iFi ZEN DAC: Roon Tested? MQA capable?

The iFi ZEN DAC seems like a really interesting product, especially at its price point. Since iFi is a Roon Partner, is it on the horizon for the ZEN DAC to be Roon Tested? If it’s not yet, maybe @Jake_iFi could send one over to @support for testing? :grin:

Also, I know it will “work” as a basic, unrecognized DAC in Roon, but if it is not recognized, will it still work as an MQA renderer in Roon? My only experience with MQA DACs are Roon Tested ones.

Thanks!

No DAC has to be Roon tested to work. MQA is no exception. Saying this I have an Ifi Nano BL and it works fine with everything with Roon if using Windows but on Linux MQA has issues with gapless material and occasionally drops out. If you use the GTO filter based firmware its fine but that version sounds bad sq and the Xmos interface upscales all material. So I currently don’t use this DAC.

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Hi @Andy_Spinks

We are currently working towards getting the Zen DAC ‘Roon Tested’ and this should be completed within the near future.

Kind regards,
Jake

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@Jake_iFi, I just bought an iFi Zen to power a new pair of Hifiman headphones. So, that’s music to my ears!

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I just realized the ZEN has a volume control knob with fixed stops at the min and max. So even when it’s Roon tested, Roon won’t be able to control the volume. :cry:

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Howdy, @Jake_iFi! Is there going to be a firmware update for the Zen DAC to yield “Roon Tested” status/functionality?

Hi @artempleton,

We will be working on getting the ZEN DAC to be ‘Roon Tested’ in the near future. :slight_smile:

Thanks
Jake

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Is now the near future - or do we have to wait a bit longer?

Hi @Trond_Arne_Velund

We planned to do this a while ago but there has been delays due to the virus, it will be a little longer.

Thank you for your patience.

Jake

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Any news regards to that?

ZEN DAC works great so far for me. Using v5.3c firmware. Win10 to USB to RCA to AVR. No headphones. Very cool to be able to play around with DSD conversions as well as MQA unfolding. I set “re-sync” to 1000ms to avoid a slight delay at the start of some songs.

Hello Jake, im running Roon Server plugged to Zen DAC, Roons indícate decoding MQA but Zen DAC si green. Whats wrong ?

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The same happened to me with Zen DAC. Go to Device setup -> MQA capabilities. If you set this “Decoder and Renderer” the led stays green. Set it to “Rendered only” and the led is purple. Not sure what this means in practice, though.

I guess it selects in which end the deconding is done. The led indicates what kind of signal Zen is receiving.

The Zen like all Ifi DAC’s are only MQA renderers not decoder and renderers, they all need software to perform the first MQA Decode (unfolding) of MQA data, in this case Roons MQA core decoder should be doing this and the MQA capabilites set to Renderer only. By setting both it assumes the device will be decoding and rendering whilst Roons Core decoder may be active it may be causing it some confusion.

Thanks, now led is purple

So when will Zen DAC become Roon Tested? It’s been a year.

There’s actually an 7.0 firmware version available on the iFi website that appears to have been released on the 9th of this month. @Jake_iFi does this firmware release include the “Roon Tested” status?