Sorry if i wasn't clear. High gain is noisy with very sensitive iem. It has no noise with Ananda which is 25 ohm and 103db sensitivity which means it's ridiculously sensitive yet have no noise. So Zen Dac's high gain is fine.Hmmm, we need to stop here a bit... if this is true it's really, really bad, a true dealbreaker for lots of people? Entire Zen Dac high gain mode noisy regardless of volume or are you talking about really high volumes more than 3 o'clock (on the high gain mode)?
You are able to hear audible noise yourself (?), which headphones have you been using? Or are you looking at measurements from ASR? I assume most amps distort as some level but question is when and what level?
This would mean all headphones more difficult to drive (between approximately 100 - 300 ohm) should be avoided together with the Zen Dac? At least for people utilizing the amp section of the Zen Dac (I'm currently using it as a Dac only).
Low gain mode is more suited for IEMs or headphones really easy to drive. I assume a majority of all Zen Dac owners also utilizing the high gain mode (but I am not sure).
Hopefully @iFi audio will comment on this one.
Yes i can hear myself. The noise is always there with sensitive iem, noise gets louder if you turn the knob. If you have some cheap old iem laying around you can try it yourself.
It's not dealbreaker because you can't really use high gain with sensitive iems because it's too loud.
Difficult to drive headphones have no problem. They don't pick up noise.
I don't know the exact model of my old iem btw. It's one of the old cheap and bad Sony iem.