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  • New from iFi Audio: the Go bar, a USB DAC for smartphones and laptops where a true-balanced circuit design culminates in a ‘symmetrical twin-channel output stage’ and Pentaconn 4.4mm headphone output for 550mW into 64 Ohms (and 7.5V into 600 Ohms). A (presumably less powerful) 3.5mm socket keeps more vanilla headphone connections in play.

    Inputs number exactly one: USB-C where, according to iFi, a non-stock XMOS receiver chip gives users bragging rights for PCM handling up to 32bit/384kHz, native DSD256 and MQA before handing off the incoming signal to a D/A converter built around a Cirrus Logic chipset. The press release tells us that an in-house-coded digital filter aims to minimise digital pre-echoes and ringing artefacts whilst iFi’s GMT (Global Master Timing) clock system takes aim at jitter.

    Four additional digital filter options are also accessible from the unit’s underside: Standard, Bit-Perfect (non-oversampling), Minimum Phase, and GTO (Gibbs Transient Optimised). Of stronger audible flavour are the Go bar’s analogue processing modes: XBass+ gives a nudge to sub-bass and XSpace pushes upper-midrange width a little further.

    Users of sensitive IEMs should note that the Go bar features iFi’s IEMatch circuitry that steps down the gain to keep the signal well above the noise floor. Conversely, thirstier headphones can benefit from the Go bar’s Turbo mode that bumps up gain by 6dB. LEDs on the unit’s underside indicate the incoming signal’s sample rate, data format and analogue tuning option status. Volume up/down switches are located on the side.

    Now comes the twist. The Go bar will be available in two versions. The first features a standard alloy enclosure for £329. The other gets advanced power supply filtering before being wrapped in an 18ct gold-plated-copper chassis for an elevated price tag of £499 and a limited production run of 1000 pieces.

    Both versions of the Go bar ship with a carry case, a custom USB-C-to-Lighting adapter for iPhone/iPad users and a USB-C-to-USB-C adapter for Android and PC/Mac hookups.

    Further information: iFi Audio

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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