The ZEN Blue can be used to add high-quality Bluetooth reception to any audio system via analogue or digital cable connections. On the analogue side, RCA stereo outputs allow connection to amplifiers, active speakers and the like, while a 4.4mm output enables balanced signal transfer to amps/speakers with a balanced input – either a 4.4mm input, or XLR inputs via a 4.4mm to XLR cable. For digital connections, optical and coaxial outputs are provided – these allow connection to anything with a built-in DAC and corresponding digital input, such as an AV amp or an external hi-fi DAC.
This is the first iFi product to benefit from the input of legendary John Curl, who has teamed up with iFi’s electronics design team, led by Technical Director Thorsten Loesch, to ensure the circuit design of every product is fully optimised. The ZEN Blue’s analogue output stage is a balanced design –highly unusual in a DAC anywhere close to its cost. It incorporates a range of high-quality circuit components, carefully selected for their performance in an audio context, including professional-grade balanced line drivers, C0G capacitors from TDK and a precision low-noise power supply IC from Texas Instruments.
The Qualcomm QCC5100 offers a system-on-a-chip Bluetooth solution, with all functions covered including D-to-A conversion. Many manufacturers would simply rely on this chip to deliver DAC functionality, but this is not the iFi way. The ZEN Blue has separate digital and analogue stages; to feed the analogue stage, the processed digital signal is routed from the QCC5100 to a specialised DAC chip from ESS Technology’s Sabre family to convert the signal from digital to analogue.
One of the key advantages of the ESS Sabre DAC chip is its Hyperstream architecture with integrated Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, which helps to deliver vanishingly low distortion. iFi has found that this allies perfectly with the Qualcomm chip, in conjunction with iFi’s own GMT femto-precision clocking system, to deliver Bluetooth audio that sounds far better than the norm.
Advanced Audio Coding
AAC is one of the most commonly supported Bluetooth codecs in the wireless headphone and speaker markets. It’s also the default audio compression codec used by Apple’s iTunes and YouTube, and is supported across both iPhone and Android smartphones.
Top-notch operational amplifier. This is iFi/AMR quality at its best. The 'OV' ICs are streets ahead of mainstream commercial chips and use HCOFC copper lead-frames and 4N Gold bond-wire. Most commercial amplifiers use inexpensive aluminium bond-wire and low- grade/low-cost copper in lead frames.
|Input:||Bluetooth 5.0TM with AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, HWA Codec|
|Output:||Optical/Coaxial, Audio RCA L/R, 4.4 Balanced Lineout|
|Frequency Response:||20Hz – 20kHz <+0/-0.5dB (44.1kHz)|
|1Hz – 44khz <+0/-3.0dB (>= 88.2kHz)|
|Output Voltage @ 0dBFS:||2.05V (+/-0.05V)|
|Dynamic Range:||109dB (A)|
|Signal/Noise ratio:||109dB (A) @ 0dBFS|
|THD & N @ 0dBFS:||< 0.0015% 10k Load|
|Output Impedance:||< 50Ω|
|Power Consumption:||< 2.5W|
|Dimensions:||158 (l) x 100 (w) x 35 (h) mm|
|Weight:||476g (1.05 lbs)|
New Zealand ifi Official Product. Come with ifi Manufactures Warranty.