iFi Audio Hip DAC Portable Digital to Analog Convertor & Headphone Amplifier
Our Take: We've had the iFi Audio Hip DAC in our office for just over 2 weeks ago and we can say with 100% certainty that iFi Audio has once again hit it out of the park with the Hip DAC. The Hip DAC is an excellent option for any on-the go audiophile with it's sleek form factor fitting into any pocket while producing some truly great sound.
From iFi Audio:
Smartly dressed in petrol blue with a touch of copper, the go-anywhere hip-dac is designed to slip discretely into a pocket and offers an extensive hi-res specification that belies its eminently affordable $149 price tag.
The hip-dac replaces the inferior DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Convertor) and amp circuitry in smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs to vastly improve headphone sound.
Its design and performance set it apart from other DAC/headphone amps in its class.– connect your playback device via USB, plug in your favourite corded headphones or in-ear monitors and the hip-dac delivers a sound brimming with bold dynamism and fluid refinement, effortlessly engaging the listener with all manner of music.
In the home, in the office, on a train or plane – the hip-dac is the music lover’s inseparable friend.
- Enjoy mind-blowing music at your fingertips quickly and easily with the user-friendly, compact hip-dac.
- Connect the hip-dac via USB between your smart device, laptop and corded headphones while out and about.
- Hook it up to your PC or Mac at home or in the office.
- The hip-dac delivers hi-res, ‘bit perfect’ PCM and DXD up to 384kHz and up to DSD256 DSD256 as well as MQA.
- Make the most of your balanced headphones wherever you are with the hip-dac’s 4.4mm sockets.
- Reap the benefits of balanced even with normal headphones as the 3.5mm single-ended socket uses our unique S-Balanced technology to cut crosstalk and distortion in half.
- The analogue output stage of the hip-dac is a balanced (differential) design which means less interference and crosstalk.
- Talior the sound of the hip-dac to your playback priorities with additional, exclusive iFi firmware.
- Benefit from PowerMatch – switchable gain – to cater for headphone sensitivity.
- Turn on XBass to add missing base to open backed headphones or IEMs
In-Depth Breakdown of the Hip-DAC Technologies
The DAC section of the hip-dac is based around a Burr-Brown DAC chip that we use extensively in our products, selected for its fluid, highly ‘musical’ sound quality and True Native architecture.
The Burr-Brown chip, combined with our custom iFi circuitry, enables the hip-dac to deliver excellent sound quality across all manner of digital audio formats, including bit-perfect PCM, native DSD and MQA – the hi-res streaming codec, as used by Tidal’s ‘Masters’ tier.
Hi-res PCM and DXD audio data is supported at sampling rates up to 384kHz, alongside DSD from 2.8MHz to 12.4MHz (DSD64, 128 and 256). Either side of the rotary volume control reside a pair of LEDs that change colour to indicate the format and sampling rate of the digital audio being played.
Extensive clock-locking eradicates jitter (digital distortion), using our GMT femto-precision clocking system to maintain the integrity of the digital signal until conversion to analogue. The hip-dac’s USB input handles audio data up to 32-bit/384kHz and supports the ‘SuperSpeed’ USB 3.0 standard, as well as USB 2.0 for backwards compatibility. It is asynchronous, meaning that the data rate is regulated solely by the hip-dac’s specialised audio clock circuitry for accurate, jitter-free data transfer from the source device.
The XMOS chip used in the hip-dac, which processes audio data received at the USB input, is programmed inhouse. Off-the-shelf firmware is not typically optimised for audiophile-grade sound, so we program our own bespoke firmware to enhance audio processing. The hip-dac can also to be tailored to your playback priorities by download and installing different versions of iFi exclusive firmware. Experiment with different digital filters including the GTO filter from our high-end Pro iDSD.
The hip-dac’s amp circuitry is of balanced (differential) design. Balanced audio circuits have long been championed by renowned high-end audio electronics engineer John Curl, now a technical consultant for iFi, given their ability to reduce noise within the signal path. John has worked closely with Thorsten Loesch, our chief engineer, and our in-house technical team to produce an analogue stage of exceptional quality for a device of this kind.
The circuitry incorporates a range of high-quality components, carefully selected for their performance in an audio context, including a custom iFi OV op-amp, TDK C0G class 1 ceramic capacitors, a precision low-noise power supply IC from Texas Instruments and a high-quality analogue volume pot. The headphone amp has a nominal power rating of 400mW and is capable of delivering over 700mW from the balanced output depending on the impedance of the attached headphones. It can drive all manner of headphone/earphone types with ease.
The amp stage features switchable gain, which we call PowerMatch. This matches the level of drive to the load presented by the headphones, by adjusting input sensitivity and thereby signal strength. With highsensitivity headphone types such as in-ear monitors, leave PowerMatch at its lower setting for ultra-low-noise performance. But if your headphones require more drive – most on/over-ear types, for example – press the PowerMatch button on the front panel to increase gain.
Two outputs are provided – a 3.5mm socket for headphones with a single-ended cable/connector and a Pentaconn 4.4mm output enabling headphones equipped with balanced connectivity to take full advantage of the hip-dac’s differential amp design.
In addition, the 3.5mm output benefits from our proprietary S-Balanced circuitry, cutting crosstalk and related distortion in half when used with regular, single-ended headphone connections – this is especially beneficial with high-sensitivity in-ear monitors.
This optional ‘bass boost’ enhances low frequencies without muddying the midrange, and is particularly useful with earphones and open-back headphones that may lack deep bass. It operates entirely in the analogue domain rather than messing with the digital signal via DSP.
There are two USB ports – Type A for audio data and USB-C for charging. The Type A input features a ‘male’ connector, rather than a typical ‘female’ port. This provides greater mechanical integrity than USB/Micro USB ports.. This is an advantage for iPhone and iPad users, because it accepts Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adaptor directly without requiring an additional female-to-male USB adaptor. (The Camera Adapter is required to connect Apple iOS devices to third-party USB devices.)
The hip-dac’s 2200mAh battery lasts for around eight to 12 hours of playing time. This depends on volume level and how power-hungry the connected headphones are.
|Digital Inputs||USB 3.0 type ’A’
High-Speed Asynchronous USB 2.0, (32bit/384kHz)
|Headphone Outputs||Balanced 4.4mm
Single-Ended S-Balanced 3.5mm
|Power Output||2.0V/400 mW @ 16 Ohm|
|Power System||Charging via USB-C, BC V1.2 compliant up to 1000mA charging current|
|Power (max)||<2W idle, 4W max|
|Dimensions||102(l) x 70(w) x 14(h) mm Weight: 125g (0.28 lbs)|
In The Box
- iFi Audio Hip DAC
- USB A Male to USB A Female Cable (for PC to Hip DAC)
- Type C OTG Cable (for Android to Hip DAC)
- USB A Male to USB C Male (for USB C Charging)
- User Manual
- Warranty Card
- 4 x Silicone Pads
When Taron and Andrew Lissimore started headphones.com, they wanted to create the headphone store they wished existed. As headphone enthusiasts, they wanted a store with 365-day returns.
So they decided they were going to try to make 365-day returns work - no matter how ridiculous it sounded to their wives.
Years later, they're still doing it, and their wives still think they're crazy.
So take some time to get to know your new gear. We want you to enjoy your purchase for years, not just a few weeks. If you're not satisfied, you can return items in like-new condition for up to 365-days.
How To Make a Return
1. Follow the link below.
To get the return process started, you just need to click this link. Enter your order number as well as e-mail address to get it started and after that just follow the steps outlined in the portal (note open-box, special order and sale items are not eligible). A pre-paid shipping label will be generated for you a deducted from your refund after being processed.
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Important Refund Details
Refund or Exchange
You may choose either a refund or an exchange for the full cost of the item. The refund will be processed on the same method of payment you used to make the original purchase.
A pre-paid shipping label is generated for you. It is deducted from the final refund total after inpsection.
If you are returning a defective product, the product must be repaired under manufacturer's warranty before a refund is issued. If the manufacturer claims the product cannot be repaired under warranty due to damage outside of warranty, the product will be returned to you and no refund will be issued.
Like New Condition
Headphones.com may refuse a return or charge a restocking fee if the items are not complete and in like-new condition. Here are some examples of returns that would incur a restocking fee:
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- There are obvious signs of wear (scratches, dirt, worn out parts etc.)
Here are some examples of returns that may be refused:
- The serial number on the returned product is different from the serial number that was originally shipped.
- The item has been damaged through mishandling (water damage, drop damage etc.)
Special order, sale and open-box items are not covered by our 365-day return policy. However they are usually covered by the manufacturers warranty.
Special order items are non-cancellable and non-returnable. The estimated shipping window is just an estimate, your item may ship sooner or later than the estimate.
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Return shipping is paid by the customer.
Products with Batteries
15% restocking fee.
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Returns with missing accessories
20% restocking fee.
Bundled Item Return
All items from the bundle must be returned. If an item is missing, retail value for the item will be deducted.
Return of a purchase with a missing or damaged free item
Retail value of the missing/damaged gift items.
Return of more than 2 items in a 365-Day Period
25% restocking fee on each additional return.
Open-Box, Sale and Special Order
These items are final sale however the manufacturers warranty still applies
Return Policy Abuse
In order to provide a 365-day return policy, we need to take abuse seriously.
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We made our return policy to help you find gear you feel great about for a long time. Most people use it exactly as intended. We don't want the handful of people who attempt to abuse our policy to ruin it for everyone else.
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After You've Made a Return
Each return is inspected at our warehouse. During busy times these inspections may take a few extra days.
Refund or Credit
We will notify you by email when your refund or credit has been processed. It may take a few business days for a refund to appear in your account. This is determined by your financial institution.
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One of the key things we pride ourselves on is our customer service and one of the most important aspects of our customer service is getting you your product on time! But not only do we want to get it to you on time, we want to make sure we are using a reliable courier so the experience for you is the best possible. That is why we ship all of our orders with FedEX.
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