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I've only been using it for a few hours and it sounds great but there are issues. The unit itself rattled as soon as I opened the box (doesn't seem to effect sound quality). Also, the OTG cable that comes in the box seems poorly made. It disconnects when moved fairly often.
If it wasn't for the fact that this has been ordered from the US and I'm in Australia, I would have returned it for a non-ratteling unit with a better OTG cable but I don't want to wait that long for a new unit for these somewhat minor problems. I would love to recommend this but the defects make me worry quality control is poor and if your ordering from Australia a replacement could take a very long time if you get broken unit. I believe Addicted to Audio in Melbourne sell this so to be safe I'd order from there since a replacement would have come sooner assuming they have the stock but due to my situation, ordering like this was simpler at the time. I'd like to give a better rating but I worry people in Australia may not pay mind to this if I did.
Really love Ifi products. I have the Zen Blue and Zen Can for use at home when I listen with the balanced output. The Hip DAC is suburb value and produces a great sound. Congratulate IFi on including a 4.4mm balanced jack on the Hip DAC I will be using it on the move with my most recent purchases of the Focal Celestee and Meze Rai Penta IEM
A portable, battery-powered equivalent to the same manufacturer's Zen DAC one of which was recently purchased for use with a desktop PC, not to replace its internal audio facilities but to better provide for headphone use. This "iFi hip-dac - Portable Balanced DAC Headphone Amplifier for Android, iPhone with USB Input Only/Outputs: 3.5mm Unbalanced / 4.4mm Balanced (Unit only)" provides very similar facilities and connectability to the Zen DAC with minor reconfiguration. Its shape suggests a hip flask, supposedly the reasoning behind the product's name. As the description indicates, there is only USB input, space constraints being the probable reason.
Sound quality is very high and also similar to that of the Zen DAC from which it borrows most components, all of high quality. It has outputs for 3.5mm jack-equipped headphones and in-ear 'phones as well as a 4.4mm balanced jack socket for some professional level headphones. The major visible control is for volume which is linear rather than logarithmic, smooth and easy to adjust and a similar Japanese Alps unit to those used on its desktop devices (where relevant).
It has a function to boost the bass capabilities of any 'phones where there may be a deficiency - there are many! Its effects are smooth and subtle rather than dramatic but its purpose is sometimes under-appreciated and not well understood. It isn't always needed and need not always be used but its benefits when playing modern bass-heavy music will soon become apparent. Another control 'auto-matches' the connected phones to a suitable impedance and amplification level. Usage time will vary for different 'phones, volume levels and other factors, at least 6 hours but up to 8-9.
Build quality is to iFi's expected high standards and based upon a fairly thick aluminium shell that incorporates a lithium-polymer battery as well as its complex circuitry. A short USB-C charge lead (smooth plastic covering) and only slightly longer OTG cable are included - it is non-standard as iFI have opted to fit a male Type-A connector rather than the usual female - to connect with most DAPs but not all. The cloth-covered cable is a USB-A to USB-C adapter and a recent unannounced addition. Apple users will need a suitable Lightning cable as one is not included (licensing restrictions apply).
The hip-dac is to replace a headphone amplifier well-reviewed in its day and owned for several years, and a broadly similar size and weight but a poor match for the headphones then used. Most importantly, its amplification was barely more than the DAP alone could provide and consequently was rarely used; it was also double the price of this. The hip-dac is not just for in-ear 'phones but offers a sufficiently high output to support full-sized headphones up to 300-ohm impedance and not solely on maximum volume.
It is pocket-sized and not too heavy. Once connected by OTG cable, the player only needs to be used to change album, artist etc. iFi has not provided a means by which the amp and DAP can be attached to each other although some competing brands supply elasticated straps or similar. iFi also do not offer a case; there are expensive third-party versions.
It may not be the least expensive headphone amplifier available or that with the absolutely best performance possible but it offers an excellent range of features for its price, excellent performance, is affordable and a similar price to its larger desktop equivalent. Last, but by no means least, it is British designed with excellent UK support if needed!
Pros: - Sound quality was fantastic. Really clear sound and definitely an upgrade to playing music directly from a standard PC headphone output or smartphone. - Xbass boosts bass and gives a rich, full feeling to music. Sometimes could lean a teensy bit on the muddy side but this is a nitpick.
Cons: - If using primarily for smartphone use then I believe this is poor from a usability standpoint. - No change track/play/pause buttons on dac amp. Doesn't register button clicks from earphones that have remotes. This means you'll be taking this out of your pocket quite a bit if you want to skip track or pause. Placement of USB port makes it difficult to place in pocket. - Volume knob is smooth but adjusts at the slightest accidental touch when placing phone and amp into pocket (which you'll be doing a lot if trying to change track)
Overall if intending to use as desktop dac amp then this is a fantastic little powerhouse. Unfortunately, it is let down when using for smartphone usage due to odd decisions made from a design and ease of use perspective.
I have returned this item. A better alternative if using primarily for smartphone usage and secondarily for desktop is the Fiio Btr5, Fiio BTR3k or (if you can get it) Qudelix 5k.
Really impressed with the hip-dac. The sound quality is impressive for a compact headphone amp, nearly on a par with a much more expensive desktop headphone amp that I have. I've used it mainly with Beyerdynamic T5p headphones the combo works well. It's not the cheapest portable headphone amp out there but the build quality (like most Ifi products) is great and overall I think worth the money.
Sie fragen sich weshalb ich 3 Sterne vergebe? Sie fragen sich, ob das Gerät für hochohmige KH bis 250 Ohm geeignet ist? Ich mach es kurz! Qualität: Gut, Sound: Gut bis sehr gut, weil getestet an DT990 und jetzt kommt das große AAAAABER! Dieses Teil wird als portable Lösung OHNE BLUETOOTH angeboten... das ist mittlerweile überholte Technik und die Konkurrenz bietet ähnliche Hifi Spezis zu ähnlichen Preisen, jedoch mit Bluetooth. Wer also mit Kabelsalat und nervigem hin und her gestecke keine Probleme hat, der kann 150€ ausgeben. Wer aber aktuelle Technik möchte und eine wirklich portable Lösung, der greift zu den teuren Ifi Geräten mit Bluetooth oder lotet die Konkurrenz aus.