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iFi's GO blu portable DAC promises to give your phone the audio boost it needs

iFi GO blu
(Image credit: iFi)

Want to improve your phone's sound quality, simply and affordably? Then what you need is a portable DAC/headphone amp – and iFi has just the thing in its new GO blu.

The company's tiniest DAC to date, which is similar in size to a matchbox and weighs just 26g, has been designed to be the sound-improving middleman between your music source and wired headphones. It connects to the former – your phone, for example – wirelessly over Bluetooth (or directly via the USB-C charging and audio port), while headphones are catered for through the GO blu's 3.5mm and balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn output sockets. The iFi GO blu is conceptually similar to the former Award-winning Audiolab M-DAC nano.

Those who go down the wireless route can benefit from the latest Bluetooth technology – Bluetooth 5.1, with aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, aptX Low Latency and LDAC codec support – providing they have a compatible source. When a phone or music player is connected to the iFi GO blu's USB-C port, music files up to 24-bit/96kHz can be played. Battery life is approximately eight hours, depending on volume levels and the power demands of the headphones.

iFi GO blu

(Image credit: iFi )

iFi has implemented balanced circuitry in the GO blu, making the most of the balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn output, while the 3.5mm jack should benefit from work the company has done to reduce crosstalk and related distortion. To cater to a wide range of headphones with varying sensitivities, an auto-gain setting adjusts output up or down by up to 6dB.

Two user-selectable features encourage some user experimentation: XBass, a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin ‘bass boost’ function to enhances low frequencies; and XSpace, designed to widen the soundstage to deliver a more spacious experience.

Catering for on-the-go business even further, the GO blu has a microphone catering for hands-free calls, voice chat for gaming and access to voice assistants such as Apple Siri and Google Assistant.

The iFi GO blu portable DAC/headphone amp will be available from 10th September, priced £199 (about AU$400).

MORE:

The best DACs 2021 – USB, portable and desktop DACs

And our pick of the best headphones: all styles, all budgets

Read our Audiolab M-DAC nano review

Becky is Hi-Fi and Audio editor of What Hi-Fi?, and has been part of the team for almost eight years, with her current position preceded by roles as a staff writer and news editor. During that time she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching horror movies and hunting for gluten-free cake.

  • Navanski
    I'm not sure of the purpose of this article. It's not a review - no mention was made of the listening experience or the UI. It's also not like this is a revolutionary or cutting edge product. The author made comparison in functionality to the Audiolab M-DAC nano and I can see a likeness to the Radsone ES100.
    So I'm left in the dark. Space filler? Clandestine advertising? Answers on a postcard to.........
    Reply