Our specialist ZEN DAC Signature is designed to be a pure
desktop DAC that takes no prisoners when it comes to performance.
Pure and (not so) simple.
Enveloped in the Space Blue finish now associated with
our Signature products, the ZEN DAC Signature has been designed to be a DAC,
pure and simple.
Without the built-in headphone amp, its sole purpose is
to feed an external amp, be it a headphone amp, or an amp and speakers.
Its simplified circuitry provides the opportunity to
upgrade the signal path and critical components within it. The existing ZEN DAC
introduced the benefits of fully balanced circuit design but the ZEN DAC
Signature further ups the ante with its enhanced true-differential balanced
Superior circuits. Superb sound.
Various key surface-mounted circuit components have been
upgraded to high-end devices, including Panasonic OS-CON and Elna Silmic II
The circuit has been refined to ensure short, direct
signal paths for optimal signal purity. This results in even greater sonic
detail and expression.
A true native…
The ZEN DAC Signature’s digital stage retains the True
Native DAC architecture much loved here at iFi as well as
It delivers bit-perfect PCM (up to 32-bit/384kHz), native
DSD (up to DSD256), DXD and MQA – the hi-res streaming technology, as used by
Tidal’s ‘HiFi’ tier. The sample rate of incoming audio data is indicated by a
multicoloured LED residing behind the aluminium volume control.
The iFi-programmed XMOS chip, which processes data
received at the USB input, and jitter-eradicating, audiophile-grade
oscillators, contribute to exemplary handling of digital audio signals as they
are received, processed and converted to analogue form.
The USB Type B input supports the ‘SuperSpeed’ USB 3.0
standard, as well as USB 2.0 for backwards compatibility. It is asynchronous,
meaning that the data rate is regulated solely by the ZEN DAC Signature’s
specialised audio clock circuitry for accurate, jitter-free data transfer from
the source device.
There is a pair of RCA sockets for single-ended
connection to an amp, plus a Pentaconn 4.4mm output – this enables balanced
signal transfer between compact products that cannot accommodate traditional,
bulky XLR connections.
When connected to an amp or active speakers 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. It will speak to your soul.
Fixed or variable. You decide.
The ZEN DAC Signature’s outputs can be switched between
‘variable’ and ‘fixed’.
The variable setting applies volume control to the audio
signal, enabling the ZEN DAC Signature to act as a preamp to connect directly
to a power amp.
The fixed option bypasses the volume control, fixing the
output at 4.2V (balanced) or 2.1V (single-ended) for connection to an external
preamp, integrated amp or active speakers with their own volume control.
The ZEN DAC Signature works well with the ZEN CAN
Signature. Products can be bought separately but a ‘ZEN Signature Set’ is now
available. This comprises both ZEN Signature units plus a high-performance
4.4mm Pentaconn cable (worth £69 when purchased separately) to connect them
When used in tandem, the two ZEN Signatures make a
fantastic, desktop-sized headphone system for both digital and analogue
sources, further extending the reputation of iFi’s ZEN Series for delivering
exceptional performance and versatility at remarkable prices.