Introduction to the iFi Audio Go Pod review
Let’s begin by diving into the company’s background, as it’s been quite a while since our last review of iFi Audio’s equipment. Established in the United Kingdom in 2012, iFi Audio is a company that continually piques interest due to its unpredictable offerings. Ranging from the diminutive and affordable Go Link dongle-dac to the impressively potent yet still relatively portable iDSD Diablo, and even extending to the extravagant all-in-one amplifier known as the iFi iCAN Phantom, priced at an astonishing €4000.
Notably, iFi Audio has engaged in collaborations with certain In-Ear Monitors makers during the creation of the Go Pod. As a result of these collaborations, one can anticipate that the reviewed iFi Audio Go Pod has been fine-tuned to cater to specific headphone models from Meze, Craft Ears, Westone Audio, or 64audio. This collaboration proves advantageous for consumers, allowing them to economize by acquiring adapters bundled with IEMs. For instance, the Meze Advar bundled with iFi Audio Go Pods is priced at €899, that’s a great saving considering that the IEM alone is priced at €699 (BTW Meze Advar is a pretty good deal even without the bundle.
Reviewed iFi Audio Go Pod arrives in a neat box, and inside you will find left and right Go Pod adapters, a tremendous charging case but on this later, 3 sets of ear loops with the most commonly used connectors – 0.78mm 2-pin, MMCX, and Pentaconn, a USB charging cable and some papers with quick start guide and etc.
If your IEM has connectors not mentioned above you don’t have to worry, you can always buy ear loops with even more connectors on the iFi webpage, but to be honest I’m in this hobby for a couple of years and I’ve met different connectors once – T2 in Westone Mach series, while most of the IEMs I used to listen to utilized MMCX or 2-pin connectors.
Design and Build Quality
I will start with the charging case because it’s a star of the show and I have some mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it has remote charging, tones of the battery life, fits any IEMs inside and as the cherry on top it has fancy LEDs inside, so when you open the box there is a spotlight that illuminates each of the earphones.
But on the other hand, it’s tremendous, it won’t comfortably fit any of my pockets, and that’s the real disadvantage, because for me TWS is a gear to use on-the-go, while commuting, shopping, etc, and this form factor makes me feel the case is more transportable e.g. in your backpack, than portable so you can fit it in your pocket and have always with you like AirPods Pro2 which we all in Ear Fidelity love it that much so it won our award of The Best Bluetooth Headphones of 2022. And to be honest, if Apple won’t release the third generation this October I will lobby for it to win this year as well.
Both adapters look the same, most of the body is made of good quality plastic with the earloop socket on top and microphone on the bottom. On the outer side, there is a metal plate divided into two parts. The upper part covers a small multi-functional LED indicator while the bottom part is pressable, with this touch area you can control the playback and volume of the music. For me, the biggest downside of the reviewed iFi Audio Go Pod adapters is their thickness. I suppose for most of the users it won’t be a problem, but I’m a four-eyed guy – glasses and I are the one. Shortly speaking, the summarized thickness of my glasses and the adapters causes discomfort after some time. The captivating thing is the fact that the reviewed iFi Audio Go Pod is IPX5 certified, so you can run or walk in the rain and you don’t have to be afraid of drawing it.
Lastly, the replaceable ear loops, from the comfort perspective, could be a bit softer, but this would cause problems while doing some activities, so the current state is a good compromise between comfort and stability. I can also add that both – 2-pin and MMCX connectors are tight, so I’m not afraid that the IEM will fall off.
Tech inside the reviewed iFi Audio Go Pod
Reviewed iFi Audio Go Pod truly exemplifies cutting-edge technology. Its design pays attention to every detail guaranteeing performance in all aspects. With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound certification and Bluetooth 5.2, you can enjoy a reliable connection. Thanks to the Qualcomm QCC5144 module not does the Bluetooth performance excel, but it also ensures efficient battery usage for prolonged use. Moreover, it’s not just about connectivity, the Go Pod supports high-definition Bluetooth formats like LDAC and LHDC delivering quality, but don’t be worried, it supports aptX, AAC, and SBC formats as well.
That’s not all. iFi Audio Go Pod takes convenience to the level with TrueWireless Mirroring technology. It intelligently switches roles between the right pods to maintain audio transmission as you move around. If customization is your thing the DAC stage has got you covered with sound settings to match your personal preferences. Additionally, Go Pod features two Cirrus Logic MasterHIFI DAC chips that ensure the audio is clear and dynamic.
The amplification phase within the iFi Audio Go Pod provides an exceptional experience. By ensuring a balanced output and tailored power levels for earpieces, music should be delivered with exceptional clarity and strength. Ifi claims that they achieve this through the integration of high-quality components that greatly enhance the experience.
If you’re an audio and tech freak, you may like the iFi Gaia app. It’s an app available for Android (unfortunately only via iFi download hub) and for iOS, which allows users to modify the sound with some filters, or there is also non-oversampling emulation mode to enable if you prefer the r2r-like sound. Ok, the iOS app feels like it was written by a Computer Science freshman just to pass their mobile programming entry course and the flow of downloading the Android app is a little shady. But fortunately, most of the Go Pod functionalities work without it, and as I already mentioned it’s for freaks and power users, who shouldn’t be afraid of a slightly scratchy UI.
There was lots of technical/marketing info in the previous paragraph, but at the end of the day what’s important is the sound and here reviewed iFi Audio Go Pod doesn’t fail. The sound signature is neutral with a warmer low end. But let’s deep dive into the details of the sound, because I’m very curious how this cooperation between iFi Audio and a couple of IEM manufacturers worked out.
The bass is the most influenced by the iFi Audio Go Pod part of frequency response. It descends very low and especially the sub-bass is well exposed, but It’s also highly dependent on the earphone connected to the adapters. For example, Craft Ears Aurum has slightly more bass, but when I plugged in the Meze Advar, the amount of the bass changed a lot. It’s still very good bass with great speed and impact, but you need to be advised that bass-heavy headphones may overwhelm the amount of the bass. Thanks to the slight boost in lower frequencies the sound gets more fun-biased, this may be a slight disadvantage for people looking for clinical and extremely technical sound, but for me, it’s a blessing, because I feel this kind of tuning is more engaging.
The midrange is neutral with a slight advantage of the warmth, but here the difference from neutral sound isn’t that audible, it’s just a minor weight down of the lower midrange. This improves some male vocals, so when paired with Craft Ears Aurum I can finally write that it’s just a perfect match to listen to. While listening to Nick Cave’s voice in Idiot Prayer I was completely satisfied. To be honest, in terms of the midrange, this pairing could be an endgame for me. What’s nice is that the midrange stays very natural, the instruments are very well-defined and everything is very pleasant to listen to. I would appreciate some more texture but overall, as for ultra-portable Bluetooth, true wireless DAC/Amp the midrange is way more than decent.
Now let’s move to the treble. It’s the most neutral part of the sound signature of the iFi Go Pod. It’s just as good as the treble of an earphone connected to it. The sound is nicely neutral, and it isn’t too bright, but from technical aspects, the detail resolution is very good, especially while listening with LDAC, but even when I was playing music with my iPhone via AAC codec everything sounded more than decent, especially in the rumble of the public transport. On the other hand, during more critical listening sessions at home, I was really pleased with how treble-dependent instruments are well presented with a good balance between resolution and smoothness. I can shortly summarize that the treble is perfectly decent, it’s hard to find something to glorify, but I have nothing to criticize as well.
Finally, let’s address the soundstage. In a nutshell, it serves as a good benchmark for the IEM. The iFi Go Pod brings forth no alterations. To put it simply, the soundstage remains precisely as the sound engineer intended. If your IEM delivers a concert hall-like experience, the reviewed iFi Go Pod won’t interfere with that. Conversely, if your IEM presents a soundstage that feels confined within the space between your ears, the Go Pod won’t rectify this limitation.
The last thing I need to add is that the positioning of the sound sources is notably commendable. If only the earphone keeps a good level of spatial qualities, discerning the origins of various sound sources becomes an effortless endeavor.
Some time ago I wrote a review of Meze Advar and because I know it, Meze sent us a Go Pod as the bundle upgrade for Advar since Advar + Go Pod is available for sale now for $899/€899.
As I wrote in my review, the Advar has a warm, relaxed, and smooth sound with a V-shaped signature and when powered with iFi Go Pod the character of the Romanian IEM is even more outlined. The treble is smooth and pleasant, but it still has a good amount of detail. The midrange is a bit recessed, and it still lacks a bit of texture, or if you don’t like the texture of the sound you would probably call it harshness.
And the bass, that’s a ton of fun, maybe it’s not the amount of the lower end known from Campfire Audio Vega 2020, but the Meze Advar can show the real character of the Go Pod – it’s juicy and punchy, but also very well controlled. Finally, the Soundstage, was wide and deep just as I remembered Advar. If you expect more from Advar, then you should pick a different source, but for me, it’s a very good bundle for listening to music or even watching some movies, especially on the go.
Craft Ears Aurum
Craft Ears Aurum is currently one of my favorite IEMs, it’s available in a bundle with iFi Go Pod as well and what’s more, Craft Ears released a special design of Aurum for the bundle version, but it’s a good old Aurum we all know. For the iFi Go Pod in the bundle you need to pay an additional €100, but during the holiday season with the “FREEiFi23” code you can get it for free, and in my opinion, that’s a steal.
But let’s move to the most important part – how does iFi Go Pod pair with Aurum? If you’ve already read my review of the Craft Ears Aurum, then you should know it’s a power-hungry IEM, but the Go Pod can easily drive it without any issues. The treble is still perfectly balanced with great resolution, I don’t feel I’m listening to a very portable gear. The midrange is also charming, thanks to a slightly warm-ish signature, Go Pod makes the male vocals played with Aurum sound better when compared to more neutral sources. Lastly, the bass – the CE flagship earphones are known for very fast and precise lower frequencies, but thanks to the slight boost in that part of frequency response, the sound of this combo is a bit more fun-biased. In terms of the soundstage, the adapters from iFi don’t really affect the sound, the soundstage still has a decent size and perfect positioning.
iFi Audio Go pod Review – Summary
iFi Go Pod is an interesting device that allows you to turn almost any IEM into a truly wireless earphone. The sound quality is good and it can easily drive most of the IEMs in the market.
For me, the biggest issue is the price, because I feel that almost €400 is a bit too much, but in a package with an IEM like Meze Advar + Go Pod bundle for €899, while Advar alone costs €699, it’s a fair price and to be honest, I would get bundle without thinking.
Big thanks to Meze Audio and iFi Audio for providing the Go Pod for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion.
I’m a 24 years old software engineer, but also coffee, wine, and audio gear freak based in Cracow, Poland. I like to get lost in the city, but I hate getting lost while reading pompous audio reviews. My goal is to provide simple and informative reviews that I hope will help you to find your way around the rabbit hole.