iFi Audio Nano iOne

General Information

THE ‘HUB DAC’ AT THE CENTRE OF THE HOME AUDIO

The iOne is a DAC for the modern home. It is so named because it combines many different digital audio devices and input options in ONE complete unit. With Bluetooth, S/PDIF or USB inputs, it upgrades the listening experience with smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs, gaming consoles, media streamers and more. The iOne is neither a one-trick pony nor is it a jack-of-all-trades. It is simply incredibly versatile and offers cutting-edge technology, with each function designed and implemented with as much care and dedication as they would receive in a single function device from iFi audio.

FEATURES

• Bluetooth*, S/PDIF, USB input (*aptX & AAC CD-like quality)

• Galvanically-isolated S/PDIF Output with dedicated re-clocker/line driver

• ANC® noise suppression system for the power supply (conveniently drawn from USB)

• GMT® Femto precision clock system

• Asyncronous USB audio system with Zero Jitter® Memory Buffer

• Zero Jitter® Memory Buffer technology for S/PDIF & Bluetooth
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Pros: Very Versatile DAC, bluetooth, usb, coax, and optical input with RCA and SPDIF outputs.
Cons: Some drop off in sound quality when using bluetooth input.
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ifi iOne DAC / Bluetooth Receiver

I have been looking for a small bluetooth DAC for a bedroom setup for some time and had narrowed the search down to a handful of possible models. About that same time, I was reviewing the xDSD and had a conversation with Lawrence the Ifi rep about if they ever had show gear that went on-sale as open box. As luck would have it, they do occasionally sell open-box items and I was able to purchase the iOne for about 3/4 of the normal asking price. What is written below are my thoughts after using the iOne for a month in my new bedroom setup. The complete setup is the iOne DAC, Burson Fun/Bang as headphone and Speaker Amps, KEF R300s Speakers, and HifiMan Edition S headphones. (I am admittedly looking for a better set of closed cans with an eye toward the Audeze LCD2C).

Packaging:

The iOne arrived in the typical slip cover style white box with all the details shown in full color as is typical of all Ifi packages I have received. Inside the box was the iOne on the top layer, and a pair of fairly short purple RCA Cables, a blue USB Cable, a power cable, a set of feet, a Toslink to mini-toslink adapter, the manual, and the warranty card hiding underneath. The kit is fairly complete in that all the cables you might need with the exception of a Toslink cable are thrown in, but all are on the short side so unless you want to perch the iOne immediately on top of your computer, you may want a longer USB cable.






Build:

The iOne is lightweight with the same shell shape as ifi uses for the Nano and Micro line but uses a plastic front and rear plate. The plastic is heavy enough that longevity isnt a concern unless abused. According to ifi, the windows in the sides of the metal case and the plastic front and rear were added to help in bluetooth reception and not just for aesthetic reasons. Also true to form, controls and indicators are all on the front of the unit while connections are all on the rear with information about the box specs, switches, etc is printed on the underside.





The front panel from left to right has the pairing button, an LED indicator, the 3 position input source switch (Bluetooth, USB, Spdif), and the 2 position filter switch (Listen and Measure). The LED indicator is a nice touch as it changes color depending on source type and file type being played. It takes a little time to familiarize yourself with all the possible color combinations but is a nice touch. The rear panel from left to right, has the RCA outputs, the Spdif input, and the USB 3 input. The Spdif input has a cover over it which is a nice touch to keep dust etc. out of the connection when not in use.




Internals:

The iOne uses a Ti/Burr Brown 1793DSD chip at its heart which provides support for PCM (44.1-192kHz), DSD (2.8-12.4MHz) and DXD (352/384kHz). Power is provided through the USB interface and an adapter is provided for use as a bluetooth device or SPDIF as no external power connector is present. USB Input is handled by the latest generation of XMOS.




Operations:


For sake of clarity, I am going to split up the operations discussion by input types. The switch for input is bluetooth in top position, Usb in middle, and spdif at bottom so we will go in that order here.

Bluetooth:

Pairing is straight forward and painless. Press the large button on the front left to put the device in pairing mode, the LED indicator blinks to let you know when in pairing mode and when pairing succeeds. Pairing is a quick process making device switching easy. My wife and I have used the iOne with Android, I-phone, I-pad, and Windows devices without a hiccup. Range is better than average with distances of 40-50 feet possible when line of sight can be maintained. A single interior wall does little to defeat the signal but once multiple walls obstruct the path signal is weak at best and frequently lost. The iOne supports AptX and AAC encoding (for Ios Devices) but not aptX-HD.

USB:

The iOne uses a USB 3.0 type connector and comes with a short cable (18 inches or so) to connect it to a source. While I apprecaite the fact that the cable was included, it was not long enough to work in any of my installs so I first tried a USB 2.0 type B cable which didn’t work. The iOne requires a 3.0 Cable. So, off to the web to find a USB 3.0 type A to type B cable with a bit more length. The Amazon Basics 9ft cable was $6 and works perfectly so not a big expense, but if you are interested in the iOne I recommend purchasing the cable at the same time so they arrive together rather than having to wait to try it out.

SPDIF:

The SPDIF connector on the iOne is the most versatile connector on the box. In input mode, it can be used for coax or optical inputs and a mini-toslink adapter is provided for use with optical cables. I had no problems using the iOne with the Coax output or the optical output from my PC sound card for the purpose of testing. The other option is when using USB or BT input, the SPDIF can be used as a coaxial output for PCM format up to 192kHz.

So, when used with bluetooth or USB input you have RCA output or Coax output, when used Coax or Optical inputs, only RCA outputs are available.



Sound:

Reviewing the sound of a DAC is a tough job. In a perfect world, it wouldn’t contribute to the sound and for the most part, the iOne does a good job of that. With its high precision clocking, active noise cancellation, and DSD support, the iOne packs a lot of punch for $200. Unfortunately, Bluetooth is not able to take advantage of all those things as well as the USB or SPDIF inputs and sound quality takes a notable hit when using bluetooth. Still, having the ability to stream Qubuz, Tidal, or Spotify to it is a nice option and when using standard resolution streams, the bluetooth interface is plenty good enough. I really couldnt tell much difference in the bluetooth input until I started working with DSD files and then the resolution differences were notable.

The Filters on the iOne are the same as those seen on the Nano and Micro product lines. Most will find that when set on listen the iOne is slightly brighter than when set on measure.



Conclusions:

I bought the iOne as an in-expensive option to have bluetooth input for a bedroom setup and am very pleased with it in that role. Having said that, I have used the iOne as a USB DAC paired with my Valhalla and Beyer 990s and with the Burson Fun Paired with the Hifiman/Massdrop 4xx and think one could live with the iOne as a primary DAC in a budget system and get a lot of bang for the buck. Sound quality is good and file format support is excellent and getting better with firmware updates as most Ifi products including the iOne are now MQA capable as well. Some will prefer the Micro or Nano line for the addition of a headphone amp and battery for portable use, others like myself that are looking for a solid DAC with good features for use at home or office without spending a fortune should take a good look at the iOne. It might be the One for you.
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Really glad you like it. I use mine at home in the office. I have the Pro iCAN as an amp (naturally!) and then a simple active speaker. Currently am loving using Tidal so streaming from my iPhone. Works like a charm.

We do also have one downstairs upping the odds on the TV set-up. Using that and a NAD amp with a pair of Mordaunt Short speakers. Pretty wicked.
Pros: Versatile & easy to use
Solid Bluetooth
Tiny footprint
Detailed, lively sound
Cons: Provided USB cable is rather short
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If you haven't heard of iFi Audio yet, then you're probably fairly new to the world of personal audio. Either that or you've been living under a rock for the last couple of years. There's nothing wrong with that though; I'm just alluding to the large presence the company has fostered within the community over the last couple of years. In today's review, we'll be taking a look at the nano iOne DAC to see and hear what it's all about. Let dive in.

iFi's products usually pack loads of features into a fairly small form factor (hence the 'micro' & 'nano' monikers). The nano iOne DAC is no different. This little Bluetooth DAC can add a breath of fresh modernity into an existing home system or computer rig and is a great way to upgrade a basic audio setup.

Disclaimer
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. I'm not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.



What exactly is the iOne?
First and foremost it's a DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter). How the iOne differentiates itself is with the addition of aptX Bluetooth, making it quite versatile. Now, it's not the only Bluetooth DAC out there; there are a few others and some have been around for quite some time. However, the iOne makes itself unique with its very small physical footprint plus some little touches, which we'll get to in a bit.

Package & accessories
Similar to what we saw with the nano iDSD Black Label DAC, the nano iOne comes in a white box, covered in a white, cardboard sleeve with the usual iFi styling. There's an image of the DAC on the front and some technical information on the back.

Beneath the outer sleeve is the white box, which is bare except for the ifi branding. Inside this box is the nano iOne DAC, a USB cable, 5V power adapter, an optical SPDIF adaptor, an RCA interconnect cable and some little silicone feet.

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Build & functionality
The nano iOne DAC is presented in classic iFi styling; a brick-shaped chassis with a topside that tapers towards the edges. It's a sort of gunmetal grey colour, with ivory white, plastic front and back plates. This thing is really small and will literally fit in the palm of your hand.

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On the faceplate are (from left to right):
  • Bluetooth pairing button
  • Input switch (Bluetooth/USB/SPDIF)
  • Filter switch (Listen/Measure)
The switches feel sturdy and have a really nice tactile click when changing the selection. Similar to other devices in iFi's lineup, the iOne offers two filter settings: Listen and Measure. The Listen setting adds a little shaping to the sound to make it more engaging, while Measure gives a flatter response.

When it comes to the input switch, I think that's pretty self-explanatory. You can quickly and easily flick between input methods this way.

Personality
One feature I really enjoy is the little backlit iFi logo on the front panel. It changes colours depending on the source selected and file format being played. The Audinst HUD-MX2 has a similar feature but iFi took it a step further by making the display large and personalized while the Audinst DAC has a regular LED indicator.

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On the rear panel are (from left to right):
  • RCA outputs
  • SPDIF In/Out
  • USB input
That might not look like much but it opens up a lot of options for connectivity.

Whether you use Nvidia Shield, Google Chromecast or a 4K television, hook your system up to a gaming console such as the XBox One, PlayStation 4 or simply enjoy music through your smartphone, tablet or computer, the iOne is the one for you. Add it to your audiophile rig to push the boundaries of high-quality sound to a whole new level.
So, as you can see, the iOne can act as a catalyst to upgrade your existing products, or simply make them easier to use, especially when employing the Bluetooth function.

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How I used the nano iOne DA converter
Audioengine HD3 desktop speakers: First of all, I hooked up the iOne to my computer via the USB connection and then to the HD3 speakers. But the HD3 already has USB and Bluetooth?! So why would I do this? The answer is simple really: Because I can!

In all seriousness though, the HD3's onboard DAC only supports up to 16-bit native audio, then it upsamples the digital signal to 24-bit. Not only that, but the iOne has native DSD playback in its arsenal. Due to the nature of the little HD3 speakers, the difference in sound was minimal but it was an interesting experiment nonetheless.

Wharfedale Diamond Active A1: Next, I paired up the iOne with the Wharfedale Diamond Active A1 via the RCA output. These are some pretty serious speakers and it was interesting to hear them being driven by the iOne. iFi's little pocket rocket did a fine job of feeding a good quality audio signal to the A1's wireless HUB.

Arcam irDAC-II: For the next test, the iOne was hooked up to the Arcam irDAC-II via a coaxial cable so I was able to use the irDAC-II's excellent headphone amplifier. This was quite amusing as the two devices have a lot in common but they also vary greatly overall.

What these have in common are Bluetooth connectivity and SPDIF input but the irDAC-II has a host of other input and output options, plus a built-in headphone amplifier. It's also much larger and more expensive. While the iOne can't quite match the sound quality of the Arcam it is still a very capable DAC.

Smarphone: Lastly, I tested the Bluetooth with my Android phone. Pairing is a breeze and happens very quickly. This is a great way to play tracks from your phone into your home system, without the hassle of hooking it up with wires.

Sound
At the heart of the iOne is a Burr-Brown chipset:

The Burr-Brown True Native chipset is a MultiBit DAC which represents the ‘best of the best’ chipset design. This chipset handles PCM and DSD natively, so the music signal stays in its original format all the way through.
The iOne's overall sound is one of neutrality and transparency. If anything it's a touch on the lean side. While it might lack warmth and subtlety, it has oodles of bursting at the seams energy and comes across as very lively.

One of the real strengths of the iOne is its excellent sense of timing, thanks to its Femto precision clock system which stomps out any jitter from the source by "creating a new stable clock de-linked from the source clock." This is really great for albums like GoGo Penguin's A Humdrum Star and in particular the more upbeat tracks like Bardot where the iOne shows its mastery of rhythm.

Detail retrieval is excellent and the soundstage is none too shabby either. The nano iOne doesn't try to win you over with elegance but instead, it's more like jumping up on the table and shouting "Let's get it on mutha f*****!" Having said that, however, the iOne has no issues at all with slowing things down, and in tracks like Window, it again surpasses our expectations with its ability to shift with ease from the melodic downbeats to the busy crescendo.

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Conclusion
iFi's nano iOne DAC is a technical marvel. There's a lot of sophisticated engineering packed into this tiny device and while most people probably won't be aware of that, they will surely enjoy the resulting sound.

It may not be able to go toe-to-toe with higher end DACs but at $199 you'd be hard-pressed to find anything that sounds better. The iOnes strengths lie in its versatility and ease of use, especially the inclusion of aptX Bluetooth. Support for high-resolution files (32-bit/DSD/DXD) is icing on the cake at this point.

So, if you're looking to upgrade your existing system or simply want to add the convenience of high-quality Bluetooth, then the nano iOne would be an excellent choice.

*This review was originally published on my blog. Hop on over to see more like this.
Pros: Easy to use, good BT reach (V2), lots of connection options, good price
Cons: BT range also depends on the connect source (of course), excellent clean sound
ifi Nano iOne Review

ifi Nano iOne review - expatinjapan



ifi Nano iOne review
-expatinjapan
http://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/nano-ione/

`The iOne is the DAC for the modern home. It combines many different digital audio devices and input options in ONE complete unit. With Bluetooth, S/PDIF or USB inputs, it upgrades the listening experience with smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs, gaming consoles, media streamers and more.`

Whats in the box





























Oodles of options and possible configerations.
Often the term `swiss knife` gets bandied about with ifi products - but its true I tells ya!

But in this case the ifi Nano iOne is a specific device with specific aims, ifi Audio have many products to choose from, so do a bit a bit of reading first about what you are looking for before you decide on which ifi device meets your audiophile needs.

ifi Audio has something for everyone.




a nice selection of starter cables, and some cute feet for the mini beast.


The new improved version has `windows` and a change
to plastic (front metal) front and back for better bluetooth reception.





How I am using it. RCAs out and in, and using the USB with the power plug to save charging.
I usually switch off the power plug when not in use.



The LED Light color changes depending on the mode and output.





The ifi Nano iOne includes a 5V USB power supply (this being one for the Japan market).
The plugs `pins` will vary market to market I expect.



The home hub DAC
`The iOne is the DAC for the modern home. It combines many different digital audio devices and input options in ONE complete unit. With Bluetooth, S/PDIF or USB inputs, it upgrades the listening experience with smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs, gaming consoles, media streamers and more.
New extended range version
We always listen to customer feedback. In this instance some customers remarked they would like better Bluetooth reception.
So we took this on board. The new ‘Extended Range’ iOne incorporates these comments and supersedes the original. It is visibly different - the front and end plates are ‘snow white’ with opaque side windows.
The iOne ER can be placed in any orientation as it now has a 360° Bluetooth signal. The operational range has been extended to over 10m ‘line of sight.’
In addition, the new iOne will include a 5v USB power supply so that customers can use it straight from the box along with a ‘shorty’ USB cable.
For customers of the existing iOne, if they wish to move to the ER version, there is no additional charge. Just contact your retailer and make the arrangements to have it exchanged for the ‘Extended Range’ model. It is as simple as that.`
Features/Technologies
Bluetooth*, S/PDIF, USB input (*aptX & AAC CD-like quality)
Galvanically-isolated S/PDIF Output with dedicated re-clocker/line driver
ANC® noise suppression system for the power supply (via USB socket)
GMT® Femto precision clock system
Asyncronous USB audio system with Zero Jitter® Memory Buffer
Zero Jitter® Memory Buffer technology for S/PDIF & Bluetooth
Galvanically-isolated S/PDIF input with FET High Definition (FHD) circuitry
Advanced custom Bluetooth 4.0 wireless audio system
AAC codec allows direct Bluetooth wireless streaming from iTunes & Apple Music in native quality
aptX codec allows CD quality Bluetooth wireless audio streaming from suitably equipped Android devices, PCs and Mac computers
Advanced minimum phase (Bezier) ‘Listen’ digital filter optimised for sound quality and alternatively selectable ‘Measure’ standard FIR phase-linear digital filter
Direct-Coupled analogue outputs via RCA
5v USB power supply included





Price
iFi Audio’s Vincent Luke, comments, “Although the iOne is brand new, we like to be as responsive as we can to customer feedback. We looked and found we could make the iOne even more enjoyable. And so we did. We added the power supply for good measure. The price remains the same.”
The retail price of the nano iOne is US$199 (ex-tax) or Euro235/£199 (incl VAT).
Quite nicely affordable.

Version one versus Version two.




The newer box is slightly larger to make room for the power charger.



The main change as mentioned earlier is the Face plate and back plates have been changed from metal to a type of hard plastic, also side windows have been added to aid and improve Bluetooth reception.



Overview

The ifi Nano iOne is a great piece of kit.

Bluetooth , (Coaxial input/output, Optical input), SPDIF input/output, USB input (laptop etc) means I can choose how to use it, and also what my source might be.

Using a Burr Brown DAC one is assured of decent sound quality. And the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, I have not been disappointed.
It certainly improved my old stereo system and has made operating my new system a breeze. I dont always want to stand up and I like having the option to have my wifi device beside me (or phone in my wifes case) and select songs and albums. My stereo system has a USB input on the front but requires one to stand up and change albums etc, I like to shuffle a lot so being able to skip tracks on the fly is a must.

I find it easy to operate, and it passes my wifes `is it easy to use` test.

It syncs easily with the various Daps I have lying around, and length of bluetooth reach differs to different degrees dap to dap. But generally quite satisfactory.

The sound is detailed, smooth, at times spacious (from medium to large) and has a dynamism to it.
It is accurate , natural and whilst at the same time musical.
It could have a bit more weight and warmth at the lower end.

The ifi Nano iOne does what it claims, and certainly does with the quickly released V2 model.

It is not a magical box which will transform everything in your house into sonic unicorns, what ever you are feeding into it, and where the sound is coming out from will make a difference.
It definitely helped my sub standard mini system sound half decent, and pairs very naturally with my upgraded system.

ifi has a range of quality products, and I recommend reading up first and deciding on which one best suits your particular need/s.

*Note: I am happy with this product and its performance.
I do have this niggling thought in the back of my mind that I havent covered something I should have in this review, one of its many uses etc. All the specs and uses of the iOne are covered in the Specs section etc.


I will leave the last word to ifi Audio:
`The iOne is neither a one-trick pony nor is it a jack-of-all-trades. It is simply incredibly versatile and offers cutting-edge technology, with each separate function designed and implemented with as much care and dedication as they would receive in a single function device from iFi Audio.`

Comments

iFi Nano iOne ideal for modest small room audio. Easy to setup. Nice upgrade from internal Audioengine A2+ DAC. iOne handles PCM and DSD files without a hitch.
 
iFi Nano iOne ideal for modest small room audio. Easy to setup. Nice upgrade from internal Audioengine A2+ DAC. iOne handles PCM and DSD files without a hitch.
Hey there. Thanks for your comments. We love it too. I use mine in my home office with a Pro iCAN as the amp. Love just the freedom of being able to Bluetooth from my Phone.
 
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