09. September 2021 · Comments Off on iFi GO Blu Mobile Bluetooth DAC/Headphone Amp · Categories: Hifi News · Tags: , , , , , , ,

IFI GO BLU MOBILE BLUETOOTH DAC/HEADPHONE AMP ANNOUNCED

iFi’s DAC/headphone amps have formed a cornerstone of the British company’s product range since its formation in 2012.

Some of these devices include rechargeable batteries and are sized to make them conveniently portable. None, however, are as pocketable as the iFi GO blu the brand’s most diminutive DAC/headphone amp yet.

iFi GO Blu Mobile Bluetooth DAC/Headphone Amp

The iFi GO blu Mobile Bluetooth DAC/Headphone Amp

IFI GO BLU

To maximise mobile convenience, the iFi GO blu pairs wirelessly with the user’s source device via Bluetooth. It is sized at 55x34x13mm, similar in size to a matchbox or Zippo lighter and weighs just 26g (less than an AA battery). The iFi GO blu still packs in separate Bluetooth, DAC and amp stages, each engineered in distinct blocks.

iFi GO Blu Mobile Bluetooth DAC/Headphone Amp

IFi GO blu is the size of a Zippo lighter

BLUETOOTH AND DAC STAGES

The iFi GO Blu makes use of Qualcomm’s latest four-core QCC5100 Bluetooth processing chip, every current high-definition Bluetooth audio format is supported, including aptX Adaptive and aptX HD, LDAC and HWA/LHDC. Other codecs covered include regular aptX and aptX Low Latency, AAC and SBC (the ‘plain vanilla’ Bluetooth codec). This means that every possible source device is handled at the highest audio resolution its Bluetooth specification allows. The GO blu is Bluetooth v5.1-compliant, ensuring the best possible range, stability and performance, and its ‘Bluetooth engine’ can be updated over the air.

iFi GO Blu Mobile Bluetooth DAC/Headphone Amp

The GO blu weighs less than an AA battery

The Bluetooth stage feeds the DAC stage, with a Cirrus Logic 32-bit DAC chip at its heart. This is coupled with a customised digital filter to minimise pre-echoes and ringing artefacts, and a precision clock system to ensure ultra-low jitter, thus reducing errors and distortion in the digital audio signal.

AMPLIFIER STAGE

The analogue circuitry in many of iFi’s recently launched audio devices has focused on balanced design, the GO blu is no exception, despite its diminutive size. The amp circuitry benefits from symmetrical twin-mono signal paths and utilises iFi’s Direct Drive design concept – direct-coupled to ensure a clean signal path without distortion-inducing output coupling capacitors. In true iFi fashion, the GO blu incorporates circuit components of high quality including TDK C0G multilayer ceramic capacitors and inductors from Taiyo Yuden and Murata. The net result is ultra-low distortion across the entire signal bandwidth.

iFi GO Blu Mobile Bluetooth DAC/Headphone Amp

The iFi GO Blu Mobile Bluetooth DAC/Headphone Amp pairs wirelessly with your source

The amp stage delivers up to 5.6V handling even relatively tough headphone loads with ease. To ensure signal strength suits the sensitivity of the connected headphones or earphones, auto-gain adjusts output up or down by 6dB.

IFI XBASS & XSPACE

Further sonic tailoring is provided by two user-selectable features familiar to users of other portable headphone amps from iFi. The first is XBass, a sophisticated form of ‘bass boost’ that enhances low frequencies without muddying the midrange, particularly useful with earphones and open-back headphones that may lack deep bass. The second is XSpace, a setting designed to compensate for the ‘in-head localisation’ effect that can occur when using headphones to listen to music that was mixed using a pair of speakers, effectively widening the headphone soundstage to deliver a more spacious and speaker-like experience. Both these optional settings operate entirely in the analogue domain rather than messing with the digital signal via DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and may be switched in or out of the signal path.

HEADPHONE OUTPUTS

A pair of headphone outputs are provided – a 3.5mm socket for headphones with a single-ended cable/connector, and a gold-plated 4.4mm Pentaconn output enabling headphones equipped with balanced connectivity to take full advantage of the GO blu’s balanced amp design. In addition, the 3.5mm output benefits from iFi’s S-Balanced circuitry, cutting crosstalk and related distortion in half when used with regular, single-ended headphone connections.

iFi GO Blu Mobile Bluetooth DAC/Headphone Amp

The iFi GO blu is suitable for many headphones and IEMs

GO STYLE

With its lightweight, soft-touch polymer enclosure (great for Bluetooth reception, unlike signal-blocking metal), copper-coloured trim and ChronoDial watch crown-style control, the GO blu is designed to be good looking too.

iFi has also incorporated a high-quality chip-based (CMOS-MEMS) microphone, enabling hands-free calls, voice chat for gaming and access to voice assistants such as Apple Siri and Google Assistant. Further flexibility is provided by the USB-C charging port, which doubles as an audio input enabling USB connection from source devices that don’t offer Bluetooth connectivity. Hi-res PCM audio data up to 24-bit/96kHz is supported when the GO blu is connected in this way. Battery life is approximately eight hours depending on headphone power demands, volume etc.

iFi GO Blu Mobile Bluetooth DAC/Headphone Amp

The iFi GO blu costs under £200

IFI GO BLU PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

Available from  September 10th at an RRP of £199.

HiFi Pig Says: iFi continue to impress with their range of portables that come in at very affordable prices and pocketable sizes.

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