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iFi Audio ZEN Blue

Premium universal Bluetooth® receiver

Item # 246ZENBLUE

Want to play music wirelessly through your favorite speakers? You're not alone! We hear from customers everyday who...

Want to play music wirelessly through your favorite speakers? You're not alone! We hear from customers everyday who...

Item # 246ZENBLUE

Ships free today

In stock
$129.99

About the iFi Audio ZEN Blue

Play high-fidelity music from your phone through your stereo

Want to play music wirelessly through your favorite speakers? You're not alone! We hear from customers everyday who love the tried-and-true sound of their classic stereo system, but want the convenience of Bluetooth. The iFi Audio ZEN Blue Bluetooth receiver has digital and analog outputs for connecting to a receiver, speaker, or amp. From there you can stream music wirelessly from your Bluetooth-enabled phone, tablet, or computer.
iFi Zen Blue connected to a stereo

The heavy-duty iFi Audio ZEN Blue premium Bluetooth adapter connects to your stereo and plays music wirelessly.

Play high-fidelity music from your phone through your stereo

Want to play music wirelessly through your favorite speakers? You're not alone! We hear from customers everyday who love the tried-and-true sound of their classic stereo system, but want the convenience of Bluetooth. The iFi Audio ZEN Blue Bluetooth receiver has digital and analog outputs for connecting to a receiver, speaker, or amp. From there you can stream music wirelessly from your Bluetooth-enabled phone, tablet, or computer.

Versatile connections

On the back panel, there are optical and coaxial outputs for making a digital connection to your home audio gear. You'll also find unbalanced stereo RCA outs and a balanced 4.4mm output.

That 4.4mm connection is relatively new,  but there are adapters sold separately that can can help you connect to gear with XLR (or other) balanced input. Just make sure you do not connect any headphones to that output. iFi warns that the full signal could damage your headphones and hearing.   

The latest and greatest in wireless audio 

Music plays wirelessly from your phone via Bluetooth 5.0 — the strongest, most reliable Bluetooth yet. iFi has included an advanced form of audio coding called "aptX-HD®," for improved sound quality with devices that support this technology. You can even take advantage of Sony's LDAC technology if you play music from a compatible device (like a Sony High-res Walkman). 

This is also one of the first components with aptX® Adaptive technology. This versatile wireless audio codec automatically detects if you're in an area with competing Bluetooth signals, and adjusts accordingly. It can also sense when you're watching a video on, say, Netflix or YouTube, and keep latency low. So the audio and video should be better synced up.  

Internal parts

iFi uses sophisticated audio circuitry and high-grade internal parts to preserve musical detail.

Advanced audio circuitry

But what really elevates the ZEN Blue from mere "dongle" to bona fide audio component? It's what happens after the wireless signal is received. The wireless chip feeds raw digital Bluetooth data to the advanced built-in ESS Sabre Hyperstream digital-to-audio converter (DAC). 

This DAC can squeeze out all the musical detail and help reduce jitter and timing issues. And iFi's dual-mono circuitry keeps the left and right audio channels completely separate for as long as possible to avoid cross-talk and distortion.

Who is iFi Audio?

iFi is an award-winning British audio company that specializes in sound-improving solutions. Their gear is packed with sophisticated circuitry that helps you get the most out of your listening experience.

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Product highlights:

  • allows wireless music playback from Bluetooth-compatible smartphones, tablets, music players, and computers
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with A2DP support
    • aptX® Adaptive automatically adjusts to prioritize audio quality or low latency, depending on the listening situation
    • aptX HD and AAC decoding provides high-quality music streaming from compatible devices
    • LDAC Hi-Fidelity wireless music streaming from compatible sources
  • sturdy metal chassis with high-grade connectors
Audio performance features:
  • built-in ESS Sabre Hyperstream digital-to-analog converter chip for high-quality sound
    • helps reduce jitter introduced by wireless signal
  • Qualcomm 5100-series processing chip for advanced wireless streaming
    • feeds raw digital Bluetooth signal to ESS Sabre chip for digital-to-analog conversion
  • class 1 ceramic capacitors for stable audio signal path
  • fully balanced internal circuitry to avoid distortion and cross-talk between channels
Back panel connections and controls:
  • balanced 4.4mm output for connecting a powered speaker or amp
    • Note: do NOT connect balanced headphones to this output — the full signal could damage your headphones and/or hearing.
  • one pair of unbalanced RCA audio outputs
  • optical digital (Toslink) audio output
  • coaxial digital (S/PDIF) audio output
  • 5-Volt DC power input (power cable included)
  • digital/analog audio signal control switch
General info and specs:
  • 21-inch stereo RCA cable included
  • frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
  • impedance: <50 ohms
  • 6-1/4"W x 1-3/8"H x 4-1/8"D
  • weight: 16.95 ounces
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • MFR # 311001

What's in the box:

  • Bluetooth receiver/DAC
  • 4.25" Antenna
  • AC adapter with attached 46" DC output cord (DC output: 5V 500mA)
  • 21" Stereo RCA patch cable
  • User Manual
  • Warranty card

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iFi Audio ZEN Blue reviews

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More details on the iFi Audio ZEN Blue

Stacey B.

Product Research

Features

Overview: The iFi ZEN Blue is a desktop Bluetooth receiver that can deliver your favorite music streamed from your smartphone, tablet, PC, or Mac to your audio system. Up to 7 Bluetooth devices can be stored for quick pairing. ZEN Blue supports the latest Hi-Res codecs for the best quality sound. The device has optical and coaxial digital outputs, as well as balanced and unbalanced analog outputs. ZEN Blue features a stylish blue aluminum enclosure, and comes with an AC adapter, Bluetooth antenna, and RCA patch cable.

Supported Bluetooth Codecs: ZEN Blue supports Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless streaming of your favorite music. Some of the compatible codecs support 24-bit audio formats, including Qualcomm's aptX Adaptive and aptX HD, Sony's LDAC, and Huawei's HWA. ZEN Blue also supports regular aptX and aptX Low Latency, AAC (the format of Apple iOS devices), and SBC (Standard Bluetooth Codec). On the front panel, the color of the iFi logo indicates the codec being received: Yellow (AAC), Blue (aptX), Magenta (aptX HD), Cyan (LDAC), White (HWA), or Green (SBC).

Internal Components: iFi Audio uses separate chips for Bluetooth reception and digital-to-audio conversion. Qualcomm's QCC5100 chip uses Bluetooth 5.0, the latest version of the wireless technology. Although the chip is actually a DAC chip, it is used for data processing only. It includes aptX and AAC codecs to process high quality audio from Apple devices (AAC) and Android devices, laptops, etc. (aptX). It also allows the ZEN Blue to process Sony's LDAC, Huawei's HWA (Hi-Res Wireless Audio), and Qualcomm's aptX Adaptive codecs. The ESS Sabre Hyperstream DAC chip handles the digital-to-analog conversion. This chip's Time Domain Jitter Eliminator and discrete oscillator eliminate jitter in the conversion process to deliver your audio with very low distortion and high dynamic range. iFi uses custom-designed op-amps, as found in the micro iDSD Black Label DAC, to produce the solid output signal (2V single-ended, 4V balanced). If the Analog/Digital switch is set to Digital, the op-amps are bypassed, and the digital signal is routed directly to the digital outputs.

Rear Panel Connections: All of the connections are located on the rear panel of the ZEN Blue, with both digital and analog outputs, and power and antenna connections. The 2-way Analog/Digital switch lets you select the analog or digital outputs. On the analog side, the 4.4mm (Pentaconn) line output is for connecting the Bluetooth receiver to an amplifier or speakers with a balanced input. The balanced design means less interference and crosstalk. The other analog output is a single-ended (unbalanced) stereo RCA output for connecting ZEN Blue to an amplifier. If you have selected the Digital outputs, you can connect ZEN Blue to anything with a built-in DAC via either coaxial or optical digital cable.

Note: The 4.4mm output is NOT for connecting balanced headphones, as the full signal will likely damage your headphones and your hearing.

Specifications:

  • Input: Bluetooth 5.0 with AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, LDAC, HWA codecs
  • Outputs:
    • Digital: coaxial and optical (S/PIDF)
    • Analog: Stereo RCA (unbalanced), 4.4mm (balanced)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz (<+0 / -0.5dB /44.1kHz); 1Hz-44kHz (<+0 / -3.0dB / >=88.2kHz)
  • Output Voltage (at 0 dBFS): 2.05V (+/- 0.05V)(single-ended); 4.0V (balanced)
  • Dynamic Range: 109dB (A)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 109dB (A) @ 0 dBFS
  • THD + N @ 0 dBFS: < 0.0015% (10k load)
  • Output Impedance: < 50Ω
  • Power Source: DC 5V
  • Power Consumption: < 2.5W
  • Dimensions: Width 6.212", Height 1.364", Depth 4.159" (5.175" with antenna)
  • Weight: 16.95 ounces

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Customer Q&A

4 questions already asked

Q
Is the wifi Audio Zen Blue compatible with my Bluesound Node 2i ?
[ Dave  Aug 21, 2020 ]
1 answer
A
They are both bluetooth receivers with built in DACs, so they essentially perform the same function
[ nicholas  Aug 21, 2020 ]
Q
Can I connect Two Studio monitors to the ifi Zen Blue using XLR? I don't see an 4.4 mom to Dual XLR. Is there an intermediate adapter I can use?
[ Steven  May 24, 2020 ]
2 answers
A
Hello. I'm not sure what kind of monitors you're using but I do know you can get rca to xlr adaptors which should allow you to connect to the ifi Zen. If you're not using the digital optical cord though you'll probably loose some sound quality. Good luck!
[ BRIAN  May 26, 2020 ]
A
There are no connections. The Ze is strictly a blue tooth receiver which can be conected via rca interconnects
[ RAYMOND  May 25, 2020 ]
Q
Does your device automatically connect to Bluetooth adapter or can you choose when to connect?
[ Nuno  May 19, 2020 ]
8 answers
A
The first time you plug the power transformer in the Zen receiver lights up. In my case it displayed a yellow ifi light(Apple codec) and blue kHz light. It didn't automatically 'pair. I have an Android phone LG. I pushed the pairing button(left) and the Zen connected with the phone without problem. When finished listening to music you "must" shut off the power to the Zen manually or remotely OR your phone will stay locked(paired) to the device! I simply placed power switch between my power conditioner and the Zen receiver. I might buy a WiFi switcher for remote switching at some point. A power button would have helpful from ifi! But this unit really does deliver in the hi res music department! My phone has Bluetooth 5 so I switch to hires(aptxHD?) in phone and play dsd and flac files along with std res wav files too. The Zen receiver plays the music flawlessly with high degree of "analog sweetness". This is why I recommend this unit even w/o a power button!
[ Stephen  May 20, 2020 ]
A
When you turn on the Zen Blue it pairs to the last device it was paired with if that device is in range, otherwise it will pair to the nearest device in its memory. It can remember many devices. You can always press the button on the front of the Zen Blue and it will pair to the nearest device. Works like a charm!
[ WILLIAM  May 19, 2020 ]
A
There is not an on/off button so the device is always on. You will have to connect/disconnect as desired from your phone or computer.
[ Michael  May 19, 2020 ]
A
If you have multiple audio devices, you may have to select which output device to use. It all depends to the application. Some apps connect directly to the default audio/communication device, for others you need to set them up manually. This is true for all Bluetooth connected devices.
[ TASSOS  May 19, 2020 ]
A
My experience is that it connects automatically once you have paired with it. The range is so good that if I walk from my shop 175ft away from my home it's still connected. This unit has solved my audio issues in my shop and has allows me to have control over whats being played through my stereo and to adjust the volume from my iPhone, extremely handy.
[ Nigel  May 19, 2020 ]
A
It doesn't reconnect automatically, you must choose to pair it with your device after you disconnect.
[ MICHAEL S  May 19, 2020 ]
A
You can choose when to connect. Totally controlled by the user.
[ Susan  May 19, 2020 ]
A
On your ZEN you have to hold the pair button a couple of seconds until the red light start to flash. Then on your device to have to select connect. It won't do it automatically.
[ andrew  May 19, 2020 ]
Q
What is the range for Bluetooth?
[ Justin  Apr 20, 2020 ]
7 answers
A
So far I have the found the range to be really good inside my house. I have the unit located in a finished basement up high in the room. I can walk around the house with my phone in my back pocket and not lose connection. I can go outside a few feet before losing the connection. I'm sure it's due to being on the other side of a concrete wall. Very happy with it.
[ RICHARD  Apr 22, 2020 ]
A
Will obviously depend on what is between the source and the receiver like walls and materials that dampen signal range. I don't live in a house but I'm in an apartment on the second floor and have been able to go outside to my car and it still works without losing signal. All in all great buy! Incredible upgrade to a standard Bluetooth receiver, even if your system doesn't support HiFi sound. I noticed a cleaner sound all together from multiple sources.
[ Sergio  Apr 20, 2020 ]
A
I have not done an exact measurement but I have no trouble anywhere with in my home. Also while I was outside walking got within about 100 to 125 feet of my hoose talking on the phone and thought my call had dropped but in fact it hooked on to the ifi Zen and was putting my conversation through my speaker for my good lady to listen to. So I am having no issues with signal drops. Hope this helps
[ RAYMOND  Apr 20, 2020 ]
A
About 30 feet.
[ Mark  Apr 20, 2020 ]
A
I have mine in a cabinet so not the ideal set up and i can wander about 20 feet or so away before it starts to stutter.
[ SCOTT  Apr 20, 2020 ]
A
Not sure because I can't find a place in my hose that it won pick up the Bluetooth signal. It's impressive.
[ ERIC  Apr 20, 2020 ]
A
I have it in an upstairs bedroom and it stays connected to my iPhone anywhere I roam downstairs.
[ MICHAEL  Apr 20, 2020 ]

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