iFi Audio iGalvanic3.0 - The Holy Grail of Audio

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by ifi audio, Mar 10, 2017.
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  1. Part 1: iFi Audio iGalvanic3.0 - 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 difficulty.
    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 invested 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:
    • Break ground loops
    • 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.
    Stay tuned, next section coming soon!
    Part #2 High-Tech & High Spec.
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  2. iFi audio
    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:
    1. USB3.0 has separate transmitting AND receiving lines.
    2. 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.
    An Analogy: USB2.0 1st Gen vs USB2.0 Next Gen:
    1. 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.
    1. 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:
    • 100% transparent isolation - free from all the de-constructed and re-constructed, compatibility issues/challenges involved with the SerDes (USB2.0 bi-directional) approach.
    • 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.
    • 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: 
    1. Full Isolation                            (default – center position)
    2. DC to RF soft ground-link          (to avoid hum in systems without earth – up position)
    3. 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.
    Stay tuned, there's more!
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  3. bluesaint
    @iFi audio   If you already have iUSB3.0, should you care about this new device?  Sounds like it does mostly the same thing.
  4. Fredoo
    I'm also confused with the expanding iFi line up
  5. iFi audio
    iGalvanic3.0 and iUSB3.0 are meant to do completely different things. The former provides galvanic isolation, whereas the latter does not as its function is USB Jitter reduction, packet noise suppression etc.: http://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/micro-iusb3-0/
    Some of our proprietary tech overlap in both said devices (REclock/REbalance/REgenerate and USB domain overall), but their main functionality is different.
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  6. wotef

    Hi - I love your products and engagement with various user communities, but come on, you must agree a lot of folks are very confused about the overlaps in your current/previous catalog. You listed 4 bullet points of overlap and only one distinction between these two here. Here's some feedback, get your UX/marketing folks to make a one-pager matrix/table like a Consumer Reports comparison table and simplify this stuff. At the moment, product differentiation is like going to the TV section in a Best Buy. Don't be like Best Buy :)
  7. bluesaint
    I held my tongue in responding, but since someone else chimed in, i'll respond as well.
    The ISO Earth in iUSB3.0 is also targeting the same USB noise that may pass downstream that iGalvanic3.0 probably does better at, but to say they are meant to do "completely different" things is confusing. Just how they solve the problem and efficiency at it.
    I'm a huge Ifi fan.  I own 2 iDSD BL, iUSB3.0 micro, iUSB3.0 Nano, ifi NOS 6922, and about to order the ican PRO, so as wotef pointed out, with all the recent products iDefender, iPurifier2, iSilencer, and this iGalvanic, it becomes hard for those wanting to follow your products to understand the overlaps.
  8. iFi audio
    Alright, you've asked for it, here it goes then...

    iFi USB options with full galvanic Isolation
    • Ultimate Performance - iUSB 3.0 micro with iGalvanic 3.0 nano
    • Very High Performance - iUSB 3.0 nano with iGalvanic 3.0 nano
    • High Value - iGalvanic 3.0 nano with iDefender and iPower
    • Historical Value Upgrade - original iUSB Power (discontinued) with iGalvanic 3.0 nano
    • Lowest Cost - iGalvanic 3.0 nano
    iFi USB Options without Galvanic Isolation (but with iSOGround ground loop breaker)
    • Ultimate Performance - iUSB 3.0 micro
    • Very High Performance - iUSB 3.0 nano with iDefender (no extra iPower needed)
    • High Value - iPurifier 2.0 with iDefender and iPower
    • Historical Value Upgrade - original iUSB Power (discontinued) with iPurifier 2.0
    iFi USB Problem Solvers
    • USB 2.0 signal regenerator (e.g. long cables, improved signal integrity) - iPurifier 2.0 A or B
    • Earth/Ground-loop with DAC that operates on USB power - iDefender with iPower
    • Earth/Ground-loop with DAC that does not draw power from USB power (e.g. Handshake only use of VBUS) - iDefender only
    • RFI & USB Power noise reducer - iSilencer
    iFi non-USB problem solvers
    • iPower - super clean 5V/9V/12V/15V DC power supply
    • iPurifier DC - clean up any DC power source 5V - 24V up to 3.5A load (e.g. Laptop, pro audio gear)
    • iPurifier SPDIF - Jitter killing memory buffer with highly precise clock, to clean up poor quality SPDIF feeds
    We sincerely hope this will help, though it depends on a system and problems it might have.
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  9. wotef
    Thanks for that post, iFi team [​IMG]
  10. bluesaint
    @iFi audio question however, how would you recommend chaining igalvanic into the pipeline?
    • Very High Performance - iUSB 3.0 nano with iGalvanic 3.0 nano
    Taking that combination as an example.  Since iGalvanic has V2 of reclock/regen/rebalance etc. while iusb3.0 nano has v1 of these tech.  So PC->iGalvanic -> nano iusb3 is the recommendation or otherway?
  11. artsnparts1
    Can we have an idea about pricing? I am almost buying an Intona industrial version (second hand) for a relatively good price, but now I am not sure. Does the Intona does exactly the same as the iGalvanic3.0? I think a lot of members need and want to know it.
  12. iFi audio
    ISO Earth (as found on both iUSB 3.0 and iDefender) strictly breaks ground loops, it is not in the traditional sense an isolator, hence only noise produced by these is reduced. Arguably ground loops are one of the big problems in computer audio. 
    However, other factors (e.g. leakage of noise at high frequences) also manifest themselves and many of these can only be addressed effectively by providing full isolation of not just ground and USB power, but need to isolate the data path itself. This is what the iGalvanic 3.0 does.
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  13. iFi audio
    iGalvanic3.0 will be sold for $299 (ex-tax).
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  14. rigo

    Same question. Similar to Intona with additional benefits?
  15. iFi audio
    AMR/iFi policy means that we don't comment on other products. All informations needed in terms of functionality and overall design are there already, hence you be the judge [​IMG] 
    iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
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