iFi Audio ZEN DAC v2
This ZEN DAC V2 is the same award-winning hi-res USB DAC/headphone amp as before but with added oomph!
We’ve upgraded its digital engine from an 8 core XMOS chip to a 16 core chip. It’s ultra-capable while still being super-affordable. Compact enough to use as a USB DAC/amp on your work desk and stylish enough to use at home with your favourite active speakers or amp, it delivers a level of specification and performance that punches above its super-affordable price tag.
The ZEN DAC V2 supports PCM and DXD to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD256 and MQA. DSD remains ‘bit-perfect’ thanks to the True Native Burr-Brown chip design.
16 core = hardcore.
Thanks to the 16 core tech, the ZEN DAC V2 is now an MQA Decoder rather than a Renderer.
This enables you to play back MQA audio files and streams, delivering the sound of the original master recording. The LED glows green or blue to indicate that the unit is decoding and playing an MQA stream or file, and denotes provenance to ensure that the sound is identical to that of the source material. It glows blue to indicate it is playing an MQA Studio file, which has either been approved in the studio by the artist/producer or has been verified by the copyright owner.
The XMOS 16-Core chip processes the audio data received via the USB* digital input.
This new low-latency XMOS microcontroller has greatly enhanced processing power. Compared to the current generation of eight-core chips, this new 16-core IC delivers double the clock speed (2000MIPS) and four times the memory (512KB), as well as the latest SuperSpeed USB standard.
iFi’s in-house digital development team has programmed the XMOS firmware to optimise sound quality and ensure a perfect partnership with the Burr-Brown DAC.
MQA rendering technology (used in the original ZEN DAC among other iFi products) connects to an MQA Core signal (such as TIDAL) and completes the final unfold of an MQA file. This product will include ‘stream lock’ but is not able to decode an MQA stream or authenticate it.
Burr-Brown TrueNative Chipset
The Burr-Brown True Native® chipset means file formats remain unchanged or ‘bit-perfect’. This means you are listening to music as the artist intended in the format in which it was recorded.
At iFi we use Burr Brown extensively in our products having selected it for its natural-sounding ‘musicality’ and True Native architecture. Our experience with this IC means we know how to make the most of it.
Smooth and balanced.
A new and improved low jitter, crystal clock means >20dB better performance. The super-low noise performance means the ZEN DAC V2 will remain quiet even in noisy situations such as yachts or RVs.
The balanced design for the analogue stage – rare and not found at this price point – makes it pretty special and delivers the best sound quality, normally found in higher priced models.
The ZEN DAC V2 sports Pentaconn 4.4mm balanced outputs at both the front and back. On the front, there’s also the popular 6.3mm headphone socket.
Switch effortlessly between ‘variable’ and ‘fixed’.
Set to ‘Variable,’ use the ZEN DAC V2 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.
Power. Drive. Performance.
Our headphone amp has PowerMatch – switchable gain to perfectly match your headphones.
For IEMs, normally high-sensitivity, leave PowerMatch at its lower setting for hiss-free listening.
On/over-ear headphones with relatively low impedance require more power – press PowerMatch to increase the level of drive.
Ace of Bass.
The ZEN DAC V2 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 lack bass. The ZEN DAC V2 is the ultimate chilling machine. Tune in and ZEN out.
Warranty period 12 months
Or check out a review of the ZEN DAC - Major HiFi / What HiFi