iFi Audio ZEN Air DAC Desktop DAC / Headphone Amp

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Since launching in 2019, the iFi Audio ZEN DAC and its V2 successor have won a host of awards, and deliver a performance that competes with DAC/headphone amps at more than twice their price. The new ZEN Air DAC redraws the ZEN blueprint, offering sound quality that rivals the original ZEN DAC but at an even lower RRP.

Like the ZEN DAC, the ZEN Air DAC includes a high-quality headphone amp capable of driving all manner of headphones and earphones. It can also be used as a DAC/preamp to feed an amp and speakers, or a pair of active speakers, via stereo RCA outputs. It connects to PCs, Macs, smart devices and so on via USB, elevating the sound quality of digital sources to a higher plane.

The core DAC technology is the same as the original ZEN DAC, using a Burr-Brown DAC chip. Hi-res PCM is supported to 32-bit/384kHz, alongside DXD, and DSD64, 128 and 256. Thanks to the Burr-Brown chip’s True Native design, PCM and DSD take separate pathways – this enables both PCM and DSD to remain bit-perfect in their native form. MQA is also supported (MQA rendering, like the original ZEN DAC, rather than full MQA decoding as performed by the ZEN DAC V2).

Whilst simplified in comparison to the ZEN DAC V2’s fully balanced topology, the ZEN Air DAC’s analogue stage remains of exceptional quality at the price, with a symmetrical channel layout and audiophile-grade circuit components, including a custom op-amp offering ultra-low noise performance, and low-impedance power supply rails featuring Taiyo Yuden and Murata low-ESR inductors.

The ZEN Air DAC’s headphone amp has switchable gain (called PowerMatch) which matches the level of drive to the load presented by the headphones, by adjusting input sensitivity and thereby signal strength. With high-sensitivity headphone types such as in-ear monitors, leave PowerMatch at its lower setting for ultra-low noise performance. But if your headphones require more drive, press the PowerMatch button on the front panel to increase gain.

XBass+ is another user-selectable feature, a sophisticated form of bass boost that subtly enhances low frequencies without muddying the midrange – particularly useful with earphones and open-back headphones that may lack deep bass. It operates entirely in the analogue domain rather than messing with the digital signal via DSP and may be switched in or out via another button on the front panel.


  • Elevates your sound quality – Get high-performance audio at an affordable cost.
  • Connectivity – PC, MAC, Smartphone, Tablet and Game Console.
  • High-Performance Circuitry – delivers smooth, detailed and dynamic sound.
  • Hi-Res DAC – PCM up to 32-bit/384KHz and full native DSD25 with MQA (Renderer).


  • Input voltage: DC 5 V / 2.5 A
  • Input: USB 2.0 Type-B Socket
  • Formats: 44.1 / 48 / 88.2 / 96 / 176.4 / 192 / 352.8 / 384 kHz PCM, 2.8 / 3.1 / 5.6 / 6.2 / 11.2 / 12.4 MHz DSD, 353 / 384 KHz DXD, MQA
  • DAC: Bit-Perfect DSD + DXD DAC by Burr Brown
  • Power Consumption: No Signal 0.5 W / Max Signal 2.5 W
  • Dimensions: 158 x 117 x 35 mm
  • Net Weight: 315 g
  • Line Section
  • Output: 1 V / 3.3 V max.
  • Output Impedance: 50 Ω
  • SNR: < -113 dB(A) @ 0 dBFS
  • DNR: > 113 dB(A) @ -60 dBFS
  • THD+N: > 0.04 % @ 0 dBFS
  • Headphone Section
  • Output: 1 V / 3.3 V max. (variable)
  • Output Power: > 280 mW @ 32 Ω, > 36 mW @ 300 Ω
  • Output Impedance: < 1 Ω
  • THD+N: < 0.04 % (100 mW @ 16 Ω)
  • SNR: > 113 dBA (3.3 V)


  • ZEN Air DAC / Headphone Amp
  • USB Cable
  • Power Supply
  • Warranty Card

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DAC Specification

Harmonic Distortion:
-113 dB(A)
Bit-Perfect DSD & DXD DAC by Burr-Brown
Digital USB Input:
RCA Output:
Headphone Amplifier:


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