Tech Notes: iOne

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Pez

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Tech Notes: iOne
« on: 6 Mar 2017, 04:10 am »

Tech Notes

There can be only one...

Wireless audio done right




      1. There is only the iONE - It’s a Kind of Magic
At iFi, we strive to look at what's in front of us, predict what audio enthusiasts might enjoy, then develop a solution, execute it in our regular unerring fashion and deliver as much musical goodness as it gets. Hence the iOne is not only wireless, which all by itself is great, but also able to compete with lots of DACs on the market with ease. Just as the iDSD nano, the iOne is quite similar in terms of functionality, yet wireless. Hence the only one of its kind.

     1.1 introduction
Wireless data transmission has been with us for a long time now, it is an integral part of our daily routine. We exploit wifi at home, and bluetooth/LTE/3G outside. We're always connected in at least one way all the time. Therefore wireless data transfer is not a trend any more, but something we need for both our enjoyment and work. Since technology of this sort is the future, to neglect it would be remiss.

The mobile audio market is saturated with wirelessly operated products. Even though these aren't yet as popular as wired setups of high quality, it's only a matter of time when wireless quality advancements come through. The situation in home stereo is slightly different. More casual, one-box-to-have-it-all solutions are of course equipped with some kind of wireless transmission. Yet when it comes down to stand alone, full-sized setups... laptops and - to a degree - CDs/vinyls still rule for the vast majority of audiophiles. One can go NAS + wifi based iOS/Android app control, that's true. Yet to many people this kind of setup is anything but easy.

Therefore one question is in order: is there a device on the market, which adds wireless functionality to a wired system? Yet at the same time be of audiophile quality? Yes. The iOne by iFi audio.

     1.2. iOne – target user group...everyone!


The iOne is for everyone – the regular Joe as well as audiophile John.

This device can be used in:

-   expensive home setups, whose owners crave for wireless functionality.
-   to pass the signal to another DAC with ease via its SPDIF interface wirelessly or via laptop.
-   upgrade the sound of a console or a TV. It can work with PCs and MACs in classic USB-based fashion.
-   if in need of a wireless function in his/her audio chain

The iOne just delivers music. No matter the setup. It's equipped to handle every possible scenario out there on digital playback. Stream Spotify or Tidal to the iONE? Have your cake and eat it – have both. 



in part two we will discuss more about what the iOne can do including the trick it uses with Bluetooth. stay tuned.
« Last Edit: 7 Mar 2017, 12:47 am by Pez »

Pez

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Re: Tech Notes: iOne
« Reply #1 on: 15 Mar 2017, 01:42 am »
Part 2. iOne – what is it?

Imagine for a moment if our iDSD nano, iDAC 2 micro and a digital module that escaped from a Retro got together and had a child. In a nutshell that's the iOne.



The name of our latest product was cherry-picked mainly because it combines in ONE enclosure many different digital audio devices and input options. Versatility is its middle name. In short, the iOne is a petite, affordable d/a converter loaded to the gills with amazing features, which make it a very unique, convenient and interesting product.

Here's what iOne is exactly:
1. Wireless AAC/aptX Bluetooth – Wireless DAC


This is the iOne's bread and butter. Functionality transforms it into an uber convenient, wireless source to use. Just add tablet or a smartphone loaded with music, then pair it with the iOne via the synch button on its front and you are off. Once a connection is established, the music can be sent to the iONE from the couch. Audio life doesn’t get much easier than this.


2. USB input – Wired DAC

Because of its USB input, the iOne can be used with PC/MAC based computers. You never know when you'd like to use your iOne during i.e. a favourite series binge watch session or YouTube music video of your favourite artist and alike. If your music collection consists mainly of DSD files, USB is the way to go with these natively, up to DSD256 speed which embarrasses many a far more expensive DAC.



On PCM, it handle up to 394kHz. Either way, Hi-Res recordings are catered for in Bit-Perfect fashion.


3. SPDIF input – Wired DAC



Since the iOne sports both digital input and output, it can be used in several ways. As digital input, a user can pass a digital signal from i.e. a CD player, a TV, a console or any other media machine capable of sending its digital audio data 'outside.' This scenario means that iOne will be exploited mainly as a DAC, it'll convert digital zeros and ones into an analogue signal, which is then sent to an amplifier via its RCA outputs.

4. RCA output - Wired DAC
This functionality allows iOne to send an analogue signal to other analogue devices. This is quite self-explanatory. Our product can work as a DAC and wireless receiver at the same time, which makes it a perfect one-box-solution for everyone. Only an amplifier/headphone amplifier and a pair of passive speakers/headphones respectively are needed to build complete, wireless setup to enjoy Spotify/Tidal at a whole other level. The iOne can also elevate active wireless monitors' performance, it'll take over D/A conversion and wireless functionality in such a setup. From a usability standpoint nothing really changes for a user, yet in vast majority of cases, the iOne's input will give the sound quality of such speakers a major boost.

5. SPDIF output - Wired DDC
The iOne's SPDIF output allows a digital signal to be sent to another device in digital form. In such scenario, the iOne doesn't serve as a DAC, it becomes the SPDIF converter. As such, it can be used as a wireless transceiver for i.e. a $10,000 DAC and presumably instead of a CD player in this price bracket. Our machine will allow a very serious audiophile to send the music via his smartphone or a tablet to his very luxurious home stereo with merely one device replaced; his CD player. This scenario shows one of the iOne’s greatest strengths.

A quite similar story might happen if this gent would like to feed his source with a laptop full of music files. Just plug the iOne to the laptop via the its USB input, extract the signal 'outside' via SPDIF output to a DACs SPDIF input... and done. The outcome? Music played on an expensive home stereo via laptop. The highest resolution is 192 kHz as this is the SPDIF maximum – nice.

6. Listen Measure / Digital Filter - wireless and wired DAC
There are two settings: Advanced minimum phase (Bezier) “Listen” digital filter optimised for sound quality and enjoyment. We recommend this setting be left on permanently.

However, on the odd occasion measurements are required, then alternatively, select “Measure” which represents the standard FIR phase linear digital filter. Some like to listen as well as measure using this filter. Horses for courses and all that.

This may seem overkill but as we like to go above and beyond, the choice of filters is one we wanted to satisfy even the most discerning audiophile.

More to come! Stay tuned.

jrebman

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Re: Tech Notes: iOne
« Reply #2 on: 19 Mar 2017, 07:00 pm »
Hey Pez,

I'm a little confused about the outputs -- you mention analog and sp/dif, but is there a straight digital output? I ask because this may be just what I'm looking to partner with my PS Audio Sprout -- directly into the digital input?

If so, this could replace a number of devices and analog wiring with direct digital input to the Sprout.

Thanks,

Jim

Pez

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Re: Tech Notes: iOne
« Reply #3 on: 19 Mar 2017, 08:50 pm »
Hey Pez,

I'm a little confused about the outputs -- you mention analog and sp/dif, but is there a straight digital output? I ask because this may be just what I'm looking to partner with my PS Audio Sprout -- directly into the digital input?

If so, this could replace a number of devices and analog wiring with direct digital input to the Sprout.

Thanks,

Jim

The spdif connection is a single connection that can do either input OR output not both at once. Think of the iOne as a D/A switch if you will. It will accept Bluetooth, spdif and USB and output analog and the spdif can convert to an output to an external DAC.