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iFi’s ZEN One Signature DAC offers universal connectivity


iFi has unveiled the latest in its ZEN Signature range of DACs with the ZEN One Signature.

iFi describes this latest model as a ‘universal DAC’ due to its “all-encompassing” input options. It takes the DAC stage from the ZEN DAC V2 and adds S/PDIF inputs (optical and coaxial), a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity to serve as a “pure DAC”, with no built-in headphone amp or volume control, serving as a hub for any digital device you have at home from smartphones and tablets, to disc players, TVs and even games consoles.

The ‘digital engine’ inside the DAC is based around a Burr-Brown chipset selected for its natural sounding musicality and True Native architecture for bit-perfect playback.

Partnered with a low-latency, 16-core XMOS microcontroller that delivers enhanced processing power, iFi’s in-house development team has programmed the XMOS firmware to optimise the unit’s sound quality. Extensive jitter-eradication technologies have also been applied to the digital stage, such as the last generation of the company’s GMT (Global Master Timing) femto-precision clock and intelligent memory buffer.

iFi_ZEN One Signature front

The ZEN One Signature supports audio signals up to DSD256, 32-bit/384kHz PCM over USB, 192kHz over S/PDIF, and single- and double-speed DXD. The Burr-Brown DAC chip’s True Native Design allows for DSD and
PCM to remain bit-perfect in its native form through to analogue conversion. MQA decoding is also supported, capable of decoding files up to 384kHz in the format, which would make this DAC a convenient option for Tidal Master subscribers.

Various flavours of Bluetooth codecs are supported, from SBC and AAC, to aptX and aptX Low Latency, and higher-quality forms such as aptX Adaptive and aptX HD, LDAC and HWA/LHDC, so the ZEN One Signature can handle whatever source audio you beam to it at its highest quality.

On the front panel are buttons for power and switching between USB, S/PDIF and Bluetooth inputs, as well as colour-changing LEDs that denote the incoming audio format and sample rate. Another button switch can turn the LEDs on/off and activate Bluetooth pairing mode.

iFi_ZEN One Signature (rear)

Check around the back and there’s an asynchronous USB Type B port, alongside two S/PDIF inputs – optical and coaxial, with the latter doubling as a digital output. RCA analogue outputs are accompanied by a balanced 4.4mm output. Connection over USB can be optimised by purchasing iFi’s ultra-low noise iPower2 DC power supply at £69.

Available in a Deep Space Blue finish (the same as the rest of the ZEN One series), the iFi ZEN One Signature is available from the 14th January for the price of £349.

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