iFi Audio ZEN DAC v2 Review & Comments

TheHighFlyingBirds

Well-known Member
I cannot say much it this matter. I do not want to spoil the surprise. What I can tell you is that we are working on it. ;)
Thanks for the reply. I will keep my eyes open for any news ☺️
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
This is a DAC and AMP right?
Yes, precisely. It is a DAC/ Headphone AMP.
What is the difference in quality between TRUEBASS and XBASE?

TrueBass and XBass/XBass+ enhance the bass but do not muddy the mid-range. Perfect for use with IEMs or open-back headphones which often lose out on bass. They both deliver genuine bass with realistic depth and definition. This proprietary tech is a switchable ‘bass boost’ operating in the analogue domain. There’s no DSP with iFi gear. However, it is worthwhile stressing that they are not just a bass boost in the conventional sense, but structure it in a perceptible way and “warm” the sound a little more. The main difference between these two is that TrueBass circuitry is designed with desktop devices in mind and XBass/XBass+ now focuses on the requirements of a portable/headphone amp systems.
 

gz00

Standard Member
Great review. Dearly love for you to review the Zen Stream, currently there are no reviews of this out there from anyone with audiophile cred.🤞
 

David Alexander

Active Member
I'll say that the truebass function is a nice touch. Just listened to some R&B and jsut added an extra level of bass to my headphones - they vibrated:). Also didn't take away from the upper ranges.

@iFi audio - how did your guys do it?
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
I'll say that the truebass function is a nice touch. Just listened to some R&B and jsut added an extra level of bass to my headphones - they vibrated:). Also didn't take away from the upper ranges.

@iFi audio - how did your guys do it?
I find that I don't or ever need to use the truebass. I have occasionally tried it with lets say thin sounding recordings and it does make them sound more appealing but I suppose its down to the headphones and the type of sound that you are looking for. Enjoy your Zen Dac I am loving mine :)
 

theo cupier

Member
Thinking about upgrading from my current audiolab M-DAC, not least because its volume control has developed an almost unmanageable amount of play which makes it hard to use.

Any views on whether this will be a significant quality upgrade on that - or a better option than the ubiquitous Schiit stack (for reasons other than the obvious "will they ever be in stock again")?
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Thinking about upgrading from my current audiolab M-DAC, not least because its volume control has developed an almost unmanageable amount of play which makes it hard to use.

Any views on whether this will be a significant quality upgrade on that - or a better option than the ubiquitous Schiit stack (for reasons other than the obvious "will they ever be in stock again")?

The M-dac is excellent.

I’d simply have it repaired. It is generally not expensive.

The ifi, good as it is, will not be an upgrade.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Give Audiolab a ring here and they’ll give you the details.

9A4AE9BF-7CB9-4AEF-8434-2424DA7C0B86.jpeg
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
I'll say that the truebass function is a nice touch. Just listened to some R&B and jsut added an extra level of bass to my headphones - they vibrated:). Also didn't take away from the upper ranges.

@iFi audio - how did your guys do it?

Thanks a lot for that. I also like to use it with certain songs.
How did we do it? Answering in one word? MAGIC! :)
We have got the whole RnD team working on our proprietary technologies.

TrueBass is our sound-tuning technology that operates strictly in the analogue domain. The depth and quality of bass supplied by all-in-one lifestyle systems often leaves a lot to be desired. Especially, because most of the bass boosts on the market do not leave the digital domain.

The TrueBass system ensures our products deliver genuine bass with realistic depth and definition. Dual-level depth control means you can adjust the bass response according to taste, so that everything from timpani, to a bass guitar, to an electronic bass line is conveyed with power and poise.
 

Smiledon

Novice Member
I recently bought the Ifi Stream and love the sound. My SOtM SMS200 powered by a car battery died a while back. I put this Stream on a par, soundwise. I admire Ifi's dedication to SQ, so I have added the Zen Dac v2. to see if their voicing of the pair pays off. It does. I really like the 7.20c firmware.
I prefer speakers mostly, but do have planar cans to play with. With that in mind, I plugged in my linear PS [measures 5.05vdc] and it will not work. Am I missing something?
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
Which linear PS are you using? Zen Stream requires:
DC 9V/1.8A -15V/0.8A (preferably 12V DC)
AC 100 -240V, 50/60Hz.
 

Smiledon

Novice Member
Thanks for responding.
Mmmm. I thought it might be a mistake to mention the Stream, but its high quality is why I bought the zen dac v2.


I am talking of the 5vdc input to the zen dac v2. It is a lps I bought on ebay years ago for s SQB Touch.. It measures vdc 5.05. The plug is a 5.5mm 2.1mm connector that fits nicely.
I saw a youtube vid where insertion of the external ps caused a reset. Nothing for me. So I removed the usb cable and inserted the 5vdc ps and nothing lit up.
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
Ok, my bad. I thought you meant the Zen Stream. Let me replicate the issue at the office and I'll get back to you.
 

Nocturnal

Member
I ordered the Zen DAC Signature Version 1 this morning for £199.

I'm not a head phone listener (headphone amp is removed from the Sig version) but actually bought this for my Arcam system as I'm not happy with the onboard DAC in the SA10 amplifier, well it's good but not compared to my Arcam CDS27 SACD streamer which is wonderful but does not have digital inputs meaning you can only stream to it.

So I'm hoping the Zen DAC Signature can come close to the CDS27 sound via USB from my Apple M1 Mac Mini which I have streaming to my CDS27 and soon to be through the Zen DAC Signature. I'm not worried about live TV via Toslink but it's a pity the Zen didn't have co-axial input to feed the CDS27 through it as it has great jitter suppression tech in it.

I'm hoping the Signature V1 DAC is still better than the standard DAC V2 and I'm hoping the external iPower X power supply is included as I couldn't find out for sure. This power supply is supposed to make a decent improvement over the noisy 5V supply via USB.

If anyone is interested I'll report on how the DAC Signature V1 compares to the mighty Arcam CDS27. It is supposed to sound on the warm side and as an Arcam fan this is why I am trying the Zen Sig, oh and I hope this external wall wort supply is in the box as it is expensive to buy separately.

🤔
 

Ruffuz

Well-known Member
I ordered the Zen DAC Signature Version 1 this morning for £199.

I'm not a head phone listener (headphone amp is removed from the Sig version) but actually bought this for my Arcam system as I'm not happy with the onboard DAC in the SA10 amplifier, well it's good but not compared to my Arcam CDS27 SACD streamer which is wonderful but does not have digital inputs meaning you can only stream to it.

So I'm hoping the Zen DAC Signature can come close to the CDS27 sound via USB from my Apple M1 Mac Mini which I have streaming to my CDS27 and soon to be through the Zen DAC Signature. I'm not worried about live TV via Toslink but it's a pity the Zen didn't have co-axial input to feed the CDS27 through it as it has great jitter suppression tech in it.

I'm hoping the Signature V1 DAC is still better than the standard DAC V2 and I'm hoping the external iPower X power supply is included as I couldn't find out for sure. This power supply is supposed to make a decent improvement over the noisy 5V supply via USB.

If anyone is interested I'll report on how the DAC Signature V1 compares to the mighty Arcam CDS27. It is supposed to sound on the warm side and as an Arcam fan this is why I am trying the Zen Sig, oh and I hope this external wall wort supply is in the box as it is expensive to buy separately.

🤔

it comes with X power supply, so no worries.
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hi @Nocturnal
Zen-DAC-signature.jpg

You are covered. The Zen Dac Signature comes with an iPowerX.

When it comes to comparing Zen DAC Signature with the the CDS27, it is going to be unusual. Zen DAC Signature is a DAC and the CDS27 is a CD/SACD player, so they are designed to be responsible for different elements in the audio system chain. In an ideal arrangement one should support another, not replace it.
 

Nocturnal

Member
Hi, again good to hear confirmation the low noise adapter is included. 🙂

The Arcam CDS27 is also a streamer and maybe was the first of it's kind, the newer model CDS50 can be used as a DAC as it has Toslink and co-axial inputs.

I'm not looking to replace the CDS27 with the Zen signature DAC but essentially will be using both for playing the same music files but can use all sound output from my M1 Mac Mini including films and YouTube music videos etc.

Also yesterday I discovered VLC player remote for Android so this allows to really operate the MAC for music player without needing a screen.

The Zen DAC Sig will also allow all the DSD stuff etc also to audition as the Arcam CDS27 tops out at 24 192 PCM only.

I see the Signature has a few Elna Silmic ii capacitors, these have been regularly regarded as great sounding so along with other good components I'm actually expecting good sounds. I've had quite a few DACs including Rega and even an AudioNote DAC way back 20 years ago (this thing had valves and was huge).

Now you can get a good DAC in a USB pen 😁
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
You are right, times are changing and the technology surprises us each year (I want to think that we contribute to this phenomenon too ;) )

I look forward to hearing your review.
 

Brava 210

Well-known Member
I'm using the Zen Dac V2 with a raspberry pi 3 for Tidal Connect.
Sounds very clean.
This sounds Amazing.
Screenshot_2021-11-29-10-25-25-49_04e03425392fc155c003bf4da0c67f74.jpg
 

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