About the iFi Audio ZEN Blue
Play high-fidelity music from your phone through your 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.
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.
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.
- 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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More details on the iFi Audio ZEN Blue
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), Green (aptX Adaptive), Red (aptX LL), Cyan (LDAC), White (HWA), or Off (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.
- Input: Bluetooth 5.0 with AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, LDAC, HWA codecs
- 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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