We’ve seen a good number of DAC releases this year, and the iFi hip-dac 3 is the newest member of the list. To be exact, it’s the second portable DAC release from iFi, which is followed by the small but mighty iFi Go Link.
Equipped with two USB-C ports for simplified cable management, the device facilitates clear and high-quality audio playback and allows simultaneous charging. Furthermore, user-friendly controls such as a switch to activate iFi’s iEMatch technology and LEDs that indicate the format and sample rate of the incoming audio are integrated.
As the name suggests, it’s the third iteration of the hip-dac lineup. And if you’re not familiar with hip-dac, it’s one of the most popular headphone amp/DAC hybrid lineups out there.
Nonetheless, the new iFi hip-dac 3 builds on the legacy of the original iFi hip-dac and the second model that iFi released back in 2021. The new model comes with a broad range of upgrades, which include different circuit enhancements.
Among these enhancements, the iFi hip-dac 3 comes with brand-new film capacitors. They offer a better overall frequency response.
Also, the actual DAC section of the unit features an upgraded version of Global Master Timing circuitry. iFi designed the circuitry to reduce the phase noise and deliver a crispier and snappier sound.
Besides, the iFi hip-dac 3 utilizes a differential circuit design. It’s within the amplification stage, which reduces the signal distortion and preserves the overall purity of audio.
The amp stage of the iFi hip-dac 3 is capable of offering up to 400mW in 32-ohm. This config offers better compatibility with a more comprehensive range of headphones.
On the other hand, the balanced output’s rating is 6.3V at 600 ohm, which means compatibility with high-impedance models. The amp stage of the hip-dac 3 also comes with something called PowerMatch.
As the name hints, it’s a switchable gain mechanism that matches the level of drive to the headphone load. Through this, the unit ensures exemplary performance without distortion or hissing.
Other than that, the iFi hip-dac 3 is highly versatile too. It comes with Hi-Res support and is compatible with PCM and DXD audio files up to 384kHz.
There is support for MQA, DSD256, DSD128, and DSD64 as well. Like some of the other portable DACs out there, the hip-dac 3 features a pair of LEDs.
These change color to indicate the format and sample rate of the audio playback, eliminating the guesswork. Moreover, the hip-dac 3 features some external upgrades.
There are two USB-C ports instead of the USB-A ports found in the predecessors. One of them is for audio, and the other is for charging. In addition, there are two outputs: a 4.4mm balanced jack and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
On the note of the charging port, the battery life of the iFi hip-dac 3 is rated between 7 to 12 hours. The runtime depends on the volume level you play the music at.
Slava is a man of mystery and no-one seems to know exactly where he is at any point in time. When he isn't enjoying writing about all things audio and technical he can be found researching his next project of interest. The man never rests.
This post was last updated on 2023-12-02 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.