iFi Audio's new GO blu, a pocket-rocket portable HD DAC/amp, gives you the outstanding quality of wired but with the convenience of wireless. GO blu works with everything from your Apple iWatch, Samsung Galaxy Gear, MacBook, smartphones, and more. Plus, it is entirely wireless via Bluetooth connectivity! As a bonus, it weighs only 26 grams, so just pair … and GO!
Traditional wireless headphones or earphones of any kind ultimately integrate Bluetooth processing, D/A conversion, and amplification into one. With standard “off the shelf” chips, there is a ceiling to the sound quality that can be achieved, unlike when using good corded headphones or in-ear monitors. With separate high-quality portable DAC/headphone amps, the sound quality will beat any pair of wireless headphones or earphones, hands down.
Using the GO blu means that there are no compromises on sound quality because you can plug your corded headphones and IEMs right in! This high quality DAC/amp weighs only 26g, which is less than a AA battery, and it’s so petite that it can slip into your running gear or suit pocket. Plus, it’s also gorgeous enough to show off right on the tables of your favorite coffee shop.
With its lightweight, soft-touch polymer enclosure (great for Bluetooth reception, unlike signal-blocking metal), copper-colored trim, and ChronoDial watch crown-style control, the GO blu is a pleasure to use wherever you go. iFi has even incorporated a high-quality chip-based (CMOS-MEMS) microphone, enabling hands-free calls, voice chat for gaming, and access to voice assistants such as Apple, Siri, and Google Assistant. Further flexibility is provided by the USB-C charging port, which doubles as an audio input, enabling USB connection from source devices that don’t offer Bluetooth connectivity. Hi-res PCM audio data up to24-bit/96kHz is supported when the GO blu is connected in this way.
Bluetooth. DAC. Amplifier.
Most pocket-sized Bluetooth DAC/headphone amps incorporate all-in-one “system on a chip” solutions to deliver input processing, digital-to-analog signal conversion, and amplification. These are simple and cost-effective, but they cannot compare with expertly designed and individually optimized circuit stages, especially when it comes to sound quality. Uniquely for a device of this type and size, the GO blu’s clever design packs in separate Bluetooth + DAC + amp stages, each engineered in distinct blocks to deliver the ideal combination of cutting-edge specification and superb sound. Others just don't have this level of execution.
The Bluetooth stage makes full use of Qualcomm’s latest four-core QCC5100 Bluetooth chip and supports every current high definition format. This then feeds the DAC stage with a Cirrus Logic 32-bit DAC chip at its heart. This is coupled with a customized digital filter to minimize pre-echoes and ringing artifacts, alongside a precision clock system which ensures ultra-low jitter. This reduces errors and distortion in the digital audio signal. All the current high-definition Bluetooth audio formats are supported – Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive and aptX HD, Sony’s LDAC and HWA’s LHDC, regular aptX and aptX Low Latency, AAC (Apple iOS devices) and SBC (the “plain vanilla” Bluetooth codec). Of the 24-bit-capable codecs, aptX Adaptive and aptX HD support up to 48kHz, while LDAC and LHDC reach 96kHz. iFi’s “Bluetooth engine” can also be updated over-the-air, so future codecs may be added.
The amp circuitry benefits from symmetrical twin-mono signal paths, utilizing iFi’s Direct Drive design concept, which is direct-coupled to ensure a clean signal path without distortion-inducing output coupling capacitors. The amp stage delivers up to 5.6V (twice the voltage of others) and has considerably more power than other similarly sized devices. It’s excellent at handling even relatively tough headphone loads with ease. To ensure that the signal strength suits the sensitivity of the connected headphones or earphones, auto-gain adjusts output up or down by 6dB.
GO blu‘s ChronoDial is a masterpiece of precision engineering and, just like a Chronograph, it gives you precise, analog volume control. You can use it to play, pause, and skip tracks forward and backwards. You can even activate the voice assistant on your Bluetooth-connected smart device. Here’s how it’s constructed:
Whether you use balanced or non-balanced headphones, you’ll get the least noise and best channel separation for the most enjoyable music. The GO blu boasts a Pentaconn 4.4mm output, enabling headphones equipped with balanced connectivity to take full advantage of the GO blu’s balanced amp design. In addition, the 3.5mm output benefits from iFi’s proprietary S-Balanced circuits. This cuts crosstalk and related distortion in half. When used with regular, single-ended headphone connections, this is especially beneficial with high-sensitivity in-ear monitors. Both outputs are gold-plated to resist tarnishing, thereby, maintaining optimum contact quality.
With XBass to add back lost low-end grunt, and XSpace to widen the soundstage, the GO blu is small on the outside but mighty on the inside. You will be immersed in its majestic musicality. Even phone calls are “clear Voice capture”, using Qualcomm’s ANC technology. Everything is clear, crisp, and with no annoying echo. The X-factor doesn’t stop with the sound, however. The GO blu has a watch crown-style control and is made with hi-tech components. It weighs in at a super feather light 26grams or 0.06lbs. It will be your “go-to” music device.
• iFi GO blu portable bluetooth DAC/Amp
• Cloth Carrying Bag
• Female USB-A to USB-C charging/data cable
• User-manual and 12 month warrantyInput / Output
• Wireless Connections: Bluetooth 5.1 ( AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX HD,aptX Adaptive, aptX LL, LDAC, LHDC/HWA Codec)
• High-Speed USB-C (up to 24/96))
• Balanced Pentaconn 4.4mm & S-Bal (SE) 3.5mmCompatible Operating Systems
• Android via USB OTG Cable with iOS & Mac via Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter
• Windows via USB
• Power Output (Balanced/SE): 245mW @ 32Ω; 5.6v @ 600Ω / 165mW @ 32Ω; 2.8v @ 600Ω
• Output Impedance: < 1Ω
• SNR (Balanced/SE): 111dB(A) @ 0dBFS / 116.5dB(A) @ 0dBFS
• DNR (Balanced/SE): >120dB
• THD+N (Balanced/SE): <0.009% @ (6.5mW/2.0v@600Ω) / <0.03% @ (100mW/1.27v@16Ω)
• Battery: Lithium-polymer 450mAh approx. ~10hours
• Power System: Charging via USB-C, BC V1.2 compliant up to 1000mA charging current and 6.3 volts
• Dimensions: 2.1"(L) x 1.3"(W) x .5"(H)
• Weight: 26g