The headphone is the best place to begin in a single’s audiophile journey. A very good pair of wired headphones makes such a huge distinction to the standard of the sound. The good factor is headphones can be found at each worth level and that actually makes it simple for one to start out. The largest grievance one hears about headphones include two main objects: they don’t seem to be loud sufficient and there’s hardly any bass. And that’s the place a headphone amplifier comes into the image. iFi Audio not too long ago launched the Zen Air DAC in India. An entry-level DAC and headphone amp at a very engaging worth level.
Part of the ZEN sequence of DACs the Air DAC is a easy and efficient option to get nice sound high quality. The design could be very easy, principally made in plastic excluding the amount knob and the enter and output connectors. Of course the internals would have extra steel in them however regardless of being plastic, it does have a little bit of a heft to it. Weighing in at just below 400 grams, it’s not fairly moveable. In truth, it’s ideally suited as a desktop DAC/amp.
The field comprises the principle unit and a USB-B connector, the sort that printers used to have. In 2022, that does appear to be an odd alternative and a USB-C would have been significantly better, however the cable supplied, although very brief, does the job reasonably effectively. I used to be in a position to join my laptop computer, iPad, and telephones as a supply with none points.
The Zen Air has simply two outputs, a single-ended 6.3mm port for headphones and a commonplace RCA output on the again, which might be linked to an amplifier or energetic audio system. I did really use it with each a number of headphones and with an amplifier and audio system as effectively. It sounded nice in all circumstances.
The sound signature is extra on the impartial aspect, which implies it neither provides nor detracts from the unique sound. There can be an XBass+ swap on the entrance, which provides a important bass enhance with out overwhelming or muddying the sound.
The entrance of the unit has a Power Match swap, which can be utilized with headphones that want extra energy, however do keep in mind that the unit is definitely powered through the USB supply until you purchase the additional energy provide that iFi sells. In my case, I didn’t want it and the headphones I used to be driving had been very effectively supported.
Formats and pricing
In phrases of codecs, the Zen Air actually shines. It can playback a number of codecs with ease and rivals most of the rather more costly DACs. The Zen Air is able to taking part in again Hi-Res PCM as much as 32-bits/384 kHz together with DSD256 and helps MQA, utilizing the Burr-Brown DAC chipset to ship bit-perfect sound.
Finally, there may be a colored indicator gentle on the entrance, which helps you to know the bitrate of the music being streamed. It begins with a inexperienced for 44.1kHz and goes to a pink when taking part in MQA. Nice and easy indicator. While streaming from numerous sources, one can visually see the bitrate by color.
iFi Audio companions with Headphone Zone to promote it’s merchandise in India and the Zen Air DAC might be purchased through https://www.headphonezone.in While the MRP exhibits ₹9,999, there appears to be an introductory supply or particular worth at simply ₹7,999, which could be very a lot worth for cash and a nice begin to your audiophile journey.