ifi Zen Blue not working out of box

robdmarsh

Active Member
First experience with this bit of kit has not been a good one when I expected so much. I connected the Zen blue to my system with an optical cable (supplied interconnect is not long enough), paired with my phone and everything seemed ok. A voice came out of my speakers saying the pairing was successful. From this point it all went pair shaped.
My phone has Android 11 and I've tried streaming with LDAC and AptxHD and have not heard anything except a fraction of a second of music. My router is well away from the stereo. On my amp "signal unlock" flashes intermittently, which obviously means it can't pick up the signal. The light on the front of the Zen is a solid colour suggesting no problems. Tried the usual: unplugging everything from the wall, unpairing and deleting the Zen on my phone but nothing works.
Ifi's customer service is unimpressive too. You create a ticket and get an email saying click here to get update on progress of your ticket. I clicked and could see a box under my issue where I could reply. Reply to my own issue?! Oh, and one more thing, the Zen blue is not even listed as a product on their own website, only the Zen blue v2.
Not a great start. Anyone else had similar problems with the Zen blue?
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hey @robdmarsh sorry to hear it did not work as expected. We will solve the issue together.

The Zen Blue is a very complex product in terms of the circuitry, but it is very simple and intuitive to use. I am sure there is an easy-fix solution that the support team will find for you. In the meantime - can you DM your ticket number, so that I can take a look at your question?

There is no need to reply to your own issue, unless there is something you wanted to add, so that it could be taken in the consideration when our support team is answering your question. We designed the system in a way, so that if you forgot to mention something or your issue has changed since the last time you wrote, you have an opportunity to give us an update.

@TheHighFlyingBirds thanks a lot for the info!
 

robdmarsh

Active Member
688417
Actually, now I have gone from being totally unimpressed to very impressed.
I don't know what happened but initially using an optical connection (I had no interconnects long enough) I got nothing but fractions of a second of music and pops and crackles. My amplifier kept flashing "signal unlock" which shows that it's not connecting properly.
I unpaired and unplugged everything and went into my phone settings and changed to LDAC and fiddled around with more settings for audio codec (there's about 3 or 4 in developer options on my phone!). Anyway, I then got sound (pretty good sound) even though the pops and crackles were not completely gone, and even a very occasional dropout.
This morning I listened again and things had improved. No dropouts and crackles only when selecting songs from my phone. I noticed a significant improvement in sound over my Yamaha wxc-50 via bluetooth.
This afternoon I got a pair of good budget interconnects from Amazon (QED graphite performance) and there was another step up in sound quality and no more crackles. So I'm a happy camper now! Here's hoping things continue as they are.
Can I ask you, do you think I'd get another step up in sound quality by investing in an ipower x power supply?
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
@robdmarsh , then I am really happy it worked nicely for you. If you upgrade it to iPowerX it would make a difference.
Here are some useful comparisons of the iFi power supplies that would give you a better grasp of the different options. All at 150mA, the current the Zen Dac draws (Ignore 50Hz lump, that’s a measurement artifact):


PSP comparison 1.jpeg


All with DC iPurifier.
Red, iPower Mk2.
Yellow, iPower X.
Green, Elite.
Magenta, measurement noise floor.

PSP comparison 2.jpeg


Green, computer USB bus.
Cyan, SMPS from Zen Blue.
Blue, iPower X.
Magenta, iPower Mk2.
Yellow, measurement noise floor.

PSP comparison 3.jpeg


Red, USB bus.
Yellow, USB bus with DC iPurifier 2.
Magenta, iPower X by itself.

Answering your question, yes. As you can see, it makes a difference.
 

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