iFi Go Bar Dongle DAC: Assessment

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Technology

It might be really hard to think, but iFi Audio have stayed out of the Dongle DAC frenzy about the past two decades their emphasis has been on the desktop aspect with the superior-run Diablo ($999) and Gryphon DAC/Headphone Amplifiers. They did introduce the iFi Go Blu DAC/Amplifier which certainly qualifies as a moveable product but it is still on the much larger facet, needs recharging, and in no way actually appealed to the USB or Lightning group seeking for a correct Dongle DAC. The iFi Go Bar Dongle DAC aims to transform all of that.

iFi Audio is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2022 and the British manufacturer now presents more than 50 products in the transportable, desktop, and accessories types which includes a number of award-winning DACs, phono pre-amplifiers, and headphone amplifiers.

iFi Go Bar Package Front

The iFi Go Bar is definitely not low-cost at $329 USD and that will make it one of the most costly in the group stuffed with some outstanding choices from Questyle, CEntrance, Cayin, and Apogee.

Can it compete or offer some thing that is definitely exclusive in a saturated class in which people are now more and more not sure what to invest in? iFi thinks the Go Bar is 1 of their most effective solutions nonetheless and our expertise with it would appear to be to propose that they might be correct.

The Skinny

iFi have never skimped when it comes to their merchandise and the iFi Go Bar arrives with almost everything you would need to have to get began the deal features the Go Bar, USB Sort-C to Style-C cable, Lightning to USB Sort-C cable, and a little carrying situation with a belt loop.

You do not need to have the Apple Digicam Adapter if your Apple iphone nonetheless works by using the Lightning connection and that was a definitely pleasant surprise to uncover that in the box.

iFi Go Bar Angle

The iFi Go Bar is 2.6″ x .9″ x .5″ and will come concluded in a extremely strong and strong aluminum shell.

The nose incorporates 3.5mm and 4.4mm (balanced) headphone jacks which are nicely completed and supplied business connections with all of the plugs that I tried through the critique.

The tail has a singe USB Sort-C port for both of those charging and supply system.

iFi Go Bar USB-C DAC

The still left hand facet of the chassis functions a collection of buttons for the volume command, tone controls, and the ability to interact the IEMatch.

The alloy situation sports bodily buttons for specific quantity adjustment alongside with controls to pick involving several sonic tuning possibilities. A column of colored LEDs delivers a handy tutorial to the format and sample rate of the electronic audio presently enjoying, and whether XBass+ and/or XSpace are engaged.

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The iFi Go Bar has two modes that allow end users of sensitive IEMs or more durable to travel total-sized headphones to use the Dongle DAC with possibly at the flick of a switch and I uncovered that it was pretty simple to use either.

The supplied guide is outstanding and it took less than 5 minutes to discover all of the diverse button sequences to engage all of the configurations and characteristics the iFi Go Bar is able of driving a rather comprehensive vary of IEMs and headphones and features assist for up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM, 2X DXD, DSD256, and full MQA decoding.

iFi Go Bar Circuit Board

The DAC portion of the Go Bar uses a powerful 16-core XMOS micro controller to process the audio data obtained at the USB enter. The iFi staff has programmed the XMOS firmware to improve the seem quality and be certain a excellent partnership with the GO bar‘s 32-little bit Cirrus Logic DAC chipset.

The GO bar’s analogue circuitry sports activities a balanced circuit layout with a symmetrical twin-channel output phase. This minimizes sounds and crosstalk in the signal path by fully separating the remaining and ideal channels.

This is typically found in larger sized and additional high-priced amplifiers like the Gryphon and some of IFi’s other desktop headphone amplifiers.

iFi Go Bar Circuit Board Labeled

The circuitry is packed full of significant high-quality discrete parts from TDK and Panasonic and specific awareness has been compensated to electricity provide filtering far too, significantly minimizing sign sounds introduced through the USB input.

The iFi Go Bar provides 475mW into 32 ohms​ and 7.5V into 600 ohms.

The iFi Go Bar and Gryphon also share a handful of features in widespread and are both crafted all around the tailor made iFi firmware. The volume controls in Windows bypass computer software volume changes and power the use of the controls on the Go Bar in its place of basically mirroring the software program quantity that you find on most devices.

The in general construct high quality is excellent and the iFi Go Bar is constructed to their regular specifications that assure robustness and reliability.

iFi Go Bar Package Side

Sound

To get a superior truly feel for the iFi Go Bar, I linked it to an Apple MacBook Professional, Windows laptop, Apple iphone 12, and a Samsung S21 to ascertain how it managed Windows, Android, Apple macOS, and iOS gadgets.

With xBass engaged, the Go Bar delivers a strong degree of punch with the two definition and adequate effect to make listeners choose recognize no matter of the type of IEMs or headphones staying used.

The mid bass is perfectly textured and transparent sounding with no surplus strength or bleed into the upper bass or reduce midrange. With the characteristic enabled, bass data is pushed mildly ahead in the mix but it hardly ever will become as well significantly individuals hunting for even far more small end reaction could be a little bit unhappy but I assume iFi created the ideal choice listed here.

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Other brands have sacrificed definition, depth, and velocity to appease listeners who want to genuinely experience the lower end, but iFi have properly decided to focus on high quality versus amount.

The midrange is extremely clear sounding with superior element and speedy transients the overall amount of resolution is really higher for a Dongle DAC and I identified devices and vocals in this location to be very perfectly reproduced.

Male vocals have exceptional weight notice and texture and cut by means of the instrumentation really perfectly nobody could ever obtain male vocals to be chesty or veiled via the iFi Go Bar.

Rock guitar was reproduced with just more than enough vitality and growl to continue being partaking even if the recording was fewer than stellar lesser top quality DACs normally seem way too tough or strip absent the decay and I heard none of that with the Go Bar.

Woman vocals have been just about identical to their make counterparts clear, textured, comprehensive, and definitely not devoid of color. Orchestral performs had more than ample electrical power and the replica of strings was rather desirable decay, tone, and detail had been to start with price at this price tag stage.

The treble is wherever some Dongle DACs get into issues but the iFi Go Bar was pretty linear sounding in the major conclude there was no extra electricity or abrupt roll-off stage and I uncovered the seem to be really thorough and really open up with nearly just about every headphone or IEM. The highs ended up effectively prolonged and airy Snare rattle had a nice crisp edge and cymbals experienced much more than more than enough energy and detail to hold me engaged.  

The soundstage and imaging definitely depended on the headphones or IEMs on the other stop of the cable. The Go Bar did absolutely nothing to exaggerate the width or depth, and I felt that the stereo separation and imaging ended up normally rock solid, but that also experienced far more to do with the headphones or IEMs than the amplifier.

Turbo manner unquestionably shipped on its assure of a lot more electric power for demanding IEMs and headphones, and I didn’t discover that it added a noticeable total of sounds unless of course I seriously turned the volume up to levels that no sane individual would get pleasure from listening to tunes at.

A person issue that I did learn is the Turbo mode can make the iFi Go Bar relatively heat to the touch if you pay attention for prolonged durations of time. The tougher you push it — the hotter it gets.

iFi Go Bar Side Top

Summary

iFi took its time coming to the Dongle DAC celebration but the Go Bar provides on practically each and every promise and it has become a single of my favourite in the category together with the Apogee, Questyle, and CEntrance versions.

The iFi Go Bar delivers ability, dependability, assist of nearly each electronic format, strong industrial design and style, and outstanding audio good quality. The price tag is unquestionably high but it is one of the ideal I have tried out so considerably and I suspect a product that is heading to make waves in the classification thinking about the company driving it.

In which to buy: $329 at Amazon | Crutchfield | Audio46 | Amazon.co.british isles | Amazon.ca

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iFi Go Bar Kit

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