The Uno’s analogue circuitry is just as vital to the supercharged sound quality it provides as its digital tech. The headphone amp feeds a 3.5mm socket at the front, incorporating iFi’s S-Balanced configuration to reduce noise and crosstalk. This delivers 211mW into 32 ohms, and 3.5V into 600 ohms, ensuring compatibility with a wide range of headphone and earphone types. The stereo RCA output at the rear is equally well served, benefiting from iFi’s widely praised ability to deliver high-grade audio circuitry in remarkably affordable devices. All the analogue outputs are gold plated to resist corrosion and maintain conductivity over time.
A volume knob sits front and centre, delivering high-quality analogue adjustment in the DAC itself rather than relying on the software-driven volume controls in connected digital devices. Next to this is the PowerMatch button, which adjusts gain by 6dB to match the connected headphones – choose the higher setting for more current-hungry loads, and the lower setting for more sensitive types.
Another proprietary circuit provides three specially tuned EQ modes – one for music, another for movies, and the third for games. These are analogue processing modes rather than DSP (Digital Signal Processing), engineered to maintain sonic fidelity whilst precisely adjusting the frequency balance.
Music mode delivers a detailed and engaging sound with all types of music; Movie mode enhances dialogue clarity with films, TV shows and other audio/video content; and Game mode makes low-level sound effects crystal-clear, so you always hear your enemies coming. A button at the front cycles through the three settings, with illuminated logos on top of the Uno indicating the current mode.
Those familiar with iFi’s audio devices will know that the company utilises discrete, high-grade components in its circuit designs, and the same is true of the Uno despite its exceptionally affordable price. Devices such as TDK C0G multilayer ceramic capacitors and inductors from Taiyo Yuden and Murata are more costly than commonly used equivalents, but class-leading qualities such as low ESR (Equivalent Series Resistance) and high linearity pay great dividends in terms of sound quality.
The Uno, by iFi, is the key to great sound for everyone – available from selected retailers at an RRP of £79/$79/€79 from the end of November, just in time for Christmas.