iFi audio GO link

General Information

The missing link​

The GO link is the missing link in your listening experience.
Firstly, it will enable corded headphones and earphones to connect to digital devices that don’t have a 3.5mm headphone output.
Secondly, even if your device does have a headphone socket, the GO link delivers a big sonic upgrade. This is because its sophisticated DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter) and headphone amp circuitry are superior to the audio tech contained within smart devices and computers.
Go forward with GO link.

Latest reviews


100+ Head-Fier
iFi Go Link Review
Pros: Musical and Organic Sound, Solid Metal Build, Great Pricing, Generous Accessoris
Cons: Lack of Resolution, Average Technicalities, Independent Volume Control (Nitpicking)
iFi GO LINK: The Only Link You Need?

Introduction: -

Today at Aural Cafe we are reviewing the iFi Go-Link Dongle DAC and Headphone Amplifier. This is our second interaction for reviewing iFi Audio Products. iFi Audio is a subsidiary of Abbingdon Music Research (AMR) which is one of the UK's largest manufacturers of high-end audio products such as Amplifiers, Active Buffer/Preamplifiers, DACs, and USB filters. Founded in 2000, AMR is based in London, United Kingdom. It is a subsidiary of the Abbingdon Global Group.

iFi Audio is one of the most respected brands in the audiophile world with hi-fi products across different prices and product categories with one aim- to improve music enjoyment. Founded in 2012 iFi oversee the design, development, and manufacture of more than 50 products from their headquarters in Southport, UK. iFi products and their packaging are made from recyclable materials, including Aluminium, Paper and Recycled plastics. They have entered the world of dongles with the iFi GO link, a simpler dongle with a 3.5mm output.

iFi Go-Link is competitively priced at US$ 59 only.


Specifications: -

  • Input: USB-C
  • Formats Supported: DSD256 / PCM32Bit-384kHz / MQA.
  • DAC Used: ESS ES9219MQ/Q
  • Headphone Outputs: 3.5mm S-Bal.
  • Power Output: 1.5V/70mW @ 32Ω; 2V/14mW @ 300Ω
  • SNR: <125dB(A) @ 0dBFS
  • DNR: <122dB(A)
  • THD + N: <0.004% (1.27V @ 32Ω)
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz - 80kHz (±0.5dB)
  • Power Consumption: <0.2W idle, 1W max
  • Dimensions: 135x12.6x7.6 mm, 11g
Disclaimer: -

The iFi audio Go-Link is a review unit that was sent to us directly by iFi Audio for free. This review reflects our unbiased opinion as always.

Packaging & Accessories: -

The iFi Go-Link comes in a small-sized box with the DAC/Amp and all the accessories. The unboxing experience is very simple. Taking out from the outer box, we have the manuals and quick guides. Along with we found the DAC/Amp in a paper assembly. The Type-C cable is non-removable. The package comes with a USB Type-C to Lightning male adopter, and it also contains a USB Type-C to Type-A male adopter. All come under the price tag of just US$ 59.



Build & Design: -

iFi Go-Link features a small-sized and compact build. The DAC features a full Magnesium Alloy enclosure for the reason the DAC/Amp feels very robust and premium in hands. The housing is made up of top-notch machining quality. The cable attached to it is also very sturdy and premium. However, we are getting two different types of adopters inside the package. Those are also very high quality in machining. We are getting a tiny but bright enough notification LED on the front side of the dongle, that changes color to Magenta, Green, Yellow, Cyan, and Blue according to the decoding formats. A permanent Hi-Res logo some might find offensive. But an independent volume control would be nice to have.


Sound Analysis: -

Since this is our second interaction for review and, we have used multiple iFi products before, we understand the house sound of iFi. They have maintained that here as well. As usual, it is another device with great sound quality. They have chosen the ESS ES9219MQ/Q DAC chip instead of Burr-Brown which we usually see in iFi products. But this time they tried to emulate the Burr-Brown sound in this tiny dongle, and they were quite successful in it. We have tried the Go Link with multiple sets of IEMs, which it doesn’t seem to have had any issue driving. However, we are not claiming that it could drive demanding Full-Sized Headphones also. The sound is thick, the mid-bass hits hard. The trebles are smooth yet do not lose much detail. It may not be the cleanest sounding dongle but it’s very musical and organic in tonality. The soundstage is decent and more open when we compare it to the other similar-priced dongles. The sound presentation is unique with a well-balanced warm and organic sound. The cable is made up of silver-plated copper conductors separately insulated with Polymer in a twisted pair configuration resulting in a clean and noise-free background. When it comes to pairing it will pair well with neutral IEMs

However, we would not mind if there were more amount of resolution present. We at Aural Cafe would like to add that the detail retrieval capability of the dongle is just average, and we would love to hear a more refined sound with better technicalities.


Conclusion: -

At Aural Café, we are impressed with the well-thought-out design idea of Go-Link. It is not just a dongle DAC/Amp but a high-quality piece of audio device at such a price. It is a lightweight and sturdy dongle with organic sound. We believe that it will hold its ground strongly in its super competitive product category. If you listen to your music casually and are starting to explore the hobby while at home and in the office through your mobile phones and laptops and want to elevate your audiophile game then Go-Link would be the right choice as it excels in achieving pitch-black background, smooth and enjoyable audio experience without breaking your bank. It also brings on board a decent amount of clean power for mostly IEMs. If anyone is willing to purchase, it is available for purchase globally and locally through the various websites (Non-Affiliated link is given below).
- https://www.headphonezone.in/products/ifi-audio-go-link
- https://www.amazon.com/iFi-link-Amplifier-Gold-plated-Hi-Resolution/dp/B0BN6MM822
iFi audio
iFi audio
Thanks for the thoughts and review here! Appreciated!



Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Smooth as butter, with enough power to drive full-size headphones or IEMs
Never gets more than a hair above room temperature........ever
Smallest Dongle in existence
GMT (Global Master Timing) femto-precision clock
TDK C0G (Class 1 ceramic) capacitors
All music formats played from MP3 to DSD256, PCM384 and DXD384
muRata control-type, low-ESR high-Q multi-layer capacitors
ESS Technology’s Sabre HiFi series – the ES9219MQ/Q

PCM to 32-bit/384kHz
DSD to 11.2MHz (DSD256)

Polymer cable insulation to reduce electromagnetic interference
Signature ifi tonality in a small form factor and for a budget price
Gorgeous sounding with both bright IEMs or warm IEMs
Cons: USB TypeC not removable
Full-size headphones get loud enough but don't have all the dampening power of some other Dongles
DSC_1766.jpegone two three .jpeg


GO link

This was the easiest review to write so far this year. I mean somehow everything just seemed to flow and come together to actualize this whole write up? Seriously I’m not sure why this was so easy…….accept you know when things go too smoothly you get a little paranoid that something is left out, or that there is a blaring mistake somewhere……..You even end-up double checking yourself to almost add to the work load, or subdue your feelings of “did I just do this whole review….that easy?” Yep, it’s kinda like that at times, when stuff just falls together.

Like when there are old friends in town, yet they didn’t tell you they were on their way over to your house. You know those last minute phone calls that make you rush into a panic.
What do we do now, at such a last minute notice? How will we even feed them? Wait, they're old, old friends and they will be happy with anything. Heck, we can even feed them bar-food and they will be ecstatic and all smiles. But wait, do we have any bar-food here? Then you look in the freezer, and low and behold you have a few bags of those nuggets. Beef, Chicken and another bag of Cheese something whatevers. Then you start to get inspired. This is going to be fun, easy going fun. Wait……..what else do we have on offer here? As it turns out we just bought 4 different styles of barbecue sauce? Wait this is totally working-out well, it all must be meant to be……..sure we are meant to have fun here. Then you find a few of those fast-food condiment packages and a case of beer. When they get here the beer will be ice-cold, the trays of this party food are actually going to show well. We will tell them we don’t eat like this every day, of course they know that. So we pop this stuff into the toaster oven (at least the first wave) and away we go to get dressed………..


The ifi GO link
Redcarmoose Labs April 7th, 2024

You see, fun doesn’t have to be too complicated. Fun can even be low cost. This whole gig…..this experience we are living through is about music, and old relationships we have. It’s also about knowing what steps to take, and knowing ourselves. Yet it is also about living in the moment…..this very moment.

Sure there has been an incredible legacy of Dongles. And in contrast to what you might think, the Dongle didn’t start with the Lighting connector in 2016. But in reality Dongles have been around since 1998. Still they didn’t hit the mainstream until the iPhone 7 eliminated the headphone jack. I mean for many this was the start of Dongle Madness only none-of-us knew it yet.

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You can make jokes, you can get mad, you can even not give a schiit. The past is gone and it is now what it is. There are Dongles in every shape and size, every price point and every flavor of features. You have a choice. But ifi thinks this ifi GO link offers a very special way to go.

Ifi have been around the block a few times. I have always seen ifi around, you know if you are browsing Head-Fi you really can’t miss them. Belonging to the group AMR (Abbingdon Music Research Group) one of the largest if not the largest audio manufacturer in the UK, ifi has made a notch here at Head-fi. Endlessly imaginative they have created one-of-a-kind products like the xDSD, the Nano iOne, the Nano iDSD Black Label, the ifi Blue and most recently the ifi iDSD Diablo II. Yet this style of GO link Dongle also has a sprinkle of their ideas as to tone. It is also purposely simplified and miniaturized to try and go face-to-face with the Apple Dongle. Sure there are differences and if you are reading this review there may be a good chance that you are curious if there will be a sound improvement from the Apple Dongle you are currently using.

Let me just say there is a difference, but as far as differences go it starts relatively little and just like rabbits crawling out from behind the trees in the woods, you start to totally realize just how different the two are.

I start off most reviews by not reading any other reviews about a product I am focused on. I simply don’t want any opinions to seep in between my ears and pollute my thinking, I have beers for that maneuver. What I do is simply pull whatever device I’m learning about out, and use it just like a regular Head-fi member would do. Also I won’t go hog wild as far as equipment goes, right off. I will start small with a product like this and work my way up. You see I’m curious to find out how the sound is with YouTube videos and $150.00 IEMs first. For one because that may be the exact usage scenario in use for some. Let’s face it, not everyone wants to be out of the house with $400.00 to $1000.00 rigs in their hands. Plus remember my story about the food for my unexpected guests? At times we are looking at functionality combined with sonic qualities. I mean, I never leave my house with my DAPs, they are just too big and bulky, no matter how good they sound, plus out and about at times I can’t even focus all the way on their sound quality.

Later in my testing trajectory I will start to gravitate towards more expensive headphones and IEMs as a way to find-out where the sonic limits are inside of a new device. Or if it is just the (better) IEMs, I will then walk my way up the ladder ending with a reference desk-top scenario. This is to grasp what the limits are and understand the scalability present………plus it’s fun. Yep, being surprised at what lower cost equipment does in relation to sound quality is something I am always curious about.

The very first thing I did was combine the GO link with my iPod Touch, playing regular YouTube videos. This is actually what I always use as a system, only because I’m lazy, and it is incredibly convenient. Where I get the YouTube videos off music review blogs that I’m reading, and (as many of you know) even 30 seconds of a new band playback material will go to somehow show what the whole album and even the whole band is about. Funny how that is. So I’m using this system because it is hand held, plus I can move around and do other stuff I’m doing…….call it ADD/Multi-tasking. Anyway here I have the GO link attached to the Lighting connector plugged into the Touch and have the Thieaudio 3.5mm cable that came with my Hype 2 product. The IEMs I am using is the TINHIFI “Mars” the T5S. Such an IEM is both warm and forgiving of any source. In use here the $129.99 T5S seems to work well, yet I’m on the ground floor of this skyscraper…….yep. I want to find out how I can improve matters. So I go and play the same song again, only I switched to the Noble Audio Encore K-10 universal…………I told you I’m curious here, but I also didn’t disclose that I’m of an impatient nature. Sure the details became unfolded and, sure there was a better experience from the iPod,YouTube, GO link combination. Yet I wanted to see where this would go………so I switched to the MacBook Air. Yep, same YouTube song, only now I’m using the MacBook Air as a digital source to the GO link to the Thieaudio cable, to the Noble Audio Encore K-10 universal. And you know what, there were way different results……….and I don’t have an answer as to why, but it was more clear, and a bigger stage. There was actual polish to the instruments and even a blacker background to view better pace occurring? I simply don’t know why. But then I got the idea to go ahead and play a different band in HiRez, and start with that band's YouTube video. So I played the video and listened, then using the MacBook Air I kicked into 192kHz playback using the software Colibri 2.0.2 (1362). And guess what? Now I was witnessing the full monty. Yep, now this singer-songwriter stuff opened-up to showcase beautiful guitars, forward nice vocals and overall a fully natural sound.

I have come to know the ifi sound recently and if I could I will try and describe it. My descriptions of the ifi tone may change a little from place to place in time, as truly I only started to get to know what sonics ifi was on-to in late February of 2024. So my first introduction was the $329.00 GO bar. And sure the GO bar is more, more of everything sound wise. Bigger stage, a deeper pond to look down into to visualize bass and pace embellishments. A more real midrange that creates denser more vivid vocals with added detail and reverberations……yep the full monty. But……but the three ifi products I have tried have all shown exactly that they were made by the same company. And that makes sense, doesn’t it. A company dials in a house sound, then figures out a way to parley it into a whole bunch of price-points and new products. The thing is the moment I put the ifi GO link to use, the first thing I noticed was this buttery smoothness……and that it reminded me instantly of the GO bar, and the GO blu.

Each device (all three) move forward to proclaim a detail that comes from resolution, not brightness, like some manufactures are into. So in practical use you can join the ifi products with wickedly dark signatures and still pull out details and immersion. This has happened when someone was asking me for advice to try the GO bar with an overly smooth and dark IEM. Normally we try to equalize that IEM by at least finding a mid-forward product to kind-of find synergy. But the ifi products seem to be designed to walk this very particular line, to where they are still smooth, yet hold this fantastic detail, even with darker IEMs somehow? The end results you ask? Musicality and relative neutral (whatever that means) with a warmer deep-end and a smooth non-glaring top-end. As such, this results in a passionate information dense midrange that hold imaging well into the stage up and down, right to left and front to back. Also it was noted that each and every product did share a slightly different sound stage. If I was to rate them……..it would be.


My list of sound quality best to worse, from left to right GO bar, GO blu and GO link.

GO bar $329.00
GO blu Type C USB $199.00
GO link $59.00
GO blu Bluetooth $199.00

So the GO link won out over the $199.00 GO blu in Bluetooth mode, but was bettered by the GO blu in wired mode.


IEM tests:
In this section I simply pull out IEMs I like and go to town. Here I’m using the MacBook Air, the GO link and Thieaudio cable in 3.5mm, plus Hires music.


The TINHIFI Mars T5S Universal IEM:
Here the song is full-on sounding groovy. He he, I sound like this was my very first review to be written. Can’t you come-up with a more sophisticated terminology for us………..OK. Deep, the sound is deep like? What? You need to go back to school and use better words here, you sound like a 5th grader. Ok, sorry……the sound is full. You see these expressions of the experience are singularly what a review is about, we are looking into a pond of imaginative sound………….and that water can be shallow, or it can take on dimension. The dimension is the essence of the experience because we are not affording full-size speakers…….no. This is all an illusion, and in fact the speakers are also an illusion, only often they are a more convincing illusion. Many try to figure out the ingredients for the illusion to start to take place………it is not always instantaneous. No, at times it takes your brain extra time to buy in……to buy in that this is supposed to be a reenactment of a live event, even though any trace of that live event was gone the moment the electro-magnetic energy hit the tape. That there is nothing left but to try and piece together a proximity of what used to be real.


Robert Miles

44.1 kHz - 16bit
So here’s the thing, this song Children totally works with the Mars T5S and GO link. There is a moody and even holistic tone to the combo, to where it has these faint reverberations, that if you know and understand this Robert Miles song, the reverberations are key. Try to imagine it for a second without the decay, without the effects. Different from acoustic instruments, electronic instruments need a body and a soul to give them life. Otherwise we are listening to a video game OST…….no not a new video game OST, one from 1983. The fact is that the T5S is not the most expensive IEM on the block, in fact it is only $129.99. But they named it “Mars” probably because it is supposed to be warm like the planet Mars? Yet also naming an IEM after a planet name connotes size. And sure enough it is the stage size with the ifi GO link that is providing my ears with (added to Mars) that kind-a fills out the imaging with this song. That it is in-fact more spacious than the Apple Dongle, and more real than the $199.00 Go blu in Bluetooth mode. Now the results of this imaging is that we can follow a synthesizer backing lead and it does its own thing. The listening imaginations find an area into the stage positioning, and place that track in the song……….and it never moves as long as the song progresses......itemized into the stage! The simple results of this are a spectacle, an imaginary space, that is not real, but is perceived to be real, therefore exists as real as anything. And this one element is my favorite part of the ifi sound, that there is a warmth that I can add to warm IEMs, and the results are not too warm or boring. In fact they are quite the opposite. For all the cost added up to gain this simple set-up, and for all the results obtained, I think we are not doing too shabby. The fact that I’m even writing this much (nonsense) shows that we have gone somewhere, away from the sterile Apple Dongle choice, away from the factory sound card implemented inside the Apple MacBook Air, too a slightly more cozy venue, a place to call home for long jaunts of time, and a place to call our very own.

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The Penon 10th Anniversary Universal IEM:
Oh, man……my favorite Penon to date. Really unless there was something upstream that was drastically wrong, like an out of phase amplifier or cable hook-ups……I would almost never aim to change a thing here with playback. This is one of the super powers that the 10th Anniversary brings to the table, it goes with every style of music and plays that style from any source. And when I wrote my 10th review the 10th was highly regarded as a $499.00 value, yet there were still more people to hop-on the party boat.

Yep……as time went on after my review the followers came and started to get a grip on just what style of tone was going down. Then it happened, actually it snow balled into the limelight with more folks spouting-off just like me, that the 10th ruled. And the rest is (as they say) HISTORY. 2BAs x 2DDs x 2ESTs……..and those ESTs aren’t just for looks. This is an IEM phenomenon, and still hasn’t been topped by the new Penon IEMs in my humble opinion. So because the 10th is such a lay down as far as easy going, do you think it is still good as a test subject today?

:) Well it is, because a good thing is always a good thing……….

Finding the bass a little more dramatic compared to the $300 more expensive Volt to follow on this page. But it is the mids and the treble that are so rewarding here. That I can listen to this all day long, and while it is not a audio microscope like the Noble K-10 Encore to follow in a few……….that is not what is attempted here…..no this is a musical instrument.

One that parlays the soul of the song, one that opens the door to imagination and intrigue. Are those words too big to use here? I don’t know, I wish you could hear what I’m hearing right now, and see the small tear flow out of my left eye socket.

OK, OK I know I’m too much, but even if you tone down this crazy emotion going on, the playback is dead-on gorgeous………just perfect. And the word perfect is almost never used, you can believe me or not, I don’t care. In audiophile circles they simply call this playback synergy…..for no better word known. And truly if you have a laptop and $499.00 + $59.00 you are in, you can tell me about your experiences later. Sure maybe it is not something magical, that is is something that can be explained, you know, like a dish of food where everything came together, not my bar food, but a real meal, where the ingredients were chosen and came together to create synergy, but I’m guessing, if you will allow me to guess, that is is in fact the bass that is full-scale and romantically creating a swagger to follow…………a bounce and groove……that’s all.


The Penon Volt Universal IEM:
Super easy to drive, where I find myself below 1/4 volume here.I mean sure if you want to blow-out your eardrums the reserves are there, where I took the Volts out of my ears just to kind-a hear just how loud they would get at full-volume. Now of course with the MDR-Z1R I could approach full-volume status…….and lucky such power reserves were there. Anyway………


Robert Miles

44.1 kHz - 16bit
What a beautiful way to spend the afternoon. I mean here we are rewarded with so many of the hallmark features of this number. Showcasing balance and careful tuning of both the Volt and GO link. I could see myself anywhere fascinated by this song. At 00:00 the faux thunder takes the intro…….yet right away the multi tracked synth bass and ambient introductions like the sound of rain, birds chirping, and all are washed in a moving Doppler effect. This was made in 1996 and can almost be guaranteed to be MIDI trigger controlled.

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“Four studies illustrate a new auditory illusion associated with the Doppler effect and demonstrate a new influence of dynamic intensity change on perceived pitch. Experiment 1 confirmed the existence of a popular belief that the pitch of a moving sound source rises as the source approaches. Because there is no corresponding rise in frequency, the authors refer to the perceived pitch rise as the Doppler illusion. Experiment 2 confirmed that the effect occurs perceptually, so the belief in a "naive principle" of physics has a perceptual basis. Experiment 3 confirmed the effect does not occur under matched static conditions. Experiment 4 showed that the influence of dynamic intensity change on perceived pitch occurs outside the realm of Doppler stimuli. The findings support a dynamic dimensional interaction of pitch and loudness, with marked differences in the perception of pitch and loudness under static and dynamic conditions. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2024 APA, all rights reserved)”

Doppler effect in physics is defined as the increase (or decrease) in the frequency of sound, light, or other waves as the source and observer move towards (or away from) each other. Waves emitted by a source traveling towards an observer get compressed.

They understand about 95% of what the Doppler is. But we can create in the studio and process most anything with this effect. Supposedly the Doppler effect even substantiates the Universe is expanding.

Back to the GO link and Dreamland:

Anyways……the song itself “Children” was the very first mainstream introduction of the EDM sub-genre of “Dream” as such this sub-genre was prevalent in the mid 1990s and was popular holding very specific traits which separated it from the other EDM at the time. Mainly these songs were dreamy or at least held that style of atmosphere. As heard the actual beat doesn’t arrive till 00:21 quite the intro for a total song length of 07:06………but that wasn’t enough intro at the time, having DJs often extend the intro for even up to 30 minutes…….making the music even more dreamy. What concerns us is the tone. At the very start of the keyboards we hear layers, this is because the MIDI channel was replicated and supplied the exact same note trigger to a few different instruments. As such the tracks were made by each synthesizer being given its very own mixing board channel and panned accordingly. In fact hearing this song in 1996 this technique was just as endearing as today. At 00:15 we are able to still become charmed by this, and reason being we are up-close and personal via the Volt replay. It can not be underestimated how the GO link goes along to provide correct and better than correct tone here. This is warm, there are reverberations and beyond that this bass note never really goes away…….meaning it’s not a note and a decay, but like an organ key press, it is on-going and sways in and out of oscillation. This effect of lingering bass notes may be part of the charm. Of course these details are secondary to the main piano theme which starts up at 00:43……..and will carry us almost all the way home. Yet just before that this simple previously mentioned bass sequence is only 3 notes, but that’s the magic of simplicity in music. And while these 3 notes will eventually leave us to be forgotten, or better yet distracted from……..we can’t help but find amusement here. That at the very end of 00:36 there is a faint but forward slight sample that holds a wonderful right-to-left reverberation.

And that’s the magic of Robert Miles that this stuff is a lot like using a faint brush-stroke in art to finalize a reflection. That it is the small stuff that is where the magic happens. And the GO link in all of its diminished form factor..............actually produces an adequate stage filled with images and fall-offs. Yet most importantly the GO link is focused on the ifi tone, just another example of finding a window to look through into your music.

While there is no such thing as the perfect IEM, the Penon Volt goes ahead to narrow any ideas of imperfection. Being very mid-range centric, the Volt goes forward with an easy to access tone, fully accessorized from the 4 Sonion EST drivers, 2 Sonion midrange BAs. As such the 10mm bass kicker supplies a careful and provocative rhythm to a song like this, and for the $799.00 price of admission, it should. In fact this Dreamland is a place I never want to leave………..this whole album is a treat and the very reason we are involved with this hobby.


The Noble Audio K10 Encore Universal IEM:
I should mention this now as somewhere someone wrote that the GO link gets warm, and it does nothing of the sort. I don’t care how many hours it is in service, it only rises just above room temperature. Either people writing such nonsense were powering it (wrong or) different, or simply making stuff up as they go along? Here the Encore in notorious for exploiting information inside the 6kHz to 8kHz region. And sure the Encore is old, but it is also unique to me and my most listened to IEM racking-up over 3000 hours of ear-time. Using the same song “Children” we are viewing excessive yet wonderful (almost hidden) examples of the music production art. The head-stage here is giant, almost like a halo of images. There are the same ambient effects from before, only now we are inside the fishbowl of them. And of hyper focus they swim into and out of view, holding extra levels of detail because we tweaked the treble and made the bass neutral, adding an almost flat midrange to kind-of open the drapes to this new musical experience.

I mean of the birds chirping here, we can now almost identify the name of the bird. Oh and the 00:36 sample, I’m about 80% sure it is also a bird sound, like a crow sound. Scary details here.

Yep, when that intro melody is played after the bass……..you know the piano theme which starts at 00:43, well that single sound pushed into focus, not to mention it is the loudest and most prominent musical factor now………but it is smooth and not strident or too hot, just on the border, but totally acceptable. And that my friends is the ifi tone in action, because I have heard this song played back in a few way since 2018 when I got these Encore IEMs………..and some are slightly too bright, or glaring or something…..but no, not here no, not ever. It simply sounds correct, and the most crazy part of todays testing is I often come to the Encore thinking that I’m going to have to deal with some off timbre, just because when you throw 10 BAs a side into activation, there should be at least a little…………but no, not here, not ever? Great timbre, and I have to wonder if that is from the ifi signature house sound tone?



Simple phone use:
So this photo shows again what the back of the GO link looks like, we will go over build in a few. But here with the size, I can almost figure a person placing the GO link sideways at the bottom of the back of the phone, to not have the band block the front screen. Yep, that is how creative you can be when the form factor is at this size. Though here is a demonstration of phone use and a comparative quality of the GO bar and GO link. Just remember from this description that the GO blu finds itself somewhere in-between the GO Bar and Go link two in wired mode, and the GO blu is the least of the sound quality when in Bluetooth.

Yet compared to a regular Apple Dongle, the results with this GO link are truly incredible. I mean sure, maybe this is going to be the main usage scenario for most? Where they will find themselves maybe outside or in a coffee shop and pull the GO link out and plug it into their phone with headphones or IEMs. What happens here is we review so much stuff, and we judge sonics on looks or price-point. This particular set-up, with the GO link, the phone and the TINHIFI Mars T5S IEM is nothing short of a miracle. Why? Well at times we forget that this set-up is in many ways just like a DAP. And in-use if this combo was all someone had, both for home or mobile……..they would be fine.


Hans Zimmer
Inception OST
Old Souls

44.1 - 16bit
I mean, really this was a surprise, and remember I’m combining a semi-neutral warm IEM, with a semi-neutral Dongle……….but none of that tone talk even matters at this stage in the review. I’m zoning-in on bigness and stage. I’m zoning-in on completeness and simply the top-to-bottom, the left-to-right and forward-and-back…….yep it is all here.

A Mars T5S morning listen:
I mean the crazy thing is this is also the first listen (of anything) for the day. But this sounds like my ears were just cleaned? The deepness, the naturalness, the fall-off to the way outside of the stage. And to be honest, my choice of IEM, the Mars, was somewhat random as I was simply trying to fill a price point here, and had no idea of the synergy I was about to walk into. This one instance is a crazy mile and a half from the Apple Dongle. And I have to stop myself…….because this style of replay gets my narrative fingers going to work, and I could ramble on and on for at least another paragraph, but you get the point, beautifully correct mixing a warm IEM with the ifi house sound……I am smitten here? So what about the GO bar?

The GO bar:
Really changing Dongles is that easy, as 123. I only pushed play after switching the set-up. Yet before I leave this section I want to say this style of playback has me question the TINHIFI naming of Mars for the T5S…….that they named it due to the warmth, or even named it due to the actual 3D imaging size of the playback constituents……the size of the notes and fact that they live in this total realm of front-to-back and side-to-side, right-to left? That combined with the deepness and physicality (and size) of the warm bass tones here, it is just so very good. Though (speaking of warmth) take note the GO bar gets warm and the GO link does not….almost not at all.


GO bar:
Here the notes have more air around them. Yes, the stage is larger, but in no way the results you would think by looking at the price differences here. Yes, stuff is slightly more forward and back. But due to both GOs having a field day parlaying the exact same sound signature, we are in the same location of town, yep much is the same. And the best part is that both are completely correct with these IEMs. The way you feel the physicality of the bass, the stage reach, the size of the avenue we are in…..10/10 in both usage scenarios here.

Though there is this funny thing about “Old Souls” where the instruments somehow breathe and can offer this phenomena when no sound (near) is playing and that zero sound is slightly holding more air with the GO bar.


Here we are placing this section and the end of the GO bar section for a reason. Yes, the bar has more oomph for full-size. Though if this review has inspired you to give the GO link a try (and I don’t see why not?) and you only use full-size 1/2 the time I can still recommend the GO link. What happens here is it is not about loudness. Maximizing the output on the GO link will get you (I'm guessing) plenty of volume, but there is dampening factor that more powerful amps do. As such this dampening will affect both the imaging and (especially) pace found due to low-end tightness. Where in my tests. With the TINHIFI Mars T5S there was none of that dampening needed so in that regard both devices performed the same. But with full-size........it really depends on how much this factor bugs you, and of course your budget. But NOOB’s actually tend to mentally not even notice this, they believe that since the Dongle powered a full-size headphone, well that it is simply the quality of the amp. In fact if you have never heard tight pace from your full-size headphones........you are not even looking for it and accept what you are given. This is (the NOOB) has never being exposed to correct pace and dampening with full-size transducers.

Because control over the diaphragm, and more power engulfing more finite diaphragm movements…………..the start and stop physical character will also allow for better transients to be accomplished. Due to transients being fully dependent on the reaction timing of the driver. As such transients are responsible for imaging. Yep, get faster control over the driver stop and start and find yourself engulfed in clearer imaging with tighter edges. So understanding this, helps a person become informed as to how the two products (GO bar and GO link) vary as to results, and the importance of power. The GO bar Maximum Output Level: 4.4 mm Balanced Headphone: 7.2 V (600-Ohm Load) 3.5 mm Headphone: 3.8 V (600-Ohm Load)The Go link delivers an output power of 70mW into 32 ohms and a maximum output voltage of 2.05V into 600 ohms.

Note the different File decoding from the GO link, GO bar and GO blu:
Go link below with MacBook Air with Colibri 2.0.2 Native Lossless Audio
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GO bar below MacBook Air with Colibri 2.0.2 Native Lossless Audio

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GO blu below MacBook Air with Colibri 2.0.2 Native Lossless Audio

Screen Shot 2024-04-01 at 2.43.45 PM.png

Go link build:
Normally it would be cause for concern having a non-replaceable cable like the GO link sports. And sure that would be convenient to be able to switch cables if something happened. It is just that the Go link is way smaller than you can imagine, and this size is one of our greatest features. A TypeC receiver built into the GO link would make the GO link an entirely larger size in width, maybe by a third?

So ifi decided (maybe) that this particular device had both audio quality and form factor as its main features.

In fact I normally just leave it connected to the IEMs I use it with, and the size allows the GO link to almost become part of the cable. While weighing only 10 grams, just the IEM cable often weighs more, plus like a section of cable, the GO bar has no buttons to push or sliders to slide, the very embodiment of simplicity. Being formed from 1 single piece of 100% aluminum, really the GO link is a piece of art. Simpler and smarter in design than the GO bar or GO blu, only because they didn’t have to pack so much stuff inside. This results in a more moisture proof and dust proof design…….simpler in the end.


What’s not so simple is how ifi figured out to use silver-plated copper conductors with individual polymer cable insulation to reduce electromagnetic interference picked up from nearby electrical sources.

The single LED changes color to indicate file formats.
  • PCM to 32-bit/384kHz
  • DSD to 11.2MHz (DSD256)
  • MQA
An LED changes color to indicate the incoming audio format – PCM, DSD or MQA – and the PCM/DSD sample rate.

1) Hi-Res True Native® playback of all music formats from MP3 to DSD256, PCM384 and DXD384.

2) GMT (Global Master Timing) femto-precision clock and intelligent memory buffer.

3) Discrete ESS Sabre Hyperstream DAC chipset with time domain jitter eliminator, discrete oscillator and 112dB dynamic range for discerning listeners.

4) iFi’s proprietary technology extends the Dynamic Range by 6 dB or more, for an improved listening experience.

5) iFi’s exclusive S-Balanced® circuit delivers maximum performance from single-ended and balanced headphones alike.

6) TDK C0G (Class 1 ceramic) capacitors offer high stability and low losses for resonant circuit applications.

7) muRata control-type, low-ESR high-Q multi-layer capacitors. The ‘ESR control’ aspect of the Murata is something special.

8) The very center of this sonic pixy dust happens at the core of the unit. Yep, the chip-set. ESS Technology’s Sabre HiFi series – the ES9219MQ/Q – benefiting from 32-bit HyperStream III architecture. As such added is the Quad DAC+ and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator technology with crystal oscillators in the clocking circuitry and DRE (Dynamic Range Enhancement). What comes out the Chip-set's other end is simply better THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) and the ES9219MQ/Q’s control of crosstalk.

Screen Shot 2024-04-07 at 8.16.43 AM.jpeg
Screen Shot 2024-04-07 at 8.16.46 AM.jpeg


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DSC_1765.jpegone two.jpegthree.jpeg

The Head-Fi meet:
As such it is both the choice of chip-set and the chip-sets implementation along with the surrounding set-up, which brings about such advanced sonics described in this review. If you were at a Head-Fi meet-up and wanted to have some fun, blind-folding a friend then having him hear your new full-size DAP would end in smiles all around. Yep, just the look on his face after you removed the blind-fold to reveal this miniature device hooked up to your phone, yet using technology to leapfrog previously held attitudes of what a Dongle can do. I mean probably just due to the buttery smoothness and tone, but the ifi GO link jumps ahead of pretty much all my dongles. Maybe I’m a sucker for the ifi sound, maybe the ifi products are simply more my sound? After experiencing this review my only cause-for-concern would be if I saw someone judging the GO link purely on seeing the price, size and simplicity. You really need to hear this to believe it!!


DSC_1773.jpeg124 copy.jpeg

Well, there you have it, your own Solid-state Amplifier and Digital to Analogue Converter. On my humble kitchen scale it weighs all of 10 grams. I kinda at this point have to do a reality check. That we are in the year 2024, and devices like this are proliferating. Sure there are a lot to choose from, and I will be the very first to say, I’m no expert in the Dongle field. Yet I own a few devices and I know what I like, meaning I know what sound I like, and so far I’m coming to realize every Dongle does sound different. Yet all the ifi products have a total basic familiarity. In fact when I first opened the ifi GO link box and put it into service, right then a faint smile started to surface on my face. It was there because I knew (right at that first moment) that this little Dongle was related and had enough of that sonic pixie dust in it to sound like its brothers, the GO bar and GO blu. When doing these reviews I may sound like I’m exaggerating a lot, but that is just me, I love this style of micro-audio gear. But most importantly I realize during the whole review process that this single $59.00 purchase may be someone's most expensive audio purchase for six months. So with that honor bestowed upon me, I don’t take it lightly to simply bluff my way through a review, I am not joking here. This product is worth every cent as far as my viewpoint goes, it is well built, well designed and well accessorized for what it is. And truly I don’t see how anyone could end-up disappointed in any way from this purchase. You have my word.



I want to thank Lawrence at ifi for the GO link review sample.

These are one person's ideas and concepts, your results may vary.

Equipment Used:
Sony WM1A Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 3.5mm
Sony WM1Z Walkman DAP MrWalkman Firmware 3.5mm
HiBy R3 II DAP in 4.4mm balanced and 3.1 TypeC USB digital output and 3.5mm analogue output
Samsung Phone 3.5mm analogue output, USB TypeC USB digital output
Apple MacBook Air USB TypeA digital output and 3.5mm analogue output
Apple iPod Touch Lighting digital output, and 3.5mm analogue output
Apple Dongle

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Yep, same YouTube song, only now I’m using the MacBook Air as a digital source to the GO link to the Thieaudio cable, to the Noble Audio Encore K-10 universal. And you know what, there were way different results……….and I don’t have an answer as to why, but it was more clear, and a bigger stage.

The USB C of laptop tends to output more current than the lightning port of ipod touch and iPhone. Some of my dongles refuse to work with iPhone, sound quieter, or simply sound a bit worse than from USB C. This might be the cause of your observation.
I realize that, and what’s wild is switching to the regular 44.1 kHz - 16 bit files from an old Samsung phone was miles better, as good to me as only a small percentage difference from even DAPs. So maybe it was the YouTube quality, probably the YouTube quality and Apple Touch power? But yes, USB power MacBook vs USB power from IPod. :)

Moris Renar

The smallest dac-amp from iFi
Pros: iFi house sound in a tiny dongle form.
Very small and Lightweight.
Big slamming bass is just fun to listen.
Wide Soundstage.
inclusion of an ios adapter.
Cons: Non-removable cable.
Unrefined Treble. Can be harsh and peaky sometimes.
Very weak technicals. Not very resolving.
Gets very hot.

Disclaimer: I purchased this with my own money. I have no affiliation with any vendor websites or iFi themselves.​

The iFi go link is the tiniest little dongle I've had in a while. It can be a great travel partner. If you don't like carrying heavier stuff or your bigger dongles with you. It is made with on-the "Go" use in mind mostly.

Packaging: iFi go link comes with everything to get you started. The Dongle, USB A to C adapter, and even a Lightning adapter surprisingly.

Build: Quite nice. The dongle body itself is constructed well. I like the deep green finish. The 3.5mm was tight out of the box but it got easier to plug in and out over time. The non-removable cable is a con.

Setting up: Plug n play with Android phones. With iPhones, the lightning adapter worked well albeit the adapter gets concerningly hot.
On Windows, no drivers are required by default but you can install them from iFi's website which allows a finer volume control (Also required for firmware updates).

Sound: The iFi Go Link has a very meaty/hefty sound without being too mushy or low res. The lows and the mids are pretty flavorful. So don't expect a neutral sound. It is a slight V shape in nature.

The bass is very slammy. It reaches deep. Bassheads will be satisfied. But the texture isn't great. There isn't much bass definition. It's kinda wooly and slow. With Iems and headphones that are already warm, it can make them borderline boomy. So you have to be mindful of the pairing.

The midrange is slightly pushed back. Still has good body and warmth. Both male and female vocals sound thick with enough weight to them.

Treble is a mixed bag. While it does have good extension, it isn't very well polished. The peaky nature comes through with busier tracks when listening through more resolving iems. It can get harsh oftentimes. Especially with brighter sounding iems.

Technicals: This is where it falls short big time. It gets a 5/10 in resolution and 4/10 in resolving capability. It just isn't any more revolving than an apple dongle. While being 5 times the price. Speed, LoD, dynamics, separation, and detail retrieval aren't that great. It is just average. One exception is the Soundstage. It is admirably wide for a dongle this size.

Conclusion: At 60$ it is decent for what it does. Small lightweight portable dongle that you can take anywhere with you. While i do like the tonality, This isn't a dongle i would use for a long period of time or for serious listening. If you're traveling and want convenience go for it. But if you are strictly looking for better sound, there are other options.

Firmware changes: I've seen a few people talking about how different firmwares sounded different. I can confirm there are in fact sound changes between different firmware versions. At the time of writing this, i tested it with 3 different versions: 1.66, 1.69 and 1.80.

1.66 Most airy, slightly less bass. More treble
1.69 Most bassy of all. Mids pushed further behind. darker treble.
1.80 Controlled bass, Mids aren't pushed back. Slightly less soundstage.

These are all that i could find. If there are more changes i'll make sure to post them.
Have any advice for better sounding DAC/AMPs in a similar category to this? Apple dongle doesn't have enough volume for my headphones.
Moris Renar
Moris Renar
@Robgo There's the Xduuo Link2Bal which i like a lot. It comes in a slightly higher price but has a removable cable.
My Go Link stopped working after 3 months. The cable was damaged internally even with careful use. So i no longer recommend fixed cable dongles.
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Erratic Gravy

500+ Head-Fier
HELP - My Go -link has suddenly decided not to pair with my i phone ? been working great and still works on Mac book pro and a borrowed Windows PC -- any ideas peolple ?? :triportsad::triportsad: - BTW I don't have access to Windows pc for firmware updates only Mac !!


100+ Head-Fier
I want to share the schematics to convert from an iem with 4.4 mm plug to a 3.5 trrs to use with the ifi go link s-balanced.
Please can you help me to check if this is fine, I did not know anything about the s- balanced thing until I've purchased this dac/amp.
I will have to build it, I could not find any adapter.

Is it really worth to use 3.5 trrs s-balanced or just the regular 3.5 stereo is OK? I mean talking about this go link specifically?
Not sure if I'm going to get a bit more juice for the IEM, I guess not, or is using a share amp section correct?

Maybe it does not deserves the effort and cost on building this....

Thank you

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