use it with basically everything. It’s certainly a great home audio device.

4.4/5 - (168 votes)

A keen audiophile and hobby photographer, Berkhan is after absolute perfection. Whether it is a full-frame camera or a custom in-ear, his standpoint persists. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level as audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews are the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favourite Jazz recordings.


  • Reply April 8, 2021

    Vishnu A

    Awesome review! I paired mine with a Schiit Magnius for the extra power using the balanced outputs on the NEO. Helped with the headroom on the HD650’s, a bit overkill for the Focal Clear. Love the set up regardless. Cheers

  • Reply August 8, 2023


    Wondering how you square your claim that the device has “great background blackness” with your complaint regarding background noise with IEMs and some headphones?

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