Starting with the Stereo 50, the iFi Retro is a completely new range that has one objective: to include everyone who loves music regardless of age, gender or technology.
The Retro Stereo 50 is an all-in-one tube stereo system: from Bluetooth aptx (phone/pad) to High-res digital (computer) to vinyl (turntable). Everyone can bring their music and be able to connect to the Stereo 50 and produce music that simply astounds. There really is nothing like the Retro Stereo 50.
Music is in the air
Smart devices capable of Bluetooth, aptX (best mode of wireless transmission) and NFC (extreme ease) can be “wirelessly paired” to the Stereo 50. From there, it is a simple case of opening your music app, be it your music collection on your music player, Spotify or Tidal and hit play!
The aptX option offers CD-like-quality wireless audio beyond normal Bluetooth. This means the Stereo 50 is future-proofed for Smart devices for many years to come.
USB & SPDIF for streaming/computer audio
Nowadays, nearly every home is streaming, be it from the set top box, smart device or computer via SPDIF coaxial or the USB 3.0 port. Irrespective of your preferred listening method – from Spotify to J. River; connect to the Stereo 50 and enjoy your favourite tunes at a whole new level!
High-resolution audio (DSD512, PCM768kHz, 2xDXD) via USB, Coaxial and Optical are all catered for. Just connect, sit back and enjoy your music your way.
Space-age digital and classic valve technology
AMR and iFi are renowned for combining classic valve technology with state-of-the-art digital technology such as in the prestigious AMR DP-777 Digital Processor. The Stereo 50 is the latest from a long line of outstanding products. It features 4xEL84X and 2xECF82 tubes with a stunningly advanced ground-up circuit that has DNA from the best of classic amplifiers such as Telefunken, Marantz and Leak.
Running primarily in Class A, its 25W+25W is and sounds astonishingly realistic. This all means a sonic performance that reflects the superb design and implementation.
Burr-Brown brightest chipset + AMR unorthodox technology
At iFi, ‘the best format’ is not the focus. Rather, we care for replaying each format at the pinnacle.
The Burr-Brown DAC chip used was developed by BB Japan (as opposed to BB/TI) though the product introduction was after the merger. Being Burr-Brown’s swan song chipset, it featured their ultimate converter technology and even to this day, is held in the highest esteem.
Having a chipset able to play all formats would count for little if this was not all executed natively, which means no conversion from one format to another. Using trickle-down technology from AMR (who wrote the chipset’s unorthodox control software) to drive this Burr-Brown chipset means preservation of the original music format which is essential for reaching the zenith in high-end audio reproduction.
High-Resolution on PCM768/DSD512/2xDXD
Computer-audio playback is advancing at breakneck speed. The Stereo 50 on the outside exudes classic retro styling, but on the inside, is at the cutting-edge.
It is able to play all formats to the highest level:
PCM, from 16/44kHz all the way up to 32/768kHz
DSD up to Octa-DSD512 (22.6/24.6MHz)
DXD, 2x to 768kHz
Not only the hyper-advanced formats/sampling rates, but the filters employed also ensure the most analogue and life-like reproduction. The Minimum Phase filter for PCM and Bit-Perfect filter for DXD/DSD ensure maximum enjoyment. These filters ensure the typical “metallic edginess” to standard digital playback is not present, leaving a smooth and organic tonality.
In-Ear & Headphone lovers in for a treat
Got headphones? The Stereo 50 with separate 3.5mm and 6.3mm inputs is just for you. Each headphone input has its own dedicated gain and sensitivity to perfectly match high-sensitivity In-Ear-Monitors and low-sensitivity Over-the-Ear headphones respectively. The 6.3mm output pumps out a “turbo-charged” 7,000mW. So even the most demanding of headphones such as the HiFi Man HE-6 has met its match.
The Stereo 50 features iFi’s widely-regarded 3D Holographic for Headphones® and XBass® technologies. They have garnered a following with their mesmerizing ability to perfectly match each and every type of recording and headphone. The 3D Holographic for Headphones® technology uses pure analogue signal processing which delivers a wide open and spatially correct sound stage for headphones that places the sound field “back outside of the head” to enhance the listening experience. The XBass® technology creates the finest bass and dynamically corrects the bass response to perfectly suit the way we hear.
Vinyl oozes verve
iFi’s iPhono has already become a modern classic and the Stereo 50’s phono stage is set to emulate this feat. It has adjustable ultra-wide gain MM/MC from 38-62dB and its tone control system harks back to classic equalisation technology. With 6 different EQ curves (via the precision tone control), every stereophonic record is catered for. From the default RIAA through to EMI and Decca, as the legion of iPhono users can attest, once dialed-in, each and every record has “a kind of vinyl magic”.
The astonishing EQ feature would count for little if the actual sonic ability of the phono stage was not executed with finesse. Well, just like the iPhono, the Stereo 50 is one of only a handful of phono stages whose noise floor is below (as opposed to above) that of the record. With its superb dynamics and resolution, the Stereo 50 comfortably plays in the big league of vinyl.
Analogue Tone, Volume and Remote Controls
Digital volume controls truncate the delicate audio signal so iFi avoids this at all costs. The Tone Controls, Volume Control (with remote control) are all of extreme high-quality. The critical analogue volume control is by Alps (Japan) motorised potentiometer (< 3dB tracking error).
Audio equipment up to four times the price do not possess a volume control as high-quality as the Stereo 50’s. It is this fastidious attention to detail and highest-quality composition that sets iFi apart: in our sonic mission, we leave no stone unturned.
Retro Stereo 50 + LS3.5, a magical match for audio heaven
The Stereo 50 “full system” including the Retro LS 3.5 is a match made in audio heaven.
The LS3.5 is iFi’s 21st century take on the legendary BBC LS3/5a. To create the LS3.5 speaker, iFi scoured the globe for the very latest technologies and ideal materials. The result is a deep, wide and open sonic signature with spine-tingling tonality.
Swimming completely against the tide, the LS 3.5 (see LS3.5 product page for full details) was designed by iFi for iFi, so you won’t find its drivers or features on any other speaker, regardless of price.
The silk-dome, horn-loaded tweeter (1.1”) and coated natural paper wideband driver (4.5”) were developed in-house. Both drivers were design by iFi and used by iFi which is unprecedented for a mass market speaker.
Its non-resonant bamboo cabinet is both environmentally-friendly and uncompromising in its sonic performance. The cabinet is 3x stronger than wood and yet only half its weight thus not over-damped.
It is perfectly time-aligned and has internal acoustic technology that leaves other speakers lagging behind. Even the internal structure has been finely tuned (sound bar/braces) using musical instrument manufacturing methods.
All this coupled with the Stereo 50’s XBass® and 3D Holographic for Speakers® technologies creates a sonic synergy that is simply out of this world.
Bluetooth (aptX): 1
USB (DSD512/768kHz/2xDXD): 1
Coaxial (192kHz): 1
Optical (192kHz): 1
Phono(MM/MC Low/MC High/Line 3): 1
Line 1: 1
Line 2: 1
3.5mm (share with Line 2): 1
Loudspeaker Output: 1
3.5mm Headphone Output: 1 (Output impedance 3.5mm < 3 Ohm)
6.3mm Headphone Output: 1 (Output impedance 6.3mm < 6 Ohm)
Power output (Music): > 25W(majority Class A)
Total Harmonic Distortion(THD): < 0.2% (@ 2.83V/1W)
Output bandwidth: 10Hz ~ 60kHz
Frequency Response: 10Hz ~ 80kHz
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: > Amplifier 101dB (@ max output), > Phono
MM: 90dB(A) & > Phono MC: 80dB(A)
DAC Dynamic Range: > 113dB(A)
Tone Control: Bass(100Hz) +/-8dB & Treble(10KHz) +/-8dB
Analogue Signal Processing (ASP): XBass, 3D Holographic
Phono Gain: 38, 50, 62dB
RIAA Accuracy: <0.5dB
Tubes: 2 x ECF82; 4 x EL84X
DSD 512/256/128/64: 24.6/22.6/12.4/11.2/6.2/5.6/3.1/2.8MHz
Filters: Minimum Phase (PCM 192/176.4/96/88.2/48/44.1kHz), Bit Perfect (DXD/PCM 768/705.6/384/352.8) & Analogue (DSD)
Power Supply: AC 100V-240V
Power consumption: 75W - ~0.1W (Standard mode)
Dimensions (WxHxD): 300mm x 153mm x 226mm
12 Months Warranty
iFi Audio Retro LS3.5 Speakers
The LS3.5 is iFi’s 3.0 reboot of the classic BBS LS3/5A which is still now, half a century after its launch still in high demand and revered. iFi has taken the design back to its basic underpinnings and then re-engineered the LS3.5 ground-up for the 21st century. From designing the drivers (not OEM) to the cabinet terminals, where they were dissatisfied, they manufactured their own. This is the iFi level of attention to detail.
The Retro LS3.5 is in many ways a synthesis of the best of the BBC LS3/5A and dash of the Le Petite. They eliminated their respective drawbacks using the very latest technological advancements available. So think of the iFi LS3/5A as BBC LS3/5a+Le Petite with an injection of factor X.
Fi’s brand-new tweeter that is smooth as silk, literally
Silk is smooth, so why not make a tweeter from the ground-up using it at the core? The iFi 28mm tweeter is horn-loaded and uses a neodymium magnet. It is very much a 21st century product – that is, at the advanced edge of tweeter technology. The silk dome combines the lack of resonances at the top of the operating range (as found on metal domes) with excellent dynamics in band. The small neodymium magnet structure shifts cavity resonances outside the audible range. Being horn-loaded, it matches perfectly with the wideband driver to create a mammoth sound field.
The tweeter is used only at the very top end of the audible range; the whole range from 59Hz – 8kHz covering the fundamentals of all instruments except those with very low bass notes and all the formants (the tone forming harmonics of instruments) is covered by the wideband driver, without any electrical or mechanical crossover.
This avoids any damage to the phase/impulse response for this critical range. The simple arrangement of the crossover for the tweeter (first order at appx. 10kHz acoustic crossover) and the tweeters waveguide, which insets it for time-alignment with the wideband driver further preserves phase/impulse response.
Ground-up paper cone wideband driver
Natural material for a natural sound. The paper cone 115mm wideband driver by iFi performs more akin to a full-range driver.
In many ways the wideband driver is very traditional, both magnet and basket. Stamped steel baskets can dissipate energy much faster than cast ones. It harks back to the “golden era” of driver design in the 1970’s. Modern finite element modeling and modern materials have improved the driver in many areas (especially efficiency and bandwidth) over classics like the KEF B-110 which was originally used in the LS3/5A.
The wideband driver rolls off after 8kHz. And it reaches down to 59Hz (with correct placement).
Time-Aligned to perfection
The iFi LS3.5 has a coherency that is based upon the simple fact from the outset, the tweeter and driver are perfectly time-aligned. Simply put, this means if one was looking at a cross-section of the LS3.5, the acoustic centre of the tweeter and the wideband driver as precisely vertically-aligned. This means sound waves from both units arrive at ear of the listener at the same time (as opposed to at different times). This is an oft overlooked weakness of many speakers, but not in the iFi LS3.5.
Multi-chamber Voigt design with tuned enclosure
There are two-chambers in one. The enclosure is maybe best considered a variant of multiple reflex, also, by breaking up the larger volume into two smaller different volume/size sections resonance frequencies are spread and tuned to higher frequencies, where the Amino-plastic open cell foam we use for damping has optimal absorption.
The Acoustic Active Tuning with minimal damping drawn from the musical instrument manufacturing sector further assists with dissipating resonance frequencies higher – just think of the LS3.5 as a musical instrument.
This is why the LS3.5 is a speaker that makes music.
Bamboo is best
Bamboo is a grass – hence it is a sustainable material and exceptionally environmentally friendly. It is 2x lighter and 3x stronger than wood. The aforementioned Voigt design coupled with the “stiff as steel” bamboo enclosure and the extra reinforcement by the division plus the acoustic tuning – all combined, makes for a remarkably low sonic signature of the box. This is critical as the use of the single paper driver needed for the wide bandwidth cannot be counted upon to block resonances from inside the box passing through the way a heavy and slower plastic cone is able to.
Hence for environmental and sonic reasons, it made perfect sense to use it as a speaker cabinet material. The LS3.5 is 5x more costly to manufacture than standard MDF cabinets. A simple knuckle tap shows its complete lack of colouration – which is easily audible from the first note.
Advanced Amino-plastic open cell foam
For the very minimal internal damping duties, we scoured the world for the most advanced acoustic materials and settled on the Advanced Amino-plastic open cell foam material. The open-cell surface guarantees that sound waves are not reflected as an echo but can penetrate the cell structure unhindered. The sound energy is reduced in the cell structure, giving an excellent sound absorption capacity.
From our listening tests the ability to ensure the deepest and cleanest bass along with a mid-range that is spell-binding placed it heads and shoulders above all others.
Despite its much higher cost, we just had to have it in the LS3.5.
Binding posts that carry the signal unhindered
Leaving no stone unturned, we sourced a binding post that had the purest copper count, had the maximum surface area contact and had to be gold-plated for long-term enjoyment. Rest assured that even the banana speaker connectors we developed from the ground-up!
The silver-plated copper speaker cables and the gold-plated copper speaker connectors means the sound quality is simply unbeatable and means the LS3/5A can play with the “big boys”.
Freq response: 60Hz – 20KHz
Drivers: 4.5″ (115mm) Paper Cone Wideband Driver & 1.1″ (28mm) Silk Dome Tweeter
Crossover: 10KHz acoustic crossover, no electrical crossover on Wideband Driver & Frst Order High-Pass on Tweeter
Enclosure Principle: Transmission-Line port, Solid Bamboo Enclosure & Acoustic Active Tuning with minimal damping
Size (WxHxD): 146mm x 268mm x 226mm
12 Months Warranty
See the Manual