DSP Headphone amplifier Equalizer, PCM and DSD capable, 10 PEQ filters (IIR correction) to equalize your headphones, 3 button controls, embedded microphone Array
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IL-DSP : DSP Headphone amplifier Equalizer, PCM and DSD capable, 10 PEQ filters (IIR correction) to equalize your headphones, 3 button controls, embedded microphone.
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miniDSP is pleased to announce the latest merger of miniDSP's trademark digital processing with high quality headphone amplification. Featuring a full ten bands of powerful, flexible parametric EQ in a tiny bus-powered package, the IL-DSP is the mobile audiophile's perfect companion for laptop, tablet, or smartphone (macOS, Windows and Android supported). The inbuilt microphone for voice-calling ensures maximum mobile flexibility.

Housed in a light-weight aluminum enclosure, the IL-DSP sports impeccable audio specifications of 120 dB signal-to-noise ratio and 0.0007% THD+N (mid-gain). 30 mW power output per channel is ample for IEMs and most portable headphones. High-resolution PCM and DSD formats are both supported.

The ten bands of parametric EQ are configured with miniDSP's easy-to-use computer interface. The fully adjustable peaking and shelving filters allow adjustment of the audio band from the narrowest to the broadest control ranges, with up to 16 dB boost or cut in each band. This combination of DSP power, careful selection of high-quality components and a 32-bit audiophile DAC combine to create an unparalleled portable headphone experience.


  • XMOS XCORE200 Multicore processor - Asynchronous USB audio
  • CS43130 32bit DAC, 130dB DR, 0.0007%THD, 30mW power
  • 3 button control for various action depending on the mode(Play/Stop/Next/Previous/Vol Up/Vol Down/DSP on&off)
  • On-board digital microphone
  • Win/Mac OSx plugin
  • PCM/DSD audio streaming modes
  • USB Audio Class 2.0 with ASIO drivers for Windows, driverless under MAC OSx and Linux Alsa 2.0, Android OTG support

Product Downloads

What's in the box?

  • 1 x IL-DSP headphone amplifier
  • 1 x microUSB to USB Type C (15cm), 1 x microUSB to USB C (70cm), 1 x microUSB to USB A(15cm), 
  • 1 x cable clip
  • USB ASIO driver, Plugins under the UserDownloads section

IL-DSP with Macbook

Item Description
USB Controller / Multicore Controller XMOS xCORE-200 / USB 2.0 asynchronous audio transfer / UAC2 class
Headphone amplifier chip Cirrus Logic CS43130 / Up to 130dB SNR @ 32bit
Audio sample rate / Resolution

Input PCM Sample rate: 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.2/192 kHz @ up to 32bit
DSD modes: DSD64/DSD128 (DSP bypassed under DSD mode)
Internal DSP rate: 48kHz (Downsampling from incoming rate) / Bypassed  @ 176.2k & 192kHz

Analog audio specifications

Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz +/- 0.05 dB, 20Hz to 96kHz @ 192k.
S/N ratio: 120 dB (32
Ω, 1 kHz, A-weighted, digital in 0 dB)
Maximum output: 30 mW + 30 mW (32
Ω, 1 kHz, digital in 0 dB)
THD+N: 0.0007% (32
Ω, 1 kHz, 30 mW + 30 mW, mid gain)
Supported headphone impedance: 16
600 Ω

Input/Output interface USB Audio class 2 for PC-Mac-Linux-Android OS / 3.5mm stereo Jack
Features Volume Up/Down in 0.5dB steps, Play, Pause, DSP bypass, In-line microphone
DSP GUI control Up to 10 bands of fully parametric equalization (PEQ) with live control (Mac/Win)
Dimensions (H x W x D) mm 53 x 17 x 9 mm, 14.5grams
Accessories USB-C cable 150mm, USB-C cable 700mm, USB-A cable 150mm, 1 x cable clip




















In this app note, we will walk through EQ-ing your headphone based on measurements taken with the miniDSP EARS measurement rig.

To implement the EQ, the app note will assume that you have a miniDSP HA-DSP headphone amplifier or another miniDSP device such as the 2x4 HD. However, the technique can be used with many other devices and also with software implementations, as long as they have a full parametric EQ capability.

For devices that don't have a full parametric EQ or that can't have an REW measurement signal run through them, see the related app note Headphone EQ for iPhone (or Android, or DAP).

Headphone EQ with EARS, REW and HA-DSP

Why EQ?

There are a lot of factors that affect a headphone's sound, but the frequency response is the primary one. It determines not just the overall balance of bass, midrange and treble, but also the distribution of harmonics that are part of every musical note.

Headphones (and IEMs) are complicated things when it comes to their acoustics. Unlike a speaker, which can be measured for accuracy in an anechoic chamber, headphones can only be measured when they are on a "head" (either real or artificial). Sound bounces around in the tiny confined space between the headphones and your ears, and travels down the ear canal until it eventually reaches the eardrum.

Professional artificial measurement "heads" attempt to simulate this environment, and as result are very expensive. Despite their cost, they still produce very different results, as shown in the graphs in this article by Audeze. Furthermore, we all have different anatomy: studies show the acoustic signal at the eardrum varying by 5 dB in the bass, for example. Factors such as the positioning of the headphone, the seal of the pad to the head, and so on, will change the measurements. Finally, different people have different subjective preferences.

So, when you run headphone measurements for EQ, it's important to treat the measurements as a guide. You always need to listen to the result of any EQ based on the measurements, and adjust it so that it sounds right to you.

Some additional points:

  • Because there are a lot of factors affecting the sound of a headphone, you probably won't be able to EQ a headphone you don't like into one that you do. It's best to start with something that basically sounds good to you.

  • The headphone designer(s) will have traded off all of those factors when designing the headphone. So correcting only the frequency response may not produce the expected result. Again, you need to listen for yourself and decide how to apply the EQ.

  • Remember Fletcher-Munson! Our ears' sensitivity to high and low frequencies depends on the SPL, so do your listening adjustments at the level you normally listen. (Don't be afraid to add some bass and treble if you prefer to listen at lower levels.)

  • In this app note, we suggest using just a few bands of EQ, say no more than 5. This will make it easier to make manual adjustments when auditioning.

  • Don't try and flatten every little bump and "wrinkle" in the measured response. Just work to make the response closer to flat.

  • Regardless of what the measurements say, work within the natural capabilities of the headphone. A bass-light headphone may not respond well to a lot of boost in the bass, for example.

  • Any modifications or "mods" to the headphone will change the response, so you may need to redo your EQ. Even different earpads change the response. (You can measure the change with EARS.)

The basics of parametric EQ

There are two main types of EQ filter. A peaking filter boosts or cuts frequencies around the center frequency. This example (from the HA-DSP) shows a 10 dB boost at 200 Hz with a wide bandwidth (Q=0.7) and a 10 dB cut at 2000 Hz with a fairly narrow bandwidth (Q=4):

Parametric peaking filters for headphone EQ

shelving filter boosts or cuts the signal above or below the set frequency. Shelving filters are typically used to "bring up the bass" or "take down the treble". This next example shows a shelving boost of 6 dB (Q=0.7) centered at 100 Hz, and a shelving cut at 2000 Hz (Q=0.5):

Shelving filters for headphone EQ

Measuring the headphones

The EARS page on the miniDSP website now has a compensation type named "HEQ", for "Headphone EQ". Go there now, enter your serial number and select HEQ to download the calibration files. These calibration files help simplify the process of EQing headphones.

Now run a measurement on your headphones, loading the file L_HEQ_xxxyyyy.txt into REW for the left and R_HEQ_xxxyyyy.txt for the right. (See the User Manual for details.)

Use the All SPL tab in REW to create an average of the left and right measurements. Optionally, you can take several measurements on each side with the headphone moved a bit each time, and average all of them.

The intent of the HEQ compensation is that, when it is used to measure a "neutral sounding" headphone, the resulting measurement will be approximately flat. It is similar in intent to the "preferred headphone target response" identified by Olive, Welti and McMullin (Ref. 1) but adapted for the EARS.

Let's look at a couple of examples. Headphone A is a good quality headphone that is generally considered to be "dark". Subjectively, we felt that it was withdrawn on vocals but also a little hot in the high treble. Bass is solid but it doesn't have a lot of sub-bass. Its response when measured with HEQ is shown in Figure 1 in red. You can see that it measures low (compared to the flat line) in the 2 to 7 kHz area, which explains the "darkness."

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