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iFi Audio hip dac2 – Portable Hi-res Audio DAC and Headphone Amplifier

With the iFi Audio hip dac2, a particularly slim, lightweight solution is available for appealing music enjoyment on the go. Our hip-dac just got hipper, says iFi Audio, the specialist for personal audio devices.

The new iFi Audio hip dac2, a portable D/A converter with integrated headphone amplifier whose primary task, according to iFi Audio, is to elicit better sound from mobile devices such as smartphones, but also tablets and notebooks, is refreshingly different.

The new iFi Audio hip dac2 thus replaces the previous iFi Audio hip-dac, whose form factor it adopts, but now presents itself with significantly improved features and also a little more colourful.

iFi Audio hip dac2 – Colourful, powerful and crisper

The new iFi Audio hip dac2 is first and foremost a very flat solution, measuring no more than 102 x 70 x 14 mm and weighing a mere 125 g. The elegant aluminium housing is now anodised in orange, making it much more colourful than the previous version. The elegant aluminium housing is now anodised in orange and thus much more colourful than the previous version.

The front side forms an attractive contrast in discreet anthracite, and here you will also find the controls, first and foremost a rotary encoder, as well as the connections for the headphones on one side, and a USB-A and USB-C port on the other.

USB Interface with XMOS Technology

The new iFi Audio hip dac2 relies on an XMOS 16 core processor for optimal signal processing, whereby the already mentioned USB-A interface corresponds to USB 3.0 and is therefore also compatible with USB 2.0. The USB-C interface, also mentioned above, is surprisingly only used for charging the integrated battery.

Outstanding D/A converter

The heart of the new iFi Audio hip dac2, however, is a converter from the specialist Texas Instruments, namely a Burr-Brown DAC that allows signal processing of linear PCM signals with up to 32 bits and 384 kHz, as well as DSD including DSD256. Signals encoded in lossy MQA can also be processed, which is particularly interesting for all those who want to access streaming services such as TIDAL while on the move. In this context, the manufacturer explicitly points out that the new iFi Audio hip dac2 not only uses an MQA renderer, but actually an MQA decoder. This is indicated, like all other operating states of the iFi Audio hip dac2, with the help of a status LED.

The improved crystal clock eliminates jitter by using the iFi Audio GMT Femto Precision Clocking System. This maintains the integrity of the digital signal until it is converted to analogue, improving sound quality.

Balanced output stage

Once again, the output stage of the new iFi Audio hip dac2 is designed to provide both an unbalanced 3.5mm stereo mini-jack via iFi Audio S-Balanced circuitry, and a balanced connection option in the form of a 4.4mm PENTACONN.

With the balanced connection option, the portable D/A converter and headphone amplifier delivers 280 mW at 32 ohms and 3.2 V, while the balanced connection provides 400 mW at 32 ohms and 6.3 V. The amplifier stage is switchable and has a 4.4 mm PENTACONN.

The amplifier stage has a switchable gain, which the company calls iFi Audio PowerMatch and which adjusts the level of the gain to the load of the headphones by optimising the input sensitivity and thus the signal strength. For highly sensitive headphones, the lower setting is to be selected, whereas models that are somewhat “more difficult” to operate are also optimally driven with correspondingly higher amplification.

iFi Audio XBass is another user-selectable feature, which the manufacturer refers to as a sophisticated form of bass enhancement that boosts low frequencies without diluting the midrange, which is especially useful for earphones and open headphones that lack deep bass. The function works entirely in the analogue domain and not with the digital signal via DSP.

  • Foto © iFi Audio | iFi Audio hip dac2
  • Foto © iFi Audio | iFi Audio hip dac2
  • Foto © iFi Audio | iFi Audio hip dac2
  • Foto © iFi Audio | iFi Audio hip dac2
  • Foto © iFi Audio | iFi Audio hip dac2
  • Foto © iFi Audio | iFi Audio hip dac2

Long battery life

The integrated battery of the new iFi Audio hip dac2 is designed as a 2,200 mA lithium-polymer battery, which should allow a playing time of up to eight hours.

As already mentioned, it is charged via USB-C, and the corresponding cable is included in the scope of delivery, as well as a USB cable for connecting to a source device and a matching transport case. The new iFi Audio hip dac2 should be available in specialist shops these days. The recommended retail price is € 189,-.

Getting to the point

The new iFi Audio hip dac2 is refreshingly colourful, with the bright orange colour perfectly matching its name. But also on the inside, the new iFi Audio portable D/A converter with headphone amplifier comes up with detail improvements compared to its predecessor.

Price€ 189,-
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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