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iFi Audio GO bar Kensie edition Portable USB DAC/headphone amplifier, compatible with Apple® and Android™ mobile devices

Item # 246GOBARKN

This enhanced edition of iFi's ultralight DAC/amp boasts a stainless steel frame and more advanced sonic circuitry.

This enhanced edition of iFi's ultralight DAC/amp boasts a stainless steel frame and more advanced sonic circuitry.

Item # 246GOBARKN

Low stock
$449.00

About the iFi Audio GO bar Kensie edition

Jeff Miller

A premium sonic boost that fits in your pocket

For over a year, the original iFi GO bar has been my go-to portable listening DAC/amp — it just works so well with IEMs and full-size over-ear headphones alike. This enhanced "Kensie edition" sports an even sturdier, more durable frame built from Japanese stainless steel. Under the hood, there's a stronger power supply, a higher-precision digital clock, and JVC's K2HD upsampling technology for restoring lost harmonics in compressed music. But even with all the extras, it is still one of the smallest, lightest high-performance DACs available.

A premium sonic boost that fits in your pocket

For over a year, the original iFi GO bar has been my go-to portable listening DAC/amp — it just works so well with IEMs and full-size over-ear headphones alike. This enhanced "Kensie edition" sports an even sturdier, more durable frame built from Japanese stainless steel. Under the hood, there's a stronger power supply, a higher-precision digital clock, and JVC's K2HD upsampling technology for restoring lost harmonics in compressed music. But even with all the extras, it is still one of the smallest, lightest high-performance DACs available.

GO Bar with LED display showing

The GO bar Kensie edition sports a durable steel frame with side panel controls and LED indicators on the bottom that displays the sample rate.

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. You can pull this ultralight device from your pocket or laptop bag anywhere and enjoy the sound quality and performance of a beefy, bona fide desktop component.

High-performance DAC chip

An advanced, bit-perfect Cirrus Logic 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 through the GO Bar.) LED lights line the bottom to show sample rate on whatever track you play.

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.

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Product highlights:

  • ultra-portable headphone amplifier and DAC
  • special edition GO bar with lightweight, sturdy Japanese stainless steel frame and enhanced performance
    • improved clock circuitry and power supply
    • JVC's K2HD upsampling technology helps restore lost harmonics and detail (PCM files only)
  • includes cables for connecting to laptop, Apple, or Android devices
DAC specs:
  • Cirrus Logic 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: >477mW @ 32 ohms; 7.2V @ 600 ohms
    • 3.5mm unbalanced: >300mW @ 32 ohms; 3.8V @ 600 ohms
  • signal-to-noise ratio:
    • balanced: 132dB
    • unbalanced: 121dB
  • 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
Other info:
  • includes Lightning-to-USB-C cable, USB-C-to-USB-C cable, and USB-C to USB-A adapter
  • leather travel case and special bamboo wood display case
  • 15/16"W x 1/2"H x 2-5/8"D
  • weight: 2.3 ounces
  • warranty: 1 year
  • MFR # GOBARKENSEI

What's in the box:

  • 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
  • Engraved wooden storage box
  • Quick Start Guide
  • "After Sales" card
  • Regulatory and Safety Information
  • iFi decal

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More details on the iFi Audio GO bar Kensie edition

Research Team

Features & specs

Design
Type Portable
Built-in Rechargable Battery ---
Built-in Headphone Amplifier
Output Power 477mW / 7.2V
Output Impedance (Unbalanced) < 1 Ohm
Output Impedance (Balanced) < 1 Ohm
Audio Specs
Bit Depth (USB) 32
Max Sampling Rate (USB) 384 kHz
Bit Depth (S/PDIF) ---
Max Sampling Rate S/PDIF ---
S/N Ratio (Unbalanced, in dB) 121
S/N Ratio (Balanced, in dB) 132
THD (Unbalanced) 0.009%
THD (Balanced) 0.0025%
Supported File Types
PCM Up to 384kHz
DSD DSD 256
DXD 2x speed DXD
MQA Yes
Inputs
Total Inputs 1
USB USB-C
Optical Digital ---
Coaxial Digital ---
3.5mm Digital ---
Stereo RCA Analog ---
Stereo 3.5mm Analog ---
Stereo XLR Analog ---
Headphone Outputs
3.5mm Unbalanced 1
1/4-inch Unbalanced ---
4.4mm Balanced 1
XLR4 Balanced ---
Other Headphone Outs ---
Line Level & Digital Outs
RCA Line Out ---
3.5mm Line Out ---
XLR Line Out ---
Subwoofer Out ---
Optical Digital Out ---
Coaxial Digital Out ---
Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth No
Wi-Fi No
Apple-compatible ---
Android-compatible ---
General Info
Width (inches) 0-15/16
Height (inches) 2-5/8
Depth (inches) 2-5/8
Weight 2.3 lbs.
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year

Product Research

Features

Overview: The GO bar Kensei is special edition of the iFi Audio GO bar portable DAC/headphone amp with K2HD, a cutting-edge Japanese audio processing technology. The device is designed to optimize the sound quality from your PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone. Despite its diminutive size, GO bar Kensei 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 Kensei comes with a Lightning-to USB-C cable, a USB-C OTG cable, a USB-C to USB-A adapter, a leather travel case, and an exquisite engraved wooden storage box. Dimensions: Width 0.887", Height 0.533", Length 2.58"; Weight: 2.3 ounces.

Kensei: Kensei, which means "Sword Saint," is an honorary title presented to a Japanese warrior with superior skills in swordsmanship. The GO bar Kensei represents a finely crafted instrument forged for the audiophile, and focused on purity of sound. The device is constructed with Japanese Stainless Steel for maximum rigidity.

K2HD: The engineers at Japan's Victor Studio developed K2 Technology to bring life to their otherwise pristine digital recordings. K2 processing revives the natural harmonics in the digital sound to add vitality to the studio recordings to bring them back to life. The latest version of K2 Technology, K2HD, used by iFi-Audio, restores music data lost during the digitalization process to bring your music closer to the quality of the original master recordings. Advanced K2HD processing upscales the file to 24-bit/192kHz and applies K2 parameters for waveform correction, while its high-frequency extension beyond 22kHz restores the natural harmonics of the music to deliver master quality sound.

Digital-to-Analog Conversion: GO bar Kensei features a Cirrus Logic 32-bit DAC chipset for True Native® playback of all music formats, including DSD256, 2x DXD, 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 Kensei is compatible with the following audio formats:

  • PCM: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8, 384 kHz
  • DSD: 2.8, 3.1, 5.6, 6.1, 11.3, 12.3 MHz
  • DXD: 352.8, 384 kHz
  • MQA: Full Decoder

XMOS Chip: The GO bar Kensei features a powerful new 16-core XMOS micro-controller for processing the audio data received at the USB-C digital input. The iFi-Audio technicians optimized the XMOS firmware to team with the GO bar Kensei's 32-bit Cirrus Logic Digital-to-Audio Converter (DAC) chipset for best sound quality. The chip delivers double the clock speed (2000MIPS) and 4x the memory (512KB), plus the latest SuperSpeed USB standard.

XSpace/XBass+: The GO bar Kensei 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.

USB Input: GO bar Kensei 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 Kensei headphone amplifier can drive most headphones and in-ear monitors. The 4.4mm balanced headphone output delivers 477mW 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.

Specifications:

  • Input: USB-C
  • Headphone Outputs: Balanced 4.4mm; S-Balanced: 3.5mm
  • Power Output:
    • Balanced: 477mW @ 32Ω; 7.2V @ 600Ω
    • Unbalanced: 300mW @ 32Ω; 3.8V @ 600Ω
  • Output Impedance: < 1Ω (Balanced/S-Balanced); </= 3.6Ω with IEMatch engaged
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio:
    • Intelligent Muting active: 132dBA (Balanced); 121dBA (S-Balanced)
    • Intelligent Muting off: 114dBA (Balanced/S-Balanced)
  • DNR:
    • Balanced: 108dB(A)
    • S-Balanced: 109dB(A)
  • THD+N:
    • Balanced: 0.0025% (600Ω 2V @ 20-20k)
    • S-Balanced: 0.09% (16Ω/1.27V @ 20-20k)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 70kHz (-3dB)
  • Power Consumption: < 4W Max

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