TrueBass® – delivers genuine bass with realistic depth and definition.
Everything from timpani to a bass guitar, to an electronic bassline, is conveyed with power and poise.
Find your ZEN with this super-affordable compact DAC/headphone amp. It makes your music move you.
This superb hi-res USB DAC/headphone amp delivers a level of specification and performance that punches above its super-affordable price tag.
Compact enough to use as a USB DAC/amp on your work desk with your much-loved headphones.
Stylish enough to use in your home system as a USB DAC. Just add your favourite active speakers or amp.
The ZEN DAC supports PCM and DXD to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD256 and MQA. DSD remains ‘bit-perfect’ thanks to the True Native Burr Brown chip design.
Our R&D maxes out the circuitry with bespoke, easy to install firmware to bring you the joyous musicality of hi-res. The ethereal music quality will leave you grinning ear to ear.
Switch effortlessly between ‘variable’ and ‘fixed’.
Set to ‘Variable,’ use the ZEN DAC as a pre-amp to feed a power amp or active speakers.
On ‘Fixed’ to bypass the volume control. Connect to an external pre-amp or integrated amp.
The ZEN DAC boasts TrueBass. This proprietary tech is a switchable ‘bass boost’ operating in the analogue domain. There’s no DSP with iFi gear.
TrueBass enhances the bass but does not muddy the mid-range. Perfect for use with IEMs or open-back headphones which often lose out on bass.
So, in the words of the great Eric Clapton and from the film Back to the Future, Heaven is One Step Away.
Go find your ZEN.
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.
|Input||USB3.0 B Socket (USB2.0 compatible)|
|Formats||DSD256/128/64, Octa/Quad/Double/Single-Speed DSD DXD(384/352.8kHz), PCM(384/352.8/192/176.4/96/88.2/48/44.1kHz) MQA|
|DAC||Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown|
|Output||Audio RCA (SE) — 2.1V fixed
1V / 3.3V max. (variable)
4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL) — 4.2V fixed
2V / 6.2V max. (variable)
|Zout||<= 200 Ohm (BAL)
<= 100 Ohm (SE)
|SNR||< -116dB(A) @ 0dBFS (BAL/SE)|
|DNR||> 116dB(A) @ -60dBFS (BAL/SE)|
|THD+N||< 0.0015% @ 0dBFS (BAL/SE)|
|Output Power (@1% THD)||4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL)
[email protected] Ohm; [email protected] Ohm;
16 Ohm - 600 Ohm Headphone
6.3mm S-BAL (SE)
[email protected] Ohm; [email protected] Ohm
16 Ohm - 600 Ohm Headphone
Note: Using 5v power. If powered from USB, power output may vary.
|Output Impedance||< 1 Ω (BAL/SE)|
|THD & N||< 0.005% (125mW @ 32R)|
|SNR||> 113dBA (6.2V BAL/3.3V SE)|
|Power consumption||< 1.5W via USB power OR 5v DC (power supply not included)|
|Dimensions||117(l) x 100(w) x 30(h)mm|
|Weight (Gross)||0.8 kg (1.8 lbs)|
|Warranty period||12 months|
We’re working on it — check back soon!
“I absolutely loved my time with both the iFi Zen DAC and Zen Blue. The ability to move my music to anywhere in the house with the Zen Blue was a great benefit and the DAC performance of the Zen Blue was almost identical to the Zen DAC. So if you want to enjoy your music on a backyard deck, bedroom, or home office and don’t want to run cables, the Zen Blue will fill that gap quite nicely. As well, if you have a pair of powered speakers and are looking for a higher resolution source, the Zen Blue has you covered.”
“As a pre-amp and DAC combined, the Zen proved to be a wholehearted winner.”
“Bass was lively, nimble and punchy while the upper frequencies benefited from the low noise around the soundstage, enhancing the accuracy from guitars and honing vocal deliveries.”
“Of course, the glitz and glamor would be nothing without great sound and, let me assure you, the Zen offers great sound. This is a quality piece of kit but, hey, what more would you expect from iFi?”
We present to you today the iFi Audio Zen DAC , a Hi-Res Audio certified USB audio DAC, also equipped with a headphone amplifier at a contained price, which has the specificity of offering a balanced input and output. Here is our detailed test.
I purchased this to go with my AKG K702 headphones. I have been using the Dragonfly Black V1.5 for a few years but it is a bit under powered for these. I was prepared to spend up to £500 on a new DAC / headphone amp and had read a few reviews online before deciding to go for this. The Zen DAC pairs well with the K702. The headphones are reference so nothing is exaggerated only flat, although do lack a bit at the lower end.
The Zen DAC fills the lower end in nicely. Although I was never a fan of MQA before, the Zen has changed my mind about it. Using Tidal it does sound better than the Dragonfly does in my opinion. One thing worth noting is the Zen is only an MQA renderer (like the Dragonfly series) so you will still need software to do the initial unfold (like Tidal). For the price you can’t go wrong with the Zen DAC, your getting a Burr Brown chip with a decent powered amp with sampling rates of PCM up to 192kHz, DSD up to DSD256 and DXD up to 384kHz.
The quality is there, the sound is excellent.
Flac, DSD with foobar.
With a good helmet you will be conquered.
Also on your stereo.
what a nice little unit…… Highly recomended…. a bargin
So, what’s the difference?
Active speakers have an in-built power amplifier and just need a power cable (or battery) to operate. Passive speakers require an external power amplifier to operate.
In short, you need an amplifier for passive speakers, you don’t with active speakers.
This is a type of audio circuitry topology that uses individual left & right channels.
It is a superior method to the single-ended circuit approach. Balanced circuits reduce noise and crosstalk.
While single-ended is used by most at this price level, iFi is implementing balanced circuits across the Zen range which is quite a step-up.
Let’s talk headphone cables.
An unbalanced headphone cable has a left + and right + wire, for each respective side. The other, the third – wire is shared by both left & right channels. As this is shared, this gives rise to undesired coupling noise which is commonly referred to as ‘crosstalk.’
A balanced cable has the same left + and right +. But it has a separate left – and right -. With totally separate wiring ‘crosstalk’ is negligible.
Therefore, a balanced connection is the superior headphone wiring configuration.
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.
DSD is a very high-quality digital audio format that’s even better than CD quality. The higher the ‘DSD rate’ – DSD64, 128, 256, 512 and 1024 – the greater the amount of music information available, which means better sound quality.
Files can be remastered to higher file rates to improve sound quality. The pinnacle of this is DSD1024. Not many machines out there are capable of this feat.
Gain is the amount of increase in audio signal strength. Gain is often expressed in decibels (dB).
IEMs stands for In-Ear Monitors.
These fit inside your ear. You’ve been using them for years. You just called them something else.
You will also see these referred to as earphones, ear buds and CIEMs. CIEMs are Custom In-Ear Monitors – IEMs made specifically to fit your ear shape.
MP3 – this is the most popular format, every device in the world can use it.
DSD – Direct Stream Digital is a very high-quality audio format, better than CD quality. The higher the number (sample rate), the better the recording – DSD64, 128, 256, 512 and 1024.
PCM – Pulse Code Modulation is the most common format for CDs and DVDs.
DXD – Digital eXtreme Definition is a very high-quality PCM format. It was developed to edit hi-res (high quality) recordings recorded in DSD.
MQA is an award-winning British technology that delivers the sound of the original master recording. The master MQA file is fully authenticated and is small enough to stream or download. More here.
Zen emphasises 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.