NEWS: iFi Audio launches ZEN One Signature DAC

muljao

Well-known Member
I've had a couple of ifi devices and they were all top notch. I currently have their ifi zen Bluetooth device.

I'm sure this is excellent, but think that with the interest in simplicity and modern devices, it missed a trick by not having preamp functionality (a vol control), for say active speakers or plugging directly into a power amp
 

nobby

Active Member
What does this offer in terms of SQ compared to the original Zen and V2 variants that are available?
 

muljao

Well-known Member
What does this offer in terms of SQ compared to the original Zen and V2 variants that are available?
It's just released so likely no comparisons yet, but it has opt/coax and Bluetooth so it's a different proposition
 

THX1138UK

Well-known Member

nobby

Active Member
It's just released so likely no comparisons yet, but it has opt/coax and Bluetooth so it's a different proposition
Appreciate that and i know there is an ifi rep on these boards so it would be cool to get some insight. i am a current user of the Zen and have a specific use case for it. I mainly use it for it USB connectivity so the other features are not relevant to me hence why i would like to hear more about changes to sound etc and if this would be seen as an upgrade for me. 👍
 

AgentOrange76

Standard Member
I think my only concern would be the amount of inputs. It’s very sparse. Only one USB, TOSlink and coax.

A bit limited if you have multiple digital sources.

Regards,
James.
Given the Zen DAC only has 1 USB input i think this is a great expansion.
Realistically how many sources are you likely to have if this is the DAC you are considering.
Streamer, CD and TV are probably all most users will ever connect.

Im not quite clear on the diference between the standard and signature series other than the price so need to do some research to understand the benefits of the series.
I do have the Zen DAC and while it is perfect for the single USB feed I use it for and has the headphone function should I wish i cant add any other inputs. In hindsight a Schitt Modi 3 for similar cost would of given me alternative input types and 3 potential inputs. I can see this being a straight upgrade although cost will be a consideration. If they make a non-signature version I can see that being aquired straight away.
 

nobby

Active Member
Agreed, in a similar position as yourself Their ifi plug is included in this pack price and this retails over £50 on its own; so with that in mind I want to understand if internal changes and enhancements has provided better sound reproduction
 

Nocturnal

Member
I think my only concern would be the amount of inputs. It’s very sparse. Only one USB, TOSlink and coax.

A bit limited if you have multiple digital sources.

Regards,
James.
More than the Zen Signature DAC anyhow with USB only and I've only had it 2 months.

I think Zen are releasing too many variants of a relatively simple product and too quickly.... Original Zen and Signature variant, then both V2 versions for each now this!
 

nobby

Active Member
More than the Zen Signature DAC anyhow with USB only and I've only had it 2 months.

I think Zen are releasing too many variants of a relatively simple product and too quickly.... Original Zen and Signature variant, then both V2 versions for each now this!

How do you find the Zen Sig DAC?
 

Nocturnal

Member
I'd be interested to see this reviewed and tested by Amir at ASR to see how it stacks up against some pretty stiff competition by the likes of the Topping D30 Pro for instance.
The Topping is probably brighter than the IFI, I have the IFI DAC Signature and it sounds super clean, has no problems with sibilance etc.

I do prefer my Arcam CDS27 SACD network player though which in comparison to the IFI Signature has a bigger wider richer soundstage and I also prefer the lower frequencies it produces through my Arcam SA10 amplifier and bookshelf Wharfdale Denton 80th anniversary speakers. The IFI DAC Signature maybe sounds a bit cleaner if not just as musical as the Arcam CDS27 player but Arcam have a rather legendary track record making CD players and DACs, whereas Ifi are new in comparison, also the IFI was 1/3 the cost of the Arcam player when new.

As for that Topping D30 link, well it was a measurebater exercise telling nothing of what it sounds like and you need to buy with your ears and not graphs. Psss I'm not opposed to lab testing and have been reading Paul Miller's lab tests right back to Hi-Fi Choice, Noel Keywood's tests in Hi-Fi world way back in the mid 1990s.

I'm happy with the IFI DAC Signature for my M1 Mac Mini but it doesn't replace my main listening gear. 😎
 

KWB1

Well-known Member
I have the new bluesound node 130 feeding a Zen Dac signature v2 - excellent
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
Given the Zen DAC only has 1 USB input i think this is a great expansion.
Realistically how many sources are you likely to have if this is the DAC you are considering.
Streamer, CD and TV are probably all most users will ever connect.

Im not quite clear on the diference between the standard and signature series other than the price so need to do some research to understand the benefits of the series.
I do have the Zen DAC and while it is perfect for the single USB feed I use it for and has the headphone function should I wish i cant add any other inputs. In hindsight a Schitt Modi 3 for similar cost would of given me alternative input types and 3 potential inputs. I can see this being a straight upgrade although cost will be a consideration. If they make a non-signature version I can see that being aquired straight away.


Here, you can see the tech lowdown of the Zen One Signature.

Here is the link to the Zen One Signature page.

Here is the link to the Nano iOne page.

Modi 3 is a good product, but it does not offer what the Zen DAC can do. I am not going to evaluate and compare the sound signature, because that is too subjective. I leave it to you.

However, measurements-wise Modi goes up to 24/192 via USB. Zen Dac supports PCM and DXD to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD256 and MQA.
 

AgentOrange76

Standard Member
Saves me googling it, thanks
I referenced the Modi 3 as a price point comparable option that has 3 inputs (and all 3 digital input options) compared to the Zen DAC V1 that has a single USB input. Cost wise Circa £100 vs £130

I like my Zen DAC but I cant add TV sound to it - I use my stereo speakers/amp to improve sound for films or if we decide to watch Music channels.
I have a £20 box from amazon that converts Toslink to 3.5mm - I now know that as a DAC but when I got it 10 plus years ago it was just a converter to me. Its good enough for films and music videos but if I had a better option id use it. I do have the better option but cant connect to it.

Im late to music streaming, not sure why but like many Lockdown 1.0 has a lot to answer for. The need for a DAC to my analogue amp meant I have a better understanding and since buying the the Zen DAC that was being recommended at a price point that was acceptable have an even clearer picture. Had there been a Zen One non-signature model at the time I probably would of got that or the Modi 3 if i had considered/understood digital connections better.

The Zen One signature is £349 so nearly 3 times the amount. The performance improvement vs cost increase of the signature series for me isnt worth it but the 3 inputs may swing it. I have 2 rooms with Amp/speakers now and only one has a DAC for music purposes and this is the one without TV so at some point a purchase will be needed

Does anyone actually provide music at 32-bit/384kHz to utilise that function?
 

iFi audio

Member
AVForums Sponsor
Saves me googling it, thanks
I referenced the Modi 3 as a price point comparable option that has 3 inputs (and all 3 digital input options) compared to the Zen DAC V1 that has a single USB input. Cost wise Circa £100 vs £130

I like my Zen DAC but I cant add TV sound to it - I use my stereo speakers/amp to improve sound for films or if we decide to watch Music channels.
I have a £20 box from amazon that converts Toslink to 3.5mm - I now know that as a DAC but when I got it 10 plus years ago it was just a converter to me. Its good enough for films and music videos but if I had a better option id use it. I do have the better option but cant connect to it.

Im late to music streaming, not sure why but like many Lockdown 1.0 has a lot to answer for. The need for a DAC to my analogue amp meant I have a better understanding and since buying the the Zen DAC that was being recommended at a price point that was acceptable have an even clearer picture. Had there been a Zen One non-signature model at the time I probably would of got that or the Modi 3 if i had considered/understood digital connections better.

The Zen One signature is £349 so nearly 3 times the amount. The performance improvement vs cost increase of the signature series for me isnt worth it but the 3 inputs may swing it. I have 2 rooms with Amp/speakers now and only one has a DAC for music purposes and this is the one without TV so at some point a purchase will be needed

Does anyone actually provide music at 32-bit/384kHz to utilise that function?
It's never too late to join the audio team and you are right, the lockdowns led to a situation where many people tested the water.

I see what you mean regarding TV connection.

If you are asking if there ares any streaming platforms offer 32-bit/384kHz, then I am afraid there are not. The high-res apps (Tidal, Qubuz, Amazon HD, Deezer, etc.) get you access to Hi-Res FLAC 24-Bit music up to 192 kHz. There are places where you can find FLAC or WAV files to download or purchase.
 

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