If a file is ‘Bit Perfect’ it means it has stayed the same. For example, if a PCM file is played through a DAC to improve the sound quality and the DAC does not change the file format. The file is ‘Bit Perfect’.
MP3 – this is the most popular file format, every device in the world can use it.
PCM – Pulse Code Modulation is the most common format for CDs and DVDs.
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.
DXD – Digital eXtreme Definition is a very high-quality PCM format. It was developed to edit hi-res (high quality) recordings recorded in DSD.
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.
Gain is the amount of increase in audio signal strength. Gain is often expressed in decibels (dB).
EMI is a type of interference caused by errant and unwanted electromagnetic waves that are received and amplified by an audio system.
Radio-frequency interference (RFI) is very similar to EMI but is found in the radio frequency spectrum.
They are both sources of irritating, unwanted noise often talked about as ‘audio gremlins’. Top tip: just don’t add water.
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.
A triple treat for HIFIMAN fans
The ZEN DAC Signature V2 and ZEN CAN Signature HFM with 4.4mm Balanced cable make a tasty treat for your desktop.
Packed with sonic goodness
The ZEN CAN Signature HFM has an unique EQ curve that brings out the best in the already outstanding HIFIMAN range of headphones.
This set includes a high-performance 4.4mm Balanced cable to connect them together.
ZEN DAC Signature V2
This ZEN DAC Signature V2 is the upgraded version of our original ZEN DAC Signature – a pure DAC that benefits from true-differential balanced circuit design. It has upgraded circuit components and short, direct signal paths for optimal signal purity.
It delivers bit-perfect PCM (up to 32-bit/384kHz), native DSD (up to DSD256) and DXD.
The use of the 16-core XMOS chip, rather than the original 8-core, means it is now a full MQA decoder rather than a renderer.
It offers a pair of RCA sockets for single-ended connection to an amp, plus a Balanced 4.4mm output.
The full benefit of the ZEN DAC Signature V2’s balanced circuit design comes to the fore when it is connected to an amp or active speakers equipped with a balanced input. This can either be a 4.4mm Balanced input or stereo XLR inputs via a 4.4mm-to-XLR cable.
It can switch between ‘variable’ and ‘fixed’ outputs.
ZEN CAN Signature HFM
The ZEN CAN Signature HFM has a specialised, finely tuned EQ curve. Its custom ActivEQ setting combines active and passive components to create a specific EQ curve to suit HIFIMAN planar headphones. Check out the HIFIMAN Curve & Compatibility chart here. ActivHQ can be switched off to make the most of all headphones and in-ear monitors.
The ZEN CAN Signature HFM also employs XSpace. This is an analogue processing mode which compensates for the ‘in-head localisation’ effect that can occur when listening to tracks mixed using a pair of speakers on headphones.
It features PowerMatch – four gain in six dB steps – 0dB, 6dB, 12dB and 18db.
The ZEN CAN Signature HFM boasts symmetrical, dual-mono balanced circuitry. It delivers 1600mW (7.2V) into 32 ohms from the single-ended output, with 15V+ available to loads of 600 ohms or more through the balanced output.
It houses stereo RCA and 3.5mm single-ended inputs, plus a 4.4mm Balanced input. It has a 6.3mm output for headphones that have a standard single-ended connector and a 4.4mm Balanced output for headphones offering a balanced connection.
4.4mm to 4.4mm cable
The iFi 4.4mm to 4.4mm cable employs heavy OFHC continuous cast copper and silver matrix conductors with a total thickness of 14AWG for the best signal transfer.
It’s a perfect addition to our ZEN Signature Set HFM as this audiophile-grade cable will give you maximum quality balanced signal transfer and minimum interference.
The cable construction is a custom helix design, minimised both in capacitance and inductance. It has intrinsic shielding provided by minZ™ helix construction. This protects the cable from RFI and EMI noise and provides the cleanest transfer medium possible.
To insulate the cable even further, we used an RoHS compliant super-soft (60P) HD polymer with 1500V AC spark resistance and excellent dielectric properties.