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iFi Audio ZEN DAC Desktop USB DAC / Headphone Amp

£129.00 £107.50
SKU
ZEN DAC
Free UK Delivery
12 Months
New
24 hours
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SPEAKER CABLES:

A quantity of 2 means you will receive a pair of speaker cables e.g. for your front left and front right speakers. By entering a quantity of 1, you will get a cable for a single speaker e.g. centre speaker and this option also enables you to vary the length (and termination) of your cable for each speaker.

OTHER CABLES:

A quantity of 1 means you will receive a single cable in the case of aerial, satellite, subwoofer, digital coaxial & optical cables and a pair of cables in the case of 2 rca to 2 rca analogue audio cables.

NON-CABLE PRODUCTS:

A quantity of 1 means you will receive 1 of the specified products.

Available

Need help? Call us on 0800 772 3688 or 0208 905 1555

Prefer email? Contact us via sales@futureshop.co.uk

Designed for home use - on a desk, perhaps, or in the living room - the ZEN DAC connects to PCs and Macs, or smart devices such as tablets or phones, via USB. Its hi-res digital-to-analogue conversation technology processes all forms of digital audio to a super-high standard, while the integrated analogue headphone amplifier delivers superb sound with all headphone types, from in-ear monitors to larger on-and over-ear designs.

iFi Audio ZEN DAC Desktop USB DAC / Headphone Amp

 

Hot on the heels of the ZEN Blue hi-res Bluetooth streamer, iFi expands the ZEN family of desktop-sized audio products with the ZEN DAC - a USB DAC/headphone amp offering a level of specification and performance that belies its eminently affordable £129 price tag.

Designed for home use - on a desk, perhaps, or in the living room - the ZEN DAC connects to PCs and Macs, or smart devices such as tablets or phones, via USB. Its hi-res digital-to-analogue conversation technology processes all forms of digital audio to a super-high standard, while the integrated analogue headphone amplifier delivers superb sound with all headphone types, from in-ear monitors to larger on-and over-ear designs.

Compared to simply plugging headphones directly into a computer or smart device, the ZEN DAC transforms the listening experience - sound is clearer, more detailed, more expansive and engaging, making the most of whichever headphones are connected. As well as driving headphones, the ZEN DAC can be used as a USB DAC in a home audio system, with or without its volume control engaged. What’s more, whether you’re hooking up headphones, an external amp or active speakers, you have a choice of single-ended or balanced connection –a remarkable facility at the price.

Features

  • The Burr-Brown True Native® chipset means file formats remain unchanged. Listen to music as the artist intended in the format in which it was recorded.
  • Hi-Res True Native® playback of all music formats from MP3 to DSD256, PCM384 and DXD384.
  • Listen to Master Quality Authenticated audio straight out of the box. Connect to Tidal Masters and check the option to stream MQA.
  • TrueBass® system, incorporating the two downward-firing 8′ bass radiators, delivers genuine bass with realistic depth and definition. Dual-level depth control means you can adjust the bass response according to taste – down to a deeply impressive 27Hz.
  • This is a type of audio circuitry topology that uses separate left & right channels. It is a superior method to the traditional single-ended circuit approach. Balanced circuits reduce noise and crosstalk. Less Interference – clearer sound.
  • TDK C0G (Class 1 ceramic) capacitors offer high stability and low losses for resonant circuit applications. They are pricey but are a perfect addition to our products.

 

ZEN DAC's Digital Stage

The DAC section is based around a Burr-Brown DAC chip that iFi uses extensively, selected for its fluid, highly ‘musical’ sound quality and ‘True Native’ architecture. This, together with the XMOS chip used for input processing, enables iFi to deliver excellent sound quality across all manner of digital audio formats including hi-res PCM, ‘bit-perfect’ DSD and MQA - the hi-res streaming codec, as used by Tidal’s ‘Masters’ tier. Given the diminutive asking price, the ZEN DAC’s digital audio credentials are highly impressive.

PCM and DXD audio data is supported up to 24-bit/384kHz, alongside DSD sampling rates from 2.8MHz to12.4MHz (DSD256). Thanks to the Burr-Brown chip’s True Native design, PCM and DSD take separate pathways - this enables DSD to remain ‘bit-perfect’ in its native form, right through to analogue conversion. Many DACs that claim DSD compatibility accept DSD data but then convert it to PCM; for DSD purists, the ZEN DAC is a fantastic affordable solution.

Another circuit feature that separates this and other DACs made by iFi from competing designs is iFi’s in-house programming of the XMOS chip. While other manufacturers simply use the firmware that comes with the chip off-the-shelf, which is not typically optimised for audiophile-grade sound, iFi programs its own bespoke firmware to boost audio processing power.

iFi’s continuous software development allows features to be added or optimised via firmware updates, enabling the ZEN DAC to be tailored to the user’s playback priorities and ensuring it stays cutting-edge over time. Users can even download and install different versions of iFi firmware to experiment with different digital filters should they so desire.

Extensive clock-locking is used throughout the digital stage to eradicate jitter, maintaining the integrity of the digital signal until conversion.

ZEN DACs Analogue Stage

The ZEN DAC’s analogue stage is a balanced design - highly unusual in a DAC/headphone amp anywhere near this price point. It incorporates a range of high-quality circuit components, carefully selected for their performance in an audio context, including C0G capacitors from TDK, a precision low-noise power supply IC from Texas Instruments and a high-quality analogue volume pot.

The headphone amp stage has switchable gain, which iFi terms PowerMatch. This matches the level of drive to the load presented by the headphones, by adjusting input sensitivity and thereby signal strength. With high-sensitivity headphone types such as in-ear monitors, leave PowerMatch at its lower setting for ultra-low-noise performance. But if your headphones require more drive - most on/over-ear types, for example - press the PowerMatch button on the front panel to increase gain.

TrueBass is another user-selectable feature. An evolution of iFi’s established XBass circuit, TrueBass is a sophisticated form of ‘bass boost’ that subtly enhances low frequencies without muddying the midrange - particularly useful with earphones and open-back headphones that may lack deep bass. It operates entirely in the analogue domain rather than messing with the digital signal via DSP and may be switched in or out via another button on the front panel.

ZEN DAC Connections

The ZEN DAC sports Pentaconn 4.4mm balanced outputs, both front and back - this is a relatively new interface type, designed to enable balanced signal transfer between compact products that cannot accommodate traditional XLR connections. The front-mounted 4.4mm output sits alongside a standard, single-ended 6.3mm headphone socket - thus, the benefits of balanced headphone designs are fully utilised, whilst also accommodating every type of headphone, both balanced and single-ended.

The 4.4mm output to the rear enables connection to amps and active speakers equipped with a balanced input - either a Pentaconn 4.4mm input, or XLR inputs via a 4.4mm-to-XLR cable. Single-ended RCA outputs are also provided.

These line-level outputs - both balanced and single-ended - can be switched between ‘variable’ and ‘fixed’, enhancing the ZEN DAC’s versatility. The variable setting applies volume control to the audio signal, enabling the ZEN DAC to perform as a preamp feeding a power amp or active speakers. The fixed option bypasses the volume control, fixing the output at 4.2V (balanced) or 2.1V (single-ended) for connection to an external preamp or integrated amp.

The ZEN DAC’s asynchronous USB Type B input supports the ‘SuperSpeed’ USB 3.0 standard and is also compatible with USB 2.0.

In common with other ZEN Series products, the ZEN DAC sports a sturdy, smartly finished aluminium enclosure, neatly sized at 158x35x100mm (WxHxD). Even the rotary volume control is aluminium, giving a reassuringly solid feel - impressive at the product’s super-affordable price. Behind the volume control resides an LED that changes colour to indicate the sampling rate of the audio data received.

 

 

"iFi has built a solid reputation for its well-featured, affordable digital-to-analogue converters. Thanks to a combination of features and sound quality that’s hard to better at the price, the Zen DAC is arguably one of its finest products...

Despite its budget nature, the Zen can handle PCM files up to 384kHz and up to DSD256. It can also decode MQA, which is impressive at this price...

Most budget digital-to-analogue converters aren’t particularly inspiring to listen to and don’t tend to offer much of a step-up over the soundcard of a computer. That’s certainly not the case here...

Tonally, this is a well-judged unit, having just the right degree of smoothness at high frequencies to prevent low bit rate or thin-sounding music streams from getting annoying. We like the openness of the presentation and its generally even-handed nature."

Best DAC £100 to £200 - What Hi-Fi? Award Winner 2020

 iFi Audio ZEN DAC EISA Award for Best Value DAC

"The appeal of the iFi Audio ZEN DAC is simple: with eye-catching looks, flexibility, solid engineering within and a remarkably grown-up sound, this entry-level DAC is a conspicuous hi-fi bargain. It proves that desktop audio doesn’t have to be the poor relation of ‘proper’ hi-fi, and is a real giant-killer, whether as a DAC/headphone amp or a simple digital preamp. Buy this to boost the sound of your computer, and you may well find you’re listening to it most of the time. Best of all, it does all this at a very affordable price – this is amazing value for money."

EISA Best Value DAC Award 2020

 

"Using the Zen as a headphone DAC is a joy - selecting one of Bob Stuart’s legendary ‘White Gloves’ exercises, the ‘Fairytales’ album, the MQA light behind the volume knob turns the indicative magenta, and the sound emerges from the darkest of backgrounds with every nuance of that delicate voice with the notes and movements of the piano player readily apparent.

Of course, if you wish to hook the Zen DAC to your hi-fi you can remove the thoughtful rubber covers from the phono outputs and use the supplied leads or those of your choice to get going." (Read More)

Future Shop Review - May 2020

 

 

Specifications:

  • Input: USB3.0 B Socket (USB2.0 compatible)
  • Formats: 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/384kHz PCM 2.8/3.1/5.6/6.2/11.2/12.4MHz DSD 353/384KHz DXD
  • DAC: Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown
  • Line Section
  • Output: Audio RCA (UnBAL) - 2.1V fixed, 1V / 3.3V max. (variable) // 4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL) - 4.2V fixed, 2V / 6.2V max. (variable)
  • Zout: <= 100 Ohm (UnBAL), <= 200 Ohm (BAL)
  • SNR: < -116dB(A) @ 0dBFS (UnBAL/BAL)
  • DNR: > 116dB(A) @ -60dBFS (UnBAL/BAL)
  • THD+N: < 0.0015% @ 0dBFS (UnBAL/BAL)
  • Headphone Section
  • Output: 6.3mm (UnBAL) - 1V / 3.3V max,12 Ohm - 300 Ohm Headphone // 4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL) - 2V / 6.2V max, 12 Ohm - 600 Ohm Headphone
  • Output Power: UnBAL > 280mW @ 32R, > 36mW @ 300R // BAL > 380mW @ 50R, > 70mW @ 600R
  • Output Impedance: < 1 Ω (UnBAL/BAL)
  • THD & N: < 0.005% (125mW @ 32R)
  • SNR: > 113dBA (3.3V UnBAL / 6.2V BAL)
  • Power consumption: < 1.5W
  • Dimensions: 117(l) x 100(w) x 30(h)mm
  • Weight: 491g (1.08 lbs)
  • Warranty period: 12 months

 

About iFi Audio Made in United Kingdom

iFi is a brand new line of electronics with trickle-down technology licensed from AMR and aimed primarily at the future, Computer Audio generation. All iFi products boast Class A analogue circuitry with no DSP and the signal stays ‘Bit Perfect’ throughout.

How a product looks and performs matters, but so does its impact on the environment. That’s why nearly every iFi product and its packaging are made from highly recyclable materials like aluminum, paper, recycled plastic and why we refuse to use harmful toxins in our components. iFi Audio do this to ensure that every product they release meets their environmental standards.

Specifications:

  • Input: USB3.0 B Socket (USB2.0 compatible)
  • Formats: 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/384kHz PCM 2.8/3.1/5.6/6.2/11.2/12.4MHz DSD 353/384KHz DXD
  • DAC: Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown
  • Line Section
  • Output: Audio RCA (UnBAL) - 2.1V fixed, 1V / 3.3V max. (variable) // 4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL) - 4.2V fixed, 2V / 6.2V max. (variable)
  • Zout: <= 100 Ohm (UnBAL), <= 200 Ohm (BAL)
  • SNR: < -116dB(A) @ 0dBFS (UnBAL/BAL)
  • DNR: > 116dB(A) @ -60dBFS (UnBAL/BAL)
  • THD+N: < 0.0015% @ 0dBFS (UnBAL/BAL)
  • Headphone Section
  • Output: 6.3mm (UnBAL) - 1V / 3.3V max,12 Ohm - 300 Ohm Headphone // 4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL) - 2V / 6.2V max, 12 Ohm - 600 Ohm Headphone
  • Output Power: UnBAL > 280mW @ 32R, > 36mW @ 300R // BAL > 380mW @ 50R, > 70mW @ 600R
  • Output Impedance: < 1 Ω (UnBAL/BAL)
  • THD & N: < 0.005% (125mW @ 32R)
  • SNR: > 113dBA (3.3V UnBAL / 6.2V BAL)
  • Power consumption: < 1.5W
  • Dimensions: 117(l) x 100(w) x 30(h)mm
  • Weight: 491g (1.08 lbs)
  • Warranty period: 12 months

UK Delivery

 

1. We use Royal Mail 1st Class Services as a Standard Postage Option

Orders received before 4.30pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) are usually dispatched the same day by FIRST CLASS post (unless premium postal or timed courier services are selected), subject to stock availability. Over 98% of our orders are usually delivered the next working day including Saturdays.

Standard delivery is usually within 2-3 working days, although 98% of all orders are delivered the next working day including Saturdays . In extreme cases, such as delivery to the Highlands and Islands, this may take 3 days.

All items are fully insured and come with an invoice from Futureshop.co.uk. We use the Royal Mail for delivery of small packages and DPD or Interlink Express for items that weigh over 2KG. Items over 2KG are fully insured and will usually be delivered within 48 hours of placing your order Monday to Friday subject to stock availability. For International orders, we use FedEx Services where customers have selected this option.

Please note, special orders for non-standard cable lengths or custom-made cables may be subject to longer delivery time-scales. This may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

We offer 'Free UK delivery on orders over £99' subject to the following terms & conditions:

  • Applies only to orders with £99 or more of items (including VAT at the UK rate), at FutureShop.co.uk
  • Free Delivery on orders over £99 utilises Royal Mail First Class postal service for items weighing under 2KG. For items weighing over 2KG, we use DPD next working day services which deliver from 9.00am to 6pm within mainland UK (excludes Royal Mail Special Delivery Services and timed next day delivery services by UK Mail).
  • Applies only to deliveries to addresses within mainland UK and Northern Ireland addresses. Applies only to orders that are to be delivered to a single Mainland UK delivery address.
  • You will not be eligible for free delivery on your order if any items are cancelled or returned for a refund, bringing the total order amount below £99. Where items are returned, the refund due will be the cost of the item less any postage costs.
  • We reserve the right to change or discontinue 'Free delivery on orders over £99 promotion at any time.
  • FREE DELIVERY FOR ORDERS OVER £99 OFFER DOES NOT APPLY TO TRADE CUSTOMERS.

Free Delivery on orders over £99 utilises Royal Mail First Class postal service for items weighing under 2KG. For items weighing over 2KG, we use DPD or Interlink Express next working day services which deliver from 9.00am to 6pm within mainland UK.

Free Delivery for orders over £99 excludes Royal Mail Special Delivery Services and timed next day delivery services by DPD or Interlink Express.

 

Royal Mail 1st Class Shipping DPD Next Day Delivery

 

2. Special Delivery UK - Guaranteed Next Working Day

We have 99.9% of the UK covered With Royal Mail Next Day Special Delivery. We guarantee delivery to most UK addresses by 1pm the next working day. This includes Northern Ireland, Jersey and Guernsey. Some places take longer to deliver to but we still guarantee delivery within three working days by 5.30 PM.

For the Next Day Special Delivery service, orders must be received by futureshop.co.uk by 4.30pm weekdays. Orders after the 4.30pm deadline cannot be guaranteed for same day dispatch.

Please note, Royal Mail Special Delivery for next working day may not be possible where non-standard cable lengths are ordered. If this is the case, the item will be shipped via The Royal Mail Special Delivery service as soon as the cable is custom made.

For orders weighing over 2KG, we reserve the right to ship items using Next Day Pre-Noon Courier Services where Royal Mail Special Delivery option has been selected.

 

Royal Mail Special Next Working Day Delivery

 

3. Channel Islands & Northern Ireland

We accept orders from all Channel Islands including Alderney, Jersey, Guernsey and Sark. Unless you select a premium service, Items weighing under 2KG are delivered using our standard UK delivery option above. For items weighing over 2KG, a surcharge may be applied for all deliveries to the Channel Islands as well as Northern Ireland.

 

European Countries

Deliveries to EU member states are subject to 20% VAT. We offer the following shipping services:

  • Royal Mail First Class International Untracked Airmail Services - Items are usually delivered within 10 working days.
  • Royal Mail First Class International Tracked Airmail Services - Items are usually delivered within 3 to 7 working days.
  • DHL Express International - Items are usually delivered within 24 to 48 hours. DHL orders must be received by 3:30pm for next day service to most destinations in Europe
  • Federal Express International Priority - Items are usually delivered within 24 to 48 hours. FedEx orders must be received by 3.00pm for next day service to most destinations in Europe
  • Federal Express International Economy - Item are usually delivered within 48 to 72 hours

 

Royal Mail International DeliveryRoyal Mail International Tracked DeliveryFedEX Express Economy International DeliveryFedEX Express Priority International DeliveryDHL Worldwide Express International DeliveryDHL Econmy Select International Delivery

 

Worldwide - Excluding UK & Europe

Deliveries outside of the EU are not subject to 20% VAT and so the 20% tax on items is automatically deducted when you login or register.
We offer the following shipping services:

  • Royal Mail First Class International Untracked Airmail Services - Items are usually delivered within 15 working days.
  • Royal Mail First Class International Tracked Airmail - Items are usually delivered within 10-15 working days.
  • DHL Express International - Items are usually delivered within 48 hours. DHL orders must be received by 3:30pm in order to ship items the same day, subject to stock availability.
  • Federal Express International Priority - Items are usually delivered within 48 hours. FedEx orders must be received by 3.00pm in order to ship items the same day, subject to stock availability.

Where the actual weight of the package significantly exceeds the shipping cost charged on orders, we may write to you for an additional shipping charge. For larger orders, items may be shipped in multiple packets.

 

Royal Mail International DeliveryRoyal Mail International Tracked DeliveryFedEX Express Economy International DeliveryFedEX Express Priority International DeliveryDHL Worldwide Express International DeliveryDHL Econmy Select International Delivery

 

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