>>I am brazilian and I speak portuguese, so forgive my english, I’ll use translator tools to help<<


iFi Audio entering in the world of more accessible dongles with the iFi GO link. The company has always been famous for its DACs and desktop amplifiers, and now it’s going strong to the portability area. First, iFi launched the iFi GO bar, the brand’s top-of-the-line dongle with 3.5mm and 4.4mm outputs, and then came the GO link, a simpler dongle with a 3.5mm output.

Remembering that now iFi has an official store on AliExpress, so it was much easier for us to purchase the company’s products.

Previous reviews: ZEN Air DAC

Official price: $59 USD
Colors: Black

iFi Audio store:






– DAC Chip: ESS ES9219MQ/Q
– Inputs: USB-C
– Outputs: 3.5mm S-Bal
– Frequency response: 10-80kHz(-0.5dB)
– Output power ≥1.5V/70mW @ 32Ω; 2V/14mW @ 300Ω
– THD+N: ≤0.004% (1.27V @ 32Ω)
– DNR: ≥122dB(A) @ 0dBFS
– SNR: ≥125dBA (2.05V)
– Output Impedance: <0.4Ω
– Suports: PCM up to 32-Bit/384kHz; Full Native DSD256; MQA
– OS compatible: Android, iOS, Windows, Apple Mac
– LED: Magenta, Green, Yellow, Cyan, Blue
– Adapters included: USB-C>USB-A, USB-C>Lightning
– Power consumption: No Signal ~0.2W, Max Signal ~1W
– Size: 135 x 12.6 x 7.6 mm (5.3″ x 0.5″ x 0.3”)
– Cable length: 60mm (2.8″)
– Body material: Magnesium alloy
– Net weight: 11g (0.4oz)


– AUNE Jasper
– Shozy Form 1.1
– Questyle M15
– MotoZ3Play
– Dell Inspiron (W10)


Let’s start by talking about my impressions with the GO link in hands. First, to point out that the product only has a 3.5mm output, so this is a simpler dongle, which aims at greater portability (the smaller it is, the more portable it is). The product is extremely light and compact, ideal for solving the lack of headphone output on these latest smartphones. The GO link is the company’s entry level dongle, so they adopted a design that is common to see in this type of product, one part is the USB type C input and the other the 3.5mm output, the two parts are connected by a cable – in the case of the GO link, the cable is fixed (not removable). The dongle is made of metal (magnesium alloy), the surface is very smooth and has no sharp edges.

The dongle is very well built and offers good durability of the materials, the aesthetics are also interesting, but here I open two observations, the first is that – as you can see in the photos – the dongle came with a “Hi-Res” sticker pasted right on the top… could be at least on the bottom of the dongle. And the other is that the strain relief are very different from the usual ones, because they are rigid, normally this part has to be more flexible. In fact, these details haven’t changed anything in the usability of the product, but this may be modified for a next version of the dongle.

The GO link has a RGB LED on the top surface of the product that indicates which sampling rate is being reproduced. The color scheme is: Green (PCM 44.1/48/88.2/96kHz), Yellow (PCM 176.4/192/352.8/384kHz), Cyan (DSD 64/128), Blue (DSD 256), Magenta (MQA renderer V1). If the product is connected but not playing any files, the LED will turn green. The product is very complete in terms of file reproduction, I think it’s always good when the company offers as many features as possible. As you know, I only use 16bit/44.1kHz FLAC files (with VLC Player) and some common streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, YouTube, etc.

S-Balanced connection. iFi has a proprietary technology called S-Balanced that makes the 3.5mm single ended output have the features of a balanced output, which implies less distortion and less crosstalk (channel invasion) in the sound. It’s a normal output, you can connect your 3.5mm (P2) earphones that will work (TRS or TRRS). A more technical explanation of iFi’s S-Balanced system can be found at this link.

Battery consumption. Using the AUNE Jasper, the battery consumption was 9%. The smartphone I used has a 3.000mAh battery. The test was performed during 1 hour of playback with the screen off and WiFi off (airplane mode). The volume was set to level 12 out of the 15 available by Android. Remember that this is a simple test just to get a basis, they aren’t extremely accurate numbers. In my view, the battery consumption was Ok, within normal range.

Heating. During the time that I evaluated the battery consumption, I also evaluated the temperature on the surface of the product to know if it was heating up excessively. So, after 1 hour of use, I found that the body of the dongle was slightly warmed up, but nothing unusual, I think it doesn’t make any significant difference to the point that someone would be bothered.

Firmware Update. After the product launch, iFi released some firmware updates for the GO link. At the time of writing this review, there are already 3 files available for download – version 1.66, 1.69, and 1.80. The firmware update program indicated that my unit’s current version was 1.69, so I updated to version 1.80. Here everything went smoothly, making this update was something very simple and has a tutorial available along with the update files. Even if you aren’t a tech-savvy person, you can do this upgrade. You can find the files to do the firmware update here at this link: https://ifi-audio.com/support/download-hub/

The GO link was immediately recognized as soon as I connected the dongle to my notebook (Plug&Play), that is, I didn’t need to install any drivers for it to be recognized (Windows10). Maybe for you to update the firmware of some iFi product, then you probably need to install the company’s drivers. I installed the driver when I evaluated the iFi ZEN Air DAC, and now with GO link I updated the driver again.

Accessories. Of included accessories, the GO link comes with two adapters, one USB-C to USB-A, and another USB-C to Lightning (Apple). I think it was a positive point that iFi put both types of adapters, so it can contemplate the most common connections. The only thing is that iPhone users will have to use this Lightning adapter, and in my opinion, isn’t much interesting this adapter in the smartphone port, keeps a very extensive part in the Lightning port. In addition to the adapters, the product comes a sticker with the iFi logo.

Of those dongles with only one 3.5mm output – the ones I’ve tested – the iFi GO link has a strong competitor which is the Whizzer DA1. Unfortunately I don’t have the DA1 here anymore to make a side-by-side comparison, my comment is only because of the price and the type of dongle (fixed cable), I remember that the DA1 cost less than $59 dollars and had a volume control directly on the device, so the dispute is very fierce. But of course it’s not up to me to establish values for each product, obviously I live in Brazil and this observation is based on what I experience in the consumer market in my country, here the vast majority of people looking for entry dongles will want to pay always the smallest value. And this paragraph is just about the physical aspects, because as far as I remember, in terms of sound, the iFi GO link manages to be superior to the DA1 (in my opinion).


It must be remembered that this analysis is subjective, based on my experience with the product and also on the synergy with the other equipment I used here. I also already inform you that the more objectivist part of the hobby is not really my beach, so it may be that some information can be limited, I don’t have much knowledge about the technical side of this type of product.

What to say about the audio quality of the iFi GO link? Well, the same as the usual, this is another equipment with great sound quality, it has the iFi Audio quality standard. It’s interesting how such a small product manages to give so much transparency, definition, detail, and sound clarity level, which if not equal, very close to that of other larger and more expensive equipments. During the time I was testing the iFi GO link, I didn’t notice any noise, distortion, strange sound, background hiss, or coloration in the audio. For me, the GO link was faithful to the sound proposed by the recordings. The level of audio equipments today is at a very high level, it’s difficult to find something of inferior quality, because there has been a search for improvement in audio reproduction over the years.

iFi made a modification in the implementation of the DAC (chip) in the GO link, this time they chose not to use the usual Burr-Brown DAC, and put the ESS DAC, model ES9219MQ/Q. In practice, I didn’t notice significant change to say that one DAC is better than the other, both are good, I tested the Burr-Brown on the iFi ZEN Air DAC, and so, we know that the DAC chip is just a part of a whole inside the circuit, the other internal components certainly count much more for the difference in sound than simply the DAC chip (in my opinion). The amplification part, for example, I think it counts a lot more for the differences in the sound between the equipments.

Amplification. This is perhaps the only point of the product that could be criticized, although it wouldn’t be a “criticism” to detract from the product, it’s just an observation that this dongle isn’t an equipment that has huge amplification power, and also it doesn’t have any gain boost feature to be activated. But it’s that thing, the product was intended for a target audience that isn’t necessarily the audiophile community, but for people who are more connected to music in a casual way, iFi itself brings what I said publicly here in this file, so we will hardly find a normal person using a planar magnetic or another earphone that is more difficult to push.

I chose the Shozy Form 1.1 – which is an easy to play IEM – and the AUNE Jasper – which is also easy to play but scales well with more amplification – to do these amplification and volume tests. With the Shozy it went smoothly, the IEM played well, as it doesn’t require a lot of amplification to play properly, so the GO link is a more than ideal dongle for this type of IEM that is easy to play. Now with Jasper, the GO link was able to play, but with a little more difficulty, so much so that I had to increase the volume more for it to reach a satisfactory sound. Regarding the volume levels on each earphone, Shozy ran at 60% on the computer and 9 out of 15 levels on the Android volume scale. Aune Jasper ran with 70-73% volume on the computer and 11 of the 15 levels available on Android. I was able to set the Jasper at maximum volume and the sound didn’t show clipping (distortion), but I did this just to test, I would never listen to music at maximum volume with this dongle, becuase is too loud. Remembering that I don’t have the habit of listening to music at a high volume, I’m more at a medium to low level in terms of “volume”.

As you all know, this is a website exclusively for IEMs, that is, I didn’t do any tests with GO link and headphones, I apologize if anyone would like me to have tested them with this type of earphones. In addition to the IEMs used in the evaluation, I also tested the GO link with other IEMs that I have here at the moment and I can say that the dongle can cover most of the in-ears available on the market. I believe that with headphones that aren’t very demanding, the GO link can also do the job (but that’s my guess, I didn’t do any tests to confirm that statement).

Comparison with the Questyle M15. I imagine that you must be thinking: “it’s not fair to compare a much more expensive product with a more audiophile purpose”, and yes, you are right. The question here is because I don’t have any other dongles of the GO link class to make a side-by-side comparison, I’ve only been using the M15 as my daily equipment, so this is the reference I have here to be able to make a comparative with other equipment.

So, comparing the GO link and the Questyle M15 – both at 3.5mm output – in terms of amplification, the GO link takes a good beating… with the Jasper and the M15 at 45% the sound was already pretty good for me, and already the same IEM and the GO link at 45% the sound is very low, without intensity, shy and discreet sound, without strength. Note that I ran the M15 in “low gain”, that is, with the gain turned off. To reach an equivalent sound I had to turn the GO link to 70% of volume, then the sound really came to life, the sound of the GO link was even warmer than that of the M15. Now, the M15 featured more airy and detailing than the GO link. Yeah, it’s really not very interesting to compare the GO link with the Questyle M15 because the M15 is on a higher level, they are different categories… maybe the right thing would be to compare the M15 with the iFi GO bar (perhaps in the future).

I finish my experiences here with the iFi GO link leaving a message for those people who are looking for an entry level dongle: When I got into the hobby there were no dongles with the quality that this iFi GO link has, I went up in quality in the products according to the advancement of technology… Today it’s already possible to find products like the iFi GO link, so, in my humble opinion, I think it’s better to make a little more investment and go straight to a dongle like this than to spend money every day with these Avani, Abigail, and CX31993 of life (in my understanding).

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