The Review Smiths
iFI Audio Zen Air DAC iFI Audio Zen Air DAC
iFI Audio Zen Air DAC 4.5

I’ve reviewed a few of ifI’s products in recent times, most of them being linked directly to (shall we say… less modern?) systems of music enjoyment such as a turntable or wired headphones. This is the first one I’ve seen that seems to be designed to go with digital forms of music. It’s built for tablets, mobile phones and your computer and is essentially an amp for those things.

“And?” you may ask. All these things are easily capable of emitting sound and playing the music, why bother with an amp? Well, it’s a bit like (some of you young’uns may have to look some of these up!) the difference between Tapes or CD, VHS or DVD or even regular TV and HDTV. It just sounds better! The reason for this? Well, it’s external and so there’s less interference from all those electronic components for starters. And ifI do a particularly good job of keeping those components as quiet as possible within the DAC itself. Mostly due to their use of an OV Series Operational Amplifier, the use of which has been fine-tuned over multiple systems – they know what they’re doing here!

The DAC has multiple features. It can support different file formats ranging from PCM to DSD and MQA (CD’s, Bu-Rays and such all fall in to the first category so don’t worry if those letters make no sense at all!), it has an analogue volume control rather than a digital one so you don’t lose quality of music as the volume gets lower (no need to take chunks of data out of the file to reduce that volume) and you can also tailor the gain for your headphones as well as being able to make use of an adjustable bass so you can tweak it to suit your headphones.
RRP: £99

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Very reasonable priced and quality amp for your digital music.
  • Affordable
  • Classic design
  • Great sound
  • Supports most media files
  • PC Volume is disabled when in use