iFi GO blu Portable Bluetooth DAC and Headphone Amplifier
GO blu by iFi Audio
Super small. Super light. Super sound.
GO blu is iFi’s most diminutive DAC/headphone amp yet. Plug your wired headphones in, then connect wirelessly to your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other Bluetooth audio source device.
To maximize mobile convenience, the GO blu can pair with your source device via Bluetooth. No more messing around with USB cables and dongles — just connect, and GO!
While GO blu is delightfully small (55x34x13mm, similar in size to a Zippo lighter) and lightweight (26g), it still offers this a performance that is remarkably mighty.
GO blu shines in its convenience, but there’s little compromise when it comes to sound quality.
Traditional wireless headphones or earphones integrate Bluetooth processing, D/A conversion and amplification onto one standard ‘off the shelf’ chip. There’s a ceiling to the sound quality that can be achieved.
Connect a great pair of corded headphones or in-ears with this high-quality portable DAC/headphone amp, and your audio experience can beat wireless headphones or earphones. It’s the best of both worlds, bridging convenience with fidelity.
Most pocket-size Bluetooth DAC/headphone amps incorporate all-in-one ‘system on a chip’ solutions to deliver input processing, digital-to-analogue signal conversion and amplification.
Not the GO blu.
Uniquely, for a device of this type and size, the GO blu’s clever design packs in separate Bluetooth, DAC and amp stages, each engineered in distinct blocks to deliver the ideal combination of cutting-edge specification and superb sound.
The best Bluetooth. And USB, too.
The way iFi implements Bluetooth is anything but ‘run of the mill’ and despite its diminutive size the GO blu is no exception.
GO blu is Bluetooth v5.1-compliant. Making full use of Qualcomm’s latest four-core QCC5100 Bluetooth processing chip, every current high-definition Bluetooth audio format is supported, including aptX Adaptive and aptX HD, LDAC and HWA/LHDC. Other codecs covered include regular aptX and aptX Low Latency, AAC and SBC (the ‘plain vanilla’ Bluetooth codec).
And when you want to go wired, just use the USB-C connection and enjoy High-Res USB audio too, with PCM audio up to 24-bit/96kHz.
The Bluetooth/USB stage feeds the DAC stage, with a Cirrus Logic 32-bit DAC chip at its heart. This is coupled with a customised digital filter to minimise pre-echoes and ringing artefacts, and a precision clock system to ensure ultra-low jitter, thus reducing errors and distortion in the digital audio signal.
The balance of power.
The Go blu amplifier stage benefits from symmetrical twin-mono signal paths and utilises iFi’s Direct Drive design concept. It incorporates circuit components of a quality not commonly found in a device of this kind.
This means ultra-low distortion across the entire signal bandwidth. The sound is purer, clearer and more naturally expressive.
The amp stage delivers up to 5.6V – considerably more power than other similarly sized devices – handling even relatively tough headphone loads with ease. To ensure signal strength suits the sensitivity of the connected headphones or earphones, auto-gain adjusts output up or down by 6dB.
The X-Factor: Sonic Tailoring.
Further sonic tailoring is provided by two user-selectable features familiar to users of other portable headphone amps from iFi.
The first is XBass, a sophisticated form of ‘bass boost’ that enhances low frequencies without muddying the midrange, particularly useful with earphones and open-back headphones that may lack deep bass.
The second is XSpace, a setting designed to compensate for the ‘in-head localisation’ effect that can occur when using headphones to listen to music that was mixed using a pair of speakers, effectively widening the headphone soundstage to deliver a more spacious and speaker-like experience.
Both these optional settings operate entirely in the analogue domain rather than messing with the digital signal via DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and may be switched in or out of the signal path.
Whether you use balanced or non-balanced headphones, you 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 circuitry. 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 and thereby maintain optimum contact quality.
Built to GO.
With its lightweight, soft-touch polymer enclosure (great for Bluetooth reception, unlike signal-blocking metal), copper-coloured trim and watch crown-style control, the GO blu is a pleasure to use wherever you go.
GO blu‘s ChronoDial is a masterpiece of precision engineering and, just like a Chronograph, gives you precise, analogue control. You can use it to adjust volume, play, pause, and skip tracks forward and backwards and even activate the voice assistant on your Bluetooth-connected smart device.
GO blu’s chip-based CMOS-MEMS microphone enables hands-free calls and access to voice assistants such as Apple Siri and Google Assistant.
Battery life up to 8 hours will vary based on use, volume level, and power draw of headphones.
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 to 24-bit/96kHz is supported when the GO blu is connected in this way.
- Advanced Bluetooth module with QCC5100
- Supported codecs include: aptX, aptX HD, aptX LL, aptX Adaptive, LDAC, HWA/LHDC, AAC, SBC
- Hi-res DAC stage with ultra-low jitter and customised digital filter
- Amp stage with twin-mono signal paths and Direct Drive technology ensures ultra-low distortion
- Precision rotary volume control with auto-gain – adjusts output to match your headphones
- Delivers up to 5.6V of power – drives even tough headphone loads with ease
- Two headphone outputs: 4.4mm Pentaconn fully balanced and 3.5mm S-Balanced
- S-Balanced output cuts distortion by 50% with single-ended headphone connections
- XBass and XSpace – tailor sound to suit your headphones and personal sonic taste
- Built-in mic when paired with your smartphone
- Can also be used as a Bluetooth receiver in a speaker-based audio system (via the 3.5mm output) or as a USB DAC/headphone amp (via the USB-C charging port)
- Battery life – approximately eight hours (varies according to volume level and the power demands of the connected headphones/earphones)
Features & Specifications
55 x 34 x 13 mm | 2.2″ x 1.3″ x 0.5”
26g (0.92 oz)
Wireless Bluetooth 5.1 ( AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, aptX LL, LDAC, LHDC/HWA Codec)
Wired USB-C up to 24/96kHz
Balanced 245mW @ 32Ω; 5.6V @ 600Ω
UnBAL 165mW @ 32Ω; 2.8V @ 600Ω
THD + N
Balanced <0.009% (6.5mW/2.0V @ 600Ω)/
UnBAL <0.03% (100mW/1.27V @ 16Ω)
20Hz – 45kHz (-3dB)
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