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 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).
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