The IFI Zen Dac is one versatile DACs in this price range, It offers a burbrown DAC chip, pluspoint it is a fully balanced DAC but the output is a 4.4 mm balanced pentaconn.
So you might need to buy a 4.4 balanced into your desired connector for your dac / amp if you want to run fully balanced
The IFI Zen DAC has a single ended RCA outputs on the back + Balanced outpoint on the back + 6.35mm single ended on the front + 4.4mm Balanced on the front. so u have total of 4 outputs and all 4 output will play simultaneously.
One of the noteworthy things about the Zen DAC has 2 front outputs for your headphones and IEMs.
Another big feature about the Zen DAC is having the option to use the DAC as a PreAmp and the volume control is really smooth..
You can also use the Zen DAC on FIX out which means it will send out the full signal on the back outputs and you can connect your DAC to a powered monitor and control the volume with your powered monitors remote,
and use the volume knob to control your headphones / IEMS with the front ouputs.
One of the main reasons I'd pick the Zen DAC over other DACs is because of the truebass feature, Basically its a bass boost but done in a analog way as compared to using a DSP. For some speakers like the swan M300 mkiii when the bass boost is turned on, there is just an abundant amount and it sounds like a club. so if you're a bass head then this is a easy rec
So in conclusion if you're looking for a DAC with a headphone output then this would be one of the most value buys...
but if you think the price of the Zen DAC is too expensive, you can try going for the Zen AIR DAC
Thanks to a combination of features and sound quality that’s hard to better at the price, the Zen DAC is arguably one of its finest products. This is a USB-only desktop product that takes power from the computer that’s connected to it and This superb hi-res USB DAC/headphone amp delivers a level of specification and performance that punches above its super-affordable price tag. If you need optical or coax this product is not for you, though iFi makes a range of other products that will appeal.
DAC TO THE FUTURE
The ZEN DAC supports PCM and DXD to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD256 and MQA. DSD remains ‘bit-perfect’ thanks to the True Native Burr Brown chip design. Our R&D maxes out the circuitry with bespoke, easy to install firmware to bring you the joyous musicality of hi-res. The ethereal music quality will leave you grinning ear to ear.
BRINGS BALANCE (IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE)
We’ve used a balanced design for the analogue stage – rare and not found at this price point. This makes it pretty special for the best sound quality. With super-low noise performance, it will remain quiet even in noisy situations such as yachts or RVs.
The ZEN DAC sports Pentaconn 4.4mm balanced outputs at both the front and back. On the front, there’s also the popular 6.3mm headphone socket. You get both headphone options.
SO FLEXIBLE IT ALMOST DOES YOGA
Switch effortlessly between ‘variable’ and ‘fixed’. Set to ‘Variable,’ use the ZEN DAC as a pre-amp to feed a power amp or active speakers.
On ‘Fixed’ to bypass the volume control. Connect to an external pre-amp or integrated amp.
POWER. DRIVE. PERFORMANCE.
Our headphone amp has PowerMatch – switchable gain to perfectly match your headphones.
IEMs are high-sensitivity, Leave PowerMatch at its lower setting for hiss-free listening.
On/over-ear types with relatively low impedance require more oomph – press PowerMatch to increase the level of drive.
ACE OF BASS.
The ZEN DAC boasts TrueBass. This proprietary tech is a switchable ‘bass boost’ operating in the analogue domain. There’s no DSP with iFi gear.
TrueBass enhances the bass but does not muddy the mid-range. Perfect for use with IEMs or open-back headphones which often lose out on bass.
So, in the words of the great Eric Clapton and from the film Back to the Future, Heaven is One Step Away.
|Input :||USB3.0 B Socket (USB2.0 compatible)|
|Formats :||44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192/384kHz PCM 2.8/3.1/5.6/6.2/11.2/12.4MHz DSD 353/384KHz DXD|
|DAC :||Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr Brown|
|Output :||Audio RCA (UnBAL) — 2.1V fixed|
1V / 3.3V max. (variable)
4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL) — 4.2V fixed
2V / 6.2V max. (variable)
|Zout :||<= 100 Ohm (UnBAL)|
<= 200 Ohm (BAL)
|SNR :||< -116dB(A) @ 0dBFS (UnBAL/BAL)|
|DNR :||> 116dB(A) @ -60dBFS (UnBAL/BAL)|
|THD+N :||< 0.0015% @ 0dBFS (UnBAL/BAL)|
|Output Power (@1% THD) :||4.4mm Pentaconn (BAL)|
330mW@32 Ohm; 6.6V@600 Ohm;
16 Ohm - 600 Ohm Headphone
6.3mm S-BAL (SE)
230mW@32 Ohm; 3.3V@600 Ohm
16 Ohm - 600 Ohm Headphone
Note: Using 5v power. If powered from USB, power output may vary.
|Output Impedance :||< 1 Ω (UnBAL/BAL)|
|THD & N :||< 0.005% (125mW @ 32R)|
|SNR :||> 113dBA (3.3V UnBAL / 6.2V BAL)|
|Power consumption :||< 1.5W via USB power OR 5v DC (power supply not included)|
|Dimensions :||117(l) x 100(w) x 30(h)mm|
|Weight :||491g (1.08 lbs)|
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