iFi GO blu Review

My personal set of on the go DAC/amps rotate between the iFi hip dac, Lotoo PAW S1 and on occasion, the newer AUNE BU2. The Aune BU2 gets probably the most use since it’s bluetooth and for the most part I almost always use bluetooth when I’m constantly on the move. I’ll always hardwire my portable DAC/amp when I settle in at say a family member's house or after I get to a hotel after a flight. The new iFi GO blu caught my attention for being a small portable DAC/amp that seemed perfect for my use and would still allow me to either plug in via USB or at least hold me over till I got one of my travel DAC/amps out to plug into my laptop or iPad. The GO blu is using a Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC and Qualcomm's QCC5110 Bluetooth chipset.

Looks and Feel

The GO blu is super small. I knew it would be smaller but I was extremely surprised when I held it in my hand. My Volvo key fob is bigger than the Go blu side by side haha. The unit has a nice soft touch matte finish and it has a little metal(not sure if real) accent which looks good. The real winner in terms of looks comes from the volume wheel. It’s a clicky wheel and it feels great rotating. This is the first iFi product that didn’t terrify me since the volume wheel has just the right amount of resistance. I experienced zero issues with random volume adjustment when it was in a pocket and on the move.

Accessories and unboxing

We get a standard iFi box, basic user guide, tidal setup guide,the unit, USB-C to USB-A cable and finally a little carrying bag. The basics are included and that’s totally fine since this is meant to be used wirelessly. 


These final impressions were done off the GO blu connected to my Apple devices via Bluetooth. This will be what the GO blu sounded like with all the headphones I used. Things like headphone pairings or going wired will produce different results and impressions vs what my ears hear on my specific gear.

The little GO blu is a powerhouse. The bass sounds super dynamic, the mids have a nice crisp sound to them and the treble has fairly good detail retrieval. The bass hits a little harder but doesn’t quite give me the standard iFi warmth I’m used to from their other products. This is probably due to the use of a different DAC over the normal Burr Brown stuff they use. The mids have a nice accurate sound all the way through those frequencies. Vocals always sound clear and details in the voices are about average. The treble is where I was most surprised. I figured the GO blu might have either a warm treble or a hard time with detail retrieval for how tiny and for its price. It was quite the opposite in fact. When compared to some of the other portables I use, the GO blu was close to the top when it came to pulling in details for the detail heavy IEMs and headphones I tested with. Treble has a nice airyness that I don’t get with some of the other portables either. Is it as good as something like a $400-$600 DAC amp? I don’t think so but I can’t carry those with me like I can the GO blu. I’m super happy with the GO blu’s performance and I haven’t even started talking about their hardware EQ stuff yet.


Speaking of Hardware EQ! The GO blu gets both of iFi’s bass boost and their soundstage booster. The XBass is a nice and tasteful bass boost that adds a nice amount of sub bass boost to give some headphones that lack in the impact departments a little extra energy down low. I’ve heard many bass boosts and iFi still manages to be one of the best out there. The XSpace is always different with each of their devices. I’ve yet to hear two devices that have the same sounding XSpace. The GO blu’s use of XSpace is less of a soundstage enhancer and more of a treble boost from my testing. Which for the most part works out well. I don’t really have a collection of dark sounding headphones so I didn’t get much use out of XSpace but I will say it adds a decent treble boost that might give some top end energy to headphones and IEMs that may need it.


The soundstage and imaging tend to be headphone specific but DAC/amps can add a little extra on occasion. The Go blu has about average staging width and depth wise. More of an accurate presentation and lets the headphones and IEMs do their thing. The imaging was totally fine too which I expect from source gear.

Bluetooth/Wired connectivity

So most of my testing was done via AAC Bluetooth from my iPhone or iPad. I won’t get into the whole bluetooth vs wired debate but I was super happy with the bluetooth performance and range for the AAC codec was awesome. I never had issues when walking away from my room and it lost connection about the same distance as my Sony TWS. I ran the GO blu wired into my Windows 10 desktop that has my main audio gear and through my Windows 11 Asus gaming laptop. I had zero issues from the Windows 10 desktop but I had a strange issue with Windows 11 that had an issue with volume that resulted in the GO blu having so much volume that half my IEMs couldn’t be used on the lowest volume. I blame Windows 11 for this issue but I did do a firmware update to the GO blu that had come out a month prior and that solved the issue. Now onto said wired connection. I do believe the GO blu sounded even better via being wired but it was just minor improvements and a little more noticeable stage increase. I had no issues with Bluetooth and plan to run the GO blu wireless unless I don’t have any other more powerful DAC/amps to use when I settle in somewhere.

Personal grips with the GO blu?

I honestly have no real issues with the GO blu. I do have three small nitpick issues but these won’t be a big deal at all for most people. First would be the hiss out of the 4.4mm Pentaconn connector. This has always been an issue for iFi on their devices. I’ll give the GO blu a pass since the trade off is that it has a higher volume output which means I managed to power bigger headphones like the Meze Elite and Audeze LCD-5 to high volumes just fine via balanced. I would have liked to see them include a low/high gain to allow sensitive IEMs to have less hiss. The hiss isn’t terrible and it doesn’t bother me once music plays. The second thing would be that they don’t include any type of case with a clip on it. This is the perfect device that could make use of that type of case and I feel like it was a missed opportunity. I put the GO blu in the change pocket thing on my jeans and that’s probably how I would use it even if it did come with a clip case though. Last little thing would be firmware updating. It’s a weird app that has to be done via Android. Luckily my finance had an old android device I could use but I would like to see a way to update via Windows at the very least down the road.

IEM pairing opinions

Moondrop Aria

The Aria still remains my favorite sub $100 IEMs and it pairs really well with the GO blu. The Aria maintains its fantastic “all rounder” qualities but it seems to benefit from both the xBASS and xSPACE features. The xBASS boost takes the Aria from “pretty good bass” to a much deeper bass texture with more impact. The way iFi does the hardware bass boost means there was no bleed into the mids which was fantastic. xSPACE added just a bit more top end energy which added that nice “perceived detail”. Using both features at the same time gives the Aria a bit more energy and was probably one of the better IEMs I used with the GO blu.

Moondrop Variations

Coming in a little over double the price of the GO blu is the Moondrop Variations. This is one of my favorite IEMs and the Go blu does well to keep everything sounding smooth and wonderful. I couldn’t tell a real difference from desktop to this when using the Variations. Bass stays strong, the mids are still smooth and the treble was well maintained and pulled in some decent detail when paired with the GO blu.

Kinera Nanna Pro

The Nanna is probably one of the best “Vocal” oriented IEMs I’ve had a chance to hear recently. When paired with the GO blu, it keeps a wonderful focus on the vocals but the bass can feel a little weak at times. I’ve noticed this IEM is fairly power hungry and the GO blu does good at keeping it sounding great. I fixed what I felt was a lack of bass with the xBASS turned on. It was just the right amount of added subbass to give the Nanna back the oomph I get from the desktop amp I use with it. I would say using this combo is perfectly fine.

DAC/Amp comparison

Aune BU2

The BU2 is better at detail retrieval and I personally like ESS DACs for that extra sharpness which is very much noticeable on the BU2. The BU2 also has a nice dynamic bass and crystal clear mids. The big differences here will be the size and unit outputs. The GO blu has a more powerful 3.5mm output and the BU2 has just a little extra power out of the 2.5mm jack. That will be the main reason I recommend the GO blu over the BU2. While I like the overall detail retrieval from the BU2, I think 2.5mm is mostly dead and I prefer my units to use 4.4mm Pentaconn these days. Plus size is a big thing IMO. The GO blu is easy to take around. The BU2 is about the size of some smaller smartphones so it takes up more space.

iFi hip dac

The GO blu is simply better than the hip dac is almost every way to me. The hip dac has more power output from both the single ended and balanced jacks but the GO blu has alot more features. The GO blu uses USB-C for charging and data connection instead of the male USB-A output that the hip dac uses. The GO blu has Bluetooth which makes it a much better portable unit. Finally we have the “iFi” features. The hip dac uses only xBASS and the GO blu has both xBASS and xSPACE. The hip dac does sound a little brighter to my ears from testing but they both do detail retrieval from the headphones I tested about the same. For the purpose of being a portable transport, I think the GO blu is a better unit overall.

Overall thoughts

The iFi GO blu has been a real treat and I plan to personally pick one up after doing the review for it. I was extremely impressed with what the little DAC/amp was able to do and it sounds great wireless as well. I highly recommend the iFi GO blu for anyone looking for a little portable DAC/amp to use either on the go or away from the desktop. I’m happy to see iFi come out with brand new original products and look forward to checking out their Gryphon soon! Thanks for reading