GO bar Kensei by iFi audio

The Ultimate GO bar.

Just as a Kensei deserves an exceptional blade, an audiophile deserves an exceptional DAC.

Forged for Masters of Audio.

GO bar Kensei is akin to a legendary sword meticulously forged for a Kensei. Embodying the dedication of a master swordsmith, we focused on purity, balance, and refinement to reveal the true essence of your music.

Featuring cutting-edge Japanese audio processing technology: K2HD, and improved power supply and clock circuitry, the Kensei represents the pinnacle of our journey of refinement in the GO bar range.

Whether you’re commuting, working remotely, or traveling for pleasure, the GO bar Kensei offers a perfectly portable solution to elevate your headphone experience to heavenly heights.

Kensei is a Japanese term that translates to “Sword Saint” in English, a title granted to the elite few who elevate the craft and artistry of swordsmanship beyond even that of the finest swordmasters.

Revitalise studio recording sound with legendary K2HD.

Despite their pristine clarity, digital recordings sometimes seem emotionally flat and lifeless.

Engineers at Victor Studio noticed a lack of emotion between their original masters and digital sub-masters, sparking a quest for a solution. They meticulously compared countless finished recordings with the copy recordings by ear, relying on their instinctive feel and human expertise. Their solution: K2 Technology.

The K2 Technology process revives rich, natural harmonics into digital sound, adding an organic quality unlike any other. K2 Technology processing revitalises the studio recording sound, infusing it with life once again.

“The K2 parameter values provided by iFi this time are completely new K2 parameter values that have never been used before and were selected by JVCKENWOOD and passed a listening test by studio engineers at Victor Studios. While previous K2 parameter values were set with consideration of correcting the sound quality of the product itself, the K2 parameter values provided this time for iFi are purely the settings for the best K2 effect. In this sense, it can be said that the K2 parameter values allow you to hear the original ideal “K2 sound.” commented, JVCKENWOOD.

*Read our Tech Note for more information.

“K2 Technology” and “K2HD” are registered trademarks of JVCKENWOOD Corporation.​

Tailored. Sweet Sound.

Listen the way you like with four bespoke digital filters and two analogue processing modes, each tailored to enhance your enjoyment across different music genres.

  • Bit-Perfect: Delivers natural tones, ideal for all genres.
  • GTO: Enhances sound details and density, particularly suited for Vocal tracks.
  • Minimum Phase: Produces a warmer sound, blending characteristics of Bit-Perfect and Standard, perfect for Soul and Jazz.
  • Standard: Offers a tighter sound with controlled highs, perfect for Pop music and Movie OST.

Experience chest-thumping bass with XBass+ and immerse yourself in a spacious sound field with XSpace.

GO bar Kensei by iFi audio

Advanced chip. Accurate clock.

The DAC section of the GO bar Kensei uses a powerful 16-core XMOS micro controller to process the audio data received at the USB input. Our in-house team has programmed the XMOS firmware to optimise sound quality and ensure a perfect partnership with the 32-bit Cirrus Logic DAC chipset.

A customised digital filter minimises pre-echoes and ringing artefacts. Our GMT (Global Master Timing) precision clock system ensures ultra-low jitter.

Supports higher-than-streaming audio formats:

  • PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz ​
  • Native DSD playback up to DSD256​
  • 2x DXD
  • Full MQA decoding

Compact and Powerful.

The GO Bar Kensei is crafted with Japanese stainless steel for maximum rigidity.

With its compact dimensions of 65 x 22 x 13.2 mm, it matches the size of a USB flash drive. This makes it the perfect travel companion for your mobile, tablet or MacBook Pro, blending into your life for headphone use.

Its USB-C connectivity ensures plug-and-play convenience, allowing for hassle-free use.

The GO Bar Kensei offers a maximum output power of up to 477mW, which is about 10 times more powerful than an iPhone 15*.

It incorporates two power tuning technologies: iEMatch for high-sensitivity IEMs, and Turbo mode for power-hungry headphones. This allows it to easily drive a wide range of premium earphones and headphones.

*Compared to iPhone’s USB-C to 3.5mm Adapter.

GO bar Kensei by iFi audio

Cut the Crosstalk.

Connect to the GO bar Kensei via 3.5mm S-Balanced or 4.4mm Balanced headphone outputs.

iFi’s exclusive 3.5mm S-Balanced* technology cuts crosstalk and noise by 50% with regular single-ended headphones.

*Read FAQ for more information.

Contents

CONTENTS:

1 x ZEN Stream

1 x Ethernet cable

1 x Plastic screwdriver

1 x Power adapter

1 x Antenna

1 x User manual

1 x Instruction card

K2HD Processing revives rich, natural harmonics into emotionally flat and lifeless digital recordings.

The unparalleled originality of K2HD lies in its advanced high-frequency extension, enabling the restoration of natural harmonics and overtones beyond 22kHz, delivering audio quality that is close to the original master.

The XMOS 16-Core chip processes the audio data received via the USB digital input.

This new low-latency XMOS microcontroller has greatly enhanced processing power. Compared to the current generation of eight-core chips, this new 16-core IC delivers double the clock speed (2000MIPS) and four times the memory (512KB), as well as the latest SuperSpeed USB standard.

iFi’s in-house digital development team has programmed the XMOS firmware to optimise sound quality and ensure a perfect partnership with the 32-bit Cirrus Logic DAC chipset used in the GO bar.

Extensive jitter-eradication technologies are applied to the digital stage, including our GMT (Global Master Timing) femto-precision clock and intelligent memory buffer. This represents a total ‘out-of-the-box’ systematic digital solution that solves jitter once and for all.

Hi-Res True Native® playback of all music formats from MP3 to DSD256, PCM384 and DXD384.

TDK C0G (Class 1 ceramic) capacitors offer high stability and low losses for resonant circuit applications.

Getting ever closer to the theoretical ideal of pure, frequency-constant capacitance, these capacitors reduce capacitor-induced distortion to vanishingly low levels.

They are pricey but are a perfect addition to our products.

Panasonic OS-CON caps totaling 5,410uF give very-low Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR), excellent noise reduction capability and frequency response characteristics. In addition, OS-CONs have a long-life span and its ESR changes little even at low temperatures since the electrolyte is solid.

They are not often found in products costing <US$1000.

Tantalum capacitors are another example of the top-notch components we prefer. These polarised electrolytic capacitors have superior frequency and stability characteristics, giving them a super high volumetric efficiency.

muRata control-type, low-ESR high-Q multi-layer capacitors. The ‘ESR control’ aspect of the Murata is something special. Their noise suppression abilities are impressive.

The GO bar’s analogue circuitry features balanced design with a symmetrical twin-channel output stage.

This topology, usually reserved for larger and more expensive amplifiers owing to its cost and complexity, reduces noise and crosstalk in the signal path by fully separating the left and right channels.

GO bar Kensei

Read Reviews

$449.00

Retailer

Apos Inc.

California
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iFi audio USA (West Coast)

California
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ListenUp

Colorado
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ListenUp

Colorado
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ListenUp

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Music Direct

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Gramophone

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Gramophone

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Gramophone

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Gramophone

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Gramophone

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Audio Advisor

Michigan
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Bloom Audio

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High Definition Tape Transfers

New Jersey
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ListenUp

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Turntable Lab NY Storefront

New York
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Audio 46

New York
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Moon Audio

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AudioAdvice

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AudioAdvice

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Headphones.com

Oregon
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World Wide Stereo

Pennsylvania
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World Wide Stereo

Pennsylvania
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HIDEF Lifestyle

Pennsylvania
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iFi audio USA (East Coast)

Virginia
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USA-Audio Exchange

Virginia
InputUSB-C
FormatsPCM44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/352.8/384kHz
DSD2.8/3.1/5.6/6.1/11.3/12.3MHz
DXD352.8/384kHz
MQAFull Decoder
DACBit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Cirrus Logic
Headphone OutputBAL 4.4mm/S-BAL 3.5mm
Output Power (RMS)Balanced477mW@32Ω; 7.2V@600Ω
S-Bal300mW@32Ω; 3.8V@600Ω
Output Impedance≤1Ω (≤3.6 Ω with iEMatch engaged)
SNR132dB(A) / 121dB(A) (BAL/S-BAL)*
114dB(A) / 114dB(A) (BAL/S-BAL)
DNR108dB(A) / 109dB(A) (BAL/S-BAL)
THD+NBalanced≤0.0025% (600Ω 2V) @ (20-20KHz)
S-Bal≤0.009% (16Ω 1.27V) @ (20-20KHz)
Frequency Response20Hz - 70kHz (-3dB)
Power Consumption<4W max.
Dimensions65 x 22 x 13.2 mm (2.6" x 0.9" x 0.5”)
Weight65.5g (2.3 oz)
Warranty Period12 months
*With Intelligent muting activated
Please update your device to the latest firmware for optimal performance upon receipt.

“I’ve been testing a lot of these dongle DACs recently and this is definitely the best one by a mile!”

”At that much power, really there’s basically no headphone you can’t run off of this so it’s really, really good.”

Ryan Ho

(Click name to read original review)

“If you use wired headphones, you’re going to suddenly get so much better sound out of your device!”

When you’re ready to take your audio experience to the next level with your favorite wired headphones, you’re going to love the iFi Audio GO Bar KENSEI. It’s a DAC, Pre-Amp, and Headphone Amp all in a device the size of a USB thumb drive. Somehow the company’s jammed some pretty sweet electronics into it, and the results are superb, as tech expert and audio fan Dave Taylor explains in this detailed and technical review.

Dave Taylor

(Click name to read original review)

“I don’t know what magic is going on inside the Kensei but it elevates everything I’ve paired it with to another level.”

“Honestly, this was an arduous review to get through. Not because I didn’t like the Kensei. It’s quite the opposite actually, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment! Reviewing was difficult because I found myself getting lost in the music due to the superb sound quality. I often felt drawn to hold the Kensei, relishing the weight and excellent build quality. Also somewhere deep in my subconscious I knew that with every word I typed I was closer to having to return the unit to iFi (maybe I should have drawn this one out a few weeks ). I have been a fan of iFi since I first tried the original hip dac. I’m now a full on disciple at the feet of the Kensei.”

“In my opinion, it has cemented it’s legendary status and earned the moniker of “sword saint”.”

Thaslaya

(Click name to read original review)

“More harmonics & overtones!”

Discover more by watching the full review.

Paul Wasabii

(Click name to read original review)