iF Audio unveils ZEN One Signature DAC

iFi Audio is expanding its ZEN Signature range with the new ZEN One Signature. The company describes it as: “a universal DAC” owing to its increased input options. The ZEN One Signature takes the DAC stage from the ZEN DAC V2, adds optical and coaxial inputs alongside the USB port and Bluetooth technology from the ZEN Blue V2. The result, the company says: “is a pure DAC (with no built-in headphone amp or volume control) that serves as a home audio hub for all your digital devices, from smartphones and tablets to PCs and Macs, disc players and audio servers to TVs and games consoles”.

The DAC’s digital engine is based around a Burr-Brown chipset and involves an XMOS chip that processes the audio data received via the USB and optical/coaxial digital inputs. Jitter-eradication technologies have also been applied to the digital stage, including the latest generation of iFi’s Global Master Timing (GMT) femto-precision clock and intelligent memory buffer.

iFi says the ZEN One Signature’s hi-res audio credentials include 32-bit/384kHz PCM over USB (192kHz over coaxial/optical), up to DSD256 and single and double-speed DXD. Thanks to the Burr-Brown DAC chip’s four-channel True Native design, PCM and DSD take separate pathways – which enables both file types to remain bit-perfect’ in their native form right through to analogue conversion. MQA is also supported, with full decoding up to 384kHz. Using Qualcomm’s latest four-core QCC5100 Bluetooth processing chip, every current high-definition Bluetooth audio format is supported, including aptX Adaptive and aptX HD, LDAC and HWA/LHDC. Other codecs covered include regular aptX and aptX Low Latency, AAC and SBC. The ZEN One Signature is Bluetooth v5.1-compliant and as many as eight paired Bluetooth source devices can be stored in its memory, making it easy to quickly switch from one device to another.

Power can be supplied over USB from a connected device – a laptop, for example – or directly from the mains via an AC/DC adapter. Optimum performance is provided by iFi’s ultra-low noise iPower2 DC power supply, which is included in the price (£69 when purchased separately).

The ZEN One Signature sports the same 158 x 35 x 100mm (WxHxD) aluminium chassis as the rest of the ZEN range, finished in Deep Space Blue – the colour iFi uses to differentiate its Signature-level models – rather than the grey of the regular ZEN Series devices. This is complemented by dark grey front and rear panels (silver-coloured on the standard versions) and blue controls.

At the front are buttons for powering up/down and switching between the USB, optical, coaxial and Bluetooth inputs, alongside colour-changing LEDs to indicate audio format and sample rate. A further button switches the LEDs on or off, as well as activating the Bluetooth pairing mode.

Around the back resides an asynchronous USB Type B port, alongside optical and coaxial inputs – the latter doubling as a digital out. RCA analogue outputs are joined by a balanced 4.4mm out, enabling fully balanced connectivity with a suitably equipped amplifier. iFi makes a balanced 4.4mm-to-stereo XLR cable, ideal for connecting the ZEN One Signature to any amplifier with XLR inputs. .

Available to buy now for £350, you can find out more about the ZEN One Signature here.

iFi Audio