Colourful. Capable. Crisper.
Our much loved, original hip-dac has had a makeover!
Our portable, hi-res DAC/headphone amp looks ultra cool in its new vibrant Sunset Orange. Not only has the hip-dac2‘s super sleek aluminium case had an update, but its insides have also been enhanced.
The new 16-core XMOS chip, which processes data over USB, delivers double the clock speed and four times the memory. This improves overall performance and adds full MQA decoding to the hip-dac2‘s skill set. There is also an upgraded crystal clock which contributes to purer, crisper sound.
So, whether you are working in your favourite coffee shop or chilling on your daily commute, sunrise or sunset, you’ll definitely want to take the hip-dac2 with you wherever you go.
Shooting from the hip
The hip-dac2 replaces the inferior DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Convertor) and amp circuitry in smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs to vastly improve headphone sound.
Connect your playback device via USB, plug in your favourite corded headphones or in-ear monitors and the hip-dac2 delivers a sound brimming with bold dynamism and fluid refinement.
The Burr-Brown DAC chip is selected for its fluid, highly ‘musical’ sound quality and True Native architecture. Together with iFi’s custom circuitry this enables the hip-dac2 to deliver excellent sound quality across digital audio formats, including bit-perfect PCM, native DSD and MQA.
The upgraded crystal clock eradicates jitter (digital distortion), using iFi’s GMT femto precision clocking system. This maintains the integrity of the digital signal until conversion to analogue and enhances sound quality.
Thanks to the XMOS 16 core tech, the hip-dac2 is now an MQA Decoder rather than a Renderer only.
This enables you to play back MQA audio files and streams, delivering the sound of the original master recording. The LED glows green or blue to indicate that the unit is decoding and playing an MQA stream or file, and denotes provenance to ensure that the sound is identical to that of the source material. It glows blue to indicate it is playing an MQA Studio file, which has either been approved in the studio by the artist/producer or has been verified by the copyright owner.
MQA rendering technology (used in the original versions of some other iFi products) connects to an MQA Core signal and completes the final unfold of an MQA file. Core decoding is included in streaming services such as TIDAL, as well as select media players.
Power hungry? hip-dac2 it!
The hip-dac2’s amp circuitry, like the original, is of balanced (differential) design.
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 amp stage can deliver 400mW into a 32-ohm headphone load, ensuring compatibility with a wide range of headphone and earphone types with power to spare. Even high-impedance headphones are handled with ease thanks to output voltage of 6.3V into 600 ohms (from the balanced output).
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. Use the lower setting with high-sensitivity headphone. If your headphones require more drive, use PowerMatch to increase gain.
XBass is another user-selectable feature – a sophisticated form of ‘bass boost’ that enhances low frequencies without muddying the midrange, 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 port features a male connector to provide greater mechanical integrity than a USB/micro USB ports commonly found on other DAC/headphone amps.
Two outputs are provided – a 3.5mm socket for headphones with a single-ended cable/connector and a Balanced 4.4mm output enabling headphones equipped with balanced connectivity to take full advantage of the hip-dac2’s differential amp design.
In addition, the 3.5mm output benefits from iFi’s 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.
Protect and serve
Both the original hip-dac and the new hip-dac2 sport a 102x70x14mm extruded aluminium enclosure, sufficiently robust to be ported around without fear of breakage.
However, some may wish to add further protection for the beautifully anodised metallic finish, whilst giving their beloved DAC/headphone amp a softer, suede-like feel – for them, the new hip-case is ideal.
Made from ‘faux suede’ in cool Dove Grey, with stitch detail and an embroidered iFi logo, the hip-case fits both the hip-dac and hip-dac2 like a glove, protecting it without hindering functionality.
Protect the hip-dac2 and let it serve you well.
DACs convert digital information, stored or streamed by computers, into music we can hear through speakers or headphones.
Every device that’s a source of digital sound has a built-in DAC (TVs, games consoles, CD players, phones, portable music players etc). Dedicated external DACs sound much better than standard DACs used in digital devices such as phones.
If a file is ‘Bit Perfect’ it means it has stayed the same. For example, if a PCM file is played through a DAC to improve the sound quality and the DAC does not change the file format. The file is ‘Bit Perfect’.
This is a type of audio circuitry topology that uses individual left & right channels. It is a superior method to the single-ended circuit approach.
Balanced circuits reduce noise and crosstalk.
While single-ended is used by most at this price level, iFi is implementing balanced circuits across its product range which is quite a step-up.
Gain is the amount of increase in audio signal strength. Gain is often expressed in decibels (dB).
Most modern systems use Digital Signal Processing. DSP samples analogue soundwaves into a limited set of numbers and records them. The overuse of DSP can result in an over compressed unnatural sound and the translation and reassembly of data make digital devices prone to loss of quality. All iFi products use Analogue Signal Processing as we believe it is better suited to audio. ASP does not cause signal quality to be lost as it records waveforms as they are and produces a more natural sound.