The iFi GO pod incorporates an elegant and functional design, featuring an aluminum panel on the front of each pod that serves as a touch control interface. Users can interact with these controls by tapping the panel to execute various actions. These actions include playing or pausing audio, skipping tracks forward or backward, answering or rejecting phone calls, and accessing the voice assistant of the connected device. The touch panels are sensitive and it is not challenging to learn the gestures. While I’m generally not a fan of touch controls, it’s the most suitable solution for a device hanging behind the ear. Additionally, I appreciate that iFi has synchronized the hardware and software volume controls, eliminating the need for constant adjustments on the device itself.
The GO pod wearable adapters boast an impressive array of advanced technology features, ensuring a seamless and high-quality wireless audio experience. Equipped with a Qualcomm QCC5144 chipset, the adapters provide stable Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and Snapdragon Sound platform compatibility, which not only enhances the range but also ensures a solid connection, minimizing latency and dropouts. The Snapdragon Sound is only available on select Android devices and Apple users won’t be able to take advantage of it.
The GO pod supports a wide range of high-definition Bluetooth formats such as LDAC, LHDC (HWA), aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, aptX Low Latency, AAC, and SBC. This compatibility ensures that every source device can deliver the highest audio resolution its Bluetooth specification permits. The GO pod also incorporates Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Mirroring technology, which guarantees a seamless true wireless stereo experience by automatically adjusting the receiving pod based on the listener’s position and signal strength. My experience with it has been positive, I’ve been using it with the AptX Adaptive and AAC codecs for the past 2 weeks with my Vision Ears VE7 IEMs and I haven’t had any dropouts or stutters.
Qualcomm introduced Snapdragon Sound technology in 2021 with the Snapdragon 888 chipset and later expanded it to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and 8 Gen 2 chipsets. GO pod supports LDAC and LHDC, but a compatible phone with Snapdragon Sound support is required to achieve wireless transfer rates of 900-990 kbps. I tested the GO pod using my Snapdragon 865 phone running Android 13 and confirmed that this was indeed the case when I forced my device to transmit at 990 kbps through the developer options. My phone automatically detected that the GO pod supports LDAC, but I was unable to achieve a transfer rate higher than 600-660kbps using LDAC during my tests. However, I found the GO pod to be one of the best wireless devices in terms of minimal codec performance differences. On my iPhone 14 PMX running iOS 16.3, the AAC codec performance was very close to Android’s LDAC 660kbps. This is actually great news for iOS users who can’t use the codecs I mentioned earlier. So, if you’re an iOS user thinking about buying a GO pod, you don’t need to worry too much about the codecs.
Furthermore, it is highly advisable for iFi to consider developing a dedicated application for their Bluetooth devices, which would allow users to select their preferred codecs. This would not only enhance overall compatibility but also provide users with greater control and customization. Additional features, such as over-the-air updates and DAC filter switching, could be incorporated into the application. It has come to our attention that an app may already be in development, so it is possible that we will witness the release of such a solution in the near future. For the time being, you may explore the iFi-Gaia app for Android & iOS platforms, although it should be noted that the available options within the app are somewhat limited.
DAC & Amplification
The GO pod utilizes separate components for digital-to-analog conversion and amplification to optimize sound quality. Two Cirrus Logic Master-HIFI chips, one in each pod, perform single-channel 32-bit hi-res conversion, while a jitter-eliminating precision clock ensures low distortion and high dynamic range. The GO pod also features a hardware-based analog volume control and customizable digital interpolation filters.
For amplification, the GO pod delivers a balanced output signal to each connected earpiece, providing low distortion and a silent background for high-sensitivity IEMs. The GO pod now holds the title of the most powerful True Wireless IEM Adapter we’ve reviewed, surpassing FiiO’s UTWS5 with its independent DAC and AMP stages. The GO pod features auto-detection of the connected IEM’s impedance, adjusting power across four settings (16 ohms, 32 ohms, 64 ohms, and 300 ohms) accordingly. Here are the numbers; 16Ω: ≥0.98V/60mW 32Ω: ≥1.96V/120mW 64Ω: ≥2.77V/120mW 300Ω: ≥4.0V/53mW. The GO pod is capable of delivering an impressive amount of power on the go, suitable to use with every IEM on the market.
The iFi Audio GO pod features a good battery life. Each GO pod is equipped with a 180mAh internal battery that provides up to 7 hours of continuous playback on a single charge. In addition to the individual battery life of each pod, the 1500mAh charging case extends the total playing time to up to 35 hours.
The charging case supports Qi wireless charging and USB-C fast charging, offering flexibility in how users recharge the device. The combination of the GO pod’s individual battery life and the charging case ensures that users can enjoy their music without worrying about constantly recharging the device.
During my tests, I force-fed the GO pod with a constant 660kbps bitrate and experienced 6 hours of continuous playback. Given that the total usage time with the charging case is approximately 35 hours, my actual usage time with the forced bitrate reached roughly 30 hours. Despite the slightly reduced battery life, the listening experience remained enjoyable and convenient. 30h on LDAC is not bad at all!
The review continues on Page Three, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.
Page 1: iFi Audio, GO pod, Packaging & Accessories, Design & Build Quality
Page 2: Controls, Technology, DAC & Amplification, Battery Life,
Page 3: Sound & Performance, Technical Capability, Comparison, Last Words
I’m not sure what iFi was thinking with this pricing, $400 is ridiculous no matter how you slice it. I could understand $200 or $250 for what’s on offer here, but when the UTWS5 exists for about a third of the price, any possible value proposition goes straight out the window. No dedicated app is a huge miss, and the first 1000 units only being sold as a package with a set of IEMs is just a strange choice.
I’ll wait for FiiO to release a UTWS7 for $200 with interchangeable ear hooks and the same codec support as the GO Pod.
River of Sound
I checked out iFi’s site and noticed the pricing for the bundles. Almost gave me a heart attack. But then I started researching the iem in each bundle and found that the value proposition varied a bit from iem to iem. Wish I could have found one retailer that carried all of them but this still shows that the bundles from iFi are a decent deal if you are in the market to get a new set of iems (or if you are new to the quality iem world like me). Hope this helps on the price perspective!
Meze Rai Penta from Crutchfield – $1100
iFi bundle with Rai Penta – $1200
…price of iFi Go Pod – $100
64 Audio U4s from Sweetwater – $1100
iFi bundle with U4s – $1300
…price of iFi Go Pod – $200
Symphonium Meteor from Symphonium – $600
iFi bundle with Meteor – $800
…price of iFi Go Pod – $200
Craft Ears Aurum from Zeppelinandco – $2000
iFi bundle with Aurum – $1400
…price of iFi Go Pod – ($600)
I’m curious to hear how the sound quality on this device differs to, say, the iFi GO blu or FiiO BTR7. Seems like a natural comparison as well.
I wonder if, given the size of the box, CIEMs will finally be able to rest inside. Fiio solutions are not working in this regard, I use a UTWS3 which I heavily modded with dremel and milliput but I don’t want to repeat the experience, EVER.
Also, any idea of when Estron T2 connectors are gonna be available?
I found the Aptx Adaptive superior to LDAC with the ifi Go Pod. Used in conjunction with Meze Rai Penta.