ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio – Bluetooth, USB und S/PDIF
You don’t need more than the new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio, iFi Audio is convinced. This solution combines digital interfaces such as S/PDIF and USB with a Bluetooth interface and a hi-res audio DAC in an elegant, compact system.
With the new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio, the specialist for compact digital solutions iFi Audio presents another product that integrates digital sources into various audio systems. The special combination chosen for the new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio is particularly interesting, as it combines several features of other iFi Audio products to create a new solution.
The new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio uses the DAC Stage of the ZEN DAC V2 by iFi Audio, with optical and coaxial S/PDIF interfaces as well as USB, the Bluetooth technology of the ZEN Blue V2 by iFi Audio, and all this is packed into the elegant, dark blue anodised aluminium chassis of the iFi Audio Signature Series. However, the new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio does not have an integrated headphone amplifier, nor can it be used as a preamplifier, so it is really first and foremost a D/A converter.
ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio – The only DAC you need
iFi Audio is quite self-confident when describing the new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio, because this is the only DAC you need, according to the company. In fact, the new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio can be said to be very versatile.
The manufacturer calls it a home audio hub for digital devices, starting with smartphones or tablets, PCs and Macs, all the way to various source devices such as streaming systems, CD players, TVs or game consoles.
Solidly equipped connection panel
A look at the back of the new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio shows that it is well equipped for the task. In addition to a USB port (USB 3.0 Type B), there is an optical and coaxial S/PDIF interface, an antenna connection for the integrated Bluetooth interface, and of course the power connection for the external power supply. Analogue signals leave the new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio either via a balanced 4.4 mm PENTACONN or unbalanced via a pair of RCA sockets.
It is striking that the developers of the new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio rely on a powerful 16 core XMOS low-latency microcontroller, which offers a remarkable 2,000 MIPS and is supported by a GMT femto-precision clock, and which uses filter algorithms optimised by iFi Audio to avoid jitter and distortion.
The actual converter comes from Texas Instruments, a so-called Burr-Brown True Native chipset that guarantees bit-perfect signal conversion.
In fact, all relevant signals can be processed, namely Linear PCM with up to 32 bit and 384 kHz, DSD including DSD256, and even content encoded in lossy MQA is supported up to MQA with 384 kHz.
It is also important to mention that signals received via USB can also be output via S/PDIF.
Hi-res audio also via Bluetooth
In order to make use of the D/A converter’s capabilities via Bluetooth, the new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio is equipped with a 4-core QCC5100 Bluetooth processing IC from the specialist Qualcomm. This complies with Bluetooth 5.1 and thus, in addition to lossy SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive, aptX LL, aptX HD, LDAC and HWA/LHDC are also supported. The possibilities of signal transmission via Bluetooth thus reach up to 24 bit and 96 kHz, so that one can justifiably speak of hi-res audio.
Impeccable output stage
The signal processing of the output stage is symmetrically designed, whereby the manufacturer himself speaks of a so-called enhanced true-differential balanced topology. The components used are also particularly emphasised; they are referred to as signature-grade circuit components, which are supposed to guarantee signal processing at the highest level. They list special operational amplifiers from Texas Instruments, capacitors from muRata, Panasonic, ELNA and TDK, as well as resistors from Vishay.
The new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio measures 158 x 100 x 35 mm and thus weighs 485 g. As already described in the introduction, the aluminium housing presents itself in the typical design of the iFi Audio Signature Series.
Prices and availability
The new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio should be available in specialist shops within the next few days, according to the English specialist. The recommended retail price for the ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio is listed at € 349,-.
Getting to the point
It is quite exciting that iFi Audio emphasises the fact that its latest addition to the iFi Audio Signature Series, the ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio, is a pure D/A converter and that they deliberately did without an integrated headphone amplifier, as well as the option of using it as a preamplifier. The new ZEN One Signature by iFi Audio is supposed to be exclusively a DAC, but, so the specialist promises, the only DAC you need.
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