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iFi Audio hip-dac2 Portable USB DAC and headphone amplifier

Item # 246HIPDAC2

Pocket-sized and battery-powered, this portable DAC/amp combo packs a punch.

Pocket-sized and battery-powered, this portable DAC/amp combo packs a punch.

6 questions - 15 answers

Item # 246HIPDAC2

About the iFi Audio hip-dac2

Jeff Miller

A powerful portable DAC that fits in your pocket

Just like iFi Audio's original hip-dac before it, I've named this updated version the "best battery-powered portable headphone amp" of the year. The hip-dac2 keeps the same handy, charming flask-shaped design and adds some functionality and processing power. There's also a little extra flair, thanks to the delightful "sunset orange" finish on the heavy-duty aluminum chassis. 
iFi hip-dac 2 connected to phone

The super-slim, battery-powered iFi hip-dac2 connects to your phone and headphones to give you better sound on the go.

A powerful portable DAC that fits in your pocket

Just like iFi Audio's original hip-dac before it, I've named this updated version the "best battery-powered portable headphone amp" of the year. The hip-dac2 keeps the same handy, charming flask-shaped design and adds some functionality and processing power. There's also a little extra flair, thanks to the delightful "sunset orange" finish on the heavy-duty aluminum chassis. 

It's still about the same size, compact enough to slip right into your pocket. When you're ready to listen to music, connect it to your phone or laptop to bypass that rotgut built-in audio circuitry — and drink in the top-shelf sound. Wired headphones sound much more dynamic and detailed when driven by the hip-dac2.  

Performance upgrades

iFi opted to use a 16-bit XMOS microcontroller/processor for the hip-dac2. That chip is responsible for handling the incoming USB audio data and it helps lower latency and increase the clock speed. On top of that, iFi's in-house development team purpose-built the processor to work in harmony with the digital-to-analog converter chip.

A new low-jitter clock was added as well. It serves to keep the distortion low and to keep your music as authentic to the source as possible.

Makes all your digital music sound better

The hip-dac2 features digital connections and a high-grade Burr-Brown DAC chip that can squeeze out more musical detail from Spotify®, Apple Music®, Qobuz, YouTube, and other digital audio sources. This DAC will decode high-resolution music files up to 32-bit/384Hz resolution, and DSD files up to 11.2 MHz. It can even fully decode MQA, meaning it completes all three file "unfolds" required for optimum sound. 

hip dac 2 with laptop

The iFi hip-dac2 is lightweight, yet built sturdy and substantial enough that it won't slide around during use.

Versatile connections

iFi certainly made the connections easy. The hip-dac2 doesn't complicate things like some other DACs on the market. A USB cable (with a Type A USB male on one end and Type A USB female on other end) is included for connecting to a PC, and a USB Type A to Type C is included for newer Android™ phones. There are mini-USB and Apple Lightning® adapters for iPhone® sold separately. 

S-balanced headphone amp

On the front panel, there is a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack along with a balanced 4.4mm headphone output. The latter is the new industry standard balanced connection that helps cuts down on signal noise and distortion. A growing list of headphones from multiple brands use it.

Either way you connect takes advantage of what iFi calls "S-balanced" headphone amp technology. Their dual-mono circuitry keeps the left and right audio channels separate for as long as possible to avoid cross-talk and distortion.

A note about charging

The hip-dac2 has a built-in rechargeable battery that offers 8 hours of music listening on a full charge, depending on how you use it. This amp runs completely on battery, and must be recharged via the USB-C port (a charging cable is included). You'll want to ensure it is charged up when you take it out and about.


Product highlights:

  • battery-powered portable USB DAC with built-in high-performance headphone amp
  • pocket-sized design with metal chassis
  • improves sound from your PC, digital music player, iPhone, and/or Android phone
    • USB-A and USB-C cable included
  • 16-core XMOS processor/microcontroller programmed by iFi's development team for optimized sound and perfect cooperation with digital-to-analog converter chip
Built-in digital-to-analog converter:
  • Burr-Brown "True Native" digital-to-analog converter chip for high-quality sound
  • supported audio files: up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM; DSD 256 (11.2 MHz)
  • offers full decoding for MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio files
  • Type A USB input for connecting PC, smartphone, and other mobile devices
  • GMT (Global Master Timing) femto-precision clock and intelligent memory buffer to eliminate jitter
S-balanced headphone amplifier:
  • two headphone outputs:
    • one 3.5mm stereo minijack
    • one balanced 4.4mm output
  • iFi's dual-mono circuitry helps reduce crosstalk between the left and right audio channels
  • output power: > 2.0V / 400mW @ 32 ohms (balanced); 280mW @ 32 ohms (unbalanced)
  • XBass sound control processing for boosting bass
  • PowerMatch switchable gain
  • manual power switch/volume control dial with 40dB-0dB attenuation
General info and specs:
  • USB-C charging cable included
  • rechargeable battery provides up to 8 hours of playback on a full charge
  • completely self-powered, cannot borrow power from your computer, phone, or playback device during use
  • color-coded LED indicator for incoming sample rate
  • includes selection of silicone grip pads
  • 2-7/8"W x 4-1/16"H x 5/8"D
  • weight: 0.28 lbs.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • MFR # 312005

What's in the box:

  • Portable D/A converter (Sunset Orange)
  • 12" USB extension (Type A 3.0 male on one end Type A 3.0 female on other end)
  • 6.5" USB cable (Type A USB male on one end and USB-C on other end)
  • 6" USB extension (Type A USB female on one end and USB-C on other end)
  • Instruction card
  • Warranty card

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More details on the iFi Audio hip-dac2

Mark G.

Features & specs

Type Portable
Built-in Rechargable Battery 2200 mAh
Built-in Headphone Amplifier
Output Power 400mW / 6.3V
Output Impedance (Unbalanced) 32-600 ohms
Output Impedance (Balanced) 32-600 ohms
Audio Specs
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) 0
S/N Ratio (Balanced, in dB) 0
THD (Unbalanced) Not given
THD (Balanced) Not given
Supported File Types
PCM Up to 384kHz
Total Inputs 1
USB Type A 3.0
Optical Digital None
Coaxial Digital None
3.5mm Digital None
Stereo RCA Analog None
Stereo 3.5mm Analog None
Stereo XLR Analog None
Headphone Outputs
3.5mm Unbalanced 1
1/4-inch Unbalanced None
4.4mm Balanced 1
XLR4 Balanced None
Other Headphone Outs None
Line Level & Digital Outs
RCA Line Out None
3.5mm Line Out None
XLR Line Out None
Subwoofer Out None
Optical Digital Out None
Coaxial Digital Out None
Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth No
Wi-Fi No
Apple-compatible No
Android-compatible No
General Info
Width (inches) 2-13/16
Height (inches) 4-1/16
Depth (inches) 0-5/8
Weight 0.3 lbs.
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year
The iFi Audio hip-dac2 replaces these items:

Product Research


Overview: The iFi Audio hip-dac2 is the long-awaited follow-up to the popular hip-dac. Now wrapped in a sleek Sunset Orange aluminum case, hip-dac2 has been updated on the inside too. This portable digital-to-analog converter and headphone amplifier features a new 16-core XMOS chip, and full MQA decoding. hip-dac2 is designed for use with your smartphone or tablet, but can also upgrade the sound of your PC or Mac. The device has a Type A USB 3.0 input port and balanced and unbalanced headphone outputs. It operates on a powerful, built-in 8-hour battery. Dimensions: W-2.8", H-4", D-0.6"; Weight: 4.5 ounces.

Note: To use the device with your smartphone or tablet, you'll need an Apple CCK (Camera Connection Kit) cable or Android OTG cable (both sold separately).

XMOS Chip: The hip-dac2's new low-latency XMOS 16-Core chip processes the audio data received via the USB digital input. Compared to 8-core chips, the 16-core microcontroller delivers double the clock speed (2000MIPS) and 4x the memory (512KB). It is also compatible with the latest SuperSpeed USB 3.0 standard. The chip delivers full MQA decoding (rather than a Renderer only), and an upgraded crystal clock for purer, crisper sound.

Digital-to-Analog Conversion: hip-dac2 features a Burr-Brown Hi-Res True Native® chipset for 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. Like the original hip-dac, the hip-dac2's circuitry has a balanced (differential) design, with carefully-selected, high-quality components. The device has an accurate, low-noise Texas Instruments power supply chip, and a high-quality analog volume potentiometer. The hip-dac2 portable DAC 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: 384, 352.8 kHz

LED Indicators: The hip-dac2 has LEDs on both sides of the Volume Control which indicates the audio format and sampling frequency received from the music source. On the other end, a single LED next to the USB-C battery charge port, shows the charging and battery status. The LED color schemes for the two indicators are as follows:

  • Audio Format LED:
    • Yellow: PCM 44.1 / 48 kHz
    • White: PCM 88.2 / 96 / 176.4 / 192 / 352.8 / 384 kHz
    • Cyan: DSD 64 / 128
    • Red: DSD 256
    • Green: MQA
    • Blue: MQA Studio
    • Magenta: Original Sample Rate (MQB)
  • Battery Status (flashes when charging):
    • White: > 75%
    • Green: > 25%
    • Red: > 10%
    • Red (flashing): </= 10%

Headphone Amplifier: iFi hip-dac2's headphone amplifier can drive most headphones and in-ear monitors. The 4.4mm balanced headphone output delivers 400mW into 32-ohm headphones, and 6.3V into a 600-ohm high-impedance headphone load, with reduced distortion and crosstalk, comparted to single-ended (unbalanced) outputs. The 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 280mW into a 32Ω and 3.2V at 600Ω.

PowerMatch: The headphone output is equipped with iFi's PowerMatch technology. You can turn PowerMatch on or off as needed to match the level of the drive to the load presented by the headphones. When switched on, PowerMatch adjusts the input sensitivity and signal strength, which works best for large, less sensitive headphones. Leaving PowerMatch off works best for the more sensitive IEMs.

XBass: The iFi hip-dac2 features iFi's analog XBass circuitry that 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.

USB Input: The hip-dac2 has a Type A USB 3.0 input that can be used with your smartphone, tablet, or home/office computer. For iPhone and iPad, you will need an Apple CCK cable, such as the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter or the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter (sold separately). For Android, an OTG (On-the-Go) cable (with Type C or Micro USB, depending upon the device) is required. When connecting to your home or office computer, you should use the included USB 3.0 cable. For best results, you should always switch on the power first, before plugging in your device.

Battery: The hip-dac2 is powered by a built-in 2200mAh Lithium-polymer rechargeable battery. Fully charged, the battery will provide approximately 8 hours of playback time. The battery charges in approximately 3 hours via the included USB Type A-to-Type C cable, using a USB charging device up to 6.3V and 1000mA (compliant with USB Battery Charging v.1.2).

Optional Case: To protect your iFi hip-dac2 (or the original hip-dac), you can slip the player into the new hip-case. The stitched faux suede wraps around the device to protect the anodized aluminum case from scratches. The Dove Grey hip-case features top and bottom openings for your USB and headphone connections and audio controls, and has an embroidered iFi logo on the top.

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Customer Q&A

6 questions already asked

Is the internal DAC of the smartphone (Galaxy S21) bypassed when connecting the external amp/DAC? I presume headphones plugged directly into the USB port via a dongle is getting an analog signal from the internal DAC. If I swap the headphones for the hip-dac2 wouldn't it be receiving that same analog signal?
jim  Feb 27, 2023
1 answer
Great question Jim, and I would be happy to help. When using the incredible hip-dac2 you will be bypassing the internal DAC inside the phone, and also amplifying that signal for best possible quality. Hipdac is an excellent call!
bo  Feb 28, 2023 (Staff)
Will an audioquest jitterbug improve the performance of the ifi hip-dac2?
pompanovice  Dec 17, 2022
2 answers
No, I do not expect it to make a significant difference.
timothy  Dec 18, 2022
I don't know because I've never tried to reduce noise because I don't hear any noise. If I turn the hip-dac2 on, turn the analog outputs to max using the analog volume knob, then plug averagely sensitive headphones into the 3.5 mm jack I hear nothing. Maybe there is a limiting circuit of some type but a friend of mine who is an actual degreed analog engineer believes this to be a good test. If I heard anything but sweet music come of of my beloved hip-hip2, I'd turn it in - hopefully you'd discover during the warranty period. To run my passive loudspeakers I use my hip-dac2 by running the analog output down a 16' long audioquest evergreen cable into the RCA inputs of my receiver. No noise that way either.
robert  Dec 18, 2022
This Hip-Dac2 comes with a usb c to connect to phone. My Iphone has a lightning adapter, of course. How can I make this work? The lightning to Camera adapter I bought to use for this is far too big to fit the Hip-Dac.
dennis  Oct 10, 2022
1 answer
The adapter you need to go from the USB to Lightning, is this: USB-C is for Charging only, the USB input is a USB-A. The unit comes with a USB A- to USB-A Cable. You would use the adapter above to convert that to Lightning.
thomas  Oct 10, 2022 (Staff)
Can this be used for car audio?
benjamin jay  Jun 19, 2022
1 answer
It sure can be used in a vehicle that has an aux audio input!
jason  Jun 19, 2022 (Staff)
Does this DAC offer gapless playback?
edburn brian  Apr 21, 2022
2 answers
Yes it does.
timothy  Apr 26, 2022
Yes, this hip-dac2 plays sequential files without inserting any time gap between them. Gapless all the way.
timothy  Apr 26, 2022
Does the dac need to be on for charging?
michael  Mar 08, 2022
8 answers
No it does not need to be on to charge.
loren chi  Mar 08, 2022
No. I make it a rule to shut the dac off for charging when I am not using it.
mike  Mar 08, 2022
Absolutely not.
kirth anthony  Mar 08, 2022
No, it does not need to be turned on to charge, but it can be used while charging
jeremy  Mar 08, 2022
No, you may turn the unit off and hook up a simple usb charger to it, the kind used to charge most phones.
timothy  Mar 08, 2022
No it does not need to be on. It will charge whether the dac is on or off.
brent  Mar 08, 2022
No, it doesn't. And btw this thing is really fun. I bought it for a portable DAC and was pleasantly surprised that it's also a serious headphone amp. I addition I figured out how to use the outputs to run analog audio in to my receiver. Etc.
robert  Mar 08, 2022
Not in my experience.
matthew  Mar 08, 2022

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