iFi Audio Go Bar Kensei
iFi Audio Go Bar Kensei
iFi Audio Go Bar Kensei

iFi Audio Go Bar Kensei: Portable DA converter and headphone amplifier

iFi Audio has announced the Go Bar Kensei, a compact DA converter and headphone amplifier with two outputs that fits in a jacket pocket or handbag. The Go Bar Kensei is the first to have the K2HD technology on board.

iFi Audio’s original Go Bar launched in May 2022. As the name suggests, the Go Bar Kensei has been given a touch of Japanese artistry. Additionally, iFi Audio has partnered with JVC (as part of the JVCKenwood group) to be the first to implement its K2HD technology in the all-new DAC.

The latest version of its K2 Technology called K2HD claims to restore the music to the same quality as the original master. The short explanation is that it aims to recapture the rich, natural harmonics lost during digitization using an advanced processing technique refined by JVC’s sound engineers. By upscaling audio files to 24-bit/192 kHz using carefully crafted parameters and K2HD’s advanced high-frequency expansion, this technique is able to restore those lost overtones to deliver audio quality close to the original master, says iFi Audio ‘s explanation .

For the rest, the Go Bar Kensei does not seem to deviate too much from its predecessor. There is a similar range of four digital filters (Bit-Perfect, GTO, Standard and Minimum Phase). There are also the same XBass+ and The Go Bar Kensei has an improved power supply and therefore the ability to supply up to 477 mWatt of continuous power. There’s also refined ultra-low jitter clocking for a wider soundstage with “more detail and more robust bass to appease the pickiest audiophiles.”

The heart of the DA converter is a 32-bit Cirrus Logic DAC chip and a 16-core XMOS Cortex microcontroller. Furthermore, there is iFi’s own Global Master Timing (GMT) precision clock system as part of the unique ‘digital engine’ that supports 384 kHz as well as DSD256 and MQA. iFi’s ‘S-Balanced’ technology is designed to reduce noise and crosstalk by 50%.

Digital music signal comes in via a USB-C input and analog music signal comes out via two headphone outputs. One is a balanced 4.4 mm jack plug connection and the other is a 3.5 mm connection.

In keeping with the oriental theme, the Kensei is crafted from Japanese stainless steel, apparently inspired by “the craftsmanship of Kensei’s legendary knife.” The iFi Go Bar Kensei comes in a suitably stylish hand-engraved box.

The iFi Audio Go Bar Kensei is now available for a suggested retail price of 449 euros.

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