Tyson's iFi iOne Review – WTF is an iOne?

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Tyson's iFi iOne Review – WTF is an iOne?
« on: 9 Dec 2017, 10:47 pm »

“What the hell is an iOne and why in the world would I want one?”  That was my first thought when I saw the iFi announcement here on AC about this new device.  Reading the blurbs didn’t really help me figure much of anything out.  It’s the one device to replace all other devices?  Hmm, I’m not so sure about that.  I already have an iFi iDSD Micro as my main DAC and I love it.  Was iFi saying this tiny device would be able to replace my iDSD Micro?  Extreme skepticism was my initial feeling. 

iDSD Micro vs iOne
In my main music system, I compared it directly to the iDSD Micro and the iOne sounded surprisingly good.  But not as good as the iDSD Micro.  Similar ‘house sound’ in that the both made the music sound good, but the iDSD Micro beat the iOne in every major category I listen for. 

BlueTooth Streaming
OK, so clearly the iOne isn’t displacing my iDSD.  Well, it is a Bluetooth device, lets hear how it sounds with that.  Flip the switch on the front and enable Bluetooth pairing, have my 10 year old daughter bring down her iPad and throw on some YouTube videos like Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Bruno Mars Uptown Funk, Camilla Cabello Havana, Charlie Puth Attention aaaaannnnddd…..


Alright, NOW WE’RE TALKING!!  Using it this way, the iOne beats our other options for listening to her music on YouTube.  Our other options are just listen to it via the iPad speakers or via the Riva Turbo Bluetooth speaker box.  Of course the iOne absolutely crushes both those other options.  It’s great – you get the iFi “sound” (very high quality) with the convenience of BT streaming.  Aha, now I see the value of this thing!

Perfect Match for Roku
Another cool option – use the optical input on the back to hook it up to a Roku device.  I use it to stream 4k content to my projector in my HT and the video and sound are amazing!  Who would have thought that 2 tiny little devices (the Roku & the iOne) could give such a great experience?  I love to watch older movies that have been remastered, and just thinking to myself “This is probably the best this film as EVER looked and sounded.  I’m having a better experience of this movie than anyone EVER did, prior to the modern age”.  Yet another reason that today is the best time to be alive in the history of the world. 

Love the iOne for Roku and BlueTooth (and spontaneous dance-offs).  No, it won’t beat out your “best” DAC in your main system.  But it wasn’t meant to.  What it will do is make your crappier sources sound amazing. 

Tech Specs – you’ll notice I don’t talk about that at all.  That’s because I don’t freaking care.  After 25 years as a hardcore audiophile and 11 of those years getting to hear the best gear on the planet every year at RMAF, I’ve learned one thing:  tech specs don’t mean crap.  I have one test, and one test only – put in the main system with the ruthlessly revealing $20k planar magnetic open baffle speakers and…. How does it sound?  If it sounds good, then it is good.  If it doesn’t, then it's not good.  The iOne – very good.
« Last Edit: 10 Dec 2017, 09:31 am by Tyson »


Re: Tyson's iFi iOne Review – WTF is an iOne?
« Reply #1 on: 20 Jul 2018, 08:06 am »
Just got one too. Using it for BT and as secondary DAC. Sounds really good. Not as good as a high end DAC, but quite good. Very good starter DAC and BT  converter for a stationary system. Also works as a USB>SPDIF/toslink converter, if anyone needs that.