iFi Audio GO Bar & Gold Bar Review

Today we review the $339 iFi Audio GO Bar, and the $499 Gold Bar, portable USB DAC/Amps from the UK.

 

Disclaimer: The iFi Go/Gold Bar units were provided directly by iFi Audio. The review reflects my sincere opinions as always.

About iFi Audio

Belonging to the group AMR (Abbingdon Music Research Group), which is one of the largest audio equipment manufacturers in the UK, iFi Audio is a manufacturer of several DACs and amplifiers, as well as other accessories for computer & home audio.

I reviewed several iFi products before this one, such as the Nano iOne, the Nano iDSD Black Label, the xDSD, and the xCAN. I also reviewed the great iFi ZEN Blue and it entered our Best Wireless Recommendations list

There’s also the NEO iDSD. I still use that one in my house for TV & home audio. The iDSD Signature is also another nice DAC/Amp from iFi Audio. That is also selected as one of the best DAC/Amp combos on our site. I lately reviewed the hip-DAC 2 and that’s also a recommended device, just as the newest xDSD Gryphon, just below:

iFi Audio xDSD Gryphon Review

GO Bar

The GO Bar is iFi’s new answer to the portable USB DAC/Amp market. iFi is once again assertive about its new portable product, and they claim that this is the most powerful portable headphone amp of its size. iFi also claims that this is a premium USB DAC. But there’s a more premium one just below.

iFi utilizes its 16-core XMOS controller and a 32-bit Cirrus Logic DAC. The other tech features are as follows;

  • Ultra-res PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz via USB 
  • Native playback up to DSD256
  • 2x DXD
  • Full MQA decoding

The device has both a 4.4mm balanced and a 3.5mm standard connection.

Gold Bar

iFi unveiled a “premium DAC” with the GO Bar but they also released a special version of it, with the name “Gold” Bar. iFi claims that this is a limited edition DAC and just 1000 pieces are produced. The device celebrates iFi Audio’s 10th year in the industry.

The Gold Bar has a copper chassis and is then plated in gold. It has enhanced power supply filtering, and better shielding thanks to the copper chassis. Otherwise, the features are the same.

Packaging

The new “bars” arrive in very small boxes and in case you’re wondering, the gold version has the same package. It’s a typical iFi unboxing experience with their recyclable materials and it’s easy to unbox as always.

Inside you get a leather carrying case, a USB adapter (Type-C to full-size USB), and two USB cables; Type-C and Apple Lightning. So no worries there for Apple users. The cables are also the same ones that iFi also sells separately as “audiophile OTG”. These are of very high quality so I liked that.

Page 2: Design & Build, Overall Experience, GO Bar Sound
Page 3: Gold Bar Sound, Conclusion
4.5/5 - (110 votes)

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A keen audiophile and hobby photographer, Berkhan is after absolute perfection. Whether it is a full-frame camera or a custom in-ear, his standpoint persists the same. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level as audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews are the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favorite Jazz recordings.

4 Comments

  • Reply August 25, 2022

    Gregory David

    Hmm, you missed a some important volume stuff:

    Volume control and gain
    To increase volume, press the + button, and to decrease it, press the – button. Volume level is briefly displayed on the GO bar while pressing one of the volume buttons, shown by the number of white LEDs on at a time – from none to 6.
    The increase or decrease of volume can be synchronised with the volume of the mobile phone/computer. The connected device will indicate a change of volume on its display if synchronisation is on, and the device’s volume controls can additionally be used to adjust volume. The GO bar’s volume buttons are still operational.
    By default, the synchronisation feature is off. To switch this on or off, press the settings button (5) for > 8s. On is indicated by the 6 white LEDs switching on in sequence from LED 1 and 6 to the centre. Off is indicated by the 6 white LEDs switching off in the opposite direction.
    Turbo Mode increases the gain by 6dB. To switch this on or off, press the + and – volume buttons together for ≥ 2s. Turbo Mode on is indicated by 2 white LEDs increasing to 6 lighting up at the same time for 2s. Normal gain is indicated by 6 white LEDs diminishing to 2 lighting up for 2s.

    • Reply August 25, 2022

      Lieven

      Hi, thank you for mentioning this. We do know about this, but decided to not include it in the review. We can’t cover every single aspect 🙂

  • Reply August 27, 2022

    xtvymrdn

    The goldbar price is closed to the price of used mojo 1st gen in my country, soundwise how is the gold bar compare to mojo 1stG?

    • Reply August 27, 2022

      Berkhan

      Mojo is a cramped-sounding unit with a bit too much mid-bass, and it’s too warm at times. I think Gold Bar is better in terms of a more balanced and wide presentation.

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