ZEN Blue
ZEN Blue
Zen Blue - the ultra-affordable DAC from iFi audio
High-resolution wireless streamer.

This ultra-affordable hi-res Bluetooth® streamer enables you to chillax in style. Just add smartphone, tablet, PC or Mac.

Chill. Relax. Enjoy.

You only achieve true ZEN when totally chilled. We’ve given you peace of mind (and pocket) with the ZEN Blue.

Whether you’re a Spotify, Amazon or Apple Music lover or totally prefer Tidal, the ZEN Blue will deliver fabulously flawless music to suit your mood via breathtaking hi-res Bluetooth®.

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Hi-res to the nth degree.

All current and future Bluetooth® audio formats are supported.

This includes Qualcomm’s aptX and aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, aptX Adaptive, LDAC and HWA/LHDC, hi-res Bluetooth® codecs created by Sony and Huawei respectively, AAC, Apple’s favoured format and SBC, the standard Bluetooth® codec.

Phew! This means every possible source device is covered, at the highest resolution Bluetooth® specification.

Not all Bluetooth is created equal.

Have utter confidence in the sound quality of the ZEN Blue.

It uses Bluetooth5.0®, the very latest version, and the newest Qualcomm 5100 chip to process all incoming Bluetooth® data.

There ESS Sabre DAC chip is there to ensure an extremely smooth digital to analogue conversion.

Banish standard ‘Bluetooth Blues’ with the iFi hi-res implementation.

Zen Blue - the ultra-affordable DAC from iFi audio

Enjoy. Your way.

Chill with the best of both worlds.

Analogue – connect via RCA to amps or active speakers or via the 4.4mm output to amps/speakers with a balanced input.

Digital – use the optical and coaxial connections to connect to anything with a built-in DAC and corresponding digital input; your TV, an AV amp or an external DAC in your hi-fi set-up.

Balanced design is special indeed.

The analogue output stage is balanced, not normally seen in DACs at this price point. Balanced means less noise interference/crosstalk. This equals more ZEN in our book.

It has RCA and balanced outputs at HiFi standard level; 2V SE and 4V BAL and thus is compatible with both HiFi and Pro systems.

All underpinned by high-quality circuit components such as C0G capacitors from TDK. All fed by a precision low-noise power supply from Texas Instruments to make this a rare entry-priced beastie.

Go and grab yourself one today. And ZEN out…

Texas Instruments low-noise ICs offer great unity-gain bandwidth, very low noise and distortion, high output drive capability, Common-mode and Power Supply Rejection Ratios of over 100 dB, wide maximum-output-swing bandwidths and high slew rates.

The iFi Bluetooth® implementation does not use a standard SOC (System On a Chip) as seen elsewhere. It uses a combination of quality elements to extract the most from each stage.

The Qualcomm chip routes the raw, digital Bluetooth® signal to a specialised Sabre DAC chip to convert the signal from digital to analogue – any jitter is eliminated using our GMT femto-precision clock system to deliver Bluetooth® that is a cut above.

Discrete ESS Sabre Hyperstream DAC chipset with time domain jitter eliminator, discrete oscillator and 112dB dynamic range for discerning listeners.

A key advantage of the ESS Sabre DAC chip is its Hyperstream architecture with integrated Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, which delivers vanishingly low distortion and a high dynamic range.

As with many other iFi audio products, we’ve incorporated a custom OV Series operational-amplifier. This top-notch component contributes to the extremely low noise, low distortion (0.0001%) and wide bandwidth.

TDK C0G (Class 1 ceramic) capacitors offer high stability and low losses for resonant circuit applications. They are pricey but are a perfect addition to our products.

It is a superior method to the traditional single-ended circuit approach. Balanced circuits reduce noise and crosstalk. Less Interference – clearer sound.

You normally find this set-up in products at the higher end of the price spectrum such as the Pro iCAN but iFi is now using this across its range to produce the best quality audio for all our customers.

Support

Power: DC 5V
Input: Bluetooth 5.0TM with AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, aptX Low-Latency, LDAC, HWA/LHDC Codec
Output: Optical/Coaxial, Audio RCA L/R, 4.4 Balanced Line out
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz <+0/-0.5dB (44.1kHz)
1Hz – 44khz <+0/-3.0dB (>= 88.2kHz)
Output Voltage @ 0dBFS: 2.05V (+/-0.05V)
Dynamic Range: 109dB (A)
Signal/Noise ratio: 109dB (A) @ 0dBFS
THD & N @ 0dBFS: < 0.0015% 10k Load
Output Impedance: < 50Ω
Power Consumption: < 2.5W
Dimensions: 158 (l) x 100 (w) x 35 (h) mm
Weight (Gross): 0.8 kg (1.8 lbs)

Reviews

Test iFi Zen Blue, Zen DAC and Zen Phono: an incredible amount of HiFi for 150 euros

“The three test candidates of the Zen family from the British specialist iFi Audio provide impressive evidence of this… The iFi Audio Zen DAC earned the most laurels: It not only shines with its versatility as a USB DAC headphone amp, but also and above all with its fantastic, airy, natural sound – a real favorite killer.”

Read more…

(Click name to read original review)
aptX

aptX Bluetooth transmission is found in most Android phones, media players, Apple computers (macOS on iMacs and MacBooks) and on higher-quality Bluetooth headphones. It is not available on iOS (iPhones and iPads use Advanced Audio Codec).

AAC

AAC is one of the most commonly-supported Bluetooth codecs in the wireless headphone and speaker markets. It’s also the default audio compression codec used by Apple’s iTunes and YouTube and is supported across both iPhone and Android smartphones.

Bluetooth 5.0®

This is the latest version of the Bluetooth wireless communication standard.

Its main benefits are improved speed and greater range – it’s faster and can operate over greater distances than older versions of Bluetooth. You can find out more here.

DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter)

DACs convert digital information, stored or streamed by computers, into music we can hear through speakers or headphones.

Every device that’s a source of digital sound has a built-in DAC (TVs, games consoles, CD players, phones, portable music players etc). Dedicated external DACs sound much better than standard DACs used in digital devices such as phones.

LDAC

LDAC is an audio coding technology developed by Sony, which allows streaming audio over Bluetooth connections up to 990 kbit/s at 24 bit/96 kHz (also called high-resolution audio).

It is used in Sony headphones, smartphones, portable media players, active speakers and home theatres.

LDAC is a lossy codec which means is discards some of musical info to make the file smaller.

ZEN

Zen emphasizes rigorous self-control, meditation-practice, insight into the nature of things and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefit of others. Discover more here.

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