iFi Audio is convinced that the ZEN Blue by iFi Audio was the first Bluetooth receiver to support all important codecs up to hi-res audio. Now this solution has been refined again and the new ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio is presented.
With the ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio, the next device of the so-called iFi Audio ZEN Series is available in the latest, now second generation. Nomen est omen, this is an extremely elegant Bluetooth receiver that has been improved even further compared to its predecessor, the ZEN Blue by iFi Audio.
As with the first edition, the manufacturer iFi Audio speaks of the new ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio as a very versatile product that is also offered at a very attractive price.
ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio for the best quality over Bluetooth
According to iFi Audio, the ZEN Blue by iFi Audio is the first Bluetooth receiver that actually offers all relevant standards for high-quality signal transmission. Of course, this means first and foremost hi-res audio, and not just signal transmission in “CD quality”.
With the new ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio, they have gone a few decisive steps further, so that the new ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio is clearly superior to its predecessor.
Like all iFi Audio solutions, but especially the exceptionally designed iFi Audio ZEN Series, the new ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio has a truly elegant appearance.
Once again, this design seems a bit futuristic to us, but nevertheless fits into any hi-fi or AV system without any problems. There is certainly no need to hide this solution away bashfully.
With dimensions of 158 mm in length, 100 mm in depth and only 35 mm in height, the ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio weighs 476 g.
As before, the front of the ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio is very uncluttered, with the exception of a button, a status LED and the illuminated logo of the manufacturer.
Much more can be found on the back.
Amazingly flexible connections
On the back you’ll find the connection for the external 5 V DC power supply and an antenna connection for the external antenna included in the delivery.
For analogue signals, there is not only a pair of unbalanced cinch sockets, but also a balanced output in the form of a 4.4 mm pentaconn. Here, the manufacturer recommends a corresponding adapter to XLR if you want to use it optimally.
Digital signals leave the new ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio either via an optical or coaxial S/PDIF interface. You can switch between analogue and digital outputs by means of a selector switch.
Bluetooth 5.0 via Qualcomm QCC5100
The signal processing of the new ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio is based on a Qualcomm QCC5100, which uses Bluetooth 5.0. This is a state-of-the-art Bluetooth module that supports all relevant standards.
Audio data can be transmitted with the codecs SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, aptX LL, LDAC or LHDC/HWA. The spectrum here thus extends far beyond “CD quality” up to 24 bit and 96 kHz. The only prerequisite is, of course, that this is also supported by the source device.
Depending on the signal, the manufacturer’s logo on the front lights up in a different colour.
iFi Audio points out that the Qualcomm QCC5100 SoC would in principle have a DAC, but this is not used.
Instead, it relies on an ESS Sabre DAC with Hyperstream Architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, in combination with high-quality clocks, so that it achieves particularly precise, accurate signal processing free of sound-damaging jitter and minimal noise.
To ensure that this performance really comes into its own, the balanced output stage also relies on high-quality components such as COG capacitors from TDK and a so-called Precision Low-noise Power Supply from Texas Instruments.
Future updates possible
Finally, it should be mentioned that the manufacturer allows future updates for new codecs as over-the-air updates. The new ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio is therefore a future-proof product.
Getting to the point
The new ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio is the second generation of the Bluetooth receiver from the iFi Audio ZEN Series. Compared to its predecessor, the signal processing is said to be even more accurate, and attention has also been paid to optimising the reception performance, so that reliable signal transmission at a high quality level is always guaranteed, even via Bluetooth.