iFi audio GO blu - Super small. Super light. Super Sound.
Sep 12, 2021 at 12:43 PM Post #136 of 1,587
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My impression for iFi GO blu.

Build quality is solid and is certainly the best looking Bluetooth dongle I ever have. It's also very small and light, you can see the comparison in size with other Bluetooth dongle I had (BTR5, Qudelix, UP5).

Sound-wise, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is pretty warm and full bodied. The easiest way to explain is that it feels like it has a tube-like sound. The vocal is sweet and smooth with the GO blu. Enjoyable.

However, compared to the UP5, it wasn't as clean sounding. A slight hiss is audible in a silent passage if your music have it, which isn't much of an issue once the music start blending, but noticable nonetheless.

Bass in the UP5 is faster and snappier, while GO blu is a little bit boomy, but still pretty much competent. I never feel like it is slow, but just not as snappy as UP5 is. The Xbass feature is a nice addition though, adding a subtle boost in bass response, while not affecting other frequency.

Mid is warmer and thicker than the UP5. Doesn't mean the UP5 is cold, I think it still has warmth in it, but certainly not as warm as GO blu. Personally, I really like the mid of GO blu, however, if we are talking about technicality, I had to give the upper hand to UP5.

Going to the treble, the UP5 is certainly more prominent and sharp. The GO blu is a bit more relaxed. If your headphones have sibilance or you want to reduce it a bit, the GO blu can do that. The UP5 will just render everything as it is.

Staging-wise, I feel the GO blu is a bit more intimate, however the Xspace feature could expand it a bit. UP5 soundstage is probably more in line with GO blu + Xspace feature turned on.

Feature-wise, the GO blu is more barebone. Unlike other manufacturer, iFi doesn't include a companion app and there is no display. This means some features from the competitor isn't there, i.e the ability to select DAC filter, selecting just specific codec, EQ or even just turning the charging on and off when using as wired DAC.

Overall, I like the GO blu. It certainly has it appeals, the build quality is solid, it is small and very light. The sound has a tube-like quality which can works really well in some pairing. However, I would still say the technicality of the UP5 is better and also pack more features.

Still, audio is subjective and I found the GO blu to be a better pairing to my FW1500, which for the longest time, I wanted to fix the harshness in the upper mid region and the GO blu delivers. So I'm happy. :)
Yeah, thanks for the run-down.
It really is tiny isn't it!
How does it compare (sound wise) directly to the Q5?
 
Sep 12, 2021 at 12:47 PM Post #137 of 1,587
Cool, thanks a lot for the insides! Could you write something about the sound characteristics XDSD vs Go Blu? Since they use different DAC chips...

Also I was wondering about the materials of the Go Blu. So the black surface is plastic with a metal plate on it?

The xDSD is much more neutral (albeit still neutral warm) than the Go Blu, the Go Blu is warm, tubey, and relaxed.

Yes, correct - it's a mixture of plastic and metal but I am not sure which pieces are which off the top of my head. I can ask!

When will this be available in the US? Will this be at Canjam SoCal?

Some time this month is the ETA I have.

TBD as I am seeing if I can get a few units over there for the show. We are not boothing, however. I and a teammate are just going as individuals.

I will be there, and since you're in Colorado you always have access to me if you are comfy with in-person demos.

That’s — sound characteristic comparisons — are largely what reviews are for. There really isn’t a “good” official answer if they are not identical. :santa:

It is totally ok for @Hanesu to ask that directly though, that's what people like me who have access to both are here for.

Can it be plugged into Diablo to feed Diablo with a Bluetooth source?

is it future proofed to enable AptX Loosless via firmware update as that is expected next year.

No, it can not. Currently, the only way I know you can do that is by grabbing the excellent Topping BC3, and running it vi'a SPDIF to make the Diablo BT.

We just heard about AptX Lossless last week, and judging by it Qualcomm does not support FW upgrades.

I will get a more clear response next week - the current answer is "I don't know."

We are just as surprised by this codec announcement as you all are, and got the announcement the same time you did!

Is there a way to determine which BLUE TOOTH Codec is being processed - LDAC, APTX, AAC, etc?

Yes, it plays it back to you audibly when you connect a new device or switch codecs on that device.
I like the fact that you can go fully wired if you want.

maybe I missed it but is there a volume lock on the volume dial? Analog dials and pockets and movement can be troublesome.

There is not at this time - I will however be tossing this suggestion up to our team next week, and see if we can get it implemented with future FW. No promises but I will see what I can do!
Personally I'd like the signature of these - (realatively) Neutral.
I see a 3d switch and x-bass switch is all good, good enough. They're subtle, but very audible.
I plan (If i'd decide to plunge) to use them in my medium efficient full size and in ear headphones...

1631451449966.png

May I ask where you got those carbon covers from? are they skins like what Dbrand does?

01022388.jpg01022390.jpg01022392.jpg01022395.jpg01022397.jpg

My impression for iFi GO blu.

Build quality is solid and is certainly the best looking Bluetooth dongle I ever have. It's also very small and light, you can see the comparison in size with other Bluetooth dongle I had (BTR5, Qudelix, UP5).

Sound-wise, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is pretty warm and full bodied. The easiest way to explain is that it feels like it has a tube-like sound. The vocal is sweet and smooth with the GO blu. Enjoyable.

However, compared to the UP5, it wasn't as clean sounding. A slight hiss is audible in a silent passage if your music have it, which isn't much of an issue once the music start blending, but noticable nonetheless.

Bass in the UP5 is faster and snappier, while GO blu is a little bit boomy, but still pretty much competent. I never feel like it is slow, but just not as snappy as UP5 is. The Xbass feature is a nice addition though, adding a subtle boost in bass response, while not affecting other frequency.

Mid is warmer and thicker than the UP5. Doesn't mean the UP5 is cold, I think it still has warmth in it, but certainly not as warm as GO blu. Personally, I really like the mid of GO blu, however, if we are talking about technicality, I had to give the upper hand to UP5.

Going to the treble, the UP5 is certainly more prominent and sharp. The GO blu is a bit more relaxed. If your headphones have sibilance or you want to reduce it a bit, the GO blu can do that. The UP5 will just render everything as it is.

Staging-wise, I feel the GO blu is a bit more intimate, however the Xspace feature could expand it a bit. UP5 soundstage is probably more in line with GO blu + Xspace feature turned on.

Feature-wise, the GO blu is more barebone. Unlike other manufacturer, iFi doesn't include a companion app and there is no display. This means some features from the competitor isn't there, i.e the ability to select DAC filter, selecting just specific codec, EQ or even just turning the charging on and off when using as wired DAC.

Overall, I like the GO blu. It certainly has it appeals, the build quality is solid, it is small and very light. The sound has a tube-like quality which can works really well in some pairing. However, I would still say the technicality of the UP5 is better and also pack more features.

Still, audio is subjective and I found the GO blu to be a better pairing to my FW1500, which for the longest time, I wanted to fix the harshness in the upper mid region and the GO blu delivers. So I'm happy. :)

Thanks so much for the first look! Glad you love it, and agree with you on the sound impressions from my personal end!
 
Sep 12, 2021 at 12:48 PM Post #138 of 1,587
01022388.jpg01022390.jpg01022392.jpg01022395.jpg01022397.jpg

My impression for iFi GO blu.

Build quality is solid and is certainly the best looking Bluetooth dongle I ever have. It's also very small and light, you can see the comparison in size with other Bluetooth dongle I had (BTR5, Qudelix, UP5).

Sound-wise, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is pretty warm and full bodied. The easiest way to explain is that it feels like it has a tube-like sound. The vocal is sweet and smooth with the GO blu. Enjoyable.

However, compared to the UP5, it wasn't as clean sounding. A slight hiss is audible in a silent passage if your music have it, which isn't much of an issue once the music start blending, but noticable nonetheless.

Bass in the UP5 is faster and snappier, while GO blu is a little bit boomy, but still pretty much competent. I never feel like it is slow, but just not as snappy as UP5 is. The Xbass feature is a nice addition though, adding a subtle boost in bass response, while not affecting other frequency.

Mid is warmer and thicker than the UP5. Doesn't mean the UP5 is cold, I think it still has warmth in it, but certainly not as warm as GO blu. Personally, I really like the mid of GO blu, however, if we are talking about technicality, I had to give the upper hand to UP5.

Going to the treble, the UP5 is certainly more prominent and sharp. The GO blu is a bit more relaxed. If your headphones have sibilance or you want to reduce it a bit, the GO blu can do that. The UP5 will just render everything as it is.

Staging-wise, I feel the GO blu is a bit more intimate, however the Xspace feature could expand it a bit. UP5 soundstage is probably more in line with GO blu + Xspace feature turned on.

Feature-wise, the GO blu is more barebone. Unlike other manufacturer, iFi doesn't include a companion app and there is no display. This means some features from the competitor isn't there, i.e the ability to select DAC filter, selecting just specific codec, EQ or even just turning the charging on and off when using as wired DAC.

Overall, I like the GO blu. It certainly has it appeals, the build quality is solid, it is small and very light. The sound has a tube-like quality which can works really well in some pairing. However, I would still say the technicality of the UP5 is better and also pack more features.

Still, audio is subjective and I found the GO blu to be a better pairing to my FW1500, which for the longest time, I wanted to fix the harshness in the upper mid region and the GO blu delivers. So I'm happy. :)
What material is it made of? Is the black surface plastic? And how is the feeling of the volume knob? Does it click when using it?
 
Sep 12, 2021 at 12:49 PM Post #139 of 1,587
Yeah, thanks for the run-down.
It really is tiny isn't it!
How does it compare (sound wise) directly to the Q5?
I have this situation where my 4.4mm to 2.5mm converter broke and I have already used 4.4mm exclusively. Unfortunately, I can't directly compare it to the either Q5K or BTR5, that's why I only picked UP5 as the comparison point. 😅

If I'm going by memory, I think UP5 is quite close in sound to the Q5K. The GO blu is certainly more unique sounding compared to either UP5, Q5K or BTR5.
 
Sep 12, 2021 at 12:55 PM Post #140 of 1,587
What material is it made of? Is the black surface plastic? And how is the feeling of the volume knob? Does it click when using it?
I think it's plastic all around, with metal plate on the front and extend all the way to the top. It's a solid one though (i.e not filmsy like ES100 if you ever handled one), the surface is a bit soft and not slippy.

Volume knob is nice. It is more resistant than the UP5. Also unlike the UP5, not the whole volume knob is press-able, only the center portion and it's separated from the side ring. I think it's more unlikely to accidentally turn or press the volume knob on GO blu, while I can see it happens more often with UP5.

And yes, there is click when you turned it.
 
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Sep 12, 2021 at 2:25 PM Post #143 of 1,587
May I ask where you got those carbon covers from? are they skins like what Dbrand does?


Thanks so much for the first look! Glad you love it, and agree with you on the sound impressions from my personal end!

Something around this spec. Nothing but the Best for the best...
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Sep 12, 2021 at 3:12 PM Post #144 of 1,587
I think this always depends on how you put value into perspective. I know there are people here who say "it is just a bluetooth dongle". But the same people think that 4000 Euros for a DAP is ok. If you ask me, I rather spend 200 Euros on a BT dongle that has let`s say 85% of the SQ of a middle class DAP... than 4000 Euros on a DAP that is only 10% better than a middle class DAP. :o2smile:

Generally I feel BT devices are often underrated in this forum. They have improved so much over the last years and I am convinced that many people would be very surprised if they really would have to try them out in a blind test (in comparison to a DAP).

So in the end, at least to me, I see some of them as a very convenient and really good sounding device to listen to my music - and this is a value I am willing to pay for! :)
What dap? We are talking about BT dac/amps
 
Sep 12, 2021 at 7:50 PM Post #146 of 1,587
What dap? We are talking about BT dac/amps
My perspective is that we are talking about sources to listen to music from….so depending on the point of view it doesn’t matter so much whether it is a DAP or a BT dongle. My post wasn’t meant as criticism to yours. Just that there are many different kinds of very relative viewpoints on the price discussion in our hobby. Generally, I totally agree that in the world of portable audio prices are often way over the top. I have written something like this often here in this forum. And you are right, maybe the Go Blu is (too?) expensive compared to similar products. But, again, I find 50 more for a BT dongle still acceptable compared to thousands more for some DAPs - because this is where we are now. And I was wondering if some people are willing to spend so much on a DAP - why not 200 on a BT dongle? Didn’t mean you but more in general…

Because relatively speaking, sq differences between both categories have become smaller in the last years. So one could consider to buy a Dongle instead of a DAP. And then 200 is cheap…hope you get my point. :)
 
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Sep 12, 2021 at 7:51 PM Post #147 of 1,587
Sep 12, 2021 at 11:09 PM Post #148 of 1,587
My Blu is a month away by the looks of it. I know it is a preorder but paying in full and then wait for it 5 weeks is not that enticing. Will keep an eye on the reviews before pulling the plug on the order or wait patiently till mid next month.
 
Sep 12, 2021 at 11:18 PM Post #149 of 1,587
God damn, this little guy checks all the right boxes. 4.4MM, CS dac chip, USB-DAC. The only thing I'm worried about is a new version coming out in a few month. After all ifi's known for doing this.
 
Sep 12, 2021 at 11:24 PM Post #150 of 1,587
....So one could consider to buy a Dongle instead of a DAP. And then 200 is cheap…hope you get my point. :)

You have a point on BT adapter vs. DAP, but the point of argument is really not whether GO Blu has better value vs. DAP, but vs. other comparable SQ oriented BT adapters such as BTR5 and 5K that are priced about half as much. That, I think, remains to be seen.
 

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