About the iFi Audio GO bar
Power and precision in a pocket-size design
The iFi GO bar connects to your computer or phone and gives you better headphone sound on the go.
Power and precision in a pocket-size design
iFi Audio has developed a keen reputation for packing lots of power into a small package — and this might be their most impressive trick yet. The iFi GO bar headphone amp/DAC combo is just a bit larger than a typical thumb drive, but it can deliver up to 7.2 volts of output. I auditioned it for a few weeks, and it delivered top-notch sound to everything from professional in-ear monitors to extra-large over-ear headphones.
Plus, it comes with the cables needed to connect to most newer laptops, iPhones, and Android devices. The GO bar draws the power to operate from your computer or smartphone, and its built-in digital-to-analog converter bypasses the connected device's inferior audio circuitry. I could pull this ultralight device from my pocket or laptop bag anywhere and enjoy the sound quality and performance of a beefy, bona fide desktop component.
Travel-friendly with straightforward controls
iFi built this portable USB DAC to handle life on the go — and I've certainly put it to the test. I've adopted a hybrid work schedule, splitting time between the office and home, and I flew to Chicago recently for the AXPONA audio show. The GO bar's lightweight alloy frame and sturdy buttons and control switch have weathered the travel well.
The GO bar sports a durable alloy frame with side panel controls and LED indicators on the bottom that displays the sample rate.
It's also one of the most unfussy DACs I've used. I could connect to either my Samsung Galaxy phone or PC, and in both cases the GO bar was immediately recognized and audio went through the DAC. I controlled volume on the side of the GO bar and could toggle through sound filter options to extend the soundstage, strengthen the bass, or do both.
High-performance DAC chip
An advanced Cirrus Logic 43131 DAC chip handles the tricky switch from digital to analog. iFi paired the chip with a custom digital filter to fine-tune the sound to their high standards.
The GO bar supports MQA, DSD, and DXD, as well as PCM files up to 32-bit/384kHz. I primarily used Qobuz to stream high-res and CD-quality music. When I flipped the GO bar over, the LED lights lining the bottom showed the current sample rate on whichever track I was playing.
Clean, powerful amp
The amplifier uses iFi's "True Balanced" circuit design that boasts an output of 475mW at 32 ohms — nearly 15 times the power of most portable DACs this size. The left and right channels run symmetrically in a dual-mono configuration, meaning each has its own respective signal pathway. That helps to drastically reduce crosstalk and noise in the signal. It also has iFi's iEMatch technology, which helps to keeps hiss out of high-sensitivity IEMs.
My listening impressions
Speaking of IEMs, I did the bulk of my listening with two recent standouts: the Meze Audio ADVAR and the Sennheiser IE 600s. They both have sonic characteristics that are distinct enough to give me an idea of the GO bar's versatility. The DAC has an unbalanced 3.5mm output and a balanced 4.4mm output. I connected the ADVARs with the former.
The GO Bar connected to my Samsung phone so I could listen to Qobuz through the Meze ADVAR IEMs.
Meze tuned these striking in-ears to deliver strong bass emphasis and shine with rich detail in the highs. Mids are relaxed a bit, but sounded natural and never felt scooped out or weak through the GO bar. I listened without any of iFi's sound filters, and thought the low-end had the right amount of heft for Kendrick Lamar's Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers album. That powerful sub-bass thump helped stitch together the tracks. I noticed that the opening orchestral sample on the track "Father Time" sounded beautifully restrained, allowing the highs to sparkle, but not grate.
Sennheiser included a 4.4mm cable with the IE 600s, so I made a balanced connection to the GO bar. These IEMs offer a more prominent midrange that gives guitars, vocals, and percussion an arresting presence and bite. And while I'm a fan of their well-balanced tuning, I found iFi's XBass+ filter added a fun, energetic punch. It helped create a more urgent, thrilling vibe to the sweet vocals and sleepy acoustic twang of Maren Morris' "Hummingbird."
Finally, I gave the large, super-premium Dan Clark Stealth over-ear headphones a whirl, using a 3.5mm adapter that's sold separately. Planar magnetic drivers tend to harder to power, but I didn't have to bump the GO bar's volume up too much higher to get them to a comfortable listening level. Because planars are generally more "polite" (albeit often true-to-life) in the bass, I found the XBass+ crucial here for my tastes. It helped round out the overall sound.
Listening to John Williams' ET: The Extra Terrestrial soundtrack (I had just showed my kids the movie for the first time on its 40th anniversary), I was struck by the nuance and dynamics. The loud, climactic crescendo is what you remember from the film, but the subtle, textured moments of reserve is what helps build the mystery and wonder. All conveyed wonderfully by this listening rig.
Plenty of connections
The front panel has the unbalanced 3.5mm output and a balanced 4.4mm output for connecting headphones. You'll find a USB-C port. For Apple users, iFi includes a cable with a USB-C cable on one end and an Apple Lightning cable on the other. There's also a USB-C to USB-C cable, along with a USB-C to USB-A adapter. That should cover most computers and newer Android phones.
- ultra-portable headphone amplifier and DAC
- lightweight, sturdy alloy frame
- includes cables for connecting to laptop, Apple, or Android devices
- Cirrus Logic 43131 digital-to-analog converter chip
- digital filter tuned by iFi for optimum sound quality
- supported audio files: up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM; bit-perfect DSD (up to 12.3MHz); DXD352
- offers full decoding for MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio files
S-Balanced headphone amplifier specs:
- two headphone outputs:
- one unbalanced 3.5mm stereo minijack output
- one balanced 4.4mm output
- iFi's dual-mono circuitry helps reduce crosstalk between the left and right audio channels
- XBass+ sound control processing lets you add more bass to your music
- XSpace naturally expands soundstage
- iEMatch helps reduce noise and "hiss" in high-sensitivity in-ear monitors
- output power:
- 4.4mm balanced: >475mW @ 32 ohms; 7.2V @ 600 ohms
- 3.5mm unbalanced: >300mW @ 32 ohms; 3.8V @ 600 ohms
- signal-to-noise ratio:
- balanced: 132dB
- unbalanced: 108dB
- THD: 0.002% (balanced); 0.09% (unbalanced)
Connections and controls:
- rear USB-C port
- side-panel buttons for precision volume control and selecting sound filter
- side-panel switch controls iEMatch for each output
- LED indicators display sample rate and sound format
- includes Lightning-to-USB-C cable, USB-C-to-USB-C cable, and USB-C to USB-A adapter
- leather travel case
- 15/16"W x 1/2"H x 2-5/8"D
- weight: 1 ounce
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # GObar
What's in the box:
iFi Audio GO bar owner's manual
- USB digital-to-analog converter
- 5" Lightning-to-USB-C cable
- 5" USB-C OTG cable (Male USB-C plugs on each end)
- USB adapter (female USB-C to Male USB-A)
- Leather travel case
- User Manual
- Warranty card
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More details on the iFi Audio GO bar
Features & specs
|Built-in Rechargable Battery||No|
|Built-in Headphone Amplifier|
|Output Power||475mW / 7.2V|
|Output Impedance (Unbalanced)||< 1 Ohm|
|Output Impedance (Balanced)||< 1 Ohm|
|Bit Depth (USB)||32|
|Max Sampling Rate (USB)||384 kHz|
|Bit Depth (S/PDIF)||0|
|Max Sampling Rate S/PDIF||N/A|
|S/N Ratio (Unbalanced, in dB)||108|
|S/N Ratio (Balanced, in dB)||132|
|Supported File Types|
|PCM||Up to 384kHz|
|Stereo RCA Analog||None|
|Stereo 3.5mm Analog||None|
|Stereo XLR Analog||None|
|Other Headphone Outs||None|
|Line Level & Digital Outs|
|RCA Line Out||None|
|3.5mm Line Out||None|
|XLR Line Out||None|
|Optical Digital Out||None|
|Coaxial Digital Out||None|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
Overview: The iFi Audio GO bar is a tiny, portable USB DAC and headphone amp to optimize the sound quality from your PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone. Despite its diminutive size, GO bar offers a great deal of sound processing and amplifying power. It is equipped with a USB-C input and balanced (4.4mm) and unbalanced (3.5mm) headphone outputs. For convenience, GO bar comes with a Lightning-to USB-C cable, a USB-C OTG cable, a USB-C to USB-A adapter, and a leather travel case. Dimensions: Width-0.886", Height-0.523", Length-2.578"; Weight: 1.05 ounces.
XMOS Chip: The GO bar features a powerful 16-core XMOS micro-controller for processing the audio data received at the USB-C digital input. The iFi-Audio technicians designed the XMOS firmware to team with the GO bar's 32-bit Cirrus Logic Digital-to-Audio Converter (DAC) chipset for best sound quality. The built-in digital filter helps eliminate digital artifacts and pre-echoes, while iFi-Audio's GMT (Global Master Timing) digital clock minimizes jitter.
Digital-to-Analog Conversion: GO bar features a Cirrus Logic 32-bit DAC chipset for True Native® playback of all music formats, including DSD256, DXD384, and PCM384. For MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), the master MQA file is fully authenticated and decoded (fully unfolded) to provide master-level audio. The GO bar is compatible with the following audio formats:
- PCM: 384, 352.8, 192, 176.4, 96, 88.2, 48, 44.1 kHz
- DSD: 256, 128, 64 MHz (Quad/Double/Single-speed DSD)
- DXD: 384, 352.8 kHz
- MQA: Full Decoder
XSpace/XBass+: The GO bar features two iFi-Audio analog processing modes: XSpace and XBass+. XSpace creates a holographic soundfield with the spaciousness of a live concert venue. XBass+ circuitry adds back the lost bass response to give you a more accurate reproduction of the original music. XBass work well for many open-back headphone designs. The side-mounted button cycles between XSpace, XBass+, and Off.
LED Indicators: The GO bar has a column of white LEDs along the bottom which indicates the audio format and sampling frequency received from the music source. In addition, other LEDs indicate which sound effect mode is in use. The LEDs are present for the following frequencies and effects:
- White: 44.1/48kHz
- White: 88.2/96kHz
- White: 176.4/192kHz
- White: 352.8/384kHz
- White: DSD 64/128
- White: DSD 256
- Blue: XSpace
- Orange: XBass+
USB Input: GO bar has a USB-C input that can be used with your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or home/office computer. iFi-Audio has included the needed Lightning-to-USB-C and USB-C OTG cables for connecting your iPhone, iPad, or Android smartphone or tablet. A USB-C to USB-A adapter is also included for your USB Type A-equipped computer.
Headphone Amplifier: iFi-Audio's GO bar headphone amplifier can drive most headphones and in-ear monitors. The 4.4mm balanced headphone output delivers 475mW into 32-ohm headphones, and 7.2V into a 600-ohm high-impedance headphone load, with reduced distortion and crosstalk, comparted to single-ended (unbalanced) outputs. The 4.4mm balanced output uses inverse positive/negative electrical paths to deliver equal and opposite audio signals to each side of the headphone driver voice coil. The single-ended 3.5mm unbalanced headphone output benefits from iFi's S-Balanced circuitry which is specially suited for sensitive IEMs (in-ear monitors). S-Balanced features a dedicated negative wire for each channel, and supports both TRS and TRRS headphones. The 3.5mm unbalanced output delivers 300mW into a 32Ω and 3.8V at 600Ω.
IEMatch/Turbo: The headphone output is equipped with iFi-Audio's IEMatch technology. You can turn IEMatch on or off as needed for the 3.5mm or 4.4mm headphone output. IEMatch is designed for high-sensitivity headphones and IEMs. When switched on, IEMatch attenuates the power, while removing background noise and widens the usable volume range. For more power-hungry headphones, Turbo bumps up the gain by 6dB.
- Input: USB-C
- Headphone Outputs: Balanced 4.4mm; Unbalanced: 3.5mm
- Power Output:
- Balanced: 475mW @ 32Ω; 7.2V @ 600Ω
- Unbalanced: 300mW @ 32Ω; 3.8V @ 600Ω
- Output Impedance: < 1Ω (Balanced/Unbalanced)
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 132dBA (Balanced); 108dBA (Unbalanced)
- DNR: 109dB(A) (Balanced); 108dB(A) (Unbalanced)
- Balanced: 0.002% (6.5mW/2.0V @ 600Ω)
- Unbalanced: 0.09% (100mW/1.27V @ 16Ω)
- Frequency Response: 20Hz - 45kHz (-3dB)
- Power Consumption: < 4W Max
3 questions already asked
The iFI Audio Go bar is the perfect companion to an iPhone or other digital music storage device. The GO bar is compact enough that I can carry it with me, but powerful enough to drive full-sized cans. I'm amazed at what the folks at iFi Audio have done!
Charles from Lexington, KY