The B-Fi uses the same case as the B-1 Bluetooth streamer as well as the D-1 headphone DAC. The 3.5x3x1 case comes in a satin white finish sans the signature graphite black front and rear panel. As with all Audioengine products, the B-Fi comes with everything one needs to get up and running including RCA interconnects, microfiber bag for travel warriors, and a straight-forward and complete Quickstart guide that is a must read.The B-Fi front panel consists of a white LED lit status button and antennae. The rear panel from left to right: 5V mini-USB power socket, Toslink optical output, and left and right RCA jacks. One thing to be aware of for those using heavier aftermarket RCA cables, the weight may tip the front of the B-Fi upward.
Setting up the B-Fi does take a few steps, and don't be surprised if it takes more than one attempt as a few of the steps require a properly timed response. Therefore, read thru the setup directions a few times before beginning, including downloading the well-designed app with it's screen-by-screen setup procedures. Don't be fooled by the process involving setting up the B-Fi wifi antennae via phone or pad, it's temporary and your device automatically reverts back to your wireless router's wifi. Once all is said and done, you'll come to appreciate the elegant way that the Audioengine team worked their magic.
The final step with the app is selecting the source of the music, whether it be: TuneIn, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Tidal, Napster, Qobuz, or you can add another source. With Tidal, once it is selected one can choose from Tidal's menu such as Tidal Rising, Tidal Discovery, Playlists, Genres, My Music. Once chosen a new screen appears to display your choices in that category. Say, you select Diana Krall's The Look of Love, a final screen appears showing ironically the vinyl album spinning on the turntable.
No matter what music I outputted from my phone or iPad, the B-Fi provided a worthy sound experience. Audio quality is never compromised when running out thru the RCA jacks. Yes, using Toslink to run thru my Simaudio 230HAD DAC definitely improved the experience in my main rig. Yet, its the living room where my wife listens that the B-Fi spent the overwhelming majority of it's review time. It passed the WAF with five stars!
The only sonic limitation with using the B-Fi in a main rig is the limitation if connecting to a DAC. The only digital output from the B-Fi is the Toslink optical, which is limited to 24/96. I do hope that down the line Audioengine designers can find a way to squeeze in a micro-USB output. But considering how small a percentage of listeners play anything other than 16/44 bit music, it's more than understandable why Toslink was chosen.
I would love to sit in on an Audioengine new product brainstorming meeting. How they continue to find smart, budget-friendly solutions where others produce expensive boxes is unique. The B-Fi provides everything I want (sans USB output) and at a price of $189, makes it an absolute steal in the streaming product market. In the words of Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H, "finest kind"!
Have you been able to compare the sound quality of the Bfi to the B1? Is it worthwhile to upgrade to the Bfi from the B1?ReplyDelete
Not directly. Keep in mind that the B-1 uses Bluetooth, which is lossy and limits the resolution due to the codecs used. The B-Fi is bit-for-bit perfect transfer.ReplyDelete