As a very big fan of the iFi Pro iDSD, news this month of the new iFi Zen Air Series, featuring separately a DAC, a Bluetooth module, a headphone amplifier and a Phono stage. The Zen Air Series devices are based on the acclaimed Zen Series (non Air) but are all priced at £99 each.
Offering even greater value than the Zen Series, these Zen Air Series desktop devices are housed in a synthetic thermoplastic polymer case in place of the aluminium cases used in the main Zen line. Each of the products is housed in a different shade of grey.
Firstly, the Zen Air DAC is based on the Zen DAC V2 blueprint but reworked to offer greater value for money. It includes a headphone output and RCA output. There is Burr-Brown technology under the bonnet too which can support DSD and PCM up to 32 bit. For the headphone output, there is a gain switch if needed as well as the iFi XBass+ option that boosts the bass end of the spectrum if needed with a pair of headphones, this feature was in the iFi GO Blu.
The Zen Bluetooth DAC is a Bluetooth booster for a desktop solution. It has Bluetooth 5.1 offering up to 8 stored Bluetooth sources, with RCA analogue output.
The Zen Air CAN is the headphone amplifier device in this range, it has analogue only input with a fully balanced topology for headphone output, though the 4.4mm output is not fully balanced, instead, it features iFis S-Balanced output which cuts ‘crosstalk and noise’ and the price of course. It too features XBass+ and the XSpace ‘to widen the soundstage’, gain adjustment to suit headphones is available as well.
Finally, in the Zen Air Series, there is a Zen Air Phono, a £99 phono stage that even has an MC as well as MM input.
iFi is the sister brand of Abbingdon Music Research (AMR) and is headquartered in Southport, UK. The two brands respectively design and
manufacture portable, desktop and lifestyle audio products and high-end hi-fi components. Combined in-house hardware and software development teams and a ‘music first’ approach enable iFi and AMR to create advanced audio products that deliver new levels of design, functionality and performance at their respective price points. Since iFi’s formation in 2012, its products have earned many awards around the world, helping it to become one of the fastest-growing brands in its field.