iFi - ZEN DAC V2

Equipment DAC
Price $199.00
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iFi - ZEN DAC V2

iFi - ZEN DAC V2

Price $199.00
Availability:
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Description

High-Value Gem: The iFi Zen DAC V2 Is a USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier That Lets You Get Lost in the Music

The iFi Zen DAC V2 is the same award-winning, high-resolution USB DAC and headphone amplifier as before, but with added power for added fun! Its digital engine has been upgraded from an 8-core XMOS chip to a 16-core chip. The result is a component that is ultra-capable while still being easily affordable. Compact enough to use as a USB DAC/amp on your work desk — and stylish enough to use at home with your favorite active speakers or amp — it delivers a level of performance that punches far above its price tag.

The Zen DAC V2 supports PCM and DXD to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD256, and MQA. DSD remains "bit-perfect" thanks to the Burr-Brown "True Native" chip design.

Fueled by 16-core tech, the iFi Zen DAC V2 is now an MQA decoder rather than a renderer. This enables you to play back MQA audio files and streams, delivering the sound of the original master recording. The LED glows green or blue to indicate that the unit is decoding and playing an MQA stream or file. Additionally, it denotes provenance to ensure that the sound is identical to that of the source material. The LED glows blue to indicate it is playing an MQA Studio file, which has either been approved in the studio by the artist/producer or has been verified by the copyright owner.

A new and improved, low-jitter crystal clock enables the iFi Zen DAC V2 to deliver a performance that is >20dB better than before. The super-low noise performance means the Zen DAC V2 will remain quiet even in noisy situations, such as on a boat or in an RV. The balanced design for the analog stage — rare at this price point — makes the Zen DAC V2 an exceptional value, as it delivers the type of stellar sound quality commonly found in higher-priced models. The unit sports Pentaconn 4.4mm balanced outputs at both the front and back. On the front, the chassis includes a 6.3mm (quarter-inch) headphone socket.

Using a switch on the rear panel, you can easily select the "Variable" or "Fixed" setting. When set to "Variable," you can use the Zen DAC V2 as a pre-amp to feed a power amplifier or active speakers. With the "Fixed" setting, you bypass the Zen DAC's volume control, and you can connect to an external pre-amp or an integrated amplifier.

The headphone amp has PowerMatch, a switchable gain to perfectly match your headphones. When using in-ear monitors (IEMs), you can leave PowerMatch at its lower setting for hiss-free listening. Because over-ear headphones with relatively low impedance require more power, you can press PowerMatch to increase the level of drive.

Additionally, the iFi Zen DAC V2 boasts TrueBass. This proprietary technology is a switchable "bass boost" operating in the analog domain. TrueBass enhances the bass but does not muddy the mid-range. This makes it perfect for use with IEMs or open-back headphones, which often lack bass. TrueBass delivers genuine bass with realistic depth and definition. Everything from timpani to a bass guitar, to an electronic bass line, is conveyed with authority and poise.

In the Zen DAC V2, the XMOS 16-core chip processes the audio data received via the USB and S/PDIF digital inputs. This new, low-latency XMOS microcontroller offers greatly enhanced processing power. Compared to 8-core chips, this 16-core IC delivers double the clock speed (2000MIPS) and four times the memory (512KB), as well as the latest SuperSpeed USB standard. The digital development team at iFi has programmed the XMOS firmware to optimize sound quality and ensure a perfect partnership with the Burr-Brown DAC.

Extensive jitter-eradication technologies are applied to the digital stage, as the Zen DAC V2 includes a GMT (Global Master Timing) femto-precision clock and an intelligent memory buffer.

The Zen DAC V2 has balanced circuits, which reduce noise and crosstalk: Less interference means clearer sound. So, if you want to get lost in the music, the iFi Zen DAC V2 is the ultimate chilling machine. Like all Music Direct products, it comes with the 100% Music Direct Satisfaction Guarantee.

"Compare the iFi with price rivals and it's clearly up there with the best when it comes to sound quality. But it also offers a degree of versatility that those rivals don't. If you're looking for a well-built, budget desktop DAC, this iFi should be [at the] top of your list."
What Hi-Fi?, five-star review and 2020 Award, Best DAC £100 – £200

"I see two ideal users for the Zen DAC: younger just-minted audiophiles looking for good sound on a budget for nearfield listening, and older ones looking for an inexpensive way to add an MQA DAC and a decent headphone amplifier to their room-based systems. The former will use most of the Zen DAC's features, while a majority of the latter will set it on fixed output and use it as a basic DAC. Both win."
—Steven Stone, The Absolute Sound

Burr-Brown Chipset

The Burr-Brown "True Native" chipset in the iFi Zen DAC V2 means file formats remain unchanged, or "bit-perfect." This means you are listening to music as the artist intended — in the format in which it was recorded. iFi uses Burr Brown extensively, having selected it for its natural-sounding "musicality" and "True Native" architecture. You can enjoy pristine, high-resolution playback of all music formats, from MP3 to DSD256, PCM384, and DXD384.

MQA Decoding

MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) is an award-winning audio technology that enables music fans to stream reference-level recordings into their homes. In the iFi Zen DAC V2, this is supported through the USB with full decoding of MQA files up to 384kHz, thanks to the processing power of the 16-core XMOS chip. This means that the full, "three unfold" decoding process is performed internally — as opposed to only the final unfold, in the manner of an MQA "renderer." Globally, MQA has become an important consideration for any comprehensively equipped DAC.

Input: USB3.0 B Socket (USB2.0 compatible)
Formats: DSD256/128/64, Octa/Quad/Double/Single-Speed DSD DXD(384/352.8kHz), PCM(384/352.8/192/176.4/96/88.2/48/44.1kHz) MQA
DAC: Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown
Line Output:
   Output: Audio RCA (SE): 2.1V fixed, 1V / 3.3V max. (variable)
   4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL): 4.2V fixed, 2V / 6.2V max. (variable)
   Zout:
      <= 200 Ohm (BAL)
      <= 100 Ohm (SE)
   SNR: < -116dB(A) @ 0dBFS (BAL/SE)
   DNR: > 116dB(A) @ -60dBFS (BAL/SE)
   THD+N: < 0.0015% @ 0dBFS (BAL/SE)
Headphone Section:
   Output Power (@1% THD):
      4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL): 330mW@32 Ohm; 6.6V@600 Ohm; 16 Ohm - 600 Ohm Headphone
      6.3mm S-BAL (SE): 230mW@32 Ohm; 3.3V@600 Ohm; 16 Ohm - 600 Ohm Headphone
   Output Impedance: < 1 Ω (BAL/SE)
   THD & N: < 0.005% (125mW @ 32R)
   SNR: > 113dBA (6.2V BAL/3.3V SE)
Power consumption: < 1.5W via USB power OR 5v DC (power supply not included)
Dimensions (WDH): 6.3" x 4.6" x 1.4"
Weight: 1.8 lbs.
Warranty period: 12 months

User Manual (PDF, 516 KB)

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