iFi Go Link Review

iFi Go Link Review

A great DAC dongle is good to have if you like sticking to wired earbuds and IEMs. Chances are it will bring better sound than your smartphone can grant you directly. The brand iFi has made many portable companions to energize your mobile music listening like the Go Bar and Go Blu, and now they’ve added the Go Link. It is a wired dongle that is their most affordable yet at only $59. Let’s see how much it enhanced your typical mobile listening experience.

iFi Go Link items

What You Get

  • Go Link dongle with Type C connector
  • Lightning adapter
  • USB Type A adapter

iFi Go Link headphone jack

Build

The Go Link is one of the smallest devices iFi has released. It’s like a thinner version of the Go Bar shrunk down with an undetectable cable. As an attachment to your smartphone, the Go Link won’t take up any considerable space at all. However, some may dislike the size of the connector holding the type C plug. I can see it not fitting some cases, though the bulky case on my phone fits just right. You’ll only find a 3.5mm headphone jack here, which is fine for a simple dongle such as this.

iFi Go Link lightning adapter

Design

Inside the Go Link is an ESS Sabre Hyperstream DAC chipset that is implemented to significantly reduce jitter and increase the amount of potential dynamic range. It also carries its s-balance configuration that is built to output maximum power to an organized signal flow. In terms of resolution, the Go Link can give you PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz, as well as full MQA support using Tidal.

Sound Impressions

Ifi promises the Go Link to be very powerful for a simple DAC dongle. If you’re mainly using earbuds or IEMs, then the Go Link will go above and beyond with its power. Of course, you don’t need a ton of power to drive most IEMs, but the Go Link brings a new life to their sound. With most IEMs, the output will feel massive, with many sound elements taking on a new shape. The Go Link doesn’t change much about timbre, but it will definitely make the tone feel more whole. There is more bigness to the output, but I don’t think the Go Link is the type of device that will reveal more than initially thought about your IEMs. Even harder-to-drive planar IEMs came through the Go Link with more than plenty of headroom.

The Raptgo Hook X and TinHiFi P2 came blasting out of their nozzles effortlessly. Here I was able to notice the great headroom, as well as the extended size of some sound elements. If you’re using headphones, you find a similar drive to the sound, but instrument size is lessened a bit. Your music will still come out the way it should, but the sonic environment tends to display a more linear appearance. I didn’t mind this output through most closed-back headphones I paired with the GO Link, as the sound signature always felt natural and well-driven.

Summary

For what it is, the Go Link is a neat little device. There are few dongles like this that really scream high fidelity. Normally, you would have to invest in a larger and more expensive DAC/Amp combo to even begin to start hearing a difference. With the Go Link, getting that clean resolution is easy and more affordable than ever before.

ProsĀ  Cons
  • Great imaging for IEMs
  • Clean and accurate representation of sound
  • Lightning adapter for iPhone
  • Small size
  • PriceĀ 
  • Type C connector might be too big for some phone cases

The iFi Go Link is available at Audio46.

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Alex S. is a sound designer and voice-over artist who has worked in film, commercials, and podcasts. He loves horror movies and emo music.