iFi audio ZEN DAC Headphone Amplifier & DAC

iFi audio

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    Designed for home use – on a desk, perhaps, or in the living room – the ZEN DAC connects to PCs and Macs, or smart devices such as tablets or phones, via USB. Its hi-res digital-to-analogue conversation technology processes all forms of digital audio to a super-high standard, while the integrated analogue headphone amplifier delivers superb sound with all headphone types, from inear monitors to larger on- and over-ear designs.

    Compared to simply plugging headphones directly into a computer or smart device, the ZEN DAC transforms the listening experience – sound is clearer, more detailed, more expansive and engaging, making the most of whichever headphones are connected.

    Digital stage

    The DAC section is based around a Burr-Brown DAC chip that iFi uses extensively, selected for its fluid, highly ‘musical’ sound quality and ‘True Native’ architecture. This, together with the XMOS chip used for input processing, enables iFi to deliver excellent sound quality across all manner of digital audio formats including hi-res PCM, ‘bit-perfect’ DSD and MQA – the hi-res streaming codec, as used by Tidal’s ‘Masters’ tier. Given the diminutive asking price, the ZEN DAC’s digital audio credentials arehighly impressive.

    PCM and DXD audio data is supported up to 24-bit/384kHz, alongside DSD sampling rates from 2.8MHz to 12.4MHz (DSD256). Thanks to the Burr-Brown chip’s True Native design, PCM and DSD take separate pathways – this enables DSD to remain ‘bit-perfect’ in its native form, right through to analogue conversion. Many DACs that claim DSD compatibility accept DSD data but then convert it to PCM; for DSD purists, the ZEN DAC is a fantastic affordable solution.

    Analogue stage

    The ZEN DAC’s analogue stage is a balanced design – highly unusual in a DAC/headphone amp anywhere near this price point. It incorporates a range of high-quality circuit components, carefully selected for their performance in an audio context, including C0G capacitors from TDK, a precision low-noise power supply IC from Texas Instruments and a high-quality analogue volume pot.

    TrueBass is another user-selectable feature. An evolution of iFi’s established XBass circuit, TrueBass is a sophisticated form of ‘bass boost’ that subtly enhances low frequencies without muddying the midrange – particularly useful with earphones and open-back headphones that may lack deep bass. It operates entirely in the analogue domain rather than messing with the digital signal via DSP and may be switched in or out via another button on the front panel.

     

  • Improve the sound quality of your music with the ZEN DAC quickly and easily
    -Connect the ZEN DAC via USB in between your PC, Mac or smart device – tablet or phone – and chill
    -Add the ZEN DAC to your home audio system and use it as a USB DAC, with or without the sound engaged
    -Whether you are hooking up headphones, an external amp or active speakers, you can choose between a single-ended or balanced connection – a remarkable facility at this price
    -The ZEN DAC delivers hi-res, ‘bit perfect’ PCM and DXD to 24-bit/384kHz, DSD256 and MQA
    -Talior the sound of the ZEN DAC to your playback priorities with additional, exclusive iFi firmware
    -The analogue output stage of the ZEN DAC is a balanced design which means less interference and cross talk
    -Benefit from PowerMatch – switchable gain – to cater for headphone sensitivity
    -Turn on TrueBass to add missing base to open back headphones or IEMs

  • General Specifications
    Input USB3.0 B socket (USB2.0 compatible)
    Formats

    44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/384kHz PCM
    2.8/3.1/5.6/6.2/11.2/12.4MHz DSD
    353/384KHz DXD

    DAC Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown
    Line Section
    Output Audio RCA (UnBAL)
    2.1V fixed 1V / 3.3V max. (variable)

    4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL)
    4.2V fixed 2V / 6.2V max. (variable)
    Zout <= 100 Ohm (UnBAL)
    <= 200 Ohm (BAL)
    SNR < -116dB(A) @ 0dBFS (UnBAL/BAL
    DNR > 116dB(A) @ -60dBFS (UnBAL/BAL)
    THD + N < 0.0015% @ 0dBFS (UnBAL/BAL)
    Headphone Section
    Output

    6.3mm (UnBAL)
    1V / 3.3V max. (variable)
    12 Ohm - 300 Ohm Headphone

    4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL)
    2V / 6.2V max. (variable)
    12 Ohm - 600 Ohm Headphone

    Output Power UnBAL: > 280mW @ 32R, > 36mW @ 300R BAL: > 380mW @ 50R, > 70mW @ 600R
    Output impedance < 1 Ω (UnBAL/BAL)
    THD & N < 0.005% (125mW @ 32R)
    SNR > 113dBA (3.3V UnBAL / 6.2V BAL)
    Power Consumption <1.5W
    Dimensions 117(l) x 100 (w) x 30 (h) mm
    Weight 491g (1.08 lbs)
    Warranty period 12 months