Families always get larger, don’t they? iFi audio’s family just grew with a newborn portable/mobile DAC-amp, the all-new iFi hip dac. This diminutive device offers lots of power in a very compact form factor which also innovates on the design of iFi products.
There’s a lot happening right now in the DAC and amp space, especially in the portable segment. With smartphones losing the headphones jack due to greed and ill-advised choices, audio manufacturers are taking the opportunity to expand their line-ups with products that can fill the gap. iFi has had a portable line-up for years now: I’ve tried the iFi nano iDSD Black Label which had the same design as iFi’s desktop products, and the iFi xDSD and iFi xCAN which are part of the new “x” family.
The iFi hip dac is entirely new even in its packaging, as it comes in a much smaller box than all previous iFi products I’ve tried. Inside are very short cables – one USB to USB-C, one USB-C to female USB and a USB to female USB.
The hip dac itself is very small, like Topping NX4 DSD small, and despite this it is able to output 400 mW of power. It’s also cerulean, which is quite an unusual choice, but one that fits well with the copper details. It offers both a 3.5 mm jack and a balanced 4.4 mm jack for outputs. There are also two buttons: one for “PowerMatch”, which is a fancy name for gain, and the other for XBass, which boosts bass volume. It seems to be quite well put together, with good-quality materials (the shell is made of aluminium).
It seems like this could be the start of a new line of products. Stay tuned for the full review in the coming days – it will be online before the official launch on February 15th!