Even though Neo lacks most of Pro's bells and whistles, it scores high on utility, ease of use and build quality especially with its significantly lower ask. The Pentaconn standard becomes more popular in headfi, 4.4mm jacks are far more robust than 2.5/3.5mm TRRS counterparts so Neo has them. Its endless rotary requires just the right amount of force to turn and all remaining buttons/sockets are easily accessible. Due to low weight the product moves fairly easily on a desk but upon mounting it upright with its base on rubber washers, I had no complaints. This alternate positioning not only saves space but turns today's fairly tall enclosure into a handy headphone stand. My only concern is the longevity of the foam inserts in the base. After some use these strips will likely wrinkle and come off but a replacement will be a simple fix. Neo's 4.4mm output (sub 1Ω, SNR/THD+N/dynamic range 112dBA/sub 0.0015%/-120dB/A) does 1'040mW into 32Ω which isn't crazy rich for iFi. Their mobile micro range models deliver four times as much. Still, 1W is more than enough to drive most cans to deafening SPL. Lack of line inputs and 2.5/3.5mm outs for IEMs and portable cans doesn't hurt a desktop package. Truth told, I wouldn't mind seeing simplified headfi gear where 4.4mm balanced becomes the standard and all else (2.5/3.5mm TRRS, 3-/4-pin XLRs) is gone. 4.4mm is conveniently small and reliable.

Getting inside would permanently remove adhesive bits underneath the acrylic window so no dice. Luckily iFi provide these photos and enough info to know what's inside. Their usual TI/BurrBrown hybrid PCM1793 processes the top six bits in multi-bit fashion and everything below in ΔΣ. All incoming digital data are subject to iFi's jitter-killing Global Master Timing plot of femto clock and memory buffer. A resistor ladder inside a digitally controlled chip regulates volume and needs no gain knobs for different loads. To limit interference, a microcontroller over Fet switches wakes up only when it must perform then instantly goes back to sleep. The internal power supply sports linear regulators and incorporates iFi's own OV op-amps, TDK C0G caps, Melf resistors and inductors by Murata and Taiyo Yuden.

 My primary setup featured a fidata HFAS1-S10U storage/transport that connected to either a LampizatOr Pacific DAC or Neo. From there a Trilogy 915R/995R set took over and via Boenicke Audio S3 speaker cable passed signal to sound|kaos Vox 3afw monitors. Interconnects were Boenicke Audio IC3 CG plus DIY XLRs. All key hardware was powered by Boenicke Audio's Power Gate distributor and its three captive M2 cords. The USB chain included the full iFi stack of micro iUSB3.0, nano iGalvanic3.0, three Mercury3.0 USB cables plus one 9V iPower. One set of external LessLoss Firewall for Loudspeakers modules complimented the sound|kaos Vox 3afw while a Fidelizer EtherStream sat between my Linksys WRT160N router and fidata server. A GigaWatt PC-3 SE EVO+ power conditioner fronted by its own LC-3 EVO cord fed the wall warts of reclocker, router, network switch and Neo. The second rig used just Pro iDSD and Vision Ears VE5 CIEMs plus Beyerdynamic T50i headphones.