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ifi Zen DAC and Headphone Amp Review

odyo

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Even within the realms of subjective opinions- thats some of the most contradictory fluff I have ever read!

How on earth can electronics that are transparent also be at the same time "soft and smooth" but also "cold, calm and sterile"- they are pretty much opposite descriptors!

I think you've fallen headlong into head-fi there.
Which part ? I forgot to add " to "transparent" word there. If you check out what i replied(quoted) you will understand the context. Most gear have inaudible distortion noise and flat fr so all them are transparent on paper.

If you are asking my second usage of transparent i was describing the bass there. Bass doesnt mask the overall music.

Those descriptors are not opposite. I see you pop up under every subjective comment and try to bash it with ridiculous arguments. Chill out. If you think every piece of gear sound same thats cool.
 

solderdude

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Not about the Zen DAC, but I just got the iFi Hip Dac today, been testing it out and it has enough power to drive my Hifiman Sundaras (37 ohms, 94 dB/mW) to insane levels even out of the unbalanced 3.5mm. And it sounds exactly the same to me as the RME ADI-2 DAC (as any good DAC or amp should). I do wonder how well the Hip Dac measures, because I drove it pretty loud and heard no distortion, so maybe it's better than the Zen Dac. Maybe I'll send it to Amir at some point, it's becoming a popular DAC now.

using the Hip DAC (3.2V, 110mA) in SE mode (3.5mm TRS)

16 Ohm = 190mW
32 Ohm = 280mW
50 Ohm = 200mW
120 Ohm = 85mW
300 Ohm = 34mW
600 Ohm = 17mW

using the Hip DAC (6.4V, 110mA) in Bal mode (Pentaconn)

16 Ohm = 190mW
32 Ohm = 400mW
50 Ohm = 600mW
120 Ohm = 340mW
300 Ohm = 135mW
600 Ohm = 70mW
 

Jimbob54

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Which part ? I forgot to add " to "transparent" word there. If you check out what i replied(quoted) you will understand the context. Most gear have inaudible distortion noise and flat fr so all them are transparent on paper.

If you are asking my second usage of transparent i was describing the bass there. Bass doesnt mask the overall music.

Those descriptors are not opposite. I see you pop up under every subjective comment and try to bash it with ridiculous arguments. Chill out. If you think every piece of gear sound same thats cool.
Only the ones that are clearly nonsense. Is it soft and smooth or clean and sterile? You don't think they are opposing and contradictory? Back to audiophile school.

EDIT- and while we are at it- what do you mean by transparent "on paper" ? And how can it be a good amp that sounds bad? You called someone for BS that said it was transparent, uncoloured clean power (which it is, which means it imparts no characteristics to the sound) then proceeded to pour nonsense over everything. There is a reason that such comments tend to draw a bit of flack here - they are the antithesis of a measurement led site. I dont think everything sounds the same- but the 789, the L30, etc etc simply have no sound.

You're entitled to your subjective opinions, we all have them- but dont be surprised to get called on them when you express them - especially when rebutting someone that makes a comment grounded in the facts.
 
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DivineCurrent

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using the Hip DAC (3.2V, 110mA) in SE mode (3.5mm TRS)

16 Ohm = 190mW
32 Ohm = 280mW
50 Ohm = 200mW
120 Ohm = 85mW
300 Ohm = 34mW
600 Ohm = 17mW

using the Hip DAC (6.4V, 110mA) in Bal mode (Pentaconn)

16 Ohm = 190mW
32 Ohm = 400mW
50 Ohm = 600mW
120 Ohm = 340mW
300 Ohm = 135mW
600 Ohm = 70mW
That’s a good amount of power! Are you able to measure any distortion at those high levels?
 

solderdude

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The values are calculated, based on the specs ifi posted and should be near clipping level (so around 1%)

0.27W (SE) and 0.45W (Balanced) in Sundara.
So 120dB SPL peak (you don't need to go louder) in Balanced mode and 118dB peak in SE mode.
 

totenkglock

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Maybe I'll send it to Amir at some point
Oh that would be great. I had the hipDAC before the ZenDAC, even though they're almost the same sans the form factor and purpose. I feel like the measurements on the hipDAC might be a good representation of what the ZenDAC can do with a power supple as that has not been measured yet.
 

odyo

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Only the ones that are clearly nonsense. Is it soft and smooth or clean and sterile? You don't think they are opposing and contradictory? Back to audiophile school.

EDIT- and while we are at it- what do you mean by transparent "on paper" ? And how can it be a good amp that sounds bad? You called someone for BS that said it was transparent, uncoloured clean power (which it is, which means it imparts no characteristics to the sound) then proceeded to pour nonsense over everything. There is a reason that such comments tend to draw a bit of flack here - they are the antithesis of a measurement led site. I dont think everything sounds the same- but the 789, the L30, etc etc simply have no sound.

You're entitled to your subjective opinions, we all have them- but dont be surprised to get called on them when you express them - especially when rebutting someone that makes a comment grounded in the facts.
LMAO thanks for the laugh. Really not worth responding but... I guess you think clean and sterile sound can not be soft and smooth. It must be sharp ? lol

I think you know what i mean but you keep asking stupid and meaningless questions to lead this conversation nowhere. Transparent on paper means noise and distortion is inaudible like most solid state amps. 100 sinad or 120 sinad doesn't matter and all of them have flat fr. Yet we have different sounding gears which measurements fails to address.

And how can it be a good amp that sounds bad?

Again if you read my posts with healthy mind you should understand why but let me explain again. THX 789 is good amp for what it is but i didn't like it's characteristics. Only downside it doesn't have headphone/pre amp switch like L30 other than that build, knobs, form factor, sound quality all great.

This is what i said:
Thx 789 is good amp but i personally didnt like its flavour with my headphone.

I think you are the one who entitled to his opinions here. Be open minded and try to learn new stuff instead of popping of under every subjective opinion and repeat same nonsense in a offensive and disrespectful way like a religious fanatic. I will not answer you further.
 

Veri

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I think you are the one who entitled to his opinions here. Be open minded and try to learn new stuff instead of popping of under every subjective opinion and repeat same nonsense in a offensive and disrespectful way like a religious fanatic. I will not answer you further.
You're literally talking amp 'flavour' which definitely falls under 'highly subjective' opinion. Religious fanaticism goes both ways you know, as in subjective believer camp vs objective camp. I don't think I need to remind you which camp most members of this forum are in? :p
 

Jimbob54

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LMAO thanks for the laugh. Really not worth responding but... I guess you think clean and sterile sound can not be soft and smooth. It must be sharp ? lol

I think you know what i mean but you keep asking stupid and meaningless questions to lead this conversation nowhere. Transparent on paper means noise and distortion is inaudible like most solid state amps. 100 sinad or 120 sinad doesn't matter and all of them have flat fr. Yet we have different sounding gears which measurements fails to address.



Again if you read my posts with healthy mind you should understand why but let me explain again. THX 789 is good amp for what it is but i didn't like it's characteristics. Only downside it doesn't have headphone/pre amp switch like L30 other than that build, knobs, form factor, sound quality all great.

This is what i said:


I think you are the one who entitled to his opinions here. Be open minded and try to learn new stuff instead of popping of under every subjective opinion and repeat same nonsense in a offensive and disrespectful way like a religious fanatic. I will not answer you further.

You dont need to answer me further. You pretty much just said it all here :

"Transparent on paper means noise and distortion is inaudible like most solid state amps. 100 sinad or 120 sinad doesn't matter and all of them have flat fr. Yet we have different sounding gears which measurements fails to address."

So its the pixies or magic dust that gives the 789 its smooth ,soft, clean, sterile sound signature? The 789 doesn't have characteristics- that is the whole point of it being transparent. That's what the measurements tell you and why any amount of word salad you choose to use about it is irrelevant here.

You dont like that, fine- but dont try and suggest it is deficient. Or someone is wrong for saying its colourless. It isnt and it is. It amplifies the signal that goes in and outputs without any colouration. Ditto the L30 and any number of other amps.

I'm simply quoting some of the more nonsensical gems from your posts in this thread back at you.
 

raistlin65

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I think you know what i mean but you keep asking stupid and meaningless questions to lead this conversation nowhere. Transparent on paper means noise and distortion is inaudible like most solid state amps. 100 sinad or 120 sinad doesn't matter and all of them have flat fr. Yet we have different sounding gears which measurements fails to address.

Evidence of that when it comes to DACs and amps? Other than improperly volume-leveled and/or sighted comparisons, which are unreliable.
 

odyo

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You're literally talking amp 'flavour' which definitely falls under 'highly subjective' opinion. Religious fanaticism goes both ways you know, as in subjective believer camp vs objective camp. I don't think I need to remind you which camp most members of this forum are in? :p
Yes that is my subjective opinion. I've already stated it. I'm not publishing my scientific findings in this forum. I'm open to different opinions and information.
 

raistlin65

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Yes that is my subjective opinion. I've already stated it. I'm not publishing my scientific findings in this forum. I'm open to different opinions and information.

Well, time for a wakeup call.

People in this forum are not open to subjective sound signature descriptions of amps/DACs which should measure audibly transparent. You must think you are at Head-Fi.
 

raif71

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This amp accepts 5V input and something like a50s accepts 15V input. How does that translate into how powerful one amp vs the other? Surely the 15V is more powerful if not 3X. Please help. Thanks
 

solderdude

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When there is a DCDC converter inside you can internally create any voltage rail you want.
You can easily create +/- 15V DC from 5VDC
Power is limited by the DCDC converter and the max. current of the 5V power supply in practice.
All Geshelli amps do this for instance but from 12VDC.
Take a look at those 1000W car amplifiers that also work at 12V DC.
 

Zek

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Surely the 15V is more powerful if not 3X.
You have confused V (volt) with W (wat), the power (A) of the rectifier that it can deliver is important.
 

raif71

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You have confused V (volt) with W (wat), the power (A) of the rectifier that it can deliver is important.
Noted. Based on @solderdude's explanation I went and tested the ifi Zen Can with balanced setup. Very nice and powerful. The Zen Can has 4 gain. I think 2 is enough for me.
 

odyo

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Well, time for a wakeup call.

People in this forum are not open to subjective sound signature descriptions of amps/DACs which should measure audibly transparent. You must think you are at Head-Fi.
Well i don't care. I've shared my experience with the disclaimer. I didn't speak like my experience is the only truth.

I will cut it short i think this enough. No need to create more noise, discussion around this.
 

Jokerr

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There is much criticism here on this DAC and rightly so where relevant and correct.

What amuses me is all those YouTube reviewers Aggressively Masturbating over it to the point where even The Wives are neglected. And vice versa - not to be sexist.
 
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