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iFi Audio iGalvanic3.0 - The Holy Grail of Computer Audio

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Part 1: iFi Audio iGalvanic3.0 - The Holy Grail of 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.

 

LL

 

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.

 

LL

 

We believe the iGalvanic3.0 will elevate the quality of the audio playback by an order of extreme magnitude.

 

 

What is the iGalvanic3.0?

 

LL

 

The iGalavnic3.0 is the one-stop USB audio enhancement solution for every computer audiophile. It offers the USB Trinity of:

 

  • Audiophile-grade galvanic isolation
  • REclock2/REgenerate2/REbalance2
  • Clean USB power supply*.

 

LL

 

*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:

 

 

  1. Break ground loops
  2. 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.

Edited by AMR/iFi audio

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Promising new product but my feedback is that you guys have a big portfolio of similar products and we are getting confused. If you can organize your website in a way to provide some sort of other performance related categories such as 1-flagship, 2-Ultimate, 3- performance

You get the idea

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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Promising new product but my feedback is that you guys have a big portfolio of similar products and we are getting confused. If you can organize your website in a way to provide some sort of other performance related categories such as 1-flagship, 2-Ultimate, 3- performance

You get the idea

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

 

Totally agree. If you have some products that are superseded by a new engineering approach, it might be time to retire some older products.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Totally agree. If you have some products that are superseded by a new engineering approach, it might be time to retire some older products.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

+1

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Hi guys,

 

Why is the stated output noise higher than the iDefender3.0 with iPower? Not asking to be a smarty pants. Genuine interest because there doesn't appear to be an external power input (like the iDefender) so with noise power and data planes noise blocking I thought output noise would be lower than the iDefender with iPower.

 

Unless it's due to the Regen2/Reclock2/Rebalance2 ?

 

Cheers!

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If the output available is 500mA, then an external power supply needs to be used. I can't imagine the setup in the iGalvanic3.0 takes 1-2mA to work.

 

Just wonder how much conducted noise goes back into the AC from the PSU from ifi?

 

Good to see the Isolation and Regeneration is in the one metal box. It would not be necessary to use the iDefender3.x with the iGalvanic3.0, since separation is greater with the latter.

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Promising new product but my feedback is that you guys have a big portfolio of similar products and we are getting confused. If you can organize your website in a way to provide some sort of other performance related categories such as 1-flagship, 2-Ultimate, 3- performance

You get the idea

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

You've asked for it, here it goes then...

 

iFi USB options with full galvanic Isolation

 

1) Ultimate Performance - iUSB 3.0 micro with iGalvanic 3.0 nano

 

2) Very High Performance - iUSB 3.0 nano with iGalvanic 3.0 nano

 

3) High Value - iGalvanic 3.0 nano with iDefender and iPower

 

4) Historical Value Upgrade - original iUSB Power (discontinued) with iGalvanic 3.0 nano

 

5) Lowest Cost - iGalvanic 3.0 nano

 

 

iFi USB Options without Galvanic Isolation (but with iSOGround ground loop breaker)

 

1) Ultimate Performance - iUSB 3.0 micro

 

2) Very High Performance - iUSB 3.0 nano with iDefender (no extra iPower needed)

 

3) High Value - iPurifier 2.0 with iDefender and iPower

 

4) Historical Value Upgrade - original iUSB Power (discontinued) with iPurifier 2.0

 

 

iFi USB Problem Solvers

 

1) USB 2.0 signal regenerator (e.g. long cables, improved signal integrity) - iPurifier 2.0 A or B

 

2) Earth/Ground-loop with DAC that operates on USB power - iDefender with iPower

 

3) Earth/Ground-loop with DAC that does not draw power from USB power (e.g. Handshake only use of VBUS) - iDefender only

 

4) RFI & USB Power noise reducer - iSilencer

 

 

iFi non-USB problem solvers

 

1) iPower - super clean 5V/9V/12V/15V DC power supply

 

2) iPurifier DC - clean up any DC power source 5V - 24V up to 3.5A load (e.g. Laptop, pro audio gear)

 

3) 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 your system and problems which combo is the best for you.

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If the output available is 500mA, then an external power supply needs to be used. I can't imagine the setup in the iGalvanic3.0 takes 1-2mA to work.

USB 3.0 ports are rated at 900mA. To deliver 500mA downstream, the iGalvanic draws less than 900mA.

 

Most of the time dual ports share one power supply line, so in practice it means up to 1.8A are available from dual USB 3.0 ports and the iGalvanic 3.0 will in this case deliver the full 900mA for USB 3.0 downstream devices.

 

Just wonder how much conducted noise goes back into the AC from the PSU from ifi?

 

In the case of the iGalvanic 3.0 - non whatsoever. It uses bus power. Before anyone asks, it also doesn't neither conduct noise back into the host-PC/Mac, nor is USB noise from the Host PC/Mac conducted forward into the downstream section.

 

The iGalvanic CAN be used with the iDefender and iPower if there are concerns about the host-PC/Mac's ports or if for any reason it is desired to supply external power, however there are no performance reasons to do so.

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Hi iFi Team,

I thought I had a handle on all your products but now I too am confused.

Regarding the "iFi USB options with full galvanic Isolation" options,

 

1. What does the iUSB 3.0 add that the iGalvanic 3.0 nano can't do?

 

2. And what does the iDefender 3.0 add to the iGalvanic 3.0 nano?

 

I thought the iGalvanic 3.0 did "all of the above". Full galvanic isolation of both power and data lines, Regeneration, breaking ground loops etc etc

 

Appreciate if you can clarify :-)

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Can't edit my post above but I have another question.

 

It doesn't appear from some early pics that this unit will take external power. So is the internal DC-to-DC converter a switching type or ultra low noise linear regulated converter?

 

Cheers guys

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1. What does the iUSB 3.0 add that the iGalvanic 3.0 nano can't do?

 

iUSB 3.0 micro

Micro-iUSB3-02.38.png

Lower power supply noise

 

Higher output current

 

BC 1.2 battery charging

 

Split connections (for Gemini Cable)

 

Dual device functionality

 

 

iUSB 3.0 nano

AIFINANOIUSB3_.jpg

Higher output current

 

BC 1.2 battery charging

 

Split connections (for Gemini Cable)

 

 

2. And what does the iDefender 3.0 add to the iGalvanic 3.0 nano?

 

iDefender_02.202-700x700.png

 

Adding iDefender and iPower (together) frees the PC from having to supply power for the downstream device and iGalvanic 3.0 itself.

 

I thought the iGalvanic 3.0 did "all of the above.

 

Full galvanic isolation of both power and data lines, Regeneration, breaking ground loops"

 

 

It does all of the above.

Edited by AMR/iFi audio

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Can't edit my post above but I have another question.

 

It doesn't appear from some early pics that this unit will take external power. So is the internal DC-to-DC converter a switching type or ultra low noise linear regulated converter?

 

Cheers guys

 

You cannot provide DC-DC isolation using "linear regulated converters", simply because there is no such thing. All DC isolators are of the switching type. This does however need not be a problem. Modern electronics are full of switching converters.

 

We use a DC-DC isolator drawn from our Pro Series power-supply. We call this converter "stealth converter" as it does not suffer the drawbacks of common switching converters. By virtue of its design it is possible to remove in essence all switching noise from the isolator, or rather to attenuate it below the natural noise-floor.

 

In order not to compromise isolation we use primary side regulation for the voltage. In order to get a rock steady output voltage with very low noise we use a discrete, linear regulator on the secondary side for the attached device and separate low noise linear regulators for the downstream side electronics.

 

Thus there is no need for a separate power supply in most situations.

Edited by AMR/iFi audio

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You cannot provide DC-DC isolation using "linear regulated converters", simply because there is no such thing. All DC isolators are of the switching type. This does however need not be a problem. Modern electronics are full of switching converters.

 

We use a DC-DC isolator drawn from our Pro Series power-supply. We call this converter "stealth converter" as it does not suffer the drawbacks of common switching converters. By virtue of its design it is possible to remove in essence all switching noise from the isolator, or rather to attenuate it below the natural noise-floor.

 

In order not to compromise isolation we use primary side regulation for the voltage. In order to get a rock steady output voltage with very low noise we use a discrete, linear regulator on the secondary side for the attached device and separate low noise linear regulators for the downstream side electronics.

 

Thus there is no need for a separate power supply in most situations.

Excellent and thank you! This is ticking most of my boxes. I just need to know the price but that can't be too far away. I read mid April earlier.

 

 

Sent from my Blackberry DTEK50 using Tapatalk

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iUSB 3.0 micro

 

Lower power supply noise

 

Higher output current

 

BC 1.2 battery charging

 

Split connections (for Gemini Cable)

 

Dual device functionality

 

 

iUSB 3.0 nano

 

Higher output current

 

BC 1.2 battery charging

 

Split connections (for Gemini Cable)

 

 

 

 

Adding iDefender and iPower (together) frees the PC from having to supply power for the downstream device and iGalvanic 3.0 itself.

 

 

 

Full galvanic isolation of both power and data lines, Regeneration, breaking ground loops"

 

 

It does all of the above.

Thank you, everything is clear now

 

Sent from my Blackberry DTEK50 using Tapatalk

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Thank you, everything is clear now

 

Sent from my Blackberry DTEK50 using Tapatalk

 

As you and one or two others have asked, we still have more background information on our USB technology DNA. And how the iGalvanic3.0 overcame hurdles some said were 'impossible.' Please be patient.

 

Don't order the iGalvanic3.0 until you have read all about the development and its blue bloodline.

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As you and one or two others have asked, we still have more background information on our USB technology DNA. And how the iGalvanic3.0 overcame hurdles some said were 'impossible.' Please be patient.

 

Don't order the iGalvanic3.0 until you have read all about the development and its blue bloodline.

Thanks gents. It is no secret to CA readers that there is a competing USB isolation device to be released soon. While the majority of normal customers may not care about all the technicalities, a lot of us here on CA love learning about the products we buy.

 

So I greatly appreciate you guys sharing this stuff and answering questions to the point. Keep up the great work!

 

 

Sent from my Blackberry DTEK50 using Tapatalk

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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).

 

LL

 

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:

 

 

  • USB3.0 has separate transmitting AND receiving lines.
  • 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)

 

LL

 

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:

 

 

  • 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.

 

 

  • 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:

 

 

  1. 100% transparent isolation - free from all the de-constructed and re-constructed, compatibility issues/challenges involved with the SerDes (USB2.0 bi-directional) approach.
  2. 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

 

LL

 

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.

 

 

  1. REclock2/REgenerate2/REbalance2

 

LL

 

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.

 

LL

 

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.

 

LL

 

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:

 

 

  • Full Isolation (default – center position)
  • DC to RF soft ground-link (to avoid hum in systems without earth – up position)
  • 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

 

LL

 

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!

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This looks interesting! As does the Uptone Iso Regen..... But being based in the UK your products are a bit easier to come by....

 

Can I please ask why you recommend using the iGalvanic in conjunction with the iUSB 3.0 for ultimate performance, if it has reclocking, regen etc. built in?

 

Also I already use a Wyred 4 Sound Recovery - would the iGalvanic work with with this? Would my RUR in theory take the place of your iUSB 3.0 recommendation? In this usage scenario where would the iGalvanic be best placed in the chain? My current chain is:

 

Mac mini > Curious Regen Link > RUR (Cheap SMPS) > Curious Regen Link > DAC

 

Thanks in advance!

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Hi Guys

 

Thanks for the additional info!

 

Can you share some information about the voltage regulation inside, on both primary and secondary.

 

There are no switching regulators inside?

 

Everything is ultra low noise linear, only both the primary and secondary sides?

 

And what is the path of the VBUS power, for Dacs that need it? Is the 5V VBUS power also disconnected from the dirty PC USB port and a clean and linear regulated 5V provided to Dac?

 

I've heard the US price through the grapevine and I think it's quite fair -:) given the price of existing high speed USB isolation devices

 

 

Sent from my Blackberry DTEK50 using Tapatalk

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On 18.03.2017 at 8:05 AM, jrd1975 said:

This looks interesting! 

Can I please ask why you recommend using the iGalvanic in conjunction with the iUSB 3.0 for ultimate performance, if it has reclocking, regen etc. built in?

Thanks in advance!

+1

 

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22 hours ago, ktm777 said:

Can I please ask why you recommend using the iGalvanic in conjunction with the iUSB 3.0 for ultimate performance, if it has reclocking, regen etc. built in?

 

iGalvanic3.0 provides galvanic isolation, that's the most important feature of this product. Yet since we have our own tech (REclock/REbalance etc.), we exploit it in our devices extensively. We see no reason not to. Because of this, said features do overlap indeed. But the most important one - galvanic isolation - does not and that's what makes the difference.  

Edited by AMR/iFi audio

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On 3/18/2017 at 7:02 AM, AMR/iFi audio said:

When operating from a USB3.0 or higher port, the iGalvanic3.0 can deliver up to 900mA iolsted low-noise power.

 

Just an FYI. I raised this topic with JPlay in particular reference to the JCAT Femto USB card and how much power it would need to deliver the 900mA. Their reply was the source power supply needed to be capable of 1500mA. 

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3 hours ago, AMR/iFi audio said:

 

All regulators used are linear. The clocks USB repeater/regenerator chips utilise low noise regulators from Texas instruments. 

 

The main regulator for the downstream USB is a discrete design, using a mosfet series element and similar control circuitry as the ANC in the iUSB 3.0 nano and thus has similar noise preformance.

 

 

 

We have one 'switching' system for the power isolation, however it is a much more advanced design than what one commonly sees in isolated (or non-isolated) DC-DC converters.

 

Both the power input to the DC isolator and the output use heavy LC filtering to block noise from 'escaping' from the DC isolator block. The transformers used to isolate are quite small, due to the high frequency used. And they are fully shielded preventing the radiaton of RF noise that is so common and pernicious with open frame and other unshielded transformer types.

 

The DC isolator itself uses a very high switching frequency with controlled risetime, making the waveforms closer to distorted sinewave or triangular waveforms with much less high frequency noise than traditional hard squarewave switching. This combined with the high frequency employed means the LC filters used are highly effective in reducing any remaining RF noise below the noisefloor.

 

 

 

The DC isolator used effectively blocks noise below the operating frequency (inherently) and the LC filter on the input to the DC isolator blocks higher frequencies very effectively. Also, as there is no secondary side regulation loop for the DC-Isolator, the secondary side voltage is not influenced at all by any noise from a computer. 

 

This DC isolator may be best thought of as a variant of the mains regenerator devices that are offered for audiophile use and take the incoming mains power and create a new AC power, which is then passed through isolation transformer and rectified into DC (this would be the part that happens inside the HiFi equipment attached to the mains regenerator).

 

In the case of the DC isolator in the iGalvanic 3.0, the operation frequency is much higher than the 60Hz mains frequency, so components can be much smaller for the same result. The isolation transformer and rectification are internal, but otherwise the operational principle is exactly the same.

 

Epic reply Gents. Greatly appreciated.

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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 this.

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