Introducing the New iFi Hip DAC 3

Hip DAC 3 close up of the control panel

Hip DAC 3: Just the Tonic for Headphones Fans

This just in! iFi has just released the latest product in their popular portable USB DAC/Amp lineup: the Hip DAC 3. The third-generation portable DAC has some worthwhile updates (from the iFi Hip-DAC 2) to the entry-level converter that make it a serious contender in this price range. Bringing some of the technology from the popular Gryphon DAC, the Hip-DAC 3 now brings the excellent IEMatch tech to the masses, allowing users to expand compatibility to in-ear monitors and other high-sensitivity headphones. Read on to find out more about this exciting new addition from iFi Audio. 

The Hip-DAC is one of iFi’s most popular DAC/headphone amps, beloved for its affordable, battery-powered portability, extensive hi-res specification, distinctive design reminiscent of a hip flask, and fittingly intoxicating sound. The original Hip-DAC arrived in 2019, followed by the Hip-DAC 2 in 2021; and now the third-generation Hip-DAC is here. Like a fine whisky, it just gets better with age.  Each new Hip-DAC generation applies a different anodized finish to its robust and pocketable aluminum enclosure. The original Hip-DAC caught the eye in trendy Petrol Blue, while the Hip-DAC 2 stepped up a gear in racy Sunset Orange. For the Hip-DAC 3, iFi has created Titanium Shadow – a warm, subtle grey that changes tone in different lights, with hints of bronze and vintage gold.  Closer inspection reveals further changes to the Hip-DAC 3’s specification. There are now two USB-C ports – one for audio, the other for charging (the previous two Hip-DAC generations used USB-A for audio). 

Now that Apple has ditched its proprietary Lightning connector for the iPhone 15, USB-C can finally be described as ubiquitous across all new smartphones, tablets, and laptops.  There is also an additional switch on the Hip-DAC 3’s underside – this engages iFi’s IEMatch technology, now included in the Hip-DAC 3. IEMatch is a proprietary circuit designed to optimize the amp’s output to better suit high-sensitivity headphones and earphones – particularly useful for in-ear monitors (IEMs). When used with such devices, IEMatch reduces background hiss, enhances detail and dynamic range, and increases the useable range of the volume control. More changes have been made under the hood, with a range of circuit enhancements including new metal film  2 capacitors and other refinements delivering improved frequency response. The DAC section features an upgraded version of iFi’s GMT (Global Master Timing) circuitry, including a new crystal oscillator – this further reduces phase noise, contributing to purer, crisper sound.  Other than these changes, the Hip-DAC 3 retains all the features that made the iFi Audio Hip-DAC 2 such a popular portable USB DAC/headphone amp. 


  • The third generation of iFi’s award-winning Hip DAC
  • Upgraded circuitry-even more detailed and spacious sound
  • True Native DAC-bit-perfect performance with every digital format
  • State-of-the-art hi-res audio-32-bit/384kHz PCM, DSD256 and full MQA decoding  
  • Separate USB-C inputs for audio data and charging
  • Fully balanced 4.4mm and S-Balanced 3.5mm headphone outputs
  • PowerMatch-adjust gain to satisfy power-hungry
  • iEMatch- optimize output to suit super-sensitive in-ear monitors
  • XBass-tune bass response to match headphone type
  • Perfectly portable-slips easily into a pocket with battery life of 8-12 hours
  • Robust aluminum enclosure with Titanium Shadow finish-exclusive to Hip DAC 3
Contents of the 109 Pro Primal
Hip DAC 3 and iEMatch controls
Hip DAC 3 connecting to a laptop

The Hip DAC 3: Even More Features & Performance

Titanium shadow. Trendsetting innovations: Now, iFi Audio's battery-powered portable hi-res DAC/headphone amp is adorned in the Titanium Shadow hue, exuding timeless elegance with a touch of modern sophistication. The transformation extends beyond aesthetics. The Hip-DAC 3’s sleek Aluminum case houses new features, tailored to elevate your audio experience. Two USB-C ports simplify your cable management: one for audio and the other for charging. A switch on the underside activates iFi’s iEMatch technology, which is optimized for high-sensitivity headphones and earphones, making it especially beneficial for your in-ear monitors (IEMs). Inside, the device boasts circuit enhancements, including new metal film capacitors for better frequency response. Additionally, an updated version of iFi’s GMT circuitry, coupled with a new crystal oscillator, further reduces phase noise, delivering a purer sound.

Hip flask size. Magnum performance: With its sleek, robust aluminum enclosure, the portable Hip-DAC 3 discreetly fits in a pocket or bag. It replaces the subpar DAC and amplifier in smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Macs. Just connect via USB-C, plug in your favorite headphones, and enjoy rich, dynamic sound. iFi’s expertise with the Burr-Brown chipset ensures optimal performance. However, a superior DAC stage involves more than just the DAC chip. A crucial element is the XMOS chip for processing digital audio inputs. The Hip-DAC 3 features a 16-core XMOS microcontroller, programmed by iFi’s in-house team to optimize sound quality and ensure a perfect hi-res partnership with the Burr-Brown DAC.

Hip-DAC 3 your power-hungry headphone: The Hip-DAC 3 features a true balanced circuit design, rare for its price range. This design minimizes signal distortion, resulting in a purer, more captivating sound for your headphones. The circuitry incorporates high-quality components, including a custom iFi OV op-amp, a low-noise power supply IC from Texas Instruments, and a premium analog volume pot. The amp stage can deliver up to 400mW into a 32-ohm headphone load, making it compatible with a wide range of headphones. Additionally, it efficiently drives high-impedance headphones with an output voltage of 6.3V into 600 ohms from the balanced output.

Tailored for your headphones and earphones: The iFi Audio Hip-DAC 3 is a high-end DAC and headphone amplifier with great functionality. The amp stage has a switchable gain, called PowerMatch, to ensure optimal power for the headphones you are using. An underside switch engages iFi’s iEMatch technology, optimizing output for high-sensitivity headphones, especially in-ear monitors (IEMs). It reduces hiss, enhances detail and dynamic range, and improves volume control range. XBass is a user-selectable feature that boosts bass without muddying the midrange, ideal for your earphones and open-back headphones. It works in the analog domain, avoiding alterations via DSP.

Play all your files, including MQA: Hi-res PCM and DXD audio data are supported at sample rates up to 384kHz, alongside DSD from 2.8MHz to 12.4MHz (DSD64, 128, and 256). Full decoding of MQA – the hi-res streaming technology, as used by Tidal’s ‘HiFi Plus’ tier – is also supported, performing the full ‘three unfold’ decoding process (as opposed to just the final unfold in the manner of an MQA ‘renderer’). On either side of the rotary volume knob control resides a pair of LEDs that change color to indicate the format and sample rate of the incoming audio.

Get connected: The Hip-DAC 3’s USB Type-C input supports up to 32-bit/384kHz audio, compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0. Its asynchronous design ensures jitter-free data transfer. A separate USB-C charging port allows use while charging, preserving a pure audio signal path. The Hip-DAC 3 provides two outputs: a 3.5mm socket for single-ended headphones and a 4.4mm balanced output for those with balanced connectivity, leveraging the device’s differential amp design. The 3.5mm output utilizes iFi’s S-Balanced circuitry, minimizing crosstalk and distortion for single-ended connections. The Hip-DAC 3’s 2,200mAh battery offers up to 12 hours of playtime, varying by volume and headphone power needs. It includes a USB-C OTG cable and a USB-A to USB-C cable.
hip DAC 3 control panel and volume wheel
hip DAC 3 front logo design

Featured Products


Related Videos

Best Portable DACs of 2023
Best USB DACs of 2022
Best Desktop and Portable DACs of 2022