iFi Audio Neo Stream - The Official Thread

jabbaman73

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Thank you for your reply. I’m trying to keep this very simple; I am not looking for clients. :)

I could keep it very simple, and get a lightning plug to stereo RCA cable and plug them into a line-level input on my line-stage preamplifier.
I wonder what that would do to the sound quality, the DAC in an iPad isn't terrible but it is limited. It's worth a try of course.
 

Ron Resnick

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I wonder what that would do to the sound quality, the DAC in an iPad isn't terrible but it is limited. It's worth a try of course.

I think the iFI product allows me almost the same simplicity by disintermediating the iPad from the preamplifier and inserting a better-sounding DAC.
 
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jabbaman73

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I think the iFI product allows me almost the same simplicity by disintermediating the iPad from the preamplifier and inserting a better-sounding DAC.
Yes, it does look like a truly great product - especially the fibre implementation. Having to use mConnect HD might be a small price to pay....or Qobuz might actually sort out their own app with a Connect feature!
 

Ron Resnick

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I think this is the very simple way to use the Qobuz app on an iPad with an external DAC:

iPad —> lightning to USB camera adapter —> USB 3.0 A to B cable —> iFi Zen DAC Signature V2 [or any other DAC] —> line-stage preamplifier

So the sonic compromise here is using the iPad as a streamer rather than using an external dedicated streamer?

 

jabbaman73

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I think this is the very simple way to use the Qobuz app on an iPad with an external DAC:

iPad —> lightning to USB camera adapter —> USB 3.0 A to B cable —> iFi Zen DAC Signature V2 [or any other DAC] —> line-stage preamplifier

So the sonic compromise here is using the iPad as a streamer rather than using an external dedicated streamer?

Yes, that's meant to work but you wouldn't need a streamer in this scenario and you could spend the difference on a better DAC. I have a direct USB cable connection from Roon Core to my DDC and have removed my streamer altogether.
 

Ron Resnick

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So if one forgoes an external, dedicated streamer, then one can 1) avoid Roon, 2) avoid the streamer company’s home-made GUI, 3) use the Qobuz app, and 4) add in any DAC desired.
 

jabbaman73

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So if one forgoes an external, dedicated streamer, then one can 1) avoid Roon, 2) avoid the streamer company’s home-made GUI, 3) use the Qobuz app, and 4) add in any DAC desired.
I suspect you are playing the Devil's advocate here. The beauty of this hobby is there are an enormous number of options and choices. If the sound quality from an iPad via USB to a DAC works for you then that's all that matters. Some people love very expensive dedicated streamers from Lumin or Auralic. Others love Roon. Some like all in one's from BlueSound etc. Each to their own!
 

Ron Resnick

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The beauty of this hobby is there are an enormous number of options and choices. If the sound quality from an iPad via USB to a DAC works for you then that's all that matters. Some people love very expensive dedicated streamers from Lumin or Auralic. Others love Roon. Some like all in one's from BlueSound etc. Each to their own!

I agree on all points. I did not mean to imply that this simple path alternative would not occasion a significant sacrifice in sound quality versus the high-end streamer approach.
 

AMR / iFi audio

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Hi!

Your NEO Stream might just be the simple, all-in-one box I am looking for!

I use only Qobuz. I do not want to use Roon.

Does your system have its own GUI displaying Qobuz? Or do I use the Qobuz app on my iPad, and somehow connect the iPad to the NEO Stream?

Thank you!
Dear Ron,
Thank you for your interest in the Neo Stream. Our GUI doesn't support Quobuz directly. We have gone with minimal GUI because most of our clients want to use 3rd party software. That allowed us to allocate most of the budget into the hardware and our proprietary software solutions. We are sorry to disappoint you.
 

Ron Resnick

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No disappointment! Thank you very kindly for the explanation!
 
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AMR / iFi audio

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No disappointment! Thank you very kindly for the explanation!
You are welcome! To be frank, I'm using Roon with our products, and when the Neo Stream won't be an exception :) I got addicted to Roon a few years ago, and I'm a goner. On the other hand, I understand that some people don't want to invest/bother with it.
 
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wbass

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Is the WiFi connection shut off when an ethernet cable is plugged on? If ether and optical are both plugged in, does it default to one or the other? Is there a way to shut off the various connections, as with, say, Lumin's streamers?
 

ridom

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Hello
I have a couple of questions. First, it looks that the Neo comes with a very good PSU, the IPowerX. However, is it worthy enough to upgrade to an Ifi IPower Elite, for instance? And if yes, in which version? the 12v one?
Second, if I don't understand wrong, the Neo works as an endpoint for Roon, and not as a core, right? The same with HQ Player, which would have to be embedded, together with the Roon Core and, for instance, a Plex server, in a separate and powerful NUC; an I5 at least. Right?
And finally, of which material the chassis is made of? I read that it's light and weighs no more than 1 kg, so are we talking of aluminum or just plastic?
Thanks in advance for your answers
 

AMR / iFi audio

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Is the WiFi connection shut off when an ethernet cable is plugged on? If ether and optical are both plugged in, does it default to one or the other? Is there a way to shut off the various connections, as with, say, Lumin's streamers?
Wi-Fi will be switchable, about the rest I need to check it. I will check with engineering because I don't have one at hand yet. I'll come back with answers to you.
Hello
I have a couple of questions. First, it looks that the Neo comes with a very good PSU, the IPowerX. However, is it worthy enough to upgrade to an Ifi IPower Elite, for instance? And if yes, in which version? the 12v one?
Second, if I don't understand wrong, the Neo works as an endpoint for Roon, and not as a core, right? The same with HQ Player, which would have to be embedded, together with the Roon Core and, for instance, a Plex server, in a separate and powerful NUC; an I5 at least. Right?
And finally, of which material the chassis is made of? I read that it's light and weighs no more than 1 kg, so are we talking of aluminum or just plastic?
Thanks in advance for your answers
I haven't tried it yet. Based on my experience with the Zen Stream I would guess that a 15V Elite power supply would bring the best results. While the Neo Stream might not need as much power, the additional headroom usually gives a slightly more relaxed sound.
The Neo Stream is an end point for Roon. Hardware required to run Roon/HQ Player strongly depends on your needs. Simple Roon instance runs all right on a relatively modern i3 Intel NUC (gen 8+). When you want to use heavy DSP (oversampling, room correction), especially with HQ Player you might require a more powerful machine.
The enclosure is made of extruded aluminum.
If you have any more questions feel free to drop them in this topic.
 
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JCB

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What are the possibilities to remote control this device (play/pause etc..) with a IR remote control ? Is Flirc USB dongle compatible ? This is the only drawback of this streamer if it cannot be remoted this way. A streamer is also about remote control.
 

christoph

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What are the possibilities to remote control this device (play/pause etc..) with a IR remote control ? Is Flirc USB dongle compatible ? This is the only drawback of this streamer if it cannot be remoted this way. A streamer is also about remote control.
Hello JCB

Welcome to the What's Best Forums.

I guess @AMR / iFi audio will soon chime in with answers to your questions.

Cheers,
Christoph
 

AMR / iFi audio

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What are the possibilities to remote control this device (play/pause etc..) with a IR remote control ? Is Flirc USB dongle compatible ? This is the only drawback of this streamer if it cannot be remoted this way. A streamer is also about remote control.
There is no IR control in the Neo Stream, it is meant to be operated via the network. We believe, that at the end of a day this is the most comfortable solution. We wanted to include other, in our opinion better features into the device like optical isolation for the network. My unit just arrived, I'm super curious how big the difference will be between Wi-Fi, ethernet and optical connections.
 

wbass

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Question for you @AMR / iFi audio : How does the volume control on the Neo Stream operate? Does it throw away bits? I might try to use the Neo Stream as a digital pre in a small system.

Btw, the inclusion of the optical converter box, which I'd taken for a remote at first (for some reason), is a really nice touch.
 

AMR / iFi audio

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Question for you @AMR / iFi audio : How does the volume control on the Neo Stream operate? Does it throw away bits? I might try to use the Neo Stream as a digital pre in a small system.

Btw, the inclusion of the optical converter box, which I'd taken for a remote at first (for some reason), is a really nice touch.
Thanks for your kind words. Every software volume control throws away information. The way to make it below the hearing threshold is to first add bits to the signal, so e.g. make a 16bit file 24bit and then cut. Or, take it to 32 bits. You get the concept. I can't think of a DAC that can actually deliver 24 bits of resolution. Might be impossible with our current voltage standards (the atoms in semiconductors produce too much noise on their own). I need to ask RND if we can disclose exactly how the volume control is done here, but I'm happy to report that I can't hear any sound degradation even below 50% on my unit.
 
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wbass

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Thanks for your kind words. Every software volume control throws away information. The way to make it below the hearing threshold is to first add bits to the signal, so e.g. make a 16bit file 24bit and then cut. Or, take it to 32 bits. You get the concept. I can't think of a DAC that can actually deliver 24 bits of resolution. Might be impossible with our current voltage standards (the atoms in semiconductors produce too much noise on their own). I need to ask RND if we can disclose exactly how the volume control is done here, but I'm happy to report that I can't hear any sound degradation even below 50% on my unit.
Thanks for the info. I was using "throwing away bits" a bit loosely there, to mean degradation, so thanks, too, for the clarification.

I suppose another option would be to control volume through Roon, though I don't know if that'd be preferable.
 

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