The iFi Audio ZEN DAC Signature is designed to be a stationary or desktop DAC that doesn't skimp on performance.
Wrapped in a Space Blue finish it is associated with the rest of the Signature devices and has been designed to be simple and pure.
With no built-in amplifier, the purpose of the ZEN DAC Signature is to bring quality to your sound. Its simplified circuitry provides the opportunity to update the signal path and the critical components within it.
The ZEN DAC Signature ups the ante even further with its improved true differential balanced topology.
Several key components of the surface mount circuit have been upgraded to high-end devices, including Panasonic OS-CON and Elna Silmic II capacitors.
The circuitry has been refined to ensure short, direct signal paths for optimum signal purity. This results in even greater sonic detail and expression.
The ZEN DAC Signature digital stage retains the True Native DAC architecture much appreciated in iFi.
It offers bit-perfect PCM (up to 32-bit / 384 kHz), native DSD (up to DSD256), DXD and MQA, the high-resolution streaming codec as used by Tidal's 'Master' tier.
The sample rate of incoming audio data is indicated by a multicolor LED behind the aluminum volume control.
The iFi-programmed XMOS chip, which processes data received at the USB input, and audiophile-grade oscillators that eradicate phase jitter, contribute to exemplary handling of digital audio signals as they are received, processed and converted to analog form.
The USB Type B input supports the USB 3.0 'SuperSpeed' standard, as well as USB 2.0 for backward compatibility.
It is asynchronous, meaning that the data rate is regulated solely by ZEN DAC Signature's specialized audio clock circuitry for accurate, jitter-free data transfer from the source device.
There is a pair of RCA connections for single-ended connection to an amplifier, plus a 4.4mm Pentaconn output, allowing balanced signal transfer between compact devices that cannot accommodate bulky, traditional XLR connections.
When connected to an amplifier or active loudspeakers equipped with a balanced input, either a 4.4mm Pentaconn input or stereo XLR inputs via a 4.4mm to XLR cable, the full benefit of the ZEN DAC Signature's balanced circuit design can be heard.
The outputs of the ZEN DAC Signature can be switched between 'variable' or 'fixed'.
The variable setting allows the ZEN DAC Signature to act as a preamplifier for direct connection to a power amplifier.
The fixed option bypasses the volume control, setting the output to 4.2V (balanced) or 2.1V (single-ended) for connection to an external preamplifier, integrated amplifier or powered speakers with their own volume control.