iFi Audio Uno Review

iFi Audio Uno Award

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Sound performances

For the purpose of this review, I used the Beyerdynamic DT900 Pro X, the FiiO JD7 and the mighty Meze 109 Pro. All files were streamed from Spotify and Apple Music, in Hi-Res when available,and my own catalog.

Overall signature

A while ago, I read John Darko’s headline regarding the iFi Uno stating how this might be most audiophile “first DAC”. And honestly, I think he’s completely right! For less than $80, you’d not expect the Uno to sound this good, especially as a pure DAC. Okay, It’s not as good as the Go Bar, but definitely not three time worse, even more when paired with a solid headphone like the new Meze 109 Pro. 

And honestly, if I didn’t expect the Uno to confidently drive my headphones with such a light body, in high-gain mode, the small DAC/Amp was able to push some solid lows, even at low/moderate volume. Sure, numbers were promising, but expectations and reality can be two completely different things, especially in this case. 

Fortunately, if not deafening, the small DAC was able to deliver enough punch to push my lovely, BeyerDynamic DT900 Pro X, my all-around headphone. Lows were consistent, even with the lack of xBass, but voices were spotless, and definition level was almost as good as with Go Bar – but that may be the headphone.


Paired with the Meze 109 Pro, the setup felt much more adequate, and the warm signature of the Romanian headphone suited the iFi perfectly well. I mostly listen to electro tracks, and what I’m seeking are fast transients, quick decay, good headroom, and hard-kicking lows. This could even be enhanced by enabling Music Mode, which heightened the high range, but 90% of the time, the default setting was the best option.

Switching to the FiiO JD7, the Power Match came really handy, and even in low-gain mode I never felt like I had to lower the volume more than required when switching from a headphone to an IEM. S-Balanced is cool, and the soundstage came out wide, as expected, but a true balanced signal should give a lot more depth to the sound while enhancing the clarity of the signal – which you don’t get here.

I didn’t encounter any channel imbalance even at low volume and everything sounds even. Paired with the JD7, I only had to turn up the volume knob up to 30-40% and the sound pressure was enough to meet my demand. Even at high volume, the detail retrieval capability of the DAC remained equally good and in the long run, the amp seemed to offer the right balance of fun, and accuracy. 

Again, highs were a bit too brilliant for my taste, but the lows are too damn for – at least in this price range. Again, taking account of the price and size, this is a really compelling DAC/Amp, offering true audiophile performances, for anyone using a low/medium price headphone. The Meze 109 Pro is definitely overkill, but paired with a second-hand 99 Classics, you’ll get an amazing combo for your desktop.


However, where the iFi Uno really shines is when used as a pure DAC, connected to an headphone amp, or a set of powered speakers. Paired with my KEF, the embedded DAC of the speakers was completely overthrown, the iFi retrieving more details and extending the dynamic range by a wide margin.

Combined with the SMSL HO100, another tiny headphone amp, the Uno achieved the same lengths here. Truth be told, I found the DO100 better, especially on the upper range, but the SMSL cannot match iFi’s sound per dollar ratio – and that’s unprecedented. 


The sound signature is mostly linear, but each frequency range got its own flaws and qualities. A quick overview.

Lows: clean and straight. The iFi Uno isn’t a bass monster, but paired with the Meze 99 classics, the device overshadowed almost every priced DAC/AMP in this regard. Still, with no dragging sound nor latency, this is a very potent DAC/Amp and one of the best you can get in this price range. Period!

Test track : Ylang Ylang – FKJ

Mids: flat and clean. Great dynamic range combined with good power reserve makes for an impeccable medium. As expected, it’s mostly grain-less/flawless, and it sounds a lot like the Go Bar, even if voices are slightly less natural. That said, it’s still remarkable and paired with good headphones, it shall suit your needs at every moment.

Test track : Customer is King – Meute

Highs: a bit too bright for me. If everything seems flat most of the time, on some headphone I noticed a slight peak around 6-7kHz. It mostly appeared when I used the FiiO JD7, but no issue occurred with the DT900 Pro X. Used as a pure DAC however, everything was perfect!

Good test track : The Spoils – Massive Attack



Let’s make it short: for the price, the iFi Uno is a very compelling device. Build quality is nice, form-factor is great and the sound is impressive. Top that with a complete I/O thanks to 3.5 + RCA and USB-C, and it can virtually work with everything you own, as a DAC/Amp or a pure DAC

If you’re new to the audiophile game and just want something powerful, affordable, and small enough to drive your desktop headphone, the Uno can be an excellent solution. Its versatility is gold and most of all, it’s almost chi-fi cheap, and pocket tiny so you can fit it almost anywhere on your deck. Big kudos. To our list of Recommended DAC/AMP combos it goes, where we list our Best DAC/AMPs.

4.6/5 - (88 votes)

A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.


  • Reply January 30, 2023


    Would there be any reason not to connect it to an integrated amp using RCA and use it as a DAC for my speakers? The article only talks about headphones and powered speakers.
    Power aside, how does it compare to the Zen DAC 2? Does it improve on sound?

  • Reply March 2, 2023


    Victor, I tried using it as a DAC for the LEPAI LP-2021 TI amplifier I use for my desktop setup, where it powers a pair of B&W 600 series 2 speakers with very nice results. Using the Uno as a DAC works, but with a quirk. First, the RCA output is not line-level but is controlled by the volume control; this is an odd design choice; it would be more convenient to have a fixed level when using the Uno as a DAC, for the reason I give in the second paragraph. Second, if you plug in the headphones in the Uno using the front output, the RCA output is muted; this to me makes sense.
    The combination of these two choices leads to the following problem. Normally, you would keep the volume at maximum when using the Uno as a DAC. So, you need to remember to turn down the volume on the Uno when plugging headphones in (or risk blowing them up). Again, in my opinion, the choice to mute the RCA output when plugging in headphones is fine, but the choice to have the RCA output controlled by the potentiometer is bad. Others may disagree.

    • Reply April 9, 2023


      Agree. It works with a quirk. My uno has its front and rca output working simultaneously.

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