MQA settings on Roon - iFi Zen Dac V2

Thanks for sharing.
Last night I rebooted the Mac mini for the first time since Roon Core moved to it and I had this issue with Mac not recognising the iFi Zen DAC until unplug and plug back the x iPower. Played MQA with no problem for 3 hours, till a normal FLAC went in. After that went back to switches back and forth from lossless to enhanced when listening to MQA so I had to plug unplug the USB. I am counting the days with the iFi Zen DAC now :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Please report this back to iFi too.

I don’t know really who to blame but it’s only happening with the iFi DAC. That’s the only device that exhibits this behaviour.

I did report it to iFi two or three times now and of course they put the blame on Roon, since MQA playback with Tidal is ok.

Anyways, I guess that maybe a reason why the device is not “certified” as Roon Tested/Ready.


I’m back to report that I’ve found an even worse combination of hardware & software! I’ve switched recently to a M1 macbook. Well, there is no way to listen to music through Roon + iFi ZEN DAC v2! Completely horrible experience. Stay away.

(I’m aware that there are some Roon issues on M1 CPUs)

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sure sounds great tho.

Here I am in 2022 with M1 Macbook Air. Troubles with both the Hip Dac 2 and the iBasso dc06 with MQA on Roon. Frustrating.

Currently, I’m testing another way to workaround the issues and it seems to be working. It’s been some days without issue (crossing fingers).

For starters, when I’ve upgraded to Roon v2.0, the erratic behavior was still present (and even worse). It was really frustrating and I was so desperate I started trying other cables too (again).

And then I thought, why not use a USB-C adapter (or a USB-C to USB-B cable).
So, I used a spare USB-A to USB-C adapter to attach the DAC to a USB Type C port at my docking station.

Now, almost a week later I haven’t got any issues with MQA playback!
It makes a bit sense that the issue was actually the support of Macbook for USB-A ports but as I said it’s too soon to say. For now, I’m happy to enjoy my music lossless and… MQA, whatever Roon picks for me :smiley:

I have moved from ifi to a Cambridge Audio 200M. But same issues, just not so often, maybe just after 5 h of playing MQA, and a quick on off of the dac it makes all fine for another 5 hours or so.
But looking for something else I found this: Apple's latest Macs have a serious audio glitching bug - CDM Create Digital Music
maybe it helps

I have just unchecked sync with time and location on sys settings. I’ll leave a MQA playlist overnight and tell you if tomorrow I’ll find the dropouts.

Little improvement with the time and location under sys settings uncheck, maybe from 5h to 8h, in the end the dropouts did come back. As @CvK I’ll try usb c, Neo by Oyaide d+ USB Type C Class B 0,7m, kind of a downgrade from Neo by Oyaide d+ USB Type A Class S 1m but just want to checkout the dropouts.

Thank you for the feedback @Traian_Boldea. Good to know that.

For me, the simple type-c converter still works flawlessly. Hope it’ll last. I’ll try to purchase a decent USB-B to USB-C too.

Btw, @Traian_Boldea I was just this close to buy the DacMagic 200M too. Should I go for it? The iFi ZEN DAC v2 is really nice but the XLR connection would be nice too. For sure the extra $$$ do not justify the upgrade (?) for this alone.

Neo by Oyaide d+ USB Type C Class B 0,7m looks very good and I have the Oyaide d+ USB Type A Class S 1m and it is the best usb that I had till now.

I used zen dac only with pentaconn 4.4 to XLR, 4.4mm to XLR Cable by iFi audio - Max quality balanced signal. Minimum interference.
So I cannot relate RCA Zen vs XLR 200m. So from the XLR point of view just get one of those, it is cheeper than CA200m.

I think CA 200m it is a little better than zen. A bit more on the high freq so I can say it is brighter and maybe that’s why it sounds like having more resolution. But I guess that depends on your taste. For that you should have a listen in your setup. The sound stage is clearly bigger. The mqa dropouts did not compere to the zen, went from 10 restarts a day to just one. It is more responsive than zen dac, (on/off, quick recognised by comp and Roon). I still go usb from Mac mini m1 with Roon but the next upgrade it will be a streamer, maybe LINK Streamer 2 - Stack Audio

Still no remote but same is zen dac. I’m not using DSP, volume is fixed in Roon settings so I had to manually change the volume. CA200M feels cheeper than zen volume knob, moves somehow slower and with resistance.

One thing that is harder with 200M than in other dacs is to upgrade the power. It is running on AC not DC. I found’t out the hard way, after tried the ifi power x 12V that is DC. Nothing happened to CA200M, getting rather hot, but NAD 298 (the power amp) did not like that change and after 1 day it had autosense on/off issues.

As for dacs, I was looking to upgrade to NAD 658 but did not have the cash so I went after CA200m. Now I’m glad, 658 has not so great reviews for the dac part of it, and as preamp I just bought Benchmark LA4. I guess next in my list is a R2R: Holo, Denafrips, Pegasus or Ladder Schumann. I would like to listen to Topping as it get’s so much praise for the measurements.

Hope it helps

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Thank you!
Well, I’ll give it some time to check if any price drop will happen. Maybe I’ll go crazy and try any of the SMSL new DACs. :smiley:

you are welcome
I did notice the new smsl’s also :slight_smile:
If I’ll not be impress with R2Rs I’ll go crazy with TEAC NT505 as it would be a streamer also and has the Master Clock Generator Teac CG-10M as a future upgrade.

As for the CA200M, it might be possible for the price to drop, I bought the 200M in February this year and by now it did drop 50$ at the same dealer. I’m waiting for Black Friday madness :slight_smile:

Unfortunately, as soon as I updated to Roon 2.0.1 the issues returned.
Back to zero. Almost. I’m more confident it’s a Roon issue after all. As I’ve mentioned in the past, there’s no issues when using Tidal. Also, the issue is exposed using at least another one DAC.

I’m still with the dropouts after 6 hours or so of a m4a playlist on my Cambridge 200M connected usb 2.0 A to B. One thing that I’ll experiment today is to stream to an old iMac (2007) that has Volumio on it and connect Zen Dac to that. I’ll try with all the mqas settings (full, render, etc)
Last year when core on late 2013 iMac EDIT: my core was on m1 Mac mini tidal was not having dropouts while Roon was having dropouts (only on MQAs)

No dropouts on LAN endpoints and USB Zen Dac 2 (white MacBook 2009, and iMac 2012 having volumio 3)

So I guess there is something with Roon core on m1 Macs playing usb connected to the core

Hi, I just bought the iFi Zen DAC V2 and am having the same stuttering problem. My core is an M1 MacMini connected to ethernet. My Roon Remote is my M1 iMac. The DAC is connected to my iMac via a USB 3.0 B to A cable with the A end connected to a Mac A to USB C adaptor. I use it to feed Roon to two desktop speakers.

I’m not sure what to try after reading all of your troubleshooting. I’ve updated the firmware and all of the other software. What I can say is that I never had an issue with my Audioquest Black Dragonfly so am thinking of sending the Zen back. My hope was that this DAC would be an improvement but for now it’s a major aggravation.

Wow, the dragon fly did not have this issue on m1 Mac mini? I only have Zen Dac v2, Hip Dac v2 and Cambridge Audio Dacmagic 200M. All of them do the stuttering. It is true that the zen dac does it more than CA 200M but still, all of them have issues. I do not mind as it is only for mqas, and on CA the issue is coming back hours to hours. There is a solution, to have a streamer, so the music does not use Mac mini m1 usb but ethernet, I had an old laptop running volumio connected to LAN and USB to Zen Dac v2 and there was no issue (tested for 36 hours non stop)

I’m sorry that you have those issues, I also really want my dac to go usb from Mac mini m1 core but not like that.

The interesting thing is that the Dragonfly was connected to my iMac via USB. Zero issues. I understand that the Zen DAC is a renderer AND decoder so perhaps that explains the difference. Thanks for letting me know about the 200M. I’d have major “buyers remorse” if I’d spent double the money for the same issue. I seriously considered that but decided it was more than I needed for this application. I have a Bluesound node 2i as my primary DAC. No issues. I’m within my return window so barring a response to my ticket with IFi that solves this problem, I’m sending this back.