🔷 iFi Zen Dac/Amp v2

This is the official thread for the iFi Zen Dac v2

This thread is for discussion and reviews.

:red_circle: iFi Audio Link


Z Reviews…

Thanks, guys :slight_smile: - all, feel free to ask me any questions!


It’s up on Amazon now, just ordered one for my return to office kit…

aside from the more powerful XMOS chipset and MQA support, what else is different?

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And the higher price

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well…yes, but its negligible so didnt mention it.

$20 isn’t much as a figure, though that is aporoximately about a 17% increase off the previous price, which sounds substantial.

I’m seeing $30, $129.99 to $159.99, of course this is also pre-tax (provided you have sales tax where you live, 8.25% where I live).
We’re looking at a 23% increase, unless my math is incorrect, or Amazon has their prices off.

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I could be off. I thought they were $139.00 new.

MQA doesn’t justify the increase. not sure about the boost in USB processing power…sky let’s hope there us more!

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Can you please explain the difference between MQA rendering and decoding? And I would prefer an upgrade in power tbh, any plan on a 1 watt per channel zen dac? Id gladly pay 200 for that

„Can you please explain the difference between MQA rendering and decoding?“

Generally, MQA decoders automatically ‘unfold’ as far as the hardware permits.

Unfolds Each playback option can be previewed in the Studio and Authenticated.
* No decoder? You don’t need a decoder to enjoy our ‘standard’ sound quality – which is now widely agreed by mastering communities to be superior to CD.
* Authenticated: Where the hardware is limited to single rate playback (44.1 or 48 kHz) the decoder prepares the signal to give the maximum sound quality from generic D/A converters.
* MQA Core: The first unfold of the Origami recovers all the direct music-related information and makes it available for either analogue or digital output at 88.2 or 96 kHz.
Sound quality is higher than from ‘No’ or ‘Authenticating’ decoders but lower than a ‘Full’ decoder. Products containing an MQA decoder may provide a digital output of either the undecoded stream or the Core output – providing they are passed with bit accuracy. The MQA Core signal is also preconditioned for generic DACs.
* Full Decoder: A full decoder includes: stream Authentication, Origami unfold to Core and then further unfolds with precise file and platform-specific DAC compensation and management according to the hierarchical target. This is the highest possible sound quality.
* MQA Renderer: This new class of device can take a bit-accurate signal from a Core decoder (containing buried information on how to proceed) and complete the final unfold in its analog context.

An MQA Renderer will indicate ‘stream lock’ but is not able to decode an MQA stream or Authenticate it.
This type of device is available for portable applications (such as active headphones or portable amplifiers) and for silicon integration.
MQA Renderers provide analog output only through their managed D/A conversion.|

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Does this one have more power than the original? How much would it be at 600 ohm?

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4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL)
[email protected] Ohm; [email protected] Ohm;
16 Ohm - 600 Ohm Headphone

6.3mm S-BAL (SE)
[email protected] Ohm; [email protected] Ohm
16 Ohm - 600 Ohm Headphone

Note: Using 5v power. If powered from USB, power output may vary.

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Just incase someone can’t open the product page, here’s the screenshot for the spec

Is the dac chip the same?

With 600 ohm loads you will get sound, it will even get loud at certain frequencies, but it will likely lack control. Even the Zen CAN amp which was rated for 15V at 300 ohm loads struggled in the low end with 300 and 600 ohm loads. I have more detailed thoughts on the CAN amp here:

from mqa website.

edit: i should throw this out there as well. your pc is an mqa decoder. thats typically the first decoding step for an mqa setup. pc decodes and sends to mqa device renderer. what that means is, you get to keep the ifi zen sound with the first fold of mqa with version2, but not full on mqa.


i find the zen can has enough juice for 600ohm headphones at moderate or less listening levels. my h600’s sound great until i go to about 70% on the dial(i would guess mid 80’s db levels), louder then that and the bass starts to get sloppy, but everything else is fine. i enjoy listening to my 600’s on it as i never “crank it up” anymore.

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I honestly don’t care about MQA, but I am looking forward to the DAC functionality. I finally took a chance with the V2 release.


Not a big risk, I bet. I enjoyed the Zen V1 as a DAC quite a bit. Enjoy the V2!


Same power as far as I know

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