Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!

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Pez

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Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« on: 14 Mar 2017, 03:33 pm »






Part 1: The Holy Grail of Computer Audio


In “The Last Crusade” in a cavern full of cups, Indiana Jones had to choose the Holy Chalice used in the last supper.

In USB audio, similar propositions are abound as selecting the best device to improve USB computer audio presents a mind-boggling array of choices.

It is widely regarded that one of the most effective USB solutions is galvanic isolation. However, its scarcity reflects the technological hurdles that are not without their issues.

Having spent the best part of two years researching, (hence why we did not bring it out earlier!), we wholeheartedly agree. The iGalvanic3.0 has been one of our more ‘technically challenging’ projects.

But the team at iFi Audio are NOW over the moon to announce the iGalvanic3.0.

It is one of a kind - able to deliver galvanic isolation on USB3.0 Super Speed.

In a sea of USB audio improvement devices, the iGalvanic3.0 really is the ‘holy grail.’

We could have stopped work there and just brought the product to market. Yet, this is not in the AMR/iFi DNA. From this starting point, we spent more time to develop additional features that truly make this product the ultimate solution for USB computer audio.



We believe the iGalvanic3.0 will elevate the quality of the audio playback by an order of extreme magnitude.

What is the iGalvanic3.0?


The iGalavnic3.0 is the one-stop USB audio enhancement solution for every computer audiophile. It offers the USB Trinity of:


1)   Audiophile-grade galvanic isolation
+
2)   REclock2/REgenerate2/REbalance2
+
3)   Clean USB power supply*.

*Measured noise is 0.5uV(0.0000005V) @ 500mA load. Outclasses non-iFi USB devices. Bettered only by the micro iUSB3.0.

It is a ground-up, dedicated, stand-alone solution that elevates just about every computer audio system.



Who benefits from the iGalvanic3.0?
Everyone who uses USB for computer audio. More specifically, the iGalvanic3.0 is the ideal solution to:

1)   Break ground loops
2)   Avoid noise-coupling in applications that require hi-speed USB transfers.

Thus, the iGalvanic3.0 is the perfect solution for computer audiophiles through to recording studios seeking maximum sound quality from their USB digital audio system.

More to come! Stay tuned!

mr_bill

Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #1 on: 14 Mar 2017, 04:16 pm »
Nothing on website yet.
Wondering about price and availability.

Also, when is the new Pro iDsd supposed to be to market?




« Last Edit: 14 Mar 2017, 05:30 pm by mr_bill »

Pez

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Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #2 on: 15 Mar 2017, 12:36 am »
We won't have anything up until launch. This is a sneak preview.

I have one at my desktop right now singing sweet nothings into my ear.  :wink:

Pez

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Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #3 on: 17 Mar 2017, 08:51 pm »
Part 2: Not all are created equal

1.   All-new USB3.0 galvanic isolation AND all-new USB2.0 galvanic isolation
The iGalvanic3.0 is fully USB 3.0 (and 2.0) standard compliant, with support for all speeds (from 1.5Mbps to 5Gbps) and all transfer modes (including isochronous audio streaming).



The iGalvanic3.0 features two distinctly separate galvanic isolation stages. One for USB3.0 and the other for USB2.0. They CANNOT be the same because the fundamental architecture is different:

-   USB3.0 has separate transmitting AND receiving lines.
-   USB2.0 is bi-directional, on one SHARED line.

Both USB3.0 and USB2.0 galvanic isolation stages are ground-up, new platforms dedicated for computer audiophile systems and available to no-one else.



USB2.0 Galvanic isolation technology (1st Gen) vs USB2.0 (AMR/iFi implementation)

The 1st generation is based upon SerDes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SerDes) This de-construction and re-construction of the USB signal is far from ideal. Latency (timing) among other things, suffers.

At an early stage, AMR/iFi considered, then discarded the SerDes platform - and developed a brand new platform which is, in our opinion, is technologically superior.

Quote
An Analogy: USB2.0 1st Gen vs USB2.0 Next Gen
1st generation implementation - SerDes
Imagine for a moment, selecting a route that has a bridge (galvanic isolation) that is too narrow for a lorry (USB audio signal) and cannot handle the weight of the lorry. At the bridge the lorry needs to be dis-mantled into pieces, the pieces need to be carried across and re-assembled on the other side.


The Next Generation - AMR/iFi implementation
The lorry takes a totally different route, one of a quiet, modern 4 lane bridge where  the lorry just cruises across effortlessly.

The advantages over 1st generation USB2.0 are:
i.   100% transparent isolation - free from all the de-constructed and re-constructed, compatibility issues/challenges involved with the SerDes (USB2.0 bi-directional) approach.
ii.   Just the 3 stages of USB Upstream/Isolation/Downstream - instead of 7 compared to 1st Generation USB2.0 isolation

USB3.0 galvanic isolation – world first



The iGalvanic3.0 is the first product in the world to offer USB3.0 galvanic isolation. As previously outlined, with separate transmitting AND receiving lines, this is superior to USB2.0 at handling high data volumes and is future proof.

2.   REclock2/REgenerate2/REbalance2




From the development of the iUSB3.0 devices, we already have the in-house technology to improve the USB signal (and power). These stages have been incorporated into the iGalvanic3.0.

This means that every data flow is regenerated, subject to the iGalvanic3.0’s own precision master clock and recreated in the process.

In the iGalvanic3.0 we have not one, but TWO stages hence REclock2/REgenerate2/REbalance2 which we felt was necessary for the ultimate in computer audio.

3.0 Audiophile power supply section. Built-in.



For ease of use and utility, the iGalvanic3.0 operates from USB Bus Power. A USB3.0 Port is preferred.
Measured noise is 0.5uV(0.0000005V) @ 500mA load. This is bettered only by the micro iUSB3.0 and comprehensively outclasses every other non-iFi USB device.
When operating from a USB3.0 or higher port, the iGalvanic3.0 can deliver up to 900mA iolsted low-noise power.

4. GroundLink. To suit different systems.



All computer audio systems are different. Understanding this is behind why the iGalvanic3.0 is dedicated for computer audio use – where it must suit different Ground/Earth setups.

The Ground link switch* is to optimize isolation in systems where 
•   Full Isolation (default – center position)
•   DC to RF soft ground-link (to avoid hum in systems without earth – up position)
•   RF soft ground-link (to avoid audio drop-outs in systems without RF earth – down position)

*Earth/ground loops are commonly found and this switch deals with NO or Multiple Earths.
It is best to start in the center position and then to try the other settings.

5. Aircraft-grade aluminium for EMI/RFI shielding



The iGalvanic3.0 features the iFi trademark aluminum housing. This enclosure acts as a shield against harmful electromagnetic interference (EMI/RFI) to further minimize noise. Blocking all the noise coming from a PC results in vast sound quality improvements. Non-aluminium designs offer little to no shielding from EMI/RFI.

brj

Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #4 on: 18 Mar 2017, 09:33 pm »
What was the thought process that led to the iGalvanic3 vs. updating the micro iUSB to the "2" versions of regen/reclock/rebalance and adding the galvanic isolation?

I love all of the iFi products I've run across, but it seems like the array of offerings is getting pretty fragmented, with the difference between many being the revision number some individual technologies and the inclusion (or not) of 1 or two features...

Pez

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Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #5 on: 19 Mar 2017, 12:49 am »
What was the thought process that led to the iGalvanic3 vs. updating the micro iUSB to the "2" versions of regen/reclock/rebalance and adding the galvanic isolation?

I love all of the iFi products I've run across, but it seems like the array of offerings is getting pretty fragmented, with the difference between many being the revision number some individual technologies and the inclusion (or not) of 1 or two features...

I'll put it this way, you could not fit the iGalvanic in with the iUSB3.0. The Galvanic isolation is no small feat. And far from a minor upgrade.  It took our design team 18 months to create the iGalvanic 3.0. Galvanic isolation is a major undertaking especially when you're talking bi-direction USB. The results speak for themself. I have never heard better instrument seperation, nuance and musicality in my setup. Trust me when I say this, iUSB3.0 and iGalvanic, while having some overlap, in actuality it's better to think of them a a 1-2 combo. Alone both do wonders but together...  :violin: :guitar: :drums:

brj

Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #6 on: 19 Mar 2017, 06:39 am »
I'm not disputing the effort involved, but personally, I'd rather have all of the constituent technologies from both products in a single chassis and save myself the need for a 3rd USB cable.  (I appreciate that using common chassis designs across components reduces manufacturing costs, but if you're recommending that users string that many components together, you've effectively left the idea of a portable system behind and are now looking at desktop or "big rig" systems, in which case it seems artificially constraining to limit designers to that small form factor.  But c'est la vie...)

Let me try this question instead... between the two, which would you purchase first?  If the answer is system dependent, some insight into those dependencies would be helpful.  Thanks!

BPT

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Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #7 on: 19 Mar 2017, 10:35 am »
What's the difference between the iSilencer 3.0 USB Rebalancer and the iDefender 3.0? Feel free to start a new thread.

sonicxtc

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Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #8 on: 19 Mar 2017, 03:21 pm »
Quote
I'm not disputing the effort involved, but personally, I'd rather have all of the constituent technologies from both products in a single chassis and save myself the need for a 3rd USB cable.

Quote
I love all of the iFi products I've run across, but it seems like the array of offerings is getting pretty fragmented
I agree, there are just too many ifi products with similar or overlapping features which is NOT good for marketing.

Given the cost of good quality interconnects, why not just combine the best qualities of 2 or 3 products? No one is going to object to the using a slightly larger chassis to gain combined benefits and save one or even two pairs of interconnects. My comments are aimed to be helpful as ifi offers some novel technologies. Too many choices + too many overlaps + too many interconnects + unclear product differentiation = consumers shrugging and likely going in another direction.

Further if product "A" is so important to sound quality and product "B" is also essential for sound quality, but you also must really use product "C" to have the best sound quality (etcetera, etcetera), then suddenly I have to buy 5 ifi products just to have a clean usb signal.
Just my 3 cents.

Phil A

Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #9 on: 19 Mar 2017, 03:41 pm »
Probably need a good comparison chart for all the models.  When one goes to the site there are a bunch of drop down menus for different types of products and it's tough to determine what may be of benefit for a particular individual.

Pez

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Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #10 on: 19 Mar 2017, 05:36 pm »
Let's chat about modularity. What I'm seeing here are folks wanting to see clear cut distinctions between product categories and capability. I also see folks saying they want the ability to have more "all in one" solutions. And I agree! I doubt there are many who would disagree.

Simpicity is wonderful and makes things easier or you can have modularity and custom build your own solution based on budget. I'm like you all, I prefer simple "one and done" drop in solutions. When it works out that way, life is so much nicer. But primarily I care about sound quality.

Simplicity is great, but that is not always how it works. Look at our hobby, Can we as audiophiles truly say with a straight face "I want less boxes."? When has that ever been a reality with what we do? You want better sound quality through vinyl? Well be prepared to buy an awesome tone arm, cartridge, platter, cabling, iPhono2, and you'd better have an iTube2 somewhere in there. The same applies to digital. If you're the type of person that wants the BEST digital sound quality you are going to need a little complexity in your system.

Now as far as perceived "product overlap" let me use iSilencer as an example. iSilencer is the type of product you can put multiple pieces on your computer. Why? Because each one removes noise from whatever plug it is attached to. Result? Often, not always (depending on the quality of your computer) you will get cleaner sound quality. Cleaner highs etc when using multiple iSilencers. iPower devices-same story. They are quiet, they are clean, they are musical. The more the better. The more you buy for your gear the greater the effect.

My point is that cumulative effect matters. iUSB3.0 + iGalvanic is cleaner sounding than anything I have heard. On my iFi rig with my JH13s (which have been my "best of" reference piece for YEARS based on my RMAF coverage) sounds BEAST MODE amazing with the iGalvanic AND the iUSB3.0. If you take either product out of the chain everything still works and sound wonderful, but it does not TOUCH what I'm hearing with both in. Why? Cumulative effect of reclock, regen, rebalance PLUS galvanic isolation! 

I freely admit that this is not going to be a solution for everyone. But for those who want the best sound through their digital rig iUSB3.0 plus iGalvanic with Gemini/Mercury/iSilencer at quite a bit less than $1200 and has the best sound I have heard in digital from a computer, well for me it's a no brainer.


For Folks who want clean galvanic isolation goodness then by all means get just the iGalvanic! Clean power, easy 2 USB cable setup and no external power supply necessary. It even comes with the highest quality USB cable I have seen in a product at this price point.  $299, It doesn't get any simpler than that!  :thumb:

Pez rant over.
« Last Edit: 19 Mar 2017, 07:33 pm by Pez »

Pez

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Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #11 on: 19 Mar 2017, 05:41 pm »
Probably need a good comparison chart for all the models.  When one goes to the site there are a bunch of drop down menus for different types of products and it's tough to determine what may be of benefit for a particular individual.

Now that's something I'm willing to agree with. Our website is not my favorite. We are working on a new one. Stay tuned!  :thumb:

wushuliu

Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #12 on: 19 Mar 2017, 06:30 pm »
Yeah the ifi catalog is getting confusing.

BPT

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Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #13 on: 19 Mar 2017, 08:10 pm »
I wanna be first on the iGalvanic3.0 tour.

brj

Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #14 on: 19 Mar 2017, 08:47 pm »
My point is that cumulative effect matters. iUSB3.0 + iGalvanic is cleaner sounding than anything I have heard. On my iFi rig with my JH13s (which have been my "best of" reference piece for YEARS based on my RMAF coverage) sounds BEAST MODE amazing with the iGalvanic AND the iUSB3.0. If you take either product out of the chain everything still works and sound wonderful, but it does not TOUCH what I'm hearing with both in. Why? Cumulative effect of reclock, regen, rebalance PLUS galvanic isolation!

I don't think anyone is disagreeing with you that the combination you list is the best you've heard, but that is still separate from the desire to see the capabilities combined into a single chassis.  I would be shocked if the iFi designers couldn't at least equal the sound quality of the combined units, and possibly beat it, given that you're removing the variable of the added USB cable and can hit the power quality standard of the iUSB for the combined unit instead of the (still excellent) iGalvanic.  And besides not paying for the extra USB cable, you're also not paying for that second set of power filtering and reclock/regen/rebalance circuitry.

As a brief aside, I'd recommend a bit of caution in how you distinguish "cumulative" impacts between setups.  Multiple iSilencers inline would clearly be an example of cumulative benefit from the repetition of the same components in the signal chain.  But while the combination of an iUSB and iGalvanic does double up on regen/reclock/rebalance stages inline (though of different a different revision level), you are also adding a feature.  (You can choose to view it as adding galvanic isolation to the iUSB, or even cleaner power from the iUSB to the iGalvanic.)  There is thus no way to actually distinguish whether the benefit you are hearing is from the added feature, or the duplicate regen/reclock/rebalance circuitry.  I agree that the effect is still "cumulative", but one is clearly via capability repetition, and the other may not be.

To be clear, this is not a criticism of either product.  I own an iDSD and love it, and thus pay attention to each new iFi product and would love to demo some of them in my system.  (The iUSB 3 has been at the top of my list for a while.  If there was a differential version of the iTube 2, that would likely be next.)  I'm also a big fan of modularity, but combining products from within the current array of iFi offerings does impose quite a bit of circuitry redundancy, which may not be of universal benefit.  (I'm comparing this to something like a LIO level of modularity that offers fantastic integration but no excess overlap of capabilities between modules that consequently forces the user to play synergy games with additional cabling.)  So my feedback is more along the lines of "you got so close... please take the last step!".

Your response to which of the two units you'd purchase first, the iUSB 3 or the iGalvanic, and any system dependencies that may affect the answer, would still be appreciated.  Thanks!

(Note that in my case, my DAC doesn't need 5V USB power, my HQPlayer/Roon driven Mac Mini music server will soon be (Pi Audio BatteryBUSS) DC powered, and I have optical Ethernet coming into the Mini.)

Pez

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Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #15 on: 22 Mar 2017, 04:21 pm »

Quote
I don't think anyone is disagreeing with you that the combination you list is the best you've heard, but that is still separate from the desire to see the capabilities combined into a single chassis.  I would be shocked if the iFi designers couldn't at least equal the sound quality of the combined units, and possibly beat it, given that you're removing the variable of the added USB cable and can hit the power quality standard of the iUSB for the combined unit instead of the (still excellent) iGalvanic.  And besides not paying for the extra USB cable, you're also not paying for that second set of power filtering and reclock/regen/rebalance circuitry.

In speaking with our design team the use of Galvanic Isolation is extraordinarily complex. To add it to the iUSB3.0 and release it as a product sound ideal in theory. But in practice this device would cost around $700 and for obvious reasons wouldn't actually serve as a replacement for the iUSB3.0 but rather a very expensive bigger brother.

Quote
As a brief aside, I'd recommend a bit of caution in how you distinguish "cumulative" impacts between setups.  Multiple iSilencers inline would clearly be an example of cumulative benefit from the repetition of the same components in the signal chain.  But while the combination of an iUSB and iGalvanic does double up on regen/reclock/rebalance stages inline (though of different a different revision level), you are also adding a feature.  (You can choose to view it as adding galvanic isolation to the iUSB, or even cleaner power from the iUSB to the iGalvanic.)  There is thus no way to actually distinguish whether the benefit you are hearing is from the added feature, or the duplicate regen/reclock/rebalance circuitry.  I agree that the effect is still "cumulative", but one is clearly via capability repetition, and the other may not be.

Lets clear the air on this one. Think of the the iGalvanic and the iUSB as two pies on a Venn diagram. where reclock/regen/rebal are 'overlapping' in the center. on the iUSB3.0 side you would have all of it's other various features (lowest noise floor, multiple USB inputs, ANC) and the iGalvanic side you would have various features such as the obvious separate galvanic isolation for USB2.0 (without using the inferior SerDes transmission) and 3.0, Groundlink

Quote
Your response to which of the two units you'd purchase first, the iUSB 3 or the iGalvanic, and any system dependencies that may affect the answer, would still be appreciated.  Thanks!

Well, I wish it were cut and dry. This very well could be dependent on system, preferences etc. My gut tells me iUSB3.0 first, but my heart tells me iGalvanic3.0. My guess is that folks will opt for iGalvanic if it comes down to 'either or' because you do get quite a bit of overlap benefit that you would get from iUSB3.0... Perhaps a tour is in order for folks to try it for themselves.  :scratch:

Thoughts?

Pez

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Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #16 on: 22 Mar 2017, 04:34 pm »
iGalvanic spotted in its natural habitat.  :green:



Through my JH13s and my iFi uber rig I'm hearing phenomenal nuance and refinement.

BRN

Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #17 on: 22 Mar 2017, 07:31 pm »
Does the iGalvanic3.0 also do the samething as the iPurifier2 for reclock reclock, regenerate, and rebalance? So if you had an iGalvanic3.0 an iPurifier2 would not be needed?

What about using the iDefender3.0 with the iPower. Would there be a benefit there, having the iGalvanic3.0 fed from a clean power source?

Pez

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Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #18 on: 23 Mar 2017, 03:44 pm »
We are concocting a chart of sorts that will explain the various potential configurations with the iGalvanic soon. I'll post up on this soon. Stay tuned.

Pez

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Re: Tech Notes: iGalvanic3.0 preview!
« Reply #19 on: 28 Mar 2017, 04:13 pm »
Part 3: How do the iGalvanic3.0 and iUSB3.0 fit together?

Most, who require the ‘holy grail’ of galvanic isolation, will use the iGalvanic3.0 stand-alone. Using the analogy of adding an external clock to a DAC, the micro iUSB3.0 compliments the iGalvanic3.0 in a similar vein.

Add the micro iUSB3.0 to the iGalvanic3.0 for those who wish for the last 5%-10% of sound improvement and additional enhancement options:

1.   The absolute quietest power supply AND
2.   Dual-headed outputs for audio + power transmission via Gemini USB cable AND
3.   Dual-ports: for dedicated SSD/HDD and DAC transmission lines

For the absolute perfectionist with a reference class, money-no-object system with a +US$10,000 DAC striving for the absolute zenith and wishing to squeeze out the last drop of performance from their system, we recommend complimenting the iGalvanic3.0 with the micro iUSB3.0. This adds additional benefits outside of the scope of the iGalvanic3.0, such as Dual-Ports and a noise floor of 0.1uV(0.0000001V).



The iGalvanic3.0 doesn’t really compare to others.

Other USB galvanic isolation devices are limited to Full Speed (12 Mbps) and Low Speed (1.5 Mbps) transmission.

By comparison the iGalvanic3.0 represents the next generation as it is capable of transmitting USB Hi-Speed (480 Mbps) and USB3.0 Super-speed (5Gbps) as well as the lower speeds while providing full galvanic isolation of both the data and the power/ground lines.

Where others have stopped at USB2.0 galvanic isolation, we started with USB3.0 galvanic isolation and absolutely turbocharged the device for the ultimate in USB audio:

1.   USB3.0 galvanic isolation and specified it for high-performance computer audio only
2.   REclock2/REgenerate2/REbalance2 stages
3.   Power Station: Stealth Converter –ultra low-noise, regulated USB power throughout

Summary

We hope you enjoyed reading through the technical notes on how the iGalavnic3.0 came to fruition. For any and every USB computer audio user, the sonic improvement is not subtle. With its dedicated USB3.0 isolation developed from the ground-up for computer audio and Grounding settings, it is ready to be perfectly dialed into any and every computer audio system with advancements that others just do not have.


It really is the holy grail of USB audio. (emphasis added by Pez :wink: )

Features

•   Galvanic isolation of the USB bus (compliant with USB 3.0 & 2.0 at all Speeds (up to 5GBit/s) and all transfer modes)
•   Supports High-Resolution Audio beyond 32Bit/768kHz and DSD512
•   Embedded REclock2/ REgenerate2/REbalance2 technologies
•   Discrete ultra low-noise high current linear regulator for isolated power output
•   Aircraft-grade aluminum enclosure shields EMI/RFI
•   Power Station: powered by USB bus, super low-noise yet no separate power supply required
•   Transparent to host and device without added latency
•   Wide compatibility with all operating systems (works out of the box, no drivers needed)