iFi audio NEO Stream - Sweet Streams!
Sep 28, 2022 at 7:44 AM Post #76 of 835

Mr BubbaHyde

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Will the USB Input (USB Storage) allow USB connection to a MacBook Pro for music play?
I don't see anything yet that would indicate a USB connection for this purpose and would be surprised if there is. In a way, this would defeat all the tech inside for providing a clean precise signal. By its nature, both the Zen and Neo are a "streamers" and thus the signal is "direct" from the unit. @Rowan94 will provide us a direct response, but this is just my best guess.

However, as a Mac user, I can tell you that I use Airplay in the instance of playback from the Mac Mini M1.

Cheers!!
 
Sep 28, 2022 at 7:46 AM Post #77 of 835

Mr BubbaHyde

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I just pull the trigger on an Ifi NEO stream from audio46, due to the excellent results obtained with my ZEN stream for HQplayer and the Hugo TT2. However If NEO were not able to play 768khz and DSD 512, it would be a big disappointment, even when I know that it is supposed to provide a cleaner USB signal.
Congratulations!! Be sure to post when you get it up and running with pics!!

Cheers!!
 
Sep 28, 2022 at 8:32 AM Post #78 of 835

Zaurux

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I just pull the trigger on an Ifi NEO stream from audio46, due to the excellent results obtained with my ZEN stream for HQplayer and the Hugo TT2. However If NEO were not able to play 768khz and DSD 512, it would be a big disappointment, even when I know that it is supposed to provide a cleaner USB signal.
And if you know how to connect with ssh on your Neo Stream, we might have some interesting information. :wink:
 
Sep 28, 2022 at 8:36 AM Post #79 of 835

Mr BubbaHyde

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And if you know how to connect with ssh on your Neo Stream, we might have some interesting information. :wink:
I was hoping you'd get one and do that, along with posting a lengthy YouTube "How To" video!! :beerchug:

Cheers!!
 
Sep 28, 2022 at 2:09 PM Post #80 of 835
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Will the USB Input (USB Storage) allow USB connection to a MacBook Pro for music play?

I don't see anything yet that would indicate a USB connection for this purpose and would be surprised if there is. In a way, this would defeat all the tech inside for providing a clean precise signal. By its nature, both the Zen and Neo are a "streamers" and thus the signal is "direct" from the unit. @Rowan94 will provide us a direct response, but this is just my best guess.

However, as a Mac user, I can tell you that I use Airplay in the instance of playback from the Mac Mini M1.

Cheers!!

It does not. It is for storage only from my past knowledge.
 
Sep 28, 2022 at 3:46 PM Post #82 of 835
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The inscriptions on the motherboard are :
PCM 384 and DSD 4x (256)

22092705272915136318007580.png
I can confirm that the NEO Stream supports PCM 768kHz and DSD 512. This image is wrong and is being updated as we speak! :)
 
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Sep 28, 2022 at 4:17 PM Post #83 of 835
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At least the "This is our own technology" part sounds like the OptiBox is needed to talk to the NEO Stream, i.e. there's no third party device that supports the protocol used between the NEO Stream and the OptiBox, correct?
The optic LAN on the NEO Steam can be accessed directly without our OptiBox. This accessory is for those who rely on WAN(RJ45) network and want to try out what optic transmission into our NEO Stream does.
Basically I was wondering whether it might be possible to connect the NEO Stream directly to my optical network switch.
The fiber optic needs to support 1310nm FP / 1550nm DFB, and the interface must be FC type.
Will the USB Input (USB Storage) allow USB connection to a MacBook Pro for music play?
Unfortunately this won't work. The USB input on the back of the device is to be used with external HDD's etc. The Zen Stream would not detect the Mac Book HDD as a source, so therefore you would not be able to access this via the web portal. I'd recommend streaming your tracks instead! :)
 
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Sep 28, 2022 at 7:40 PM Post #86 of 835

Alcophone

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The optic LAN on the NEO Steam can be accessed directly without our OptiBox.
Interesting, thank you. Ultimately I'm okay with using the OptiBox since "the LAN signal from the router is regenerated, reclocked and rebalanced", so it might be a higher quality signal than what a random transceiver would produce (whether it matters is a separate question, of course). But I was curious. If you want, we can stop here, but I responded below anyway.

This accessory is for those who rely on WAN(RJ45) network and want to try out what optic transmission into our NEO Stream does.
On routers, the WAN port is for the modem and the LAN ports are for your devices (wide/local area network), and both typically use RJ45.
But I understand, the OptiBox is translating from RJ45 Ethernet to something optical.

The fiber optic needs to support 1310nm FP / 1550nm DFB
Is there a name for that standard? I found the following:
"BPON, EPON, GEPON, and GPON have the same basic wavelength plan and use the 1490 nanometer (nm) wavelength for downstream traffic and 1310 nm wavelength for upstream traffic. 1550 nm is reserved for optional overlay services, typically RF (analog) video."

"BPON is relatively low speed with 155 Mbps upstream/622 Mbps downstream operation. GE-PON/EPON operates at 2.5 Gbps symmetrical operation. GPON supports 1 Gbps asymmetrical operation."

Then there's 10G-EPON:
"The 802.3av standard places significant emphasis on enabling simultaneous operation of 1 Gbit/s and 10 Gbit/s EPON systems on the same outside plant. In the downstream direction, the 1 Gbit/s and 10 Gbit/s channels are separated in the wavelength domain, with 1 Gbit/s transmission limited to 1480–1500 nm band and 10 Gbit/s transmission using 1575–1580 nm band.

In the upstream direction, the 1 Gbit/s and 10 Gbit/s bands overlap. 1 Gbit/s band spreads from 1260 to 1360 nm; 10 Gbit/s band uses 1260 to 1280 nm band. This allows both upstream channels to share spectrum region characterized by low chromatic dispersion, but requires the 1 Gbit/s and 10 Gbit/s channels to be separated in time domain. Since burst transmissions from different ONUs now may have different line rates, this method is termed dual-rate TDMA."
1310 nm would match the center wavelength for 1 Gbit/s upstream, but 1555 nm doesn't seem to match.

"XGS-PON operates at a downstream wavelength of 1577 nm and the upstream wavelength of 1270 nm."
That one matches the 10G upstream + 10G downstream version of 10G-EPON.

I found SFP+ transceivers for XGS-PON using SC fiber, so that would match the 10G claim.

and the interface must be FC type.
Or SC? 😉

NEO-STREAM-Connection-Guide-rear_v1-02-2.jpg

UPC-SC-to-SC-LC-to-LC-ST-to-ST-FC-to-FC-Fiber-Patch-Cord.jpg
 
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Sep 29, 2022 at 5:39 AM Post #87 of 835
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But I understand, the OptiBox is translating from RJ45 Ethernet to something optical.

Exactly. Then NEO Stream receives data via an optical cable and we can't wait to read impressions of folks who campare that method to the RJ45 transfer :wink:

Or SC? 😉

It seems that way, we may have a typo in our internal documentation, thanks!
 
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Sep 29, 2022 at 6:24 AM Post #88 of 835

JjB067

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New Head-Fi user here, thought I would give my experience of the new iFi Neo Stream which I received a few days ago. I have used the original iFi Zen Stream since it was launched last year, and am quite impressed with the sound quality of that device. Would the new Neo be even better ?

Just a few words about the rest of my system. I usually use the USB Audio Out of either streamer, put it through a Denafrips IRIS DDC and feed via AES into a miniDSP SHD Studio all-digital room correction box employing full range Dirac Live 3. This is a great box and makes a big difference to the room sound, lots of digital input options possible. The room corrected coaxial output from this box then drives the DAC used in these tests, namely the RME ADI-2 FS with an MCRU LPS as power supply. Compared to the standard SMPS supplied with the DAC, the sound is bigger with more dynamics and even detail, quite noticeable improvement. The analog out over XLR balanced cable then feeds a pre/power combo from Denafrips, the Hestia/Hyperion. Speakers are the Wharfedale EVO 4.3 floorstanders. With this system, the original iFi Zen Stream as source sounds very good indeed.

First impressions on the Neo Stream as a device : quite compact elegant device with a dinky colour screen which shows artwork not just from local FLAC library (my usual source) but also when using Spotify Connect. Rear panel bristles with lots of inputs and outputs, the new Optical SC fiberoptic LAN connection fed from the supplied Optibox Transceiver works very well. Just remember to remove the plastic covers from the fiberoptic ends and orient correctly before insertion. Connection feels solid especially compared with the TOSLINK style connectors. The supplied SMPS power supply was the iPowerX 9V 2.5A. So I used the USBA connections on the rear to connect my FLAC library (top port, 1Tb Sandisk SSD), lower port is the USB AUDIO OUT. There is also a front panel USBC bidirectional port but I have not tried this yet. The Neo has 3 main operational modes : Analog (using inbuilt Burr Brown DAC), Digital, USB Audio. You select these on the unit itself by pressing the settings button then the volume knob to select and activate an option. You can also switch between these options inside the control software (app or direct into Web page method), the interface is the well known Volumio identical to that for controlling the Zen Stream. The supplied software version was 2.15.8, but see below. One thing that became obvious quite quickly was that the device ran quite warm. Also occasionally the art work would not load to the screen, but more worryingly some stutter occurred on music playback. Worse still this then developed into the device randomly rebooting, the problems seemed to mount as time progressed. I have never seen any such issues with the older Zen Stream.

So wondering about the temperature of the unit, I decided to switch out the supplied SMPS for an iPowerX rated for 15V 1.5A, this was previously powering up my Zen Stream. This certainly resulted in cooler unit operation. Unfortunately the random rebooting issues did not dissappear. After a soft factory reset (inside Volumio not the rear panel hard button), no change unfortunately. At this stage I tried the SPDIF coaxial digital out rather than USB, this straight into SHD Studio with no intervening DDC, this sounded a little bit sharper but still the random reboots continued randomly during playback. Next step was to raise a support ticket with iFi Audio. They replied promptly and informed me that a new software version was just available that day (yesterday v2.15.13). So I updated to the new version in the usual System page manner in Volumio and voila all the rebooting issues vanished entirely. No issues at all now, artwork loads correctly, no stutters or reboots, been working flawlessly since yesterday afternoon. So if you get the Neo, remember to update the software version before anything else!

How does it sound? Well it sounds very good indeed to my ear but the Zen Stream was also very good it has to be remembered. Overall I would say the overall feeling is that the two streamers sound quite similar maybe identical. However after listening for a while, I got the feeling that there were some subtle improvements in overall clarity with the Neo over the Zen. When listening via Spotify Connect, this felt even stronger, I am a bit amazed that Spotify sounds this good really. So quite close between the two streamers, with the Neo having a possible uptick in overall clarity would be my summary.

So small apparent differences, could be placebo as I want to hear a difference given the cost? I think I will proceed to listen to the two streamers side by side and arrange a more A/B comparison with as short as possible switching time between sources. Overall I like the new streamer a lot in overall design and features. Slightly disappointed that the Volumio software interface has not been altered or improved, but as long as it works OK then we should not complain too much. Hope these first impressions help others with their purchasing decision.
 
Sep 29, 2022 at 6:53 AM Post #89 of 835

kboung

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New Head-Fi user here, thought I would give my experience of the new iFi Neo Stream which I received a few days ago. I have used the original iFi Zen Stream since it was launched last year, and am quite impressed with the sound quality of that device. Would the new Neo be even better ?

Just a few words about the rest of my system. I usually use the USB Audio Out of either streamer, put it through a Denafrips IRIS DDC and feed via AES into a miniDSP SHD Studio all-digital room correction box employing full range Dirac Live 3. This is a great box and makes a big difference to the room sound, lots of digital input options possible. The room corrected coaxial output from this box then drives the DAC used in these tests, namely the RME ADI-2 FS with an MCRU LPS as power supply. Compared to the standard SMPS supplied with the DAC, the sound is bigger with more dynamics and even detail, quite noticeable improvement. The analog out over XLR balanced cable then feeds a pre/power combo from Denafrips, the Hestia/Hyperion. Speakers are the Wharfedale EVO 4.3 floorstanders. With this system, the original iFi Zen Stream as source sounds very good indeed.

First impressions on the Neo Stream as a device : quite compact elegant device with a dinky colour screen which shows artwork not just from local FLAC library (my usual source) but also when using Spotify Connect. Rear panel bristles with lots of inputs and outputs, the new Optical SC fiberoptic LAN connection fed from the supplied Optibox Transceiver works very well. Just remember to remove the plastic covers from the fiberoptic ends and orient correctly before insertion. Connection feels solid especially compared with the TOSLINK style connectors. The supplied SMPS power supply was the iPowerX 9V 2.5A. So I used the USBA connections on the rear to connect my FLAC library (top port, 1Tb Sandisk SSD), lower port is the USB AUDIO OUT. There is also a front panel USBC bidirectional port but I have not tried this yet. The Neo has 3 main operational modes : Analog (using inbuilt Burr Brown DAC), Digital, USB Audio. You select these on the unit itself by pressing the settings button then the volume knob to select and activate an option. You can also switch between these options inside the control software (app or direct into Web page method), the interface is the well known Volumio identical to that for controlling the Zen Stream. The supplied software version was 2.15.8, but see below. One thing that became obvious quite quickly was that the device ran quite warm. Also occasionally the art work would not load to the screen, but more worryingly some stutter occurred on music playback. Worse still this then developed into the device randomly rebooting, the problems seemed to mount as time progressed. I have never seen any such issues with the older Zen Stream.

So wondering about the temperature of the unit, I decided to switch out the supplied SMPS for an iPowerX rated for 15V 1.5A, this was previously powering up my Zen Stream. This certainly resulted in cooler unit operation. Unfortunately the random rebooting issues did not dissappear. After a soft factory reset (inside Volumio not the rear panel hard button), no change unfortunately. At this stage I tried the SPDIF coaxial digital out rather than USB, this straight into SHD Studio with no intervening DDC, this sounded a little bit sharper but still the random reboots continued randomly during playback. Next step was to raise a support ticket with iFi Audio. They replied promptly and informed me that a new software version was just available that day (yesterday v2.15.13). So I updated to the new version in the usual System page manner in Volumio and voila all the rebooting issues vanished entirely. No issues at all now, artwork loads correctly, no stutters or reboots, been working flawlessly since yesterday afternoon. So if you get the Neo, remember to update the software version before anything else!

How does it sound? Well it sounds very good indeed to my ear but the Zen Stream was also very good it has to be remembered. Overall I would say the overall feeling is that the two streamers sound quite similar maybe identical. However after listening for a while, I got the feeling that there were some subtle improvements in overall clarity with the Neo over the Zen. When listening via Spotify Connect, this felt even stronger, I am a bit amazed that Spotify sounds this good really. So quite close between the two streamers, with the Neo having a possible uptick in overall clarity would be my summary.

So small apparent differences, could be placebo as I want to hear a difference given the cost? I think I will proceed to listen to the two streamers side by side and arrange a more A/B comparison with as short as possible switching time between sources. Overall I like the new streamer a lot in overall design and features. Slightly disappointed that the Volumio software interface has not been altered or improved, but as long as it works OK then we should not complain too much. Hope these first impressions help others with their purchasing decision.
Thanks for the impression. Some really useful info. Regarding the unit being warm, is it relatively warmer or cooler or same compared to zen stream? Any chance you able to try out how the analog output (internal dac) sounds?
 
Sep 29, 2022 at 7:00 AM Post #90 of 835

Mr BubbaHyde

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New Head-Fi user here, thought I would give my experience of the new iFi Neo Stream which I received a few days ago. I have used the original iFi Zen Stream since it was launched last year, and am quite impressed with the sound quality of that device. Would the new Neo be even better ?

Just a few words about the rest of my system. I usually use the USB Audio Out of either streamer, put it through a Denafrips IRIS DDC and feed via AES into a miniDSP SHD Studio all-digital room correction box employing full range Dirac Live 3. This is a great box and makes a big difference to the room sound, lots of digital input options possible. The room corrected coaxial output from this box then drives the DAC used in these tests, namely the RME ADI-2 FS with an MCRU LPS as power supply. Compared to the standard SMPS supplied with the DAC, the sound is bigger with more dynamics and even detail, quite noticeable improvement. The analog out over XLR balanced cable then feeds a pre/power combo from Denafrips, the Hestia/Hyperion. Speakers are the Wharfedale EVO 4.3 floorstanders. With this system, the original iFi Zen Stream as source sounds very good indeed.

First impressions on the Neo Stream as a device : quite compact elegant device with a dinky colour screen which shows artwork not just from local FLAC library (my usual source) but also when using Spotify Connect. Rear panel bristles with lots of inputs and outputs, the new Optical SC fiberoptic LAN connection fed from the supplied Optibox Transceiver works very well. Just remember to remove the plastic covers from the fiberoptic ends and orient correctly before insertion. Connection feels solid especially compared with the TOSLINK style connectors. The supplied SMPS power supply was the iPowerX 9V 2.5A. So I used the USBA connections on the rear to connect my FLAC library (top port, 1Tb Sandisk SSD), lower port is the USB AUDIO OUT. There is also a front panel USBC bidirectional port but I have not tried this yet. The Neo has 3 main operational modes : Analog (using inbuilt Burr Brown DAC), Digital, USB Audio. You select these on the unit itself by pressing the settings button then the volume knob to select and activate an option. You can also switch between these options inside the control software (app or direct into Web page method), the interface is the well known Volumio identical to that for controlling the Zen Stream. The supplied software version was 2.15.8, but see below. One thing that became obvious quite quickly was that the device ran quite warm. Also occasionally the art work would not load to the screen, but more worryingly some stutter occurred on music playback. Worse still this then developed into the device randomly rebooting, the problems seemed to mount as time progressed. I have never seen any such issues with the older Zen Stream.

So wondering about the temperature of the unit, I decided to switch out the supplied SMPS for an iPowerX rated for 15V 1.5A, this was previously powering up my Zen Stream. This certainly resulted in cooler unit operation. Unfortunately the random rebooting issues did not dissappear. After a soft factory reset (inside Volumio not the rear panel hard button), no change unfortunately. At this stage I tried the SPDIF coaxial digital out rather than USB, this straight into SHD Studio with no intervening DDC, this sounded a little bit sharper but still the random reboots continued randomly during playback. Next step was to raise a support ticket with iFi Audio. They replied promptly and informed me that a new software version was just available that day (yesterday v2.15.13). So I updated to the new version in the usual System page manner in Volumio and voila all the rebooting issues vanished entirely. No issues at all now, artwork loads correctly, no stutters or reboots, been working flawlessly since yesterday afternoon. So if you get the Neo, remember to update the software version before anything else!

How does it sound? Well it sounds very good indeed to my ear but the Zen Stream was also very good it has to be remembered. Overall I would say the overall feeling is that the two streamers sound quite similar maybe identical. However after listening for a while, I got the feeling that there were some subtle improvements in overall clarity with the Neo over the Zen. When listening via Spotify Connect, this felt even stronger, I am a bit amazed that Spotify sounds this good really. So quite close between the two streamers, with the Neo having a possible uptick in overall clarity would be my summary.

So small apparent differences, could be placebo as I want to hear a difference given the cost? I think I will proceed to listen to the two streamers side by side and arrange a more A/B comparison with as short as possible switching time between sources. Overall I like the new streamer a lot in overall design and features. Slightly disappointed that the Volumio software interface has not been altered or improved, but as long as it works OK then we should not complain too much. Hope these first impressions help others with their purchasing decision.
Thank you so much for posting your initial thoughts here, and Welcome!

I am also a Zen Stream user since last year, and am looking forward to your further thoughts on the Neo!!

Cheers!!
 

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