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iFi ZEN DAC V2

Desktop USB DAC and headphone amplifier

Item # 246ZENDAC2

A versatile desktop DAC/headphone amp combo that'll improve your music without causing unnecessary clutter.

A versatile desktop DAC/headphone amp combo that'll improve your music without causing unnecessary clutter.

Item # 246ZENDAC2

In stock
$189.00

Since 1974

Years of experience making people happy.

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If you don't love it, send it back.

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About the iFi ZEN DAC V2

A powerful desktop audio companion

iFi has been a longtime favorite of mine. The original ZEN DAC pleasantly surprised me the first time I heard it, offering up quick, natural sound with plenty of amplification in a sleek package. When I heard they were releasing the ZEN DAC V2, I was ecstatic. The 'V2 takes all the good things from the old ZEN DAC — namely the DAC chip and headphone amp — and adds some extra high-performance goodies into the mix.

A powerful desktop audio companion

iFi has been a longtime favorite of mine. The original ZEN DAC pleasantly surprised me the first time I heard it, offering up quick, natural sound with plenty of amplification in a sleek package. When I heard they were releasing the ZEN DAC V2, I was ecstatic. The 'V2 takes all the good things from the old ZEN DAC — namely the DAC chip and headphone amp — and adds some extra high-performance goodies into the mix.

Performance upgrades

The company opted to use a 16-bit XMOS microcontroller/processor for this iteration. That chip is responsible for handling the incoming USB audio data. The new low-latency chip boasts double the clock speed and four times the digital memory of the previous version's 8-core chip. On top of that, the processor has been carefully optimized by iFi's in-house digital development team to ensure it operates in harmony with the digital-to-analog converter chip.

A new clock was added to the 'V2 as well. The new low-jitter GMT (Global Master Timing) clock and intelligent memory buffer serve to keep the distortion low and to keep your music as authentic to the source as possible.

Improve your digital tunes, including MQA audio

iFi put a high-grade "True Native" Burr-Brown 32-bit digital-to-analog converter chip under the hood of the 'V2 to ensure it delivers clear sound. It has no trouble bringing out the most in your music, whether it comes from Spotify®, TIDAL, or files you've already got on your PC. This DAC handles music files up to 32-bit/384 kHz and DSD up to 11.2 MHz. It can even fully decode MQA, meaning it completes all three file "unfolds," reproducing the track exactly as the artist or studio intended.

Hook it up and get your tunes going

On the front panel, you'll find both a balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn and a 1/4" output. Most headphones out there use one or the other. If your cans use a 3.5mm instead, the included 3.5mm-to-1/4" adapter has you covered.

There's a USB Type B port on the rear that both powers the ZEN DAC V2 and feeds it audio signals from your desktop or laptop. There's also a 5V DC input if you'd like to plug it into a wall outlet, but the adapter is sold separately. The rear panel has an unbalanced stereo RCA output and a balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn output for connecting to compatible powered speakers or amplifiers. These connections mean you can use the ZEN DAC V2 as a stereo preamplifier.

As an added benefit, these outputs can be set to fixed or variable via a rear-panel selector switch. Setting it to "fixed" bypasses the ZEN DAC V2's volume control, best for connecting to an external preamp or integrated amp. "Variable" lets you control the volume using the V2's front-panel knob, feeding signal to a power amplifier or powered speakers. 

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Product highlights:

  • desktop USB DAC with built-in high-performance headphone amp
  • improves sound from your PC, laptop, digital music player, iPhone®, and/or Android™ phone
    • USB cable included (Type A to Type B)
  • compact design with sturdy metal chassis
  • four rubber feet with no-slip grip
  • 16-core XMOS processor/microcontroller programmed by iFi's development team for optimized sound and perfect cooperation with digital-to-analog converter chip
Digital-to-analog converter:
  • Burr-Brown "True Native" digital-to-analog converter chip for high-quality sound
  • supported audio files: PCM and DXD up to 32-bit/384kHz; DSD up to DSD256 ( up to 11.2 MHz)
  • offers full decoding for MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio files
  • GMT (Global Master Timing) femto-precision clock and intelligent memory buffer to eliminate jitter
Balanced headphone amplifier:
  • two front-panel headphone outputs:
    • one unbalanced 1/4" headphone output (3.5mm mini to 1/4" adapter included)
    • one balanced Pentaconn 4.4mm output
  • low noise floor for clear audio reproduction
  • output power (4.4mm):
    • 330mW @ 32 ohms
    • 6.6V @ 600 ohms
  • output power (1/4"):
    • 230mW @ 32 ohms
    • 3.3V @ 600 ohms
  • compatible with headphones from 16-600 ohms
  • THD+N: 0.005
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 113 dB
Front-panel controls:
  • TrueBass sound control processing for boosting bass
  • PowerMatch switchable gain
  • high-precision volume control dial
Back-panel DAC/preamp connections and controls:
  • Type B USB input for connecting PC, smartphone, and other mobile devices
  • one balanced 4.4mm output for connecting a compatible powered speaker or amp
  • Note: do NOT connect balanced headphones to this output — the full signal could damage your headphones and/or hearing.
  • line direct/preamp selection switch (fixed or variable)
  • stereo unbalanced RCA preamp output with selectable fixed/variable level (RCA cables included)
Line output section:
  • RCA output power: 2.1V (fixed); 1V-3.3V (variable)
  • rear 4.4mm Pentaconn output power: 4.2V (fixed); 2V-6.2V (variable)
  • THD+N: 0.0015%
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 116 dB
General info and specs:
  • draws power from your laptop or PC when connected via USB
  • 5-volt DC power input
    • power cable not included
  • color-coded LED indicator denotes MQA status:
    • blue indicates an MQA Studio file is playing
    • green indicates the MQA file is being decoded by the Zen DAC V2
  • headphone output impedance: < 1 ohm (balanced and unbalanced)
  • dimensions (measured by Crutchfield): 6-1/4"W x 1-3/4"H x 6-9/16"D
  • weight: 1.13 lbs
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • MFR # Zen DAC V2

What's in the box:

  • D/A converter
  • 20" USB cable (Type A USB 3.0 on one end and Type B USB 3.0 on other end)
  • 20" Audio cable (stereo RCA plugs on each end)
  • 3.5mm-to-1/4" adapter
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty card

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More details on the iFi ZEN DAC V2

Mark G.

Features & specs

Design
Type Desktop/Component
Built-in Rechargable Battery No
Built-in Headphone Amplifier
Output Power 330mW-6.6V(bal)
Output Impedance (Unbalanced) < 1 Ohm
Output Impedance (Balanced) < 1 Ohm
Audio Specs
Bit Depth (USB) 32
Max Sampling Rate (USB) 384 kHz
Bit Depth (S/PDIF) 0
Max Sampling Rate S/PDIF N/A
S/N Ratio (Unbalanced, in dB) 113
S/N Ratio (Balanced, in dB) 113
THD (Unbalanced) Not given
THD (Balanced) 0.005%
Supported File Types
PCM Up to 384kHz
DSD DSD 256
DXD DXD 384
MQA Yes
Inputs
Total Inputs 1
USB Type B 3.0
Optical Digital None
Coaxial Digital None
3.5mm Digital None
Stereo RCA Analog None
Stereo 3.5mm Analog None
Stereo XLR Analog None
Headphone Outputs
3.5mm Unbalanced None
1/4-inch Unbalanced 1
4.4mm Balanced 1
XLR4 Balanced None
Other Headphone Outs N
Line Level & Digital Outs
RCA Line Out 1
3.5mm Line Out None
XLR Line Out None
Subwoofer Out None
Optical Digital Out None
Coaxial Digital Out None
Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth No
Wi-Fi No
Apple-compatible No
Android-compatible No
General Info
Width (inches) 6-1/4
Height (inches) 1-3/8
Depth (inches) 6-9/16
Weight 1.13 lbs.
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year
The iFi ZEN DAC V2 replaces these items:

Product Research

Features

Overview: The ZEN DAC V2 is a stylish, compact desktop DAC (digital-to-analog converter) and headphone amplifier. It is housed in a charcoal gray aluminum enclosure with brushed aluminum front and rear panels. It has a USB 3.0 Type B input, with balanced and unbalanced headphone outputs on the front and balanced and unbalanced line outputs on the back. Version 2 of ZEN DAC has an upgraded processor for better performance over its predecessor. The DAC includes both USB (3.0) and RCA cables in the box.

New XMOS Chip: ZEN DAC V2 has a new low-latency XMOS 16-core microcontroller chip for processing audio data from the USB input. Compared to the original ZEN DAC, Version 2 features double the clock speed and four times the memory. Its GMT (Global Master Timing) femto-precision clock improves jitter by more than 20dB.

Digital-to-Analog Conversion: ZEN DAC V2 plays Hi-Res audio in the original format, including PCM, DSD, and DXD. It can also fully decode MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio files. It uses a Burr-Brown "True Native" chipset which sends PCM and DSD signals down separate pathways so each format remains "bit-perfect" all the way to its conversion to analog. The ZEN DAC V2 is compatible with the following audio formats:

  • DSD: 256, 128, 64 MHz
  • DXD: 384, 352.8 kHz
  • PCM: 384, 352.8, 192, 176.4, 96, 88.2, 48, 44.1 kHz
  • MQA (Decoder)

MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) Decoder: The ZEN DAC V2, like all iFi MQA-compatible DACs can fully unfold MQA master tracks. MQA delivers the sound of the original master recording, so you'll hear the music exactly the way the artist intended. You can listen to MQA audio files on Tidal Masters, Audirvana, and Roon.

LED Indicator: The ZEN DAC V2's analog volume control is backlit by an LED that indicates the sampling frequency received from the source. The LED color scheme is as follows:

  • Yellow: PCM 44.1 / 48 kHz
  • White: PCM 88.2 / 96 / 176.4 / 192 / 352.8 / 384 kHz
  • Cyan: DSD 64 / DSD 128
  • Red: DSD 256
  • Green: MQA
  • Blue: MQA Studio
  • Magenta: Original Sample Rate

Headphone Amplifier: The iFi ZEN DAC V2's headphone amplifier can drive most headphones and in-ear monitors rated at 16 to 600 ohms. The balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn headphone output uses inverse positive/negative electrical paths to deliver equal and opposite audio signals to each side of the headphone driver voice coil. The balanced output offers double the voltage output for driving bigger and more difficult-to-drive headphones. It also produces reduced THD distortion and crosstalk, compared to unbalanced, single-ended outputs. The ZEN DAC V2 also features a single-ended 1/4" (6.3mm) unbalanced headphone output with iFi's S-Balanced circuit topography, which is specially suited for IEMs (in-ear monitors). S-Balanced features a dedicated negative wire for each channel, and supports both TRS and TRRS headphones. For headphones with a 3.5mm plug, you can use the included 3.5mm-to-1/4" plug adapter.

PowerMatch: The headphone output is equipped with iFi's PowerMatch technology. You can turn PowerMatch on or off as needed to match the level of the drive to the load presented by the headphones. When switched to High, PowerMatch adjusts the input sensitivity and signal strength, which works best for less sensitive large headphones. Leaving PowerMatch on Low works best for the more sensitive IEMs.

TrueBass: The iFi ZEN DAC V2 features iFi's switchable analog TrueBass circuitry that adds back the lost bass response to give you a more accurate reproduction of the original music without muddying the midrange. TrueBass' High Setting works well for many IEMs and open-back headphone designs, while the Low Setting should be adequate for most closed-back over-ear headphones.

USB Input: The ZEN DAC V2 has a Type B USB 3.0 input that connects to your computer audio source. The input supports the "SuperSpeed" USB 3.0 standard, and is also compatible with USB 2.0. It also supplies power to the unit.

Analog Outputs: The rear panel offers both balanced and unbalanced analog outputs. The balanced output has a 4.4mm Pentaconn jack, which can be used with 4.4mm-to-XLR or other balanced interconnects. This output can be used for an active speaker or amplifier. The unbalanced output is an RCA stereo pair.

Variable/Fixed Output: ZEN DAC V2 offers switchable variable or fixed line outputs. If you wish to use the unit's analog rotary volume control on the front panel, you should set the Variable-Fixed switch to the "Variable" position. This is recommended for connecting ZEN DAC V2 to a power amplifier or active speakers. If you are connecting ZEN DAC V2 to a receiver, integrated amplifier, or other device with a volume control, setting the switch to "Fixed" will provide the best results. This switch does not affect the front panel headphone outputs.

5.0V DC Power Input: A 5-volt DC input is provided for a DC power supply (not supplied). ZEN DAC V2 can be powered by either a DC power supply or via the USB 3.0 input.

Specifications:

  • Input: USB 3.0 Type B (USB 2.0 compatible)
  • Formats:
    • PCM: 384 / 352.8 / 192 / 176.4 / 96 / 88.2 / 48 / 44.1 kHz
    • DSD: 256 / 128 / 64
    • DXD: 384 / 352.8 kHz
    • MQA (Decoder)
  • DAC: Bit-perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown
  • Line Section:
    • Output:
      • Balanced (4.4mm Pentaconn): 4.2V fixed; 2V - 6.2V max variable
      • Single-ended (RCA): 2.1V fixed; 1V - 3.3V max variable
    • Z-out: <= 200 Ω (Bal); <= 100 Ω (SE)
    • SNR: < -116dB (A) @ 0 dBFS (Bal/SE)
    • DNR: > 116dB (A) @ -60 dBFS (Bal/SE)
    • THD+N: < 0.0015% @ 0 dBFS (Bal/SE)
  • Headphone Section:
    • Output (using 5V power):
      • Balanced (4.4mm Pentaconn): 330mW @ 32 Ω; 6.6V @ 600 Ω (16 - 600 Ω headphone)
      • S-BAL (1/4"/6.3mm): 230mW @ 32 Ω; 3.3V @ 600 Ω (16 - 600 Ω 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: Width 6.215", Height 1.373", Depth 4.63" (6.53" w/USB cable)
  • Weight: 18.05 ounces

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