iFi Zen Dac V2 ( Upgraded Model )

camcroft

Well-known Member
Today I received the Zen Dac after buying other products from iFi and being very impressed with them I decided to give their Zen Dac a try. I have been using the Schiit Magni 2 head amp for a while now my first impression of the Zen unit is that it a very good sounding unit and definitely a step up from the Schiit model and more attractive with it too. The unit comes with a Power Match button that can help your headphones perform better and theres also a Truebass button to up the bass but I found that the bass was just fine with this feature in the off position and on a PC there is no need for a power cable as it can be operated using the Usb cable supplied to a suitable port.
 

David Alexander

Active Member
Hi @camcroft , I'm thinking about getting a Zen V2 for use with a PC and my Grado 325S and AKG K550 cans in order to get the most from my Amazon HD subscription. I can't seem to match the optimum source quality of 24-bit/192KHz with my current set up of streaming the app. through my Arcam SR250 receiver via an Amazon 4K fire stick.


I take it that this would be a world of difference from just plugging the phones into the headphone jack of the laptop?

also, do you reckon it works fine using the USB port for power. I looked at the 5V ifi 'low noise' power adapter but would want to shell out £50 for this unless it was really going to make a difference...
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
Hi.
The USB power port works just fine but on an iMac it controls the sound output to the headphones turning off the internal speakers so all sound output is aimed at the headphones. I suppose if you wanted to use the speakers on the pc you would just disconnect it or turn it off in your sound preferences for say Zoom meetings.
 
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David Alexander

Active Member
Having got the Zen v2 I’m impressed in how they’ve opened up the music with the grado 325e and also the akg550 headphones. I’m able to stream the Amazon HD subscription to whatever the source quality i through my laptop>Zen which is more than through the Firestick>AVR setup. I’m now tempted to buy a pair of sennheiser HD660S headphones to see how the balanced output of the Zen works with balanced capable headphones. Also the HD660S are over ear open backs whereas the Grado’s sit on the ears which is ok, but a bit odd. Sound great though. Didn’t need to employ the bass function except when I played some R&B. D’Angelo, one of the wife’s favourite artists, where the analog bass boost really sounds lush.
Great bit of kit.
 

karlsushi

Active Member
Quick word on the Sennheisers. I would try and demo them using your kit before purchasing. Whilst they don't have the even higher impedance of the older HD650 and 600 models, they are still rated at 150 ohms, so still not the easiest load to drive.

Still never heard any of the sennheiser range and they do seem to receive pretty unanimous praise, but I think they will be quite amp dependant.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
Still never heard any of the sennheiser range and they do seem to receive pretty unanimous praise, but I think they will be quite amp dependant

The HD600/HD650 remain a very competitive home headphone south of £1k (or currency that applies). Lacks bass extension but maintains smoothness and even tonality, no treble spikes like with Beyerdynamic models

HD800S has perhaps the best imaging and soundstage in a dynamic headphone but has a brighter tonality than the HD600/HD650. Technically better but not for everyone due to the tonality change. On sale once or twice per year through Sennheiser Club Orpheus retailers, do not pay RRP!

If you are prepared to forgo UK retailer warranty support, and do not care the models are made in Germany, shipped to the USA and then back again the environment be damned, the HD8XX Drop exclusive with slight tuning changes is due to be released later this year 😎
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
Having got the Zen v2 I’m impressed in how they’ve opened up the music with the grado 325e and also the akg550 headphones. I’m able to stream the Amazon HD subscription to whatever the source quality i through my laptop>Zen which is more than through the Firestick>AVR setup. I’m now tempted to buy a pair of sennheiser HD660S headphones to see how the balanced output of the Zen works with balanced capable headphones. Also the HD660S are over ear open backs whereas the Grado’s sit on the ears which is ok, but a bit odd. Sound great though. Didn’t need to employ the bass function except when I played some R&B. D’Angelo, one of the wife’s favourite artists, where the analog bass boost really sounds lush.
Great bit of kit.
I wouldn't dismiss the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7B with the Zen V2 using the right settings. Sounds just fine to me contary to what others say.
 

David Alexander

Active Member
@karlsushi I'll make my way to RS in in the centre of town to give the sennheiser a try. Looking at the Ifi headphone calculator there shouldn't be a problem with the Zen driving the headphones. If anything, using the balanced output the output may require attenuating - Ifi's headphone calculator recommends using the iEMatch - not entirely sure how this works, or how it would work differently from the power match button on the Zen, which I assume is attenuating the output in the 'off' position.
I may be able to pick up the HD660S at £299, but I'll take may Grado's with me to compare. While I wouldn't dismiss the Audio Technica phones they are closed backs and I'm liking how my AKG550 sounds with the Zen especially with the true bass just lifting the lower end :)
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
I could never get on with the Grados that I had the sound leakage is not good for the people around you. okay at home on your own not very versatile as in not practical for listening on your own without others hearing Barry Manilow when you think no-one else can hear.
 

David Alexander

Active Member
Agreed. The Grado's are very much 'at home - on my own'. The AKG's are my go to for listening with others in the room.
The thing about the grado's are that they are on ear, and don't offer a balanced option. Hence trying out the Sennheiser's.
 

David Alexander

Active Member
Probably should have tried the HD660S in RS before. They are very good. Just listened to a track on the D'Angelo album (Lady) decent recording at 24/192 and the Sennheiser HD660S beat the Grado 325e on sound quality for that track. The track has a sort of hand clap and bass vibe.

With the HD660S the claps were present and the bass lush. With the Grado's the claps were claps were more 'foreward' and the bass less present.

Going to try the Senns in balanced and unbalanced modes to see how that compares but I'm well impressed with the senns with the Zen v2 right now.
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
Probably should have tried the HD660S in RS before. They are very good. Just listened to a track on the D'Angelo album (Lady) decent recording at 24/192 and the Sennheiser HD660S beat the Grado 325e on sound quality for that track. The track has a sort of hand clap and bass vibe.

With the HD660S the claps were present and the bass lush. With the Grado's the claps were claps were more 'foreward' and the bass less present.

Going to try the Senns in balanced and unbalanced modes to see how that compares but I'm well impressed with the senns with the Zen v2 right now.
I have balanced and unbalanced headphones. I had a new cable made for my ATH-MSR7GM and I just seem to be using them all the time at the moment love the sound. My other set of headphones Audio Technica ATH-MSR7B can be used in balanced mode they seem to have a bit more volume than the non balanced set but I wouldn't say they sound better. I have ordered a new balanced cable so hopefully when it arrives there could be an improvement in the sound as least thats what I am hoping for. Enjoy
 

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