iFi Audio ZEN One Signature Review

Today we review the $349 iFi Audio ZEN One Signature, a high-resolution all-in-one DAC.

 

Disclaimer: The iFi ZEN One Signature was provided directly by iFi Audio. The review reflects my sincere opinions as always. This review has similar sections to the iFi ZEN Blue review because of the similar design language and user experience.

About iFi Audio

Belonging to the group AMR (Abbingdon Music Research Group), which is one of the largest audio equipment manufacturers in the UK, iFi Audio is a manufacturer of several DACs and amplifiers, as well as other accessories for computer & home audio.

I reviewed several iFi products before this one, such as the Nano iOne, the Nano iDSD Black Label, the xDSD, and the xCAN. I also reviewed the great iFi ZEN Blue and it entered our Best Wireless Recommendations list.

 

There’s also the NEO iDSD. I still use that one in my house for TV & home audio. The iDSD Signature is also another nice DAC/Amp from iFi Audio. That is also selected as one of the best DAC/Amp combos on our site. I lately reviewed the hip-DAC 2 and that’s also a recommended device, just as the newest xDSD Gryphon, just below:

iFi Audio xDSD Gryphon Review

About iFi ZEN One Signature

iFi Audio Zen One Signature is a new all-in-one DAC from iFi. It supports all of the major audio formats available, and it supports Bluetooth 5.0TM with AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, and HWA/LHDC codecs. It simply is an all-in-one home audio solution.

The device has 4.4mm BAL and RCA analogue outputs and a SPDIF in/out is also present. You get optical and USB inputs too. The ZEN One Signature can also be used with a Bluetooth connection wirelessly. That’s why it has all the solutions in one package.

The new Signature model combines the DAC stage of the ZEN DAC V2 and the Bluetooth stage of the ZEN Blue V2. On top of that, iFi improved the elements of the audio circuitry to improve the sound, just as the previous Signature releases.

The ZEN One Signature is also the first ZEN DAC to support all hi-res: DSD256, PCM384, MQA384kHz, Bluetooth 96KHz. Other new features include;

  • True Native hi-res DAC – supports 32-bit/384kHz PCM and fully native DSD
  • Powerful 16-core XMOS processor – performs full MQA decoding (to 384kHz)
  • Upgraded GMT Femto-precision clock and customised digital filter eradicate jitter and other forms of digital distortion
  • Optical and coaxial S/PDIF digital outputs support 32-bit/192kHz PCM and MQA
  • Low-jitter Femto clock crystal provides >20dB performance
  • 16 Core 2000MIPS XMOS low-latency microcontroller – 4x more processing power
  • C0G capacitors – high-linearity, excellent temperature/frequency characteristics
  • MELF resistors – high-precision and low-noise
  • Taiyo Yuden and Murata inductors – low-impedance power supply rails
  • High-gain antenna for extended range

Packaging

The Zen One Signature arrives in a very simple and modest package. You get the device on the left, and accessories on the right. The small box stores an RCA cable and an adapter for powering up the device. You also get the wireless antenna separately and you attach it afterwards.

As always with iFi Audio, the packaging is made from recyclable materials. This is a considerate decision from iFi Audio and I’m glad that they’re keeping this up. The presentation of the package is unimpressive, to say the least, but it works perfectly as I didn’t see any deformations from shipping.

Page 2: Design & Build, Overall Experience, Sound Quality
Page 3: More on Sound, Conclusion
4.5/5 - (114 votes)

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A keen audiophile and hobby photographer, Berkhan is after absolute perfection. Whether it is a full-frame camera or a custom in-ear, his standpoint persists the same. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level as audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews are the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favorite Jazz recordings.

2 Comments

  • Reply May 5, 2022

    Gregory David

    Nice review, thanks! I do think it’s about time that Headfonia reviews the Ifi Pro iDSD Signature as this is their statement product now.

  • Reply May 22, 2022

    Jonathan

    How is it compared with the fiio bta 30 pro? And factoring their prices, which one is more worth it?

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