First hearing the term “iPhone Amplifier,” I thought VentureCraft’s Go-Dap Amplifier for iPhone 3G/3GS was merely an iPhone case with a speaker on it. Although that’s not exactly what it was, I’m actually glad of it, and I got a lot more than I expected out of this case. This case comes equipped with a rechargeable battery (used to power the amp and charge the iPhone), a Mini-USB port to sync the phone to your Mac/PC without having to be constantly removing the iPhone from the amp, and of course, a dedicated headphone jack for amplifying your audio device. Aside from black, the amplifier also comes in the sweet colors of white and orange.
- Go-Dap iPhone 3G/3GS Amplifier
- USB Cable (not shown)
- Width : 65mm
- Height : 132mm (Including the knob)
- Depth : 23mm
- Weight : 132g
- Battery: 1450mAh/Rechargeable
- Output Power : 300mW (16Ohms Loaded)
- Signal to Noise Ratio : >= 95dB (A Weight)
- Distortion : z<0.009% (10mW)
- Frequency Response : 10Hz – 120kHz
- Suitable Headphone Impedance :
- 16ohms – 100ohms
- Pre-Amp: OPA2338UA (Texas Instruments)
- Power-Amp : TPA6130A (Texas Instruments)
First hearing the term “iPhone Amplifier”, I thought it was merely an iPhone case with a speaker on it. Although that’s not exactly what it was, I’m actually glad of it, and I got a lot more than I expected out of this case. This case comes equipped with a rechargeable battery (used to power the amp and charge the iPhone), a Mini-USB port to sync the phone to your Mac/PC without having to be constantly removing the iPhone from the amp, and of course, a dedicated headphone jack for amplifying your audio device. Aside from black, the amplifier also comes in the sweet colors of white and orange.
Top controls of the amplifier
When you think of products from China, you generally think “low-quality”. But, since this amp was made in Japan, I think more highly about the build quality, as I should. Although the outside looks like a generic build, it’s actually quite durable. Other features of the case, such as the volume knob and 3-way power switch, are substantially built, and not flimsy in any case. Although the power knob is somewhat thin, it is definitely stuck to the amp well. I’d also like to point out that nothing is loose, so everything, including the Mini-USB port (with the plug inside of it when moving around), is tightly secured. Another good feature of this case that I’d like to point out, is that the camera is exposed, allowing users to take photos with the case on. It’s good they thought of that while designing the amplifier, as it may have caused some to change their mind. If this case were to be dropped, I don’t feel that it would get any type of major damage; maybe susceptible to a small scratch or scuff. Overall, this amplifier is very well constructed and I don’t feel it would ever suffer any major damage.
Battery health checker
The first feature from the Go-Dap Amplifier, which I really love, is the rechargeable 1450mAH battery. Inside the amp, it doesn’t take up a lot of room, and so, causes the amp to maintain a slim shape. During use of the amp, the battery maintains a warm temperature, and doesn’t tend to get too hot as I expected it would. Since the iPhone spends most of its time in your pocket, these are great features to the amplifier. After using the amp for a bit, I’ve come to a conclusion that on an uncharged iPhone, you will get around 5-6 hours of battery life (due to the amp charging the phone). On a charged iPhone, you will get around 8 or 9 hours. If you ever wonder what the battery’s health is, just push the battery button and you’re good to go! When the battery starts to get low or goes dead, just plug it in via Mini-USB and charge it until the light goes green. The best part is that it only takes about 5 hours to recharge the amplifier; so if you’re using as an emergency charger, you can quickly charge it up and be on your way. I do wish, though, that it came with a wall charger, since it’s more convenient for me to charge things overnight through the wall, since my laptop isn’t always on. To make do with what I have, I plug it into my iPhone’s USB wall adapter charger, and it doesn’t seem to have any problems.
When you plug the iPhone into the amplifier, the iPhone chirps to let you know it’s charging, and then you just plug your favorite audio device into the headphone jack on the amplifier, and bust out some tunes. Simply start by lowering the amp’s volume (not to get confused with the iPhone’s volume) to avoid getting an uncomfortable blast of noise in your ears, and then raise it to however you like. While using my V-Moda Crossfade LP headphones on a somewhat loud volume setting, I was surprised at what I was hearing. I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it or not, but it sounded clearer than the music coming through the iPhones native 3.5mm jack. At lower volume settings, though, you will achieve the 3.5mm jack related sound. In layman terms, the amp has to be decently loud in order to achieve maximum sound quality, but again, it also depends on the earphones, headphones or speakers you are using. The amplifier can really show its work when using large speakers, because even at ridiculously high audio volume, I haven’t noticed any significant loss in audio quality. This amp does have the capability to get very loud, and doesn’t have any problem in doing so.
Side of the amplifier (with phone)
Value for the Money
The Go-Dap iPhone Amplifier is a great piece of equipment, especially if your earphones aren’t loud enough, or require more power to make the best of them. Although a bit pricey at $200†, there aren’t really any other amplifiers for the iPhone, and any others out there are bulkier and within the same price range. When you buy the Go-Dap Amplifier, you’ll ensure a good build quality, good sound quality, and ease of use. Overall, I’d say it could be a little bit cheaper (maybe $150-$175), but otherwise it’s well worth the $200†.
Although some may not prefer to sync through the case with the included USB cable, I thought it was a great idea, and may make the lives of some easier, rather than constant insertion and removal of the iPhone from the amplifier. I’d have to say that my favorite feature of the amp, is that it can be used as a backup battery for anything, from playing intense video games, to making an emergency phone call from your battery dead iPhone. In final terms, it’s a great piece of equipment, especially for those who own top-notch audio equipment. No longer do you have to go with the mandatory 3.5mm jack, you can restore the sound that is rightfully yours by using this amplifier.
Though this model is not compatible with the iPhone 4, VentureCraft will be releasing a new model compatible with the new iPhone. Its features are as follows:
- Optical output capability
- DAC functionality
- Digital Amp up to a max 90kHz/24bit
- Quick switch between 48kHz and 90kHz
- Built-in high capacity battery (1450mA)
- Dual Burr-Brown operating amps
It is said to be priced at around $350, and is set to be released around Spring of 2011. VentureCraft states that they hope to please the “high-end audiophiles” with their new iPhone 4 amplifier. On an off-note, since many of us currently have the iPhone 4, you may want to hold off on buying this one for your 3GS, and just wait until spring. It may be a bit pricey, but when you’re an audiophile, it’s well worth the money!
† All prices are in US currency unless stated otherwise.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Overall scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
This accessory was given as a review unit, free of charge, by VentureCraft Inc.