iFi audio NEO Stream - Sweet Streams!
Sep 25, 2022 at 10:37 AM Post #46 of 604

SCBob

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Posts
378
Likes
254
Location
USA
NEO Stream was designed around its streaming core and as such it doesn't need a digital input. It wasn't meant to be used as a stnadalone DAC. Thanks!



It's up to a standalone DAC whether it can either render or decode MQA. Thanks!



It's a balanced line level output, so not something to use with headphones :wink:



I'll know details about that over this weekend.
I would appreciate clarification. You wrote "it doesn't need a digital input" but the listed specs show 2 x USB-A inputs. What are the USB-A inputs used for? Can they be used to input digital from a computer?
Inputs
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi reception (2.4GHz and 5GHz) with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac support
  • Gigabit Ethernet (LAN) – 1x RJ45; 1x M12; 1x Optical LAN (see below for more information)
  • 2x USB-A (USB2.0 and SuperSpeed USB3.0 supported)
  • 1x USB-C system update port (OTA – Over The Air – updates also available)
Outputs
  • Analogue – 1x stereo RCA; 1x 4.4mm balanced
  • Ultra-res digital (PCM 768kHz, DSD512) – 1x HDMI-I2S; 1x USB-A (USB3.0)
  • Hi-res S/PDIF digital (PCM 192kHz) – 1x optical; 1x coaxial; 1x AES/EBU
 
Sep 25, 2022 at 12:12 PM Post #48 of 604
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Posts
13,971
Likes
9,515
Location
Location: HQ in the UK, but spread far and wide.
I would appreciate clarification. You wrote "it doesn't need a digital input" but the listed specs show 2 x USB-A inputs. What are the USB-A inputs used for? Can they be used to input digital from a computer?

I'm pretty sure one is the input for external storage devices and the other it to output data to a standalone DAC, but I should have more info tomorrow and will clarify/fix as we go, thanks!
 
iFi audio Stay updated on iFi audio at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
https://www.facebook.com/iFiAudio/ https://twitter.com/ifiaudio https://www.instagram.com/ifiaudio/ https://ifi-audio.com/ info@ifi-audio.com
Sep 25, 2022 at 12:39 PM Post #49 of 604

Mr BubbaHyde

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Posts
1,401
Likes
1,277
Location
US
I'm pretty sure one is the input for external storage devices and the other it to output data to a standalone DAC, but I should have more info tomorrow and will clarify/fix as we go, thanks!
The Zen Stream had a similar set, one is for DAC output, the upper is for USB drive or SSD connection!

Cheers!!
 
Sep 25, 2022 at 12:57 PM Post #51 of 604

Mr BubbaHyde

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Posts
1,401
Likes
1,277
Location
US
Last edited:
Sep 25, 2022 at 1:01 PM Post #52 of 604

Mr BubbaHyde

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Posts
1,401
Likes
1,277
Location
US
First Unboxing video?? :sweat_smile:



Cheers!!
 
Sep 25, 2022 at 1:49 PM Post #53 of 604

ra990

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Posts
2,117
Likes
3,704
Location
Virginia, USA
@iFi audio I asked this earlier too, but will this devices handle full 705/768k upscaling from HQPlayer or is it limited to 384k like the Zen Stream?
 
Sep 25, 2022 at 1:53 PM Post #54 of 604

Mr BubbaHyde

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Posts
1,401
Likes
1,277
Location
US
@iFi audio I asked this earlier too, but will this devices handle full 705/768k upscaling from HQPlayer or is it limited to 384k like the Zen Stream?
According to what I read and what is in the manual, yes it does.

The only caveat that I saw was that 5 ghz wifi is needed for that level of upscale if going with the wireless option on the NEO.

Hope that helps,

Cheers!!
 
Last edited:
Sep 25, 2022 at 3:56 PM Post #55 of 604

Kamil21

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 31, 2015
Posts
255
Likes
79
First Unboxing video?? :sweat_smile:



Cheers!!

It’s interesting to note that in the unboxing video it’s supplied with the iPower X instead of the iPower 2. Perhaps this was a demo unit?

Anyway, it’s clear that this is a far more sophisticated device than the Zen… I hope it gives some of those other megabuck streamers such as the Innuos, Auralic, Aurender and Lumin streamers a run for the money.
 
Sep 25, 2022 at 7:45 PM Post #56 of 604

elementze

Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 26, 2021
Posts
62
Likes
171
Location
Chandler Arizona
This is so close to my perfect streaming endpoint! (Probably close enough to still pull the trigger...) In my opinion all this is missing is
- USB audio input, to function as a DDC. Not a big feature miss, but nice to have the flexibility.
- standard optical ethernet input. Proprietary inputs are obnoxious. Something more along the lines of what Small Green Computer does, standardizing on traditional optical ethernet, would have been a nice.
- Going to 32x PCM (1536kHz) would have made this truly the ultimate HQPlayer NAA endpoint. I wonder if there's a hardware limitation on the PCM output rate? Maybe the USB will still go this high...

At any rate, looking forward to more reviews and spending $$$ :)
 
Sep 25, 2022 at 11:42 PM Post #58 of 604

whitedragem

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 26, 2010
Posts
511
Likes
512
- Going to 32x PCM (1536kHz) would have made this truly the ultimate HQPlayer NAA endpoint. I wonder if there's a hardware limitation on the PCM output rate? Maybe the USB will still go this high...
Agree with your shared thoughts, with exception of the last statement (copied above...);

Most 'upper' (TOP!) frequencies that a DAC chip offers are usually with diminished capability (when we look at their 'white sheet' docs); and given implemented circuits seldom deliver more/equal to a DAC chips 'white sheet' spec; the top most supported frequencies simply give me an indication as to which frequencies might still deliver 'product excellence'.

It is one thing to support a given bitrate or sampling frequency, (and that nets sales from eager consumers wanting to buy 'the next big thing') - but chasing ones tail for esoteric formats that are unlikely to see much use isn't of much worth/'true value' to end consumers..

Far better off easing the burden on your upsampling hardware, and giving the cable a more reasonable bandwidth to push.. the resultant sound by easing off 'one notch' is generally better realised music.

Some circuits DO push past the white sheet values for the DAC chip (iFi do so notably, for example the iFi Diablo clearly does so.. ); but I wouldn't be seeking 1536khz sampling rates from an older BurrBrown DAC chip (a chip built for music rather than 'bragging rights' rates and supporting of unadopted consumer formats etc)..

And if iFi jumped to ESS designs then they would lose me as a customer overnight.
And I am not directly picking on an ESS chipset here with this statement (heaven forbid!), but rather that iFi had a handful of great engineers (or at least several fingers worth of them..) back when they came up with circuits that could push this BurrBrown DAC chip well past its 'theoretical' specs..

Clever implementation is everything in audio, and it constantly amazes me how much an iFi Diablo smokes a Topping D90 for sound output quality.
Maybe some aspect of the Diablo is using a 'class A' output stage (the D90s' biggest weakness to my ears), but it clearly is in their 'multibit' (top six bits) approach that gives detail and definition where it counts, on top of 'top tier specs' beyond what any given consumers system is likely to resolve.

If chasing 1536khz (or 3072khz etc..) is the goal, then 'yes' - some super new DAC chip will be needed.

Just be aware that for approx fifteen years the market for consumer audio has been 'portable' and not home hifi (most surround amps use 'mid tier' DAC chips and are happy with older designs), and so most modern DAC chips are designed to 'sip power' (or give pin outs for I/V stages for configurability to vary their implementation); and chasing future format numbers and rates seems the intent.

Not saying the latest DAC chips are poor, but that as is (un)common knowledge- a DAC is the whole circuit and not just the chip.
iFi have mastered a specific chip, and this fact is of a tangible benefit to us actual end users wanting musicality.
If we consider that two years of R&D was lost by a few manufacturers attempting to design to utilise the AKM449X parts, and then had to throw away that circuit tuning nearly overnight to make use of what the market could supply them, I wouldn't hesitate to predict that the next couple of years will bring a lot of reviews to popular press where industry professionals can RIGHTLY state 'improved implementation over last years/early versions' more so for the ESS chipsets than any other...

As someone who bought (and sold) a lot of PC sound cards in the early nineties, seeing well specced cards 'sound like digital' and vastly more musical cards that didn't 'chase numbers'- I learned early in the game that spec sheets can reveal aspects of the circuit, sure; but certainly not 'musicality' of the design.

Sure the D90 is a great specc'd DAC- but I reiterate- an iFI Diablo smokes it....
 
Sep 25, 2022 at 11:51 PM Post #59 of 604

whitedragem

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 26, 2010
Posts
511
Likes
512
Most 'upper' (TOP!) frequencies that a DAC chip offers are usually with diminished capability (when we look at their 'white sheet' docs); and given implemented circuits seldom deliver more/equal to a DAC chips 'white sheet' spec; the top most supported frequencies simply give me an indication as to which frequencies might still deliver 'product excellence'.
by this statement, I suppose is akin to lenses in photography..
Shooting wide open (at their top f-stop), generally doesn't give their absolute best sharpness, certainly not 'edge to edge' (corners).

Dropping down by a value yields better actual use.

Unless, like me, you use a Fuji 35mm f1.4;
wide open that things is a 'nice-ish' portrait lens. This was the design- not to yield extreme sharpness (the equivalent of 'chasing spec sheet numbers', but to create a product that is actually interesting/nice to use in 'the real world'/'real world use scenario'.

DACs (and most high end audio that I have ever experienced), when not just chasing absolute numbers, can generally be more musical for their design ideals favouring musical reproduction
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top