iFi Go Pod Review: A Superb Bluetooth Adapter For Your Favorite IEMs!

iFi Audio GO pod Wearable Bluetooth DAC/Amp

iFi Audio GO pod Wearable Bluetooth DAC/Amp







What We Dig

  • Crisp and Detailed Bluetooth Audio
  • Excellent Build Quality
  • Very Comfortable to Wear

What To Think About

  • Fit Varies Widely Depending on the IEM you use

Want a high-quality Bluetooth adapter for your expensive IEMs? Check out our iFi Go Pod review- it’s a game-changer!

The $399 iFi Audio Go Pod is a new wearable Bluetooth Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) and headphone amplifier designed to transform your premium in-ear monitors (IEMs) into true wireless earbuds.

Ifi isn’t the first company to market a product like this (Fiio and Fostex are two that come to mind), but according to them, their device is the first of its kind to support “Hi-Res” 96kHz/24bits audio with LDAC and the latest Qualcomm Bluetooth codecs such as aptX HD and aptX Adaptive. This ensures, at least with Android devices, your audio should be delivered at the highest resolution. By the way, AAC and SBC codecs are also on deck for iPhone folks.

RELATED: Audiophile Headphones Buyers Guide (2023)

The Go Pod earpieces are big but well-made with quality plastics and metal inserts that add some class to the design while enhancing usability. Each earpiece also has a tiny LED light that indicates charging and connection status.

When I first looked at the pods, I couldn’t envision how they could be comfortable. However, with their light weight and ergonomics, iFI does a masterful job of balancing the earpieces’ bulk, and remarkably when worn, they didn’t feel the least bit burdensome.

To provide compatibility with almost any IEM on the market, the GO Pod uses detachable ear loops with interchangeable connectors that support MMCX, 2pin, Pentaconn, T2, and A2DC connection types. One thing to keep in mind is that fit and comfort will vary with the IEMs you’re using.

The few IEMs I tried were quite comfortable when used in conjunction with the GO Pods. That said, I did find the ear loops tended to pull the IEMs out of your ears at times, so you may need to use a different ear tip than the one you would use when on the wire.

iFi Go Pod Review

Instead of using a single SOC (system on a chip) for Bluetooth, DAC, and amplification, the GO Pod is built with separate and individually optimized components on a robust PCB board, which is said to provide top-quality audio. This explains why the earpieces are so large.

With this in mind, Qualcomm’s QCC5144 32-bit module is responsible for the processing of Bluetooth 5.2, delivering excellent wireless audio performance in terms of range, speed, and reliability. The DAC stage incorporates two Cirrus Logic MasterHIFI chips, one per ear, for low distortion and high dynamic range.

Further, each earpiece (or pod) has an amp stage capable of 120mW into 32 ohms and 4V into 300-ohm loads. To ensure the output is compatible with your particular IEM, the pod will auto-detect its impedance and adjust to one of four settings – 16 ohms, 32 ohms, 64 ohms, or 300 ohms – depending on the connected IEM.

The iFi Audio GO Pod also features a built-in microphone with Qualcomm’s cVc noise suppression technology, which helps to provide remarkably clear phone calls. In addition, there are front-panel touch controls for volume, playback, and call management, that are large and responsive. The control scheme is also pretty intuitive, making the Go Pod easy to use. That said, I did have to get used to tapping behind the ear rather than in the middle as you would with regular wireless earbuds.

The GO Pod comes with a large but beautifully designed charging case. It’s not something you will be dropping in your pocket, which is understandable when you consider the size of the earpieces. The case has two velvet-lined compartments with sufficient room to accommodate most IEMs and the pods and is rated to provide up to 35 hours of playing time with its 1500mAH rechargeable battery. That equates to about 7 hours of playback time on the Pods per charge using AAC, and a little less using LDAC.

iFi Go Pod Review

I love the thoughtfulness of putting a soft lining inside the case since they envision you using the GO Pod with some pretty expensive IEMs. God forbid you scratch up the finish of your prized earphones bumping around in a charging case.

The GO pod case supports both Qi wireless charging and USB-C fast charging, which is convenient.

Just like a pair of True Wireless earbuds, the GO Pods connect to each other and to your phone as soon as you remove them from the charging case. Connections are almost instantaneous due to the Bluetooth 5.2 chips inside.

For the first 1000 units, iFi is partnering with leading IEM manufacturers to launch a collection of premium earphone-GO Pod combos. According to iFi, the IEM manufacturers were involved in developing the packages to ensure the best sound quality.

These combinations will only be available directly from iFi via their website or via their IEM partners. After the initial launch, GO pods will be sold as a standalone product with MMCX and 2-pin IEM connectors, with additional ear loops available. It seems like some of the combos are already hard to get, so sales must be good.

Ifi sent me the combo with the $599 Symphonium Audio Meteor IEM, a well-regarded earphone known for an exciting sound with colossal scale, but you can also get combos with IEMs from Meze, Craft Ears, 64 audio, and Westone. This will give you a wide variety of sound signatures and budgets, which is pretty cool.

Listening to the iFi Audio GO Pod

For this review, I connected the iFi GO Pod/Symphonium Audio x Meteor IEM combo to my Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and played many test tracks from the TIDAL Android App. I used the LDAC audio codec set to the “Optimized for Audio Quality” setting, which provides the highest data transfer at over 900 kbps.

Listening to the Meteor IEMs thru the GO Pod, especially with LDAC, sounded remarkably like a wired connection to a good DAC/Amp dongle. The first thing I noticed was how “black” or quiet the background was. The clarity was remarkable, and it was hard to believe I was listening to a Bluetooth transmission.

iFi Go Pod Review

The Pods pumped the IEMs full of crisp, dynamic audio, and I didn’t find myself missing the wired connection. On the contrary, I liked the freedom of using such high-quality IEMs without being tethered to a headphone amp.

Listening to my favorite recording right now, “Iroko” by Abraham Rodriguez Jr. and Avishai Cohen, I was astonished at the richness of the presentation, along with the crispness of instruments like the upright bass along with the vocals. The GO Pod provided remarkable soundstage and depth through the Meteor IEMs. While it wasn’t quite as focused or open as the wired connection, that was only evident when making a careful A-B comparison.

On the song “A Bailar Mi Bomba,” I found myself dancing in my chair as the GO Pod took full advantage of the Meteor’s excellent speed and energy, beautifully reproducing the rapid-fire Latin percussion and pulling the masterful vocal out of thin air! I was indeed taken aback.

iFi Go Pod Review

That said, I did find the GO Pod to be just a touch forward with the Meteor IEM, but just a bit. I tried some warmer IEMs with the Pods, and I liked the synergy better in some ways. However, that’s the beauty of a product like this; you can pick and choose the earphone that sounds best to you and allow the GO Pod to supply the dynamics and clarity.

Overall, I have to say I’ve listened to quite a few dongles which aim to convert wired headphones to wireless, and the GO Pod comes closest to providing the connected experience. The resolution and detail this device pumps out are almost miraculous, lifting the Bluetooth audio experience to a level I didn’t know was possible.

The Wrap Up

In conclusion, the iFi Audio GO Pod is an exceptional device that delivers crystal-clear audio quality for high-end in-ear monitor (IEM) users. Its support for Hi-Res 96kHz/24bits with LDAC and Qualcomm Snapdragon Sound codecs ensures a superb wireless listening experience.

With its detachable ear loops and interchangeable connectors, it is compatible with almost any IEM manufacturer, and the well-designed charging case provides up to 35 hours of playback time via multiple charges (7 hours per charge). The GO Pod is well-built, comfortable to wear, and easy to operate via responsive front-panel touch controls.

At a price of around $400, the GO Pod isn’t cheap, but it also seems to be the most complete product of its kind, impressively providing a presentation that is amazingly close to what you get on the wire. These things are like strapping little iFi ZEN DACs to your ears! If you’re looking for a way to cut the cord on your expensive IEMs, then you should definitely check this device out! Highly Recommended!

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