iFi ZEN One Signature DAC Review & Comments

TheHighFlyingBirds

Distinguished Member
Nice write up. I have a review drafted which will post up here later. Have to say I like it, and it is now on my wish list along with some other iFi kit; they really are putting some smashing kit out there, which is well within reach for all.
 

Captain Ron

Distinguished Member
If this had streaming capabilites for local network audio instead of (or additional to) bluetooth i'd be considering it.
 

Captain Ron

Distinguished Member

iFi audio

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AVForums Sponsor
I don't know without researching.
@iFi audio would be able to advise.
For now, we don't have an integrated streamer/DAC in our offer. If you are interested you can always match the Zen Stream with one of our DACs (or from any other manufacturer), which gives you lots of flexibility. This way you can mix and match the sound and functionality, to your liking.
 

Captain Ron

Distinguished Member
For now, we don't have an integrated streamer/DAC in our offer. If you are interested you can always match the Zen Stream with one of our DACs (or from any other manufacturer), which gives you lots of flexibility. This way you can mix and match the sound and functionality, to your liking.
Thanks for the clarification. I am leaning towards getting a Teufel streamer as it's a one box solution at a price point I can handle and I already have one of their streaming speakers so I wouldn't need yet another app but I will certainly keep a keen eye on your very capable product offerings.
 

iFi audio

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Thanks for the clarification. I am leaning towards getting a Teufel streamer as it's a one box solution at a price point I can handle and I already have one of their streaming speakers so I wouldn't need yet another app but I will certainly keep a keen eye on your very capable product offerings.
Thank you for your kind words. Of course, going with Teufel has more sense for you since you already have their equipment. Maybe in the future, something from us will be right for you :)
 

doifeellucky

Standard Member
Thank you for your kind words. Of course, going with Teufel has more sense for you since you already have their equipment. Maybe in the future, something from us will be right for you :)
Is a Zen Stream V2 likely any time soon? Though some rave about it I’ve seen lots of negative comments regarding connection issues, repeated drop outs and compatibility with certain services, especially Spotify. I’m a vey satisfied Zen DAC V2 user in my desktop setup but want to replace my CCA in my main system due to lack of proper Airplay support. The Zen One and Stream feel like a good combination but £400 is a lot for the Stream if it isn’t reliable.
 

Riverwilliam123

Standard Member
Is a Zen Stream V2 likely any time soon? Though some rave about it I’ve seen lots of negative comments regarding connection issues, repeated drop outs and compatibility with certain services, especially Spotify. I’m a vey satisfied Zen DAC V2 user in my desktop setup but want to replace my CCA in my main system due to lack of proper Airplay support. The Zen One and Stream feel like a good combination but £400 is a lot for the Stream if it isn’t reliable.
I bought the Zen stream last weekend. When it works it's absolutely fantastic and sounds sublime, however and regretfully I ended up sending it back due to some issues I just couldn't live with and justify at this price point. I don't want to out off potential buyers as mine could have been one of the few unite with these issues and I urge everyone interested to give it a go but please buy from somewhere with a good returns policy just in case. I did experience numerous freezes and random shut downs in the short time I used it which is simply something I wasn't prepared to live with so reluctantly returned it. It's a shame as it ticks so many boxes and I really did want it to work smoothly without these annoying glitches. Shame
 

doifeellucky

Standard Member
I bought the Zen stream last weekend. When it works it's absolutely fantastic and sounds sublime, however and regretfully I ended up sending it back due to some issues I just couldn't live with and justify at this price point. I don't want to out off potential buyers as mine could have been one of the few unite with these issues and I urge everyone interested to give it a go but please buy from somewhere with a good returns policy just in case. I did experience numerous freezes and random shut downs in the short time I used it which is simply something I wasn't prepared to live with so reluctantly returned it. It's a shame as it ticks so many boxes and I really did want it to work smoothly without these annoying glitches. Shame
Thanks for the feedback. I’ve seen some comments suggesting that later models are fine, but I guess that won’t help much if your supplier has some old models hanging around. Are you considering anything else? I personally don’t want a Bluesound when I already have a DAC. I’d get a Wiim mini but they’ve been out of stock for months.
 

Riverwilliam123

Standard Member
Thanks for the feedback. I’ve seen some comments suggesting that later models are fine, but I guess that won’t help much if your supplier has some old models hanging around. Are you considering anything else? I personally don’t want a Bluesound when I already have a DAC. I’d get a Wiim mini but they’ve been out of stock for months.
I've considered the bluesound but have been put off by many comments about it's inferior DAC. I'm certainly considering purchasing the Zen Stream again if it's true about the older models being problematic as it did everything I need and did sound stunning in the short time I had it. At the moment I'm streaming to a Chromecast audio connected via toshlink into my current DAC and tidel steamed via roon and it's absolutely fantastic so I'm happy at the moment but certainly not ruling out the stream again as it did impress me sound wise
 

huwg

Active Member
I’m tempted by this dac, but I have a question about switching inputs.
There appears to only be 1 spdif setting on the input selector, but there is both an optical and coaxial input…

How do you switch between optical and coaxial inputs?

(The instruction manual just says the coaxial is an input when spdif is selected and is an output when usb or Bluetooth are selected, I could not see anywhere where it mentions switching between optical and coaxial spdif inputs)
 
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doifeellucky

Standard Member
I've considered the bluesound but have been put off by many comments about it's inferior DAC. I'm certainly considering purchasing the Zen Stream again if it's true about the older models being problematic as it did everything I need and did sound stunning in the short time I had it. At the moment I'm streaming to a Chromecast audio connected via toshlink into my current DAC and tidel steamed via roon and it's absolutely fantastic so I'm happy at the moment but certainly not ruling out the stream again as it did impress me sound wise
What amp and speakers do you use? I have a Cambridge CXA60 and Dali Zensor 3s (I appreciate fairly budget oriented) and recently bought a Mojo 2 for headphone use and potentially as part of a longer term system upgrade. Having compared against my Zen DAC V2 in my office with Moondrop Kato and Grado 325x, and against the internal DAC in my Cambridge fed via a CCA, I really can’t hear any difference between the three DACs. I have pretty good hearing but wonder if my system isn’t revealing enough to notice these types of differences. Feels like for me something like the zen Stream or the DAC in this review would probably be a waste.
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
I bought the Zen stream last weekend. When it works it's absolutely fantastic and sounds sublime, however and regretfully I ended up sending it back due to some issues I just couldn't live with and justify at this price point. I don't want to out off potential buyers as mine could have been one of the few unite with these issues and I urge everyone interested to give it a go but please buy from somewhere with a good returns policy just in case. I did experience numerous freezes and random shut downs in the short time I used it which is simply something I wasn't prepared to live with so reluctantly returned it. It's a shame as it ticks so many boxes and I really did want it to work smoothly without these annoying glitches. Shame
Have you tried updating the firmware on your unit? Getting the freshest firmware is always best for stability. You can do that after accessing system settings: Zen Stream settings
I'm sorry to hear about your issues with the Zen Stream. If you haven't tried updating, maybe you can give it another chance?
 

LostIn

Active Member
Super review, thanks. So many good devices coming from iFi.

Something I wish for is this device with an HDMI ARC input and 2 sets of RCA outputs - 1 line level, and 1 variable.

HDMI then outputs via the variable output straight into the AV Bypassed input on my amp, and the other DAC inputs output to a regular line-level input on my amp.

A lot to ask, but @iFi audio if you're looking for new ideas you can have this one for free :)
 

Riverwilliam123

Standard Member
Have you tried updating the firmware on your unit? Getting the freshest firmware is always best for stability. You can do that after accessing system settings: Zen Stream settings
I'm sorry to hear about your issues with the Zen Stream. If you haven't tried updating, maybe you can give it another chance?
Hi sorry haven't had time to be reply. Yeah I updated the firmware and still had the issues.
I've since replaced it with the Zen Signature one although I've experienced an issue with this. The DAC won't work properly with the Chromecast audio and all I get is static/crackling notice, I've tested the CCA and it works absolutely fine in my other DACs but not the signature one. Quobuz is completely unplayable and Tidal is OK as long as I stream songs in hi-fi quantity but streaming them via roon @ 96khz is completely unplayable and all I get is loud static. I think I'm just unlucky.
 

Riverwilliam123

Standard Member
What amp and speakers do you use? I have a Cambridge CXA60 and Dali Zensor 3s (I appreciate fairly budget oriented) and recently bought a Mojo 2 for headphone use and potentially as part of a longer term system upgrade. Having compared against my Zen DAC V2 in my office with Moondrop Kato and Grado 325x, and against the internal DAC in my Cambridge fed via a CCA, I really can’t hear any difference between the three DACs. I have pretty good hearing but wonder if my system isn’t revealing enough to notice these types of differences. Feels like for me something like the zen Stream or the DAC in this review would probably be a waste.
I'm actually using a Loxjie A30 amp/DAC with a pair of Q accoustics concept 20 speakers. I'm currently streaming via roon to a Chromecast audio connected via toshlink. I'm really impressed with the overall sound. I actually live in a flat so can't have anything too powerful or bass heavy so all good. Bought the Zen stream as it would have been a step up from the CCA but couldn't live with the issues. I replaced it with a Zen Signature one DAC as reviewed here but there's a problem with streaming via CCA from my phone through roon, just awful static/crackling noise. The CCA works as I've tried it in the loxjie DAC but there's definitely a compatibility problem with the signature DAC. So sending it back and just going to stick with the loxjie and CCA for the time being as I'm fed up with having to re-box everything and send back it's tiresome.
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
Super review, thanks. So many good devices coming from iFi.

Something I wish for is this device with an HDMI ARC input and 2 sets of RCA outputs - 1 line level, and 1 variable.

HDMI then outputs via the variable output straight into the AV Bypassed input on my amp, and the other DAC inputs output to a regular line-level input on my amp.

A lot to ask, but @iFi audio if you're looking for new ideas you can have this one for free :)
Appreciate it, I'll forward this to RND, let them worry about making it happen :)

Hi sorry haven't had time to be reply. Yeah I updated the firmware and still had the issues.
I've since replaced it with the Zen Signature one although I've experienced an issue with this. The DAC won't work properly with the Chromecast audio and all I get is static/crackling notice, I've tested the CCA and it works absolutely fine in my other DACs but not the signature one. Quobuz is completely unplayable and Tidal is OK as long as I stream songs in hi-fi quantity but streaming them via roon @ 96khz is completely unplayable and all I get is loud static. I think I'm just unlucky.
I'll ask around about this one. I believe you have the newest drivers on it too (gotta ask)?
 

Riverwilliam123

Standard Member
Appreciate it, I'll forward this to RND, let them worry about making it happen :)


I'll ask around about this one. I believe you have the newest drivers on it too (gotta ask)?
I've decided to ditch the CCA and going to use Roon on my laptop via USB through the Zen Signature one instead. I really don't want to send it back as it is an impressive DAC so I'll work around the issue with the CCA
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
I've decided to ditch the CCA and going to use Roon on my laptop via USB through the Zen Signature one instead. I really don't want to send it back as it is an impressive DAC so I'll work around the issue with the CCA
It makes us happy, that you like Zen One Signature so much. I'm using Zen DAC Signature in the office and I share your enthusiasm. What is the best part of the sound for you?
 

Riverwilliam123

Standard Member
It makes us happy, that you like Zen One Signature so much. I'm using Zen DAC Signature in the office and I share your enthusiasm. What is the best part of the sound for you?
Whilst I'm no audiophile i can't help but notice how different all my music sounds, I'm hearing instruments that I've never heard before. The details, how everything sounds open, spacious and crystal clear. I've actually paired it with a cheap amp (going to invest in a better one soon) and q accoustics concept speakers and I'm amazed at the clarity, even listening to planet rock radio through the app via Bluetooth sounds so much better. It's a fantastic product and I'm absolutely bowled over. Just listened to crime of the century by Supertramp on Tidel connected via USB from my phone with UAPP and wow, absolutely stellar. I'm like a child at Christmas 😂
 

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