(February 5, 2020) England’s iFi Audio has bolstered its portable lineup with an all-new DAC/headphone amp called “hip-dac.” Small in stature but power-packed with performance, hip-dac is slim enough to fit in a pocket or a small bag, giving owners the ability to take Hi-Fi performance nearly anywhere.
Hip-dac’s deployment is rather simple: connect to any smart device or computer via USB, plug in your favorite headphones, and enjoy the device’s advanced onboard digital to analog conversion capabilities. Power output (400mW nominal, up to 700mW balanced) can be tweaked using iFi’s PowerMatch switchable gain. PowerMatch aligns the level of drive to the load presented by attached headphones, ensuring that larger (more power-hungry) headphones are driven properly. Additionally, hip-dac’s XBass bass boosting feature delivers a clean and robust low-end without bloating or intruding upon mid-range frequencies.
Internally, hip-dac possesses a Burr-Brown digital-to-analog chip found in other popular iFi gear. This particular chip plays nicely with a broad range of audio formats, including PCM, DSD, and MQA, with impressive sample rates up to 384 kHz. Digital distortion is eliminated thanks to clock-locking that preserves the integrity of a digital signal, while the device’s XMOS chip features proprietary firmware for optimized digital processing.
iFi has poured significant improvements into hip-dac’s analog stage. Here, owners will appreciate noise-reducing balanced circuitry and a range of high-quality components, including TDK C0G class 1 ceramic capacitors, a high-end volume pot, and a low-noise Texas Instruments power supply.
Hip-dac is compatible with 3.5mm single-ended headphones and 4.4mm balanced headphones, with connection achieved through two distinct ports. Overall, battery playback time is estimated to be 8-12 hours, primarily governed by volume levels and the type of headphones connected to the player.
Priced at a reasonable $149, hip-dac is available now.