Supercharge Your Headphones With iFi’s New GO Link Portable DAC

This time of year seems to be the ideal time for launching new headphone DACs for people who want top-quality audio when they are on the go. I’ve seen three press releases this week alone heralding these neat little widgets that turn smartphones into hi-fi systems.

The latest DAC/Amp to make it to market comes from iFi. The GO link uses innovative and sophisticated technology that the company claims outstrips other USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapters at an affordable price.

This new headphone dongle can connect to smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs via a USB port. The iFi GO link has two functions; the first is to enable corded headphones and earphones to be used with digital devices that don’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack. The second use is to deliver a significant sonic upgrade to phones and computers thanks to a sophisticated DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) and headphone amplifier circuitry that performs much better than the ones built into most phones and other mobile devices.

The technology sounds good, but the most startling thing about the GO link is its price. At just $59/£59, I think it’s the most affordable DAC/headphone amp iFi has ever made. However, don’t let the low price put you off. This is one sophisticated DAC/Amp.

At one end of the GO link, there’s a USB-C connector for connecting to the host device. At the other end, an enclosure houses the DAC and headphone amp circuitry. Both housings are made of a lightweight magnesium alloy. Connecting the two housings is 6cm of flexible cable, enabling the DAC/Amp to be angled towards the listener and, more importantly, reducing stress on the USB port of the host device.

iFi hasn’t skimped on the quality of the cable, either. The company has used silver-plated copper conductors with individual polymer insulation of each cable in a ‘twisted pair’ configuration. This rotational twist helps to optimize inductance and capacitance…