iFi Audio ZEN DAC v2 Review & Comments

Hixs

Distinguished Member
Huh...

That's a lot of DAC for such a price.

I have sort a have buyers regret atm Whilst my RME is a grand piece of kit, I really don't use most of the features which bump the cost up. Still...pretty screen right :D
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
Fantastic bit of kit. I love mine its so good that I hardly ever use my main system and my wife is getting used to my side profile with headphones on and very little conversation other than "What was that you said" :) :)
 

David Alexander

Active Member
Fantastic bit of kit. I love mine its so good that I hardly ever use my main system and my wife is getting used to my side profile with headphones on and very little conversation other than "What was that you said" :) :)
I'll second that emotion. I've even used it as a preamp to my SR250 via its RCA output. Sounds great.
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Well-known Member
I've got the v1 zen and happy with it for my home work desk. Would be tempted by a second one if I am to split my work between the office and home. Just wish it had an optical input as well as the usb, so I could use it with my stereo setup, maybe the v3 could introduce this @iFi audio?
 

KWB1

Well-known Member
Im in the process of swapping out my V1 for a V2 shortly - I was very happy with the V1 but had upgraditis...
 

jacko01

Active Member
Huh...

That's a lot of DAC for such a price.

I have sort a have buyers regret atm Whilst my RME is a grand piece of kit, I really don't use most of the features which bump the cost up. Still...pretty screen right :D
Have to say while the RME is in a different league both in price & features, you are not going to be thinking about upgrading anytime soon. This looks like a good bit of kit for the money, but the RME would get my money anytime. Yes the screen is indeed lovely hehe..
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
I'll never upgrade! It spends most of its time being used a dac for some €20 Logitech pc speakers 🤭
 

shug4476

Active Member
Nice review Ed but this is not the first review you've written where you've sought to explain price by reference to the price of a round of drinks.

Am beginning to wonder if it's a cry for help?

(J/K of course)...
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
Can you use this with a mobile phone? Samsung S21 in particular
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
It’s a pity a remote volume control isn’t included.

This would be a first class dac/pre for using between actives and a laptop as a streaming hifi.
 

onewingedangel

Active Member
I got one last week along with the Fidelio x3 headphones (based largely on your review of the headphones and the previous ifi zen dac).

Using along with a non-ifi (read cheap) 5v PSU, and Anker Powerexpand 6in1 with an Anker USB PD charger that lets me connect to my phone (Xperia 5 ii) whilst also fast charging. Can't say I notice any difference by using the 5v PSU, but I'm largely streaming Spotify so that's the quality limitation anyway.

Plenty of power for the X3 without even going over half volume and that's without using the powermatch button for headphones. The truebass button definitely adds something lacking from the X3 without being obnoxious, but I largely prefer to have it turned off.

The lack of a power button surprised me though, need to unplug the PSU and usb cable to turn it off as it's located bed side and could not put up with the LED staying on, even though the manual says it would be fine to keep it all plugged in and in standby. Concerns me about wearing out the cable/connectors.
 

onewingedangel

Active Member
Can you use this with a mobile phone? Samsung S21 in particular
As above you definitely can, but I believe Samsung's fast charge is not the standard USB PD (or at least their charger isn't, may actually work using a third party USB PD charger), so getting a hub to allow fast charging and connection to the ifi may be difficult. You do have the option of wireless charging on the S21 that my Sony phone lacks, so you could also connect to the ifi directly and charge via wireless charging.

My phone supplies power to the dac fine even if connected directly without the hub, and without using the separate 5v PSU -but the manual recommends the use of a supplementary PSU when using with mobile devices, presumably so you don't drain your battery really quick if you can't charge whilst connected.

Note: edited for clarity
 
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iFi audio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
I've got the v1 zen and happy with it for my home work desk. Would be tempted by a second one if I am to split my work between the office and home. Just wish it had an optical input as well as the usb, so I could use it with my stereo setup, maybe the v3 could introduce this @iFi audio?
Thanks, for the suggestion. It's a good one.
 

iFi audio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
V1 measured shockingly bad, hopefully this is a massive improvement.

ifi Zen DAC and Headphone Amp Review
I have a huge respect for Amir's work and I am happy we have such a person in the audio community. However, there are three butts:

A) It's good to listen to a product instead of only measuring it. The measurement is going to overshadow your listening judgement. I agree with the findings that the output circuit causes a slightly higher distortion. We aimed to design a circuit with a sound signature high on openness, just like a tube amp can. Other companies tend to throw much feedback. We purposefully employed a very shallow negative feedback design philosophy. It is much closer to a zero negative feedback design than a traditional output stage.

B) The truth about the Audio Precision (testing product) is that the final result depends dramatically on the initial settings you go for. They can make a huge difference. That applies to every AP user. You can design it in a way it works in somebody's favour or the opposite.

C) Amir has never been a huge enthusiast of iFi, but now, that we are establishing a closer relationship and he is also happier with our products, fingers crossed, it's moving in the right direction. See ifi Zen Blue Review (Bluetooth Receiver & DAC)
 

iFi audio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Can you use this with a mobile phone? Samsung S21 in particular
@onewingedangel is right.
If you aim to connect it with a USB/OTG only, then we do not recommend to use it with a phone as it will drain your battery very fast. The wireless charging could be insufficient.

Phone +an external 5V power supply - definitely.
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Well-known Member
Thanks, for the suggestion. It's a good one.
Another one could be to have a zen dac model, without the headphone amp (and volume knob), but different inputs, which would fit well in a standard stereo setup alongside the zen phono etc. Like the topping e30, but better looking 😊. As I've been thinking of getting a standalone dac that my raspberry pi and cd player can both use, but would like it to match the zen phono and can (when I get round to buying them), as the three would look good together side by side on a single rack shelf.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Another one could be to have a zen dac model, without the headphone amp (and volume knob), but different inputs, which would fit well in a standard stereo setup alongside the zen phono etc. Like the topping e30, but better looking 😊. As I've been thinking of getting a standalone dac that my raspberry pi and cd player can both use, but would like it to match the zen phono and can (when I get round to buying them), as the three would look good together side by side on a single rack shelf.

I agree. Much as the Zen is prettier, by far, I’d go for the Topping everytime.

The remote and two additional inputs make it a no choice of a choice.

For me at least.
 

iFi audio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Another one could be to have a zen dac model, without the headphone amp (and volume knob), but different inputs, which would fit well in a standard stereo setup alongside the zen phono etc. Like the topping e30, but better looking 😊. As I've been thinking of getting a standalone dac that my raspberry pi and cd player can both use, but would like it to match the zen phono and can (when I get round to buying them), as the three would look good together side by side on a single rack shelf.
I cannot say much in this matter. I do not want to spoil the surprise. What I can tell you is that we are working on it. ;)
 
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