Desktop-class audio in a tiny bundle

extreme-finish audio has always been an costly curiosity, with of us eager to spend ludicrous portions of money for most probably the easiest listening expertise attainable. sadly, the best Android telephones in the present day do not have DACs extremely effective enough to fulfill audiophiles, not to mention a headphone jack to take benefit of of.


In direct response to this, the ever-rising quantity of mobile DACs makes it a lot simpler for the audiophile curiosity to department away from a devoted listening house into your on a daily basis life.

ANDROIDPOLICE VIDEO OF THE DAY

At $330, the ifi GO bar is simply not low price by regular smartphone accent requirements, however it is inside the “impulse buy” differ for thus a lot of diehard audiophiles. On extreme of that, the GO bar packs hardware similar to entry-diploma desktop setups, all whereas being the scale of a pack of gum and merely driving headphones inside the neighborhood of 600ohm.

it is plain to see why ifi calls this most probably the strongest pocket DAC obtainable on the market. That uncooked vitality is mated as a lot as a 32-bit Cirrus Logic DAC chip for crystal clear hiya-res audio and pumped through both a three.5mm typical or 4.4mm balanced jack. With all these options, the GO bar combines a laundry itemizing of good-to-haves into one should-have system for listening on the go.

The ifi GO bar might even be costly as in contrast with completely different USB DACs, however it beats the output vitality of dearer pocket music devices with out compromising sound extreme quality. The Go bar additionally sports activities extreme quality of life options and an simple-to-understand interface not found on competing devices. regardless of its minuscule dimension, the GO Bar may even vitality extreme impedance headphones that usually require a desktop DAC/amp setup, making it most probably the most succesful pocket DAC you will probably see for a whereas.

specs

  • Supported codecs: FLAC and completely different PCM codecs as a lot as 32bit 384kHz, DSD as a lot as 12.3MHz, full MQA decoding
  • Connector: USB-C, three.5mm, 4.4mm Balanced
  • Weight: 28.5g
  • Battery: none
  • Max Impedance: 600 ohm
  • Dimensions: sixty five x 22 x thirteen.2 mm
  • DAC chip: 32-bit Cirrus Logic
professionals

  • assist for prime impedance headphones
  • performs recordsdata as a lot as 384kHz 32bit and DSD256, with full MQA decoding
  • It’s very compact
Cons

  • vitality draw is an further battery tax
  • Android has spotty DAC assist
  • $330 is a bit a lot to drop on a glorified dongle

buy This Product

Design, hardware, what’s inside the subject

The ifi GO bar is most probably going one among many essential compact DACs obtainable on the market, virtually precisely the identical dimension as a pack of gum. That tiny dimension would not embody very many compromises, however. The GO bar is simply as ready to driving demanding extreme-impedance headphones as a devoted desktop amp and DAC setup, and every bit as ready to play hefty extreme-res audio recordsdata.

All controls are on the proper side: three buttons and a three-strategy slider. extreme-to-backside, the buttons are the XBass+/XSpace toggle, quantity up, and quantity down. The three-strategy slider is for the IEMatch modes, that are supposed for extra delicate in-ear screens. The IEMatch mode permits for much less noise and a decrease general quantity, and will even be set for the 4.4mm or three.5mm jack, or off. Given simply how delicate IEMs might even be, and the strategy a lot vitality the GO bar can pump out, your eardrums will thanks for using this setting.

whereas one other pocket DACs (simply like the FiiO BTR5) have a current exhibiting bitrate knowledge, the current quantity, and in case you are decoding MQA recordsdata, the GO bar opts for a extra simple method. On the entrance of the GO bar are 9 LEDs subsequent to printed labels to permit you to acknowledge issues simply like the current bitrate, in case you are decoding MQA recordsdata, and also you most probably have the XBass or XSpace turned on. Plus, whereas you flip the quantity up or down, the lights shortly gentle up as a tough quantity bar.

Like completely different USB DACs, the GO bar can not run through most conventional USB-C cables, however at the very least it comes with all of the required OTG cables you’d like, whether or not you plan to place it to use with an Android, iPhone, or laptop pc.

The GO bar additionally consists of a leather-based carrying case with a belt loop on the again and enough room inside to comfortably maintain the DAC and one among many OTG cables. you’d possibly’t use it whereas it is in the carrying case, so in case you’d like to hear whereas on the go, be ready to have the GO bar flopping round simply outdoors your pocket.

computer software, efficiency, battery life

There’s an elephant inside the room any time exterior DACs come up inside the Android house, and that is the exact incontrovertible actuality that not all producers have full plug-n-play assist for them. Samsung is most probably going one among many greater OEMs for assist because it sells USB-C headphones with constructed-in DAC chips. And Google has just recently fixed its personal exterior DAC factors that plagued the Pixel 6 lineup. however, to make sure that that you simply full decision, the workaround is to make the most of a media app like USB Audio participant professional (UAPP) or one other participant that will drive the system to swap over to a USB DAC for audio processing.

in case you are on the market for a $330 pocket DAC, the further $eight for UAPP is simply not an infinite deal. nonetheless, in case you are married to streaming your music rather than downloading it, UAPP would not assist that many companies as a consequence of the overwhelming majority of companies are averse to third-get together gamers. So in case you get your lossless tracks from Qobuz in any other case you go to Tidal for MQAs you will be high quality, however in case you get your hiya-res tracks from Deezer or Amazon Music HD, you’d possibly even be out of luck.

whereas that problem is simply not inherent to the GO bar, the best strategy it eats through your telephone’s battery is. it is not a dealbreaker, however it might properly actually blast through your battery life, particularly in case you set the extreme impedance headphone assist to the take a look at. in case you are listening through one factor a lot simpler to drive like IEMs, the further drain shall be far much less extreme. however in case you already wrestle to make a full day on one cost, the GO bar actually will not assist that state of affairs.

Sound extreme quality

The ifi GO bar is simply not simply spectacular for the insanely extreme output it might properly deal with, however additionally for the bitrates it helps. With assist for the identical demanding extreme bitrates and large DSD recordsdata typically reserved for devoted audio gamers simply like the FiiO M11, the GO bar is nearer to an entry-diploma desktop amp/DAC combo shrunk proper down to the scale of a thumb drive. whereas an identical extreme quality desktop setup would price rather decrease than the GO bar, you’d possibly’t take that on the go in your pocket. the further price for the sake of portability is a very good tradeoff.

I maintain evaluating the ifi GO bar to entry-diploma desktop devices, and for good purpose. a terrific deal of devoted gamers simply like the FiiO M11 wrestle to ship enough vitality for even starter audiophile cans simply like the DT770 professionals or Sennheiser HD 600s. they typically completely fall brief for extra demanding headphones simply like the Beyerdynamic T1s or DT990s. To get enough vitality for these, you will should activate turbo mode, which is simple enough to do by holding down the quantity up and down buttons on the identical time for a quantity of seconds.

collectively with turbo mode, you’d possibly even activate XBass+ for a healthful bump to the bass, and activate XSpace to make tracks really feel strategy extra open with extra separation between the completely different devices and vocals. i found myself leaving each of these settings on as a consequence of even with this further meddling with the soundscape, the GO bar delivers crystal clear audio with a reasonably impartial coloration.

When audio has this a lot readability, you do not simply hear every subtlety of the music; you’d possibly even sense the scale of the room it was recorded in. this sense of virtually being inside the room whereas the track is being recorded is one among my favourite elements of important listening, and it is simply performed with both jack on the GO bar.

whereas the 4.4mm jack on the GO bar is the one balanced output to be found, ifi wired the internals of the one-ended three.5mm jack in an identical strategy typically recognized as ‘S-Balanced.’ Like with a commonplace balanced output, the objective is to make sure to have as little interference and crosstalk as attainable. whereas it’s not precisely attainable to A/B examine this to an an identical DAC lacking this function, I can say that the three.5mm jack has a very clear sound.

one other similarity between the three.5mm and 4.4mm outputs is the whole entry to all of the GO bar vitality. Many completely different DACs with balanced outputs are arrange with two pairs of DAC and amp chips and solely make the most of each objects for the balanced output. The GO bar opts for a single set of these chips, so your output isn’t hampered simply because you don’t have cans with Sony’s fancy 5 pole connection.

truthfully, although the GO bar can drive my “critical” headphones (the 250ohm Beyerdynamic DT770 professionals), I care extra about pocketable headphones. The IEMatch swap is an excellent consideration for a DAC that you simply’ll be using in-ear screens with the overwhelming majority of the time. with the vitality to have a decrease and extra granular quantity administration on the flick of a swap whereas you’re using great delicate IEMs is a will must have, particularly on a DAC as extremely effective as this.

one other added benefit of IEMatch is an general cleaner sound. to not say that the GO bar is noisy or staticky in any other case — it’s solely a delicate distinction that’s simpler to really feel than it is to quantify.

should you buy it?

sure, in case you’d like to noticeably enhance your mobile listening expertise with out procuring for a separate standalone participant, the ifi GO bar has all of the identical options for decrease than half the payment. regardless of your various of laptop pc or telephone, this might even be your DAC whereas you’re out and about or at your laptop pc. it actually works with house windows, Mac, Android, and IOS.

in case you’re strictly attempting to discover a mobile DAC, the GO bar is strategy from the most affordable various. however, that price brings unmatched assist for prime impedance headphones, extreme-tier file sort assist, and crystal clear audio extreme quality. And it is all packed into one among many smallest sort elements obtainable on the market.

whereas a terrific deal of of us might favor the further flexibility of the FiiO BTR line, with its LDAC Bluetooth assist and constructed-in battery, the ifi GO bar is clearly the DAC to buy for sound extreme quality. however, in case you are not pretty ready to leap again into the wired headphone way of life, you’d possibly choose from a quantity of fantastic Bluetooth headphones instead.

buy it if…

  • you’d like most probably the easiest ultraportable DAC obtainable on the market
  • you’d like a DAC that will drive very demanding headphones

do not buy it if…

  • you are not great choosy about audio extreme quality, and can be happier with one factor cheaper and extra versatile, simply like the FiiO BTR5.

FAQ

Q: How does the ifi GO Bar examine to the FiiO BTR5

The ifi GO Bar blows the FiiO BTR5 out of the water when it entails assist for prime bitrate audio, skill to deal with a lot greater impedance headphones, and is out there in at about half the scale. The BTR5 makes up for thus a lot of these tradeoffs by including options that necessitate an inside battery, although. That battery is largely answerable for the scale distinction, makes the BTR5 strategy extra versatile as a DAC, and even permits it to function as a Bluetooth receiver.

Neither is extra healthful than the various in all eventualities, however they each are greater relying in your use case. The BTR5 is out there in $200 cheaper than the GO Bar, and in case you’d like so as to add the identical bitrate and file assist the GO Bar has to the BTR5, FiiO’s BTR7 does simply that for nonetheless decrease than the GO Bar, although the BTR5 nonetheless sits inside the “most probably okay” house for anyone eager to get their first pocket DAC.

Q: How does the ifi GO Bar examine to the iBasso DC-06

iBasso’s DC06 is analogous in dimension and weight to the ifi GO Bar, opting to go barely thicker and over a cm shorter, and even helps all of the identical extreme bitrate recordsdata the GO Bar does as properly. rather than the panel of labeled LEDs letting you acknowledge your current bitrate, file sort, and mode, the DC06 has a single colour-altering LED indicator on the identical side as a consequence of the headphone outputs.

barely than a single DAC and amp chipset simply like the GO Bar, the iBasso DC06 has a pair of 32-bit DAC chips, every with their very personal amp chip, and solely makes use of each with its 4.4mm balanced output. attributable to this, it might properly’t hit its most output on the three.5mm jack, although it nonetheless can not match the output vitality of the GO Bar on its 4.4mm balanced jack both.

At $one hundred twenty, the DC06 is a steal for anyone searching for to get a newbie pocket DAC, however it is lacking all of the commonplace of life options and further modes that make the GO Bar worth virtually triple the worth.

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