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iFi Audio hip-dac3 Portable USB DAC and headphone amplifier

Item # 246HIPDAC3

Features the same charming flask-shaped design, connects to your phone or laptop, and serves up dynamic, detailed sound

Features the same charming flask-shaped design, connects to your phone or laptop, and serves up dynamic, detailed sound

Item # 246HIPDAC3

Ships free

On backorder
Ship date unknown
$199.00

About the iFi Audio hip-dac3

Jeff Miller

Top-shelf sound from a flask-shaped portable DAC

This is the third generation of iFi Audio's popular pocket-sized — and powerful — headphone amp/DAC combo. This time around, iFi changed to a USB-C port, updated the internal digital circuitry, and added a striking titanium finish. (Sound familiar, Apple fans and iPhone users?) Other than that, the iFi hip-dac3 keeps much of what made the previous two my choices for "best battery-powered portable headphone amp" of the year.
Woman listening to IEMs with iFi Hip DAC3

The super-slim, battery-powered iFi hip-dac3 bypasses the rot-got audio circuitry in your phone.

Top-shelf sound from a flask-shaped portable DAC

This is the third generation of iFi Audio's popular pocket-sized — and powerful — headphone amp/DAC combo. This time around, iFi changed to a USB-C port, updated the internal digital circuitry, and added a striking titanium finish. (Sound familiar, Apple fans and iPhone users?) Other than that, the iFi hip-dac3 keeps much of what made the previous two my choices for "best battery-powered portable headphone amp" of the year.

It features the same charming flask-shaped design, connects to your phone or laptop, and serves up dynamic, detailed sound for your headphones or IEMs.

New connections and performance upgrades

There are now two USB-C ports on the back panel, one for charging and one for connecting your device. iFi includes a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB Type A to USB-C cable for connecting to a PC. The chassis is still heavy-duty aluminum, but it has a titanium look to complement the latest iPhone models.

Inside, iFi's in-house development team purpose-built a 16-bit XMOS microcontroller/processor. It's designed to work in harmony with the high-grade Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converter chip for lower latency and faster clock speed. There's also a new low-jitter clock to keep the distortion and jitter as low as possible.

Makes all your digital music sound better

The Burr-Brown DAC chip 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 12.2 MHz. It can even fully decode MQA, meaning it completes all three file "unfolds" required for optimum sound

A note about charging

The hip-dac3 has a built-in rechargeable battery that offers 12 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 charging port. You'll want to ensure it is charged up when you take it out and about.

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Product highlights:

  • Featured in our articles: Best headphone amps for 2024 and Best DACs for 2024
  • battery-powered portable USB DAC with built-in high-performance headphone amp
  • pocket-sized design with aluminum chassis and titanium shadow finish
  • improves sound from your PC, digital music player, iPhone, and/or Android phone
    • USB-C cables included
  • compatible with headphones with 32-600 ohms impedance
Built-in digital-to-analog converter:
  • Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converter chip for high-quality sound
  • supported audio files: up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM; DSD 256 (12.4 MHz)
  • offers full decoding for MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio files
  • 16-core XMOS processor/microcontroller programmed by iFi's development team for optimized sound and perfect cooperation with digital-to-analog converter chip
  • updated GMT (Global Master Timing) femto-precision clock for eliminating jitter
  • Dual USB-C ports on back panel:
    • USB-C input for connecting PC, smartphone, and other mobile devices
    • USB-C charging port
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
  • iEMatch helps reduce noise and "hiss" in high-sensitivity in-ear monitors
  • PowerMatch switchable gain
  • manual power switch/volume control dial with 40dB-0dB attenuation
General info and specs:
  • frequency response: 20-45,000 Hz (-3 dB)
  • USB-C to USB-C cable included
  • USB-A to USB-C cable included
  • rechargeable battery provides up to 12 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: 0.30 lbs.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • MFR # HIPDAC 3

What's in the box:

  • Portable D/A converter (Titanium Shadow)
  • 6.5" USB cable (USB-A on one end and USB-C on other end)
  • 5" USB cable (USB-C on both ends)
  • 5" Lightning-to-USB-C cable
  • 4 Adhesive-backed rubber feet
  • Quick Set-Up
  • After-Sales card
  • Safety & Handling sheet

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More details on the iFi Audio hip-dac3

Mark G.

Features & specs

Design
Type Portable
Built-in Rechargable Battery Yes
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) ---
Max Sampling Rate S/PDIF ---
S/N Ratio (Unbalanced, in dB) 103
S/N Ratio (Balanced, in dB) 109
THD (Unbalanced) 0.1%
THD (Balanced) 0.006%
Supported File Types
PCM Up to 384kHz
DSD DSD 256
DXD DXD 384
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) 2-13/16
Height (inches) 4-1/16
Depth (inches) 0-5/8
Weight 0.29 lbs.
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year
The iFi Audio hip-dac3 replaces these items:

Product Research

Features

Overview: The iFi Audio hip-dac 3 is the third in the series of the popular hip-dac portable DAC/headphone amps. The latest version features a Titanium Shadow aluminum case and two USB-C ports -- one for audio and one for charging. hip-dac 3 is designed to greatly enhance the sound from your smartphone, PC, or Mac by bypassing the built-in DAC and amp. It has an unbalanced 3.5mm headphone output and a balanced 4.4mm output, and is powered by a 12-hour rechargeable battery. Dimensions: Width-2.767", Height-4.032", Depth-0.567"; Weight: 4.76 ounces.

XMOS Chip: The hip-dac 3's 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 4 times the memory (512KB). 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-dac 3 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-dac 3'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-dac 3 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-dac 3 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-dac 3'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, compared 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.

IEMatch: IEMatch optimizes the headphone outputs for high-sensitivity headphones. A switch on the underside of the hip-dac 3 lets you set the IEMatch output. When switched on, IEMatch reduces the output level to match the hip-dac 3's output to sensitive In-Ear Monitors (IEMs). IEMatch reduces hiss, improves dynamic range and detail, and gives you better volume control range. There are separate settings for the 3.5mm output and 4.4mm output, and an Off position.

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-dac 3 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-dac 3 has a USB-C input that can be used for audio playback or charging the internal battery. Short cables are provided for connecting Lightning-equipped iPhones and iPads, USB-C equipped iPhones and iPads, and Android mobile devices, and for your home or office computer. For best results, you should always switch on the power first, before plugging in your device.

Battery: The hip-dac 3 is powered by a built-in 2200mAh Lithium-polymer rechargeable battery. Fully charged, the battery will provide approximately 12 hours of playback time, depending upon the volume or headphone power needs. The battery charges in approximately 3 hours via the included USB cable (A to C or C to C), and using a USB charging device up to 6.3V.

Optional Case: To protect your iFi hip-dac 3 (or previous hip-dac models), you can slip the player into the specially-designed 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

1 question already asked

Q
What makes the lightning to c work that is supplied and not a longer cable that I use to charge my phone with ?
kevin  Feb 08, 2024
1 answer
A
Greetings Kevin. Thank you for your question. Try using an Apple certified cable. I have Apple phones myself, and not all cables by different brands work. If that does not correct the issue, you can check with iFi Audio via support email. support@ifi-audio.com
hogan  Feb 08, 2024 (Staff)

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