iFi’s GO Bar Kensei claims to be the world’s first DAC with innovative K2HD tech for lossless audio

iFi GO Bar Kensei
(Image credit: iFi)

iFi products are a regular sight in our best portable DACs guide. There are multiple iFi models in there already but the new iFi GO Bar Kensei could well be joining them. It's the first ultraportable DAC to include K2HD tech, which promises to put back the frequencies and resolution lost when compressing to CD quality audio.

KD2H was developed by Japanese electronics firm JVCKENWOOD. It uses digital processing to identify the missing harmonics (above 22kHz) and resolution that are lost when outputting to CD quality. Those harmonics and data are then recreated and restored to deliver a sonic performance that's much closer to the original recording. 

iFi is very excited about including the tech in its new DAC, which it claims is a world first. The GO Bar Kensei is the successor to the 2022 GO Bar (we got to see the anniversary edition of this model that swapped an alloy exterior for copper), and promises to be a significant audio upgrade.

Cutting-edge tech inspired by cutting-edge swords

Kensei blades are wielded by the most skilful warriors, and iFi has used them as its inspiration and sought out Japanese stainless steel to encase its DAC in a suitably stylish form. Inside there are four digital filters (Bit-Perfect, GTO, Standard, and Minimum Phase), two analog processing modes and both bass and soundstage enhancement to deliver a more thrilling and spacious sound. 

The GO Bar Kensei is designed to work with a wide selection of the best headphones and in-ear monitors (IEMs) found among the best wired headphones. There are multiple headphone output modes, including IEM tuning and a Turbo Mode that adds 6dB for more hungry headphones, and there are 3.5mm S-Bal and 4.4mm Balanced outputs. 

The previous GO Bar was already a very impressive performer – our friends at T3 gave it the full five stars, and we've tested a whole bunch of iFi DACs with similarly stellar results – and iFi promises that the Kensei is even better, with a newly enhanced clock and 477mW power supply contributing to sonic performance "vastly surpassing" the original GO Bar in audio quality.

The new iFi GO Bar Kensei is available now with a recommended price of $449 / £449 / $AUD449.

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.