Turning Japanese – I really think so

  • In March 2017 I raved about iFi Audio’s entry-level iONE DAC/DDC: aptX and AAC Bluetooth, USB, galvanically isolated two-in-one mini-TOSLINK and coaxial input; bit-perfect Burr Brown decoder chipset; Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) circuitry.

    At US$199/€235/£199, the iONE is an easy and affordable way to bring better sound quality to a whole slew of devices: laptop, desktop PC, gaming console, TV, legacy streamer or budget disc spinner. DAR-KO Award assignation came easy.

    Then the manufacturer came a-knocking: would I consent to the review’s syndication on Japan’s Phileweb – one of the country’s biggest audio e-zines?

    Let’s see: I’d visited Phileweb in 2014; Tokyo is possibly my favourite city; I’d met iFi’s Japanese distributor Topwing at a number of local shows. Why the heck not.

    So – for the benefit of anyone able to read it, here’s my review of iFi’s iONE DAC in Japanese.

    Further information: iFi Audio Japan

    John H. Darko

    Written by John H. Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. I was all excited to buy an iOne and use it for things that don’t stream over my MicroRendu in HQP/Roon mode, but while searching for a retailer with the iOne in stock I saw a bunch of complaints regarding its (seemingly very limited) Bluetooth range from those folks that were able to get one. I’m assuming you did since you didn’t mention it in the review, but did you find the BT range satisfactory for your purposes?

    2. I have one and I can say that is not the range only but the angle and the position in the rack in combination with the device used. As I was positioning ione higher in my rack the signal was improved but never became great for my iPad or windows laptop for example. The thing is that is playing great as long as nothing disturbing the device, even taping your feet with the music is introducing distortion in the sound that is very troublesome for your ears. The ideal solution would be an antenna like blink. The new extended version seems to address the problem but might sacrifice some of the advertised aluminium enclosure for emi/fri handling.

      Another thing that ione should have copied from blink was a direct dc input to the device. That would avoid so much hassle with USB hubs and adaptors. As per John’s review ione performs better with dedicated good quality power supply.

      Other than that, the device is simply amazing and for people like me with moderate dacs the best audio device and improvement I experiencd in any audio system in my whole life.

    3. Excellent Japanese you’re writing there, JD 😛
      You’re going places now, you gaijin! At this rate, they’ll be asking you to start in the next Suntory ad soon!!

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