Both priced at 60 bucks, the FiiO KA1 and iFi Go Link are two competing DAC dongle options for your phone. They have both received applause from the audiophile community for being great performers for the price. But what are their differences in sound, and which dongle shows better skill? Let’s find out in this FiiO KA1 vs iFi GO link Review.
In the Box
iFi GO Link
|FiiO KA1 DAC Dongle||iFi GO Link DAC Dongle|
|USB-A Adapter||USB-A Adapter|
These FiiO KA1 and iFi GO Link are almost identical in the their size. Both are tiny, but the iFi GO Link has a slightly longer cable than the KA1. The KA1 sports a ES9281 PRO DAC, while the GO Link employs Sabre’s ES9219MQ/Q. Both dongles support PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD up to DSD256 and MQA. While the KA1 is available for iPhone (Lightning) or Android (USB-C), the GO Link gives you a choice of both in one box. In addition, both the KA1 and the GO Link provide a USB adapter should you choose to hook it up to your computer.
The FiiO KA1 presents an edgier more lively sound than the iFi GO Link. Snares, for example, have harder impact on the KA1 than the more rounded sound of the GO Link . And The Go Link reveals a warmer feel than the more neutral KA1, while bass and low-mid frequencies are meatier as well. And since the GO Link is slightly warmer and fleshier, it’s unsurprising that the FiiO KA1 outperforms the GO Link when with respect to separation. Guitar strums in the lower-mids, for example have more definition on the KA1. Listening to strings, however, the KA1 presents smoother instrument, conveying a little less grip than the GO Link. Finally, the soundstage on the GO Link feels slightly wider with a little more depth, but they come close in performance in terms spaciousness.
At the end of the day, the choice becomes more a matter of taste than it does skill. If you prefer a more neutral, harder hitting sound, then the FiiO KA1 should be your choice. On the other hand, it you like a warmer, more full bodied sound that’s easy on the ears, the GO Link would be the better choice.
You can find both DAC dongles at Audio 46.