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ZEN DAC V2
Foto © iFi Audio

ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio – Now with full MQA Decoding

First and foremost, a new, significantly more powerful processor is said to be the decisive feature that distinguishes the new ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio from the previously available D/A converter and headphone amplifier of the first generation.

ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio is the latest, as the name suggests, second generation of the very compact, attractively priced D/A converter and headphone amplifier of the iFi Audio ZEN Series.

The first generation in the form of the ZEN DAC by iFi Audio was already convincing with fine features, but the new second generation is supposed to go the decisive step further.

ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio with more powerful processor

As with all D/A converters from iFi Audio, the processor plays a decisive role. It is the central component for signal processing. Even with the first generation, the company promised impeccable signal processing with a particularly audiophile performance.

The new ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio also uses a special combination of Texas Instruments True Native Bit-perfect DSD & DXD DAC chipset and an XMOS processor for signal processing, but the new generation has 16 cores instead of “only” 8. The performance has thus simply doubled.

32 Bit 384 kHz, DSD256 and MQA

This means that the new ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio is able to process signals in Linear PCM with up to 32 bits and 384 kHz as well as content in DSD including DSD256. The real innovation, however, concerns the lossy MQA format from MQA Ltd., because according to the manufacturer, the increased processor performance allows content encoded in MQA to be fully developed.

MQA decoder instead of MQA renderer

The manufacturer refers to the new ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio as a solution with “added oomph”, which probably doesn’t need to be translated further. The fact is that the new ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio will now process content in MQA not only as a renderer, but as a fully-fledged MQA decoder, according to iFi Audio’s promise.

More precise clocking

Another innovation of the ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio compared to the first generation is the further optimised clocking of the signal processing, the company speaks of a super-low noise performance with minimal jitter.

The other features of the new ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio have not changed compared to the first generation, for understandable reasons, there was no real need for improvement. The first generation already presented itself as an extremely fine, very compact D/A converter with an impeccable headphone amplifier.

Impeccable equipment

The essential features of the new ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio include fully balanced signal routing, the possibility to activate a so-called TrueBass function and to connect headphones either unbalanced via a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack or balanced via a 4.4 mm jack. The new ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio is also equipped with the so-called TrueMatch function in order to guarantee optimal adaptation to the most diverse headphones.

A USB 3.0 port is available for direct connection to a PC or Mac. For analogue signals, the ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio has a pair of RCA sockets for unbalanced signals, as well as a 4.4 mm Pentaconn connection for balanced signals, whereby you have the choice between variable and fixed level. The new ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio can thus also be used as a very compact preamplifier, for example in conjunction with active speaker systems.

The new ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio also features an elegant design of the aluminium housing with curved lines. It measures just 117 mm in length, 100 mm in width and 30 mm in height, and thus weighs less than half a kilo, a mere 491 g to be exact. The back and front of the ZEN DAC by iFi Audio present themselves in a noble metallic look, while the round housing is in anthracite.

The new ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio is available immediately at a recommended retail price of € 169.

Getting to the point

After iFi Audio celebrated great success with the ZEN DAC by iFi Audio, they now present the latest generation in the form of the ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio. At first glance, there is no difference between the two generations, even the concept is identical. However, the new ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio has a twice as powerful XMOS processor and a new, even more precise quartz oscillator. On the one hand, this makes it possible to fully decode signals encoded in lossy MQA, and on the other hand, it should guarantee even lower jitter and thus an even cleaner signal.

Manufacturer:iFi Audio
Distribution:WOD Audio
Price:€ 169,-

About Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.com, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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