UK audio specialist iFi seems to be on a miniaturization mission, with a new "super affordable" portable GO Link DAC that measures in at the size of a regular USB stick.

Hot on the heels of the palm-sized iFi One, this new dongle-style headphone amp connects to your Mac, PC, or smartphone via USB-C with a 3,5mm headphone jack on the other end.

In addition to letting you enhance your sound and listen to Hi-Res Audio, the device also doubles as a 3,5mm adapter, making it especially useful for those with devices that don't have a headphone jack (we're looking at you, XNUMXth iPad). generation).

Perhaps even more helpful is the greatly reduced price of the GO Link, with the unit available from today, December 5, for just $59 / £59 / AU$87.

Despite the low MSRP, it seems like a pretty comprehensive offering, with support for hi-res music files up to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD up to 11,2MHz (DSD256), and MQA, the format used by Tidal's HiFi Plus. .

Housed within the GO Link's lightweight magnesium alloy casing is a Saber HiFi series DAC chip from ESS Technology, Quad DAC+ technology and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, plus iFi's dedicated clock circuitry to reduce distortion and improve range. dynamic.

There's a flexible 6cm polymer-insulated cable that runs between the Go Link's USB-C connector and the DAC to reduce strain on the device's ports, while the unit comes with a selection of adapters, including USB- A and the Apple Lightning connector.

(Image credit: iFi)

Analysis: iFi's tiny DAC is a perfect background filler for audiophiles on the go

A travel-friendly DAC is the ideal entry-level product into Hi-Res Audio - the way to enhance your portable listening experience, but the options often push the boundaries of the word "portable" or come with something of a concession on offer. audio.

Despite its entry-level price and small size, there doesn't seem to be much commitment to the Go Link on either front. Well done iFi…

You see, the GO Link headphone amp powers a gold-plated 3,5mm jack that incorporates iFi's noise-canceling S-Balanced configuration, easily outperforming the built-in headphone output on even the best smartphone, tablet, or computer. It offers a power output of 70mW / 1,5V into 32 ohms, reaching 2V with higher impedance headphones, enough to drive audiophile type of headphones (maybe the Meze Audio Liric) and d headphones (let me recommend Campfire Audio Trifecta) that the GO Link could pair well, while minimizing battery drain on your connected device. Win win then!

And in addition to powering your wired headphones, the 3,5mm analog output can be used to connect a built-in amp or preamplifier, or powered speakers.

Of course, the proof is in the pudding and we'll reserve all judgment until we get our hands on the GO Link and hear how it sounds, but if it lives up to its spec sheet, iFi seems to have thrown in the DAC to beat for audiophiles. moving.

In the meantime, you can find out how to up your audio game with our current list of the best portable DACs.

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