When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works

Home / Hot Stuff / iFi’s GO Bar Kensei could be a tiny slice of audio greatness

iFi’s GO Bar Kensei could be a tiny slice of audio greatness

Sword-inspired DAC promises extreme audio precision

iFi GO Bar Kensei hot stuff

OK, no-one’s going to mistake iFi’s new diminutive dongle for an actual samurai sword – but the Go Bar Kensei is still one seriously sharp-looking DAC. It’s made from Japanese stainless steel, with styling to match. Inside, there’s enough high-end processing to give your tunes a welcome audio upgrade.

It’s the first ultraportable DAC with K2HD, a JVC-developed tech that tries to restore high frequency data lost during the music mastering process and upscales to 24-bit/192kHz. Four digital filters and two ‘analogue’ processing modes then give a lot more control over the sound than many rival DACs.

The Cirrus Logic DAC at the Go Bar Kensei’s heart is good for 384kHz playback, DSD256 and MQA files. Engraved markings and LEDs on the rear show what quality you’re getting at any moment.

3.5mm and balanced 4.4mm outputs let you hook up both IEMs and larger on-ear cans, with up to 477mW of power on tap. An “iEMatch” mode tweaks output levels to match more delicate in-ears, and there’s a Turbo mode for more demanding headphones. That’s a lot more power than you’d get from a typical USB-C DAC bundled with your phone (not that one is a given these days).

No bigger than your average flash drive and with USB-C connectivity, it’ll be a big upgrade over your smartphone, tablet or laptop’s built-in DAC – assuming they even have headphone ports for wired listening any more.

If the sword-inspired shape and colour wasn’t enough, the GO Bar Kensei ships in a traditional Japanese wooden box, with handmade engravings.

Eager audiophiles can order the GO Bar Kensei right now, directly from iFi. It’ll set you back $449/£449/€449.

Profile image of Tom Morgan-Freelander Tom Morgan-Freelander Deputy Editor


A tech addict from about the age of three (seriously, he's got the VHS tapes to prove it), Tom's been writing about gadgets, games and everything in between for the past decade, with a slight diversion into the world of automotive in between. As Deputy Editor, Tom keeps the website ticking along, jam-packed with the hottest gadget news and reviews.  When he's not on the road attending launch events, you can usually find him scouring the web for the latest news, to feed Stuff readers' insatiable appetite for tech.

Areas of expertise

Smartphones/tablets/computing, cameras, home cinema, automotive, virtual reality, gaming

Enable referrer and click cookie to search for eefc48a8bf715c1b 20231024b972d108 [] 2.7.22