iFi has released a headphone dongle for $59 that promises to significantly enhance the sound of your music. The company rarely disappoints. But at this price, how much can a small DAC/Amp upgrade the sound quality of your IEMs and headphones? Let’s see what we can expect form the iFi GO Link DAC/Amp.
In the Box
iFi GO Link with USB-C connection
The GO Link is the smallest DAC/amp that iFi has produced, making it suitable for on-the-go use. Although the device has a USB-C connection, iPhone users will be pleased to find a lightning adapter included in the box. Also included is a USB adapter for those who choose to use the dongle with their computer.
The GO Link employs the ESS Sabre Hyperstream DAC. A Quad DAC+ and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator is also implemented, promising to reduce distortion, while improving clarity and dynamic range. Also impressive for the size, is the GO Link’s hi-res capabilities; the device supports PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD up to 11.2MHz (DSD256), and MQA.
For this review, I first paired the GO Link with the Campfire Andromeda. The main thing I noticed was how highly controlled and clean this little device feels. It adds a smoothness and steadiness to the overall sound, which pairs perfectly with more active IEMs, like the Andromeda. The soundstage was also enhanced, with imaging feeling more spread out, multidimensional and nuanced. And for sensitive IEMs, the GO link provides ample drive.
Next, I paired the GO Link with the Beyerdyamic DT 1770 Pro. Although the GO Link also does a good job of driving these higher impedance headphones, the soundstage perhaps feels slightly less holographic, and the overall presentation loses some it’s tonal richness. Still, that controlled, fluid character remains present. Interestingly, the GO Link seemed to approximate some of the qualities of iFi’s larger, higher priced DACs, such as the Micro Black Label, which utilizes the Burr Brown DAC technology.
Offering a super clean, controlled and multidimensional sound, I definitely got more than I expected from the iFi GO Link. In fact, I would be happy to swap it for some of the much higher priced portable DACs I own. If you primarily use IEMs, and are looking for something to use on-the-go, you probably won’t find a better DAC/amp for the price.
You can buy the iFi GO link at Audio 46.