Ifi Zen Blue V2

chrisobriens

Novice Member
I just bought an ifi Zen blue V2 and set it up today. Mainly playing Spotify from iPhone/iPad with the large antenna in place but I’m having loads of dropouts, pops, stutters, bangs etc. I’m only sitting about 15 feet away. Any tips from iOS/ ifi Zen users would be much appreciated. Never a problem with my chromecast audio which is a pity as when it works it sounds great.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Don’t own it myself. Have had similar issues like you, with the Node2i. At times it is fine. No dropout.

I prefer to use LAN instead of WiFi. Is this something you can do?
I assume you can connect it using an Ethernet cable. Like Cat5e, Cat6.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I just bought an ifi Zen blue V2 and set it up today. Mainly playing Spotify from iPhone/iPad with the large antenna in place but I’m having loads of dropouts, pops, stutters, bangs etc. I’m only sitting about 15 feet away. Any tips from iOS/ ifi Zen users would be much appreciated. Never a problem with my chromecast audio which is a pity as when it works it sounds great.
I have the version one which I've found to be rock solid, by all accounts the second one is better. I would get your phone to forget the device in settings and pair it again just in case, Bluetooth devices seem to be able to pair poorly at times

Edit- also maybe check nothing else that your phone is talking to via Bluetooth is nearby possible interfering with connection (is the ipad still on when using the phone and vice versa)
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Don’t own it myself. Have had similar issues like you, with the Node2i. At times it is fine. No dropout.

I prefer to use LAN instead of WiFi. Is this something you can do?
I assume you can connect it using an Ethernet cable. Like Cat5e, Cat6.
This Ifi is a Bluetooth receiver so cables are out for it
 

muljao

Well-known Member

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
Just bought one, great piece of kit, solid, sounds really good and fits well in with the rest of my setup.
 
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iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
The Zen Blue V1, V2 and now the ZEN Air Blue are Bluetooth DAC receivers. The only way you can feed signal into it is via Bluetooth.

I just bought an ifi Zen blue V2 and set it up today. Mainly playing Spotify from iPhone/iPad with the large antenna in place but I’m having loads of dropouts, pops, stutters, bangs etc. I’m only sitting about 15 feet away. Any tips from iOS/ ifi Zen users would be much appreciated. Never a problem with my chromecast audio which is a pity as when it works it sounds great.
I believe you managed to solve the interference issue. That is 85% of times caused by other BT devices and 15% of times through strong EMI/RMI field generated by the old, poorly isolated products at home.
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
What has the Air Blue not got what the other two have? I don't see an aerial for the bluetooth like on the Zen Blue.
 
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chrisobriens

Novice Member
The Zen Blue V1, V2 and now the ZEN Air Blue are Bluetooth DAC receivers. The only way you can feed signal into it is via Bluetooth.


I believe you managed to solve the interference issue. That is 85% of times caused by other BT devices and 15% of times through strong EMI/RMI field generated by the old, poorly isolated products at home.
Unfortunately no solution, it sounds great but the pops and stutters are so annoying. No other devices I have suffer this issue, I have gone back to CC and an old Apogee DAC till I solve it. It’s only a distance of 6 metres. I have clean electric and good grounding. Unless it’s iOS.
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
Unfortunately no solution, it sounds great but the pops and stutters are so annoying. No other devices I have suffer this issue, I have gone back to CC and an old Apogee DAC till I solve it. It’s only a distance of 6 metres. I have clean electric and good grounding. Unless it’s iOS.
Sorry to heart that. Did you manage to update the firmware? It usually solves most of the issues.
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
What has the Air Blue not got what the other two have? I don't see an aerial for the bluetooth like on the Zen Blue.
The simplification of the circuitry within the ZEN Air models means the mainline ZEN devices remain sonically superior, and some of the features they sport are correspondingly absent from the ZEN Air equivalents. For example, the fully balanced circuit topologies in the ZEN devices have been simplified, which means the 4.4mm balanced connections offered throughout the ZEN Series are not included in the ZEN Air devices, but they retain the gold-plated stereo RCA analogue outputs.

DSCF9021.jpg


Some of the upgrades made to the latest V2 editions of the ZEN DAC and ZEN Blue, such as the enhanced GMT clock system, are also absent. The ZEN Air Blue’s analogue circuitry has been simplified compared to its mainline ZEN equivalent, but a symmetrical channel layout and low-impedance power supply rails are retained.

DSCF9022.jpg
The casing of the Zen Airs is not made of aluminum.



But by retaining most of the core features and ensuring the circuit designs remain high-quality – discrete components and symmetrical channel layouts, for example – their performance comes remarkably close to the mainline ZEN models.
 

Hobie65

Novice Member
Quick question about this device!
I have a Rotel A11 Tribute with Bluetooth which is aac capable.
would the Zen provide better sound quality than the Rotel internal DAC?
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Not sure. But if you read SNR for Zen it has very low noise floor, much lower then Node2i, but apparently the same as the new Node 2021 version.

I also own Rotel. I believe SNR for both analog, digital is 100 dB. Zen has 109 dB. Could be wrong.

This from my understanding means cleaner, less noisy sound. SNR is important for an amplifier, DAC.

Am not sure. Speaking of DAC. The amplifier onboard DAC inside the amplifier sounds more organic then Node2i.

Sound breaths more. More depth. This surprises me. So it could be Zen is better.
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
The Zen Blue V2 and the Rotel A11 Tribute are quite different when it comes to functionality. The Zen Blue is a Bluetooth receiver with a DAC and Rotel A11 Tribute is an integrated amplifier with BT capability and a DAC.

Having Ken Ishiwata on board even for a little while is a huge plus (RIP). Rotel A11 is a more rounded product - fit for many purposes. The Zen Blue V2 is concentrated exclusively on BT connectivity. When it comes to Bluetooth signal reception The Zen Blue V2 takes over Rotel by a mile. Rotel supports apt-X and AAC formats.

The Zen Blue V2 incorporates the newest Qualcomm QCC5100 chip in conjunction with the very latest version of Bluetooth – Bluetooth5.0. The QCC5100 is a DAC chip and could be used for the digital to analogue conversion BUT we use it for data processing only. It includes aptX and AAC codecs for best audio quality from Apple devices (AAC) and Android devices, laptops etc. (aptX). It will also enable our devices to process LDAC and HWA, Sony and Huawei’s answer to hi-res Bluetooth respectively as well as Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive codec.

This means every possible source device is covered, at the highest resolution Bluetooth® specification. And future codecs can be added with Over the Air updates.

It all comes down to how would you like to use these two products. What do you mean by saying better sound quality? Are you looking for a DAC, an amp, a BT receiver or an all-in-one product?

Sound quality - I'll leave this one out, as it could be taken as too subjective.
 

Hobie65

Novice Member
The Zen Blue V2 and the Rotel A11 Tribute are quite different when it comes to functionality. The Zen Blue is a Bluetooth receiver with a DAC and Rotel A11 Tribute is an integrated amplifier with BT capability and a DAC.

Having Ken Ishiwata on board even for a little while is a huge plus (RIP). Rotel A11 is a more rounded product - fit for many purposes. The Zen Blue V2 is concentrated exclusively on BT connectivity. When it comes to Bluetooth signal reception The Zen Blue V2 takes over Rotel by a mile. Rotel supports apt-X and AAC formats.

The Zen Blue V2 incorporates the newest Qualcomm QCC5100 chip in conjunction with the very latest version of Bluetooth – Bluetooth5.0. The QCC5100 is a DAC chip and could be used for the digital to analogue conversion BUT we use it for data processing only. It includes aptX and AAC codecs for best audio quality from Apple devices (AAC) and Android devices, laptops etc. (aptX). It will also enable our devices to process LDAC and HWA, Sony and Huawei’s answer to hi-res Bluetooth respectively as well as Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive codec.

This means every possible source device is covered, at the highest resolution Bluetooth® specification. And future codecs can be added with Over the Air updates.

It all comes down to how would you like to use these two products. What do you mean by saying better sound quality? Are you looking for a DAC, an amp, a BT receiver or an all-in-one product?

Sound quality - I'll leave this one out, as it could be taken as too subjective.
Tks for your answer, very informative.
 

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
@iFi audio - Excellent and informative response. I consider Zen Blue 2 to be an upgrade to an amplifiers inbuilt BT in the same way that I have a stand alone phono stage.

I am considering purchasing the A11. Can the Zen Blue 2 be connected to the A11 and “override” the inbuilt BT in the same way an external phono stage does ?
 
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iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
My pleasure. Yes, you can bypass A11's integrated Bluetooth circuitry by connecting it with the Zen Blue. Just keep the BT off on A11. The Zen Blue can later feed analogue or digital signal. The signal will later be amplified by Rotel.
 
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Hobie65

Novice Member
My pleasure. Yes, you can bypass A11's integrated Bluetooth circuitry by linking it with the Zen Blue. Just keep the BT off on A11. The signal will later be amplified by Rotel. The Zen Blue can later feed analogue or digital signal.
Trying to understand when you say “by linking”, do you mean Zen analogue out thru RCA and into A11 aux in?
tks
 

AgentOrange76

Active Member
You would connect your source (phone?) by pairing it via bluetooth to the Zen you would then connect the Zen as you say via RCA to the A11. If you dont ever pair you phone with the A11 or you keep the Blutooth in the A11 turned off you will always connect to the Zen.
 

Hobie65

Novice Member
You would connect your source (phone?) by pairing it via bluetooth to the Zen you would then connect the Zen as you say via RCA to the A11. If you dont ever pair you phone with the A11 or you keep the Blutooth in the A11 turned off you will always connect to the Zen.
great, tks
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
You would connect your source (phone?) by pairing it via bluetooth to the Zen you would then connect the Zen as you say via RCA to the A11. If you dont ever pair you phone with the A11 or you keep the Blutooth in the A11 turned off you will always connect to the Zen.
Thanks for that @AgentOrange76 . I concur. You do not seem to have much need for me. Carry on.

@Hobie65 Did I manage to answer your question?
 
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Hobie65

Novice Member
Thanks for that @AgentOrange76 . I concur. You do not seem to have much need for me. Carry on.

@Hobie65 Does that answer your question?

LOL, yes sir!

fairly new in the HiFi world!

in the last year, I gathered for my basement; Cambridge Audio SR20, Node and B&W 607. Love the sound of that combination and always impressed when listening to a great recorded album.

in my main living room; Rotel A11 paired to PSB Alpha 3. Unfortunately im Restricted to speaker height to fit in my middle shelve of my tv unit.
I’m happy with the combination but missing the wow factor that I get in basement.

my Source of music is Spotify.
Would streaming Spotify from my iPad to Ifi Zen blue linked to my Rotel sound better than streaming to my Rotel which is aac capable?
Trying to figure out if the zen would bring the audio quality a notch up?

I’d rather try a cheaper alternative than spending another $800 CDN to get a Node!

tks
 
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