iFi Audio Hip-Dac 3

Without VAT: $178.46
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With a sound as flavoursome and richly detailed as a delicious single malt Scotch, the hip-dac 3 portable USB DAC/headphone amp delivers the perfect pick-me-up for any music lover on the go.

Shooting from the hip

With its sleek, robust aluminium enclosure measuring 10.2x7x1.4cm, the go-anywhere hip-dac 3 is designed to slip discretely into a pocket or bag. It replaces the inferior DAC (digital-to-analogue converter) and amp circuitry in phones, tablets, PCs and Macs to vastly improve headphone sound. Its design and performance set it apart from other DAC/headphone amps in its class – connect your digital device via USB, plug in your favourite corded headphones or IEMs and the hip-dac 3 delivers a sound brimming with bold dynamism and fluid refinement, effortlessly engaging the listener with all manner of music. In the home, in the office, on a train or plane, the hip-dac 3 is a music lover’s inseparable friend.

DAC’s the way to do it

The DAC section is based around a Burr-Brown chipset that iFi uses extensively, selected for its natural-sounding ‘musicality’ and True Native architecture. Its design allows DSD and PCM audio data to take separate pathways, thereby remaining ‘bit-perfect’ in their native form right through to analogue conversion. This, combined with custom iFi circuitry, enables the hip-dac 3 to deliver excellent sound quality across all manner of digital audio formats.

iFi’s experience with the Burr-Brown chipset means it knows how to make the most of it; but whilst intrinsic to the resulting sound, the creation of an exemplary DAC stage involves much more than the selection of a particular DAC chip. One such critical component is the XMOS chip that iFi uses to process audio data received over the digital inputs. The hip-dac 3 incorporates a 16-core XMOS microcontroller, its processing power utilised by iFi to optimise sound quality and unlock the full potential of the Burr-Brown DAC chip.

Balance of power

The hip-dac 3’s analogue amplification stage benefits from a true balanced (differential) circuit design – unusual in a DAC/headphone amp anywhere near this price point. This topology helps to reduce signal distortion, which in turn leads to purer, more engaging sound.

The circuitry incorporates a range of high-quality components selected for their performance in an audio context, including a custom iFi OV op-amp, a precision low-noise power supply IC from Texas Instruments and a high-quality analogue volume pot. (Many portable DAC/headphone amps use digital volume controls, which can be detrimental to sound quality.) The amp stage can deliver up to 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).

  • Portable Hi-Res DAC/Amp featuring extended treble and beefy power supply
  • Improved headphone sound over inferior power and digital conversion circuitry found in smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs
  • Premium build quality with gold-colored aluminum enclosure
  • Hi-Res True Native playback of all formats from MP3 to DSD256, with PCM384 and DXD384
  • XBass returns typical incorrect bass response for a more accurate reproduction
  • Headphone outputs via Balanced 4.4mm and 3.5mm S-Balanced
  • USB-C replaces USB-A from previous hip-dac
What's in the box?
  • iFi audio hip-dac 3 Portable Headphone Amp & DAC
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • User Manual
  • Instruction card
Inputs 1
Outputs 1
AD Conversion No
DA Conversion Yes
AES/EBU Connector No
Word Clock No
Headphones DAC Yes
Remote Control No
Wireless Capability No
Dimensions 10.2 x 7 x 1.4 cm
Weight 135 g

Product instruction