If you’re after a means of improving the sound from mobile devices and computers, then iFi Audio has a solution for when you’re out and about.
The GO blu is a pocket-sized DAC/amp that weighs 26g and is similar in size to a Zippo lighter. According to iFi Audio, it delivers a performance bigger than its size would suggest.
The GO blu can wirelessly pair with a source device via Bluetooth 5.1, which means you won’t have to worry with having the right cable, connector or dongle (especially helpful if you’re an iOS user).
According to iFi, most pocket DACs make use of a cost-effective all-in-one ‘system-on-chip’, but they have taken a different path with the GO Blu, packing separate Bluetooth, DAC and amp stages to deliver the best performance possible from the individual components.
Using Qualcomm’s four-core QCC5100 Bluetooth processing chip, the GO blu supports a wide range of wireless codecs, a list that includes aptX Adaptive and aptX HD, LDAC, HWA/LHDC, aptX, aptX Low Latency, AAC and SBC.
The DAC is a Cirrus Logic 32-bit DAC chip coupled with a customised digital filter to minimise pre-echoes and ringing artefacts, as well as a precision clock system to ensure “ultra low jitter” performance for fewer timing errors and distortion.
The amplifier stage of the GO blu focuses on a balanced approach, using a symmetrical twin-mono signal path and utilising iFi’s own Direct Drive design concept to ensure minimal distortion.
The DAC can also be updated over the air via its Bluetooth connection, and while the GO blu wirelessly connects to its source, it can’t connect to a wireless headphone so you’ll need to plug in a headphone to the DAC through a wired connection.
Connections tally at a pair of headphone outputs – a 3.5mm socket for headphones with a single-ended cable/connector, and a gold-plated 4.4mm Pentaconn output.
There’s a USB-C port for charging the GO blu with battery life rated at 8 hours. The USB-C port can also be used as an audio input and supports Hi-Res audio up to 24-bit/96kHz. There’s a ChronoDial multifunction control for operation and a built-in mic for hands-free calls or access to voice assistants when paired with a smartphone.
The iFi GO blu is available from selected retailers from 10th September onwards for £199.