iFi ZEN DAC discussion + impression
Oct 30, 2019 at 6:18 AM Post #106 of 1,261

qsk78

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Oct 30, 2019 at 5:59 PM Post #109 of 1,261

mageor

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Hey guys...greetings from Greece...i m waiting for a Zen Dac to arrive from Amazon-UK...it will take a week....i already rushed and bought from local audio shop threir IFI ipower 5v p. supply...59 euros...expensive....my question that arises is the following: If i connect the Zen Dac with ifi's own ipower supply....and also have it connected with my Windows 10 pc through usb cable...would this create any problem? For example will this overcharge or burn the ZEN Dac?
Another thing: There will be 2 power sources....so....what is the point spending almost 60 euros and still have it connected via USB which has lesser power quality? How will i be sure that my ZEN Dac gets power only from the ipower supply and not the USB power rails?
 
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Oct 30, 2019 at 9:06 PM Post #110 of 1,261

rapier84

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I've had this gem for a week already and held back until I've got enough time on it. For background, I have a Chord Mojo, Onkyo DP-S1 and DX200 as my portable rig. I'm pretty much a Sabre person in that I love the speed and transients. The Mojo was perfect for me as it combines the speed of Sabre chips with a fuller more lifelike sound.

Back to this gem, I'll say that its possibly the bargain of the year. Very easy, a simple plug and play like the Dragonfly. Plenty of power from the unbalanced output even when only powered through the USB port, lovely texture to human voices. I don't feel that it gives alot away to the Mojo or the DX200 and thats quite an achievement for a $100 device. Features such as IE Match and Bass boost are very useful to have (and fun) but it pretty much sounds right from the get go.
 
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Oct 31, 2019 at 3:12 AM Post #111 of 1,261

Baten

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Another thing: There will be 2 power sources....so....what is the point spending almost 60 euros and still have it connected via USB which has lesser power quality? How will i be sure that my ZEN Dac gets power only from the ipower supply and not the USB power rails?

USB power is used when no external source is supplied..
 
Oct 31, 2019 at 4:42 AM Post #112 of 1,261

801evan

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After a few testings that I don't have time to list down here, running the 800s on USB power gave the best sound. Ifi ipower 5v and a generic 5v smps gave a more inferior sound, more shouty and grainy. Amazing design where USB power can drive the 800s. Better than tubes.
 
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Oct 31, 2019 at 4:47 AM Post #113 of 1,261

Baten

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After a few testings that I don't have time to list down here, running the 800s on USB power gave the best sound. Ifi ipower 5v and a generic 5v amps gave a more inferior sound, more shouty and grainy. Amazing design where USB power can drive the 800s. Better than tubes.
Yeah as has been said before. It's unlikely an external wallwart will actually give better power than just connecting USB.
Yet it seems like half comments so far have been about power supplies, lol...
 
Oct 31, 2019 at 5:40 AM Post #115 of 1,261

Asahi Templar

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This is very popular here in Japan (or perhaps supply was very limited!) as it is sold out literally everywhere.
Yeah as has been said before. It's unlikely an external wallwart will actually give better power than just connecting USB.
Yet it seems like half comments so far have been about power supplies, lol...

Its interesting that the ZEN dac seems to do better with just straight USB power. Certainly wont complain, dont need to buy a power adapter if that is the case but it is unexpected!

Most of the time connecting a wall wart would increase output power or at least reduce noise, seems in the ZEN dac case it might do the opposite, at least based on early impressions.
 
Oct 31, 2019 at 5:55 AM Post #116 of 1,261

Baten

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Most of the time connecting a wall wart would increase output power or at least reduce noise, seems in the ZEN dac case it might do the opposite, at least based on early impressions.

It's likely the USB is filtered well inside. Hard to do better than (filtered/regulated) USB power sourced from a laptop running on a battery.

On desktop systems USB might be noisier, but still most wall warts will be worse unless you have some freakishly expensive LPS.
 
Oct 31, 2019 at 9:22 AM Post #119 of 1,261

Andrew DiMarcangelo

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Rank w/ 800s balanced:
1. Ifi Zen DAC
2. Ifi Zen DAC + iCan Pro (balanced)
3. Ifi iDSD PRO + iCan Pro (RCA)

On the Zen DAC with the petanconn, natural uncongested sound that's clearly better than the others. Crazy.

:astonished:
 
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