ZEN One Signature from iFi
18th March 2022
The ZEN One Signature takes the DAC stage from the ZEN DAC V2, adds S/PDIF inputs (optical and coaxial) alongside the USB port, Bluetooth plus circuit enhancements but no built-in headphone amp or volume control
The ZEN One Signature is based around a Burr-Brown DAC chipset coupled to an XMOS chip that processes the audio data received via the USB and S/PDIF digital inputs. The ZEN One Signature uses a low-latency, 16-core in-house tweaked XMOS microcontroller.
To tackle jitter iFi’s GMT (Global Master Timing) femto-precision clock and memory buffer is included.
The ZEN One Signature handles 32bit/384kHz PCM over USB (192kHz over S/PDIF), all levels of DSD to DSD256 and single- and double-speed DXD. PCM and DSD take separate pathways – this enables DSD, as well as PCM, to remain ‘bit-perfect’ in its native form right through to analogue conversion.
MQA – the hi-res streaming format – is also supported, with full decoding of MQA files up to 384kHz.
Making full use of 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 ‘plain vanilla’ Bluetooth codec).
The ZEN One Signature is Bluetooth v5.1-compliant.
Power can be supplied over USB from a connected device – such as a laptop or directly from the mains via an AC/DC adapter. iFi offers its own iPower2 DC power supply, for an extra £69.
At the front are buttons for powering up/down and switching between the USB, S/PDIF and Bluetooth inputs, alongside colour-changing LEDs to indicate the incoming 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 two S/PDIF inputs: optical and coaxial. The latter doubling as a digital output. RCA analogue outputs are joined by a balanced 4.4mm output, 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 an amp with XLR inputs.
Price for this one? £349.
To learn more, click www.ifi-audio.com