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iFi Audio hip dac 3 – Portable Hi-res DAC and Headphone Amplifier

Since the iFi Audio hip dac was first introduced, it was intended as a particularly compact, powerful and elegant solution for a wide range of customers. In the meantime, the third generation of the portable D/A converter and headphone amplifier, the iFi Audio hip dac 3, has been launched.

Story Highlights
  • The latest generation of this portable D/A converter including headphone amplifier from iFi Audio, the new iFi Audio hip dac 3, should prove to be even more elegant and versatile than before.

From the very beginning, it has been the task of the iFi Audio hip dac to provide an impeccable sound in combination with mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and notebooks. This also applies to the new iFi Audio hip dac 3 and thus to the third generation of this solution, which the specialist iFi Audio is now presenting. It has also been true from the very beginning that it should be a particularly slim, compact and lightweight solution, and all of this naturally also applies to the new iFi Audio hip dac 3.

In addition, iFi Audio, the specialist for solutions in the area of personal audio devices and desktop audio solutions, promises a solution with the new iFi Audio hip dac 3 that is even more elegant and versatile than its predecessors.

iFi Audio hip dac 3 – Even more flexible

It may seem like a minor detail, but it is actually a very welcome innovation in practice, namely that there are now two USB-C ports on the iFi Audio hip dac 3. One of them provides the connection to the source device, the second functions as a power supply and thus also for charging the integrated battery.

The USB-C interface corresponds to USB 3.0, but is downward compatible with USB 2.0. Here, audio data is transmitted in asynchronous mode, whereby a 16-core XMOS processor from the specialist XMOS Technology is responsible for this, so that a particularly accurate signal transmission free of sound-damaging jitter is guaranteed.

The firmware of the XMOS processor has been optimised by the company’s own engineers, as have the Burr-Brown D/A converters from Texas Instruments, which are used in the new iFi Audio hip dac 3 for signal processing in Linear PCM with up to 32 bits and 384 kHz as well as DSD up to and including DSD256. According to the manufacturer, content encoded in MQA can also be fully developed and thus reproduced in the best quality.

Even better sound quality thanks to numerous detail improvements

The iFi Audio hip dac 3 relies on a balanced circuit design that is supposed to allow for a particularly low distortion at a comparatively high output power. This is guaranteed not least by the high-quality components used, whereby special operational amplifiers, a particularly low-noise power supply and an analogue volume control are cited as essential features.

Of course, it should also be mentioned that the new one is supposed to offer an even higher output power; according to the manufacturer, 400 mW are available for headphones with an impedance of 32 ohms. Even with high-impedance headphones, the new iFi Audio hip dac 3 is said to perform well, with an output voltage of 6.3 V at 600 ohms for the balanced output of the iFi Audio hip dac 3. Maximum performance is guaranteed by the so-called iFi Audio S-Balanced Circuit and PowerMatch, the latter of which can be activated via a button. Another switch on the bottom activates the iFi Audio iEMatch Technology, which is recommended for highly sensitive headphone models, especially in-ear headphones.

And to describe this in detail, the said balanced output is in the form of a 4.4 mm Pentaconn, for unbalanced headphones there is a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack.

It should also be mentioned that the new iFi Audio hip dac 3 has XBass as an analogue headphone spatialiser, as the manufacturer himself describes it.

Integrated battery for up to twelve hours of playtime

The iFi Audio hip dac 3 is equipped with a 2,200 mAh battery, which should allow a playing time of up to twelve hours. As already mentioned, this is now charged via a separate USB-C interface. The matching cable is part of the scope of delivery.

The new iFi Audio hip dac 3 is packaged in a particularly elegant-looking aluminium housing, which is now presented in the Titanium Shadow finish.

Prices and availability

The new iFi Audio hip dac 3 should be available in specialist shops within the next few days, according to the manufacturer. The recommended retail price is € 199,-. On request, a suitable transport case is available, which the manufacturer calls iFi Audio Hip-case.

Getting to the point

Very compact, very elegant, that’s how the new iFi Audio hip dac 3 presents itself and thus already the third generation of the portable D/A converter and headphone amplifier, which iFi Audio sees first and foremost as the perfect playing partner for smartphones, tablets, but also for notebooks. Once again, the circuitry has been optimised to offer more sound quality, and practical features such as a second USB-C interface for the power supply alone ensure even more flexible use in everyday life.

Price€ 199,-
ManufacturerIFI AUDIO
DistributionWOD Audio
More about this manufacturer at HiFi BLOG
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.at, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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