iFi Audio ZenDAC - Official Thread

Hey guys!

I just received a package from iFi Audio, containing a loaner of the new, soon to be officially released, ZenDAC! So far, it strikes me as a really neat little bit of gear.

Here is a link to the product page

The ZenDAC is an all in one DAC/Amp combo unit. I think it retails at $129USD……and that is pretty amazing. If I think about what was available when I got started with headphones 5 years ago for that price, this is leaps and bounds better.

I think for some people, especially those starting out, this is a great way to move away from a noisy motherboard audio out. The Fiio K5 Pro is another one to consider.

I haven’t had a lot of time with it so far, but it strikes me as a very competently designed little unit so far.

One thing that strikes me as kind of weird is that it doesn’t come with a power brick, but I suppose that is a way to save on costs and keep the price lower. The unit seems to run just fine from my laptops USB however.

I will report back with my full thoughts in a while, but so far so good :)

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Our iFi rep is dropping by Vancouver tomorrow and should be bringing the ZenDAC over as well as some other goodies. Looking forward to trying them out!

They showed us the prototypes at CanJam SoCal but we never got to try them out there.

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love that ifi Burr Brown implementions (xDSD user)
nice to see they went with this DAC chipset at this low entry price point
even mqa support and balanced 4.4 out - very nice!

would have loved it with LDAC support, the burr browns and the balanced out in one case

you can not combine/stack the new Zen Blue (Bluetooth DAC has the Sabre chipset) with the Zen DAC in a digital chain - so one could have the best of both units

i prefer a more industrial design like the iDSD micro BL or the THX AAA 789…
but these new units have a higher WAF(wife-acceptence-factor) :smiley:

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This looks almost perfect for office use. Wish it had rca or line in though.

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Yeah, I’m wondering if they’ll come out with an amp only version in the “Zen” line with some inputs and a bit more power out; kind of like the xCAN to the xDSD. That being said, the ZenDAC seems like a helluva feature set for the price.

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Got to play with the Zen DAC for a little while yesterday while our US iFi rep was in town.

It’s a very nice looking unit actually. I could easily see this stacked across office desks with their Zen Blue.

I just ran it USB from my Macbook and tried the Rosson’s out with it. The first thing I noticed was the noise floor was silent. I’ve been using the Micro iDSD Black Label as a DAC in a couple of chains lately and I’ve noticed that there is some background noise present but I didn’t find that with the Zen DAC at all.

The Zen DAC also has plenty of power. It seemed like and our rep confirmed it, that the ZenDAC has a more powerful amp than the Nano iDSD Black Label so if you don’t need the portability, the ZenDAC is going to be a very good option at $129.99.

We will also be having some units joining the Community Preview Program of both the ZenDAC and ZenBlue once the initial launch rush is over! It should make for a pretty good pairing for a lot of the Tier 3 and even some of the Tier 2 gear.

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That is interesting :thinking: especially since the NiBL is a daily carry for “emergency” amp/DAC use…and the $$$ is in the realm of stupid purchases…I would be interested in hearing these two new products from iFi…

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The Zen Blue is very similar looking if you haven’t seen it yet.

It’s an interesting one. We still sell a ton of Audioengine B1s and those are a pretty outdated item at this point so I could easily see this taking it’s place. It is a shame that there is no inputs on it though.

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Dropping in to say comparisons to the Schiit Fulla 2 and other desktop AIOs would be much appreciated! I’m considering one or the other for a laptop-on-my-bed or at-school/work, carry-in-my-bag-with-my-headphones sorta affair, plus an AIO for measurements with the MiniDSP EARS. At least I know a few local iFi retailers, shouldn’t be as worrying should anything go wrong.

P.S.
No cruddy toggles on the bottom a la IEMatch on the iDSD or any switches that feel loose? No long-term experience with their nicer Pro gear line but that’s one genuine concern I have with their transportable units.

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Well the new Fulla 3 is supposed to drop end of the month for $99, and the brand new gaming focused Hel is also supposed to drop at the same time for $199…

I’m probably going to pick up the Hel…but waiting on seeing final specifications.

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Oh Hel (couldn’t resist, hah), I caught news of those popping up at meets but given certain financial constraints plus the fact that I’m already considering spending on a scarce-ish desktop amp relatively soon I’m in full penny-pinching-without-buying-outright-bad-gear mode.

Not one for co-op gaming either (I’m a solo J/western RPG kinda dude) so the mic features of the Hel, while appreciated, likely will be useless to me. Fulla 3… Schiit.

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Me too I love the old school J/RPG’s. I played all the ones on the Snes and the Sega Megadrive. I also have a good collection of Gameboys scattered around the house. I have played nearly all the JRPG’s available on the game boy system.

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