iFi’s New $300 DAC Doubles as Lossless Bluetooth Transceiver with Low-Latency Gaming Mode

U.K.-based iFi Audio today announced a high-resolution DAC that doubles as a CD-quality Bluetooth transmitter/receiver with a low-latency mode for gaming.

Hailed as the first DAC with a transceiver that supports “lossless” CD-quality over Bluetooth, the new Zen Blue 3 is slated to ship in early July for $300. In addition being a wired digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that supports 96-kHz/24-bit audio via USB and 192-kHz/24-bit audio via S/PDIF, the device has two wireless operating modes: Bluetooth RX for receiving audio and Bluetooth TX for transmitting audio; both modes support streaming over aptX Lossless Bluetooth 5.4.

Housed in a striking and very non-traditional curved enclosure with a two-tone faceplate, the device is also capable of streaming high-resolution 96-kHz audio via Sony’s proprietary LDAC codec as well as the LDHC/HWA codec and includes a low-latency transmission mode (activated by a button on the front panel) for keeping audio in sync when streaming video or gaming.

Connections include a USB-C port and selectable analog or optical/coaxial digital inputs via stereo RCA jacks and a set of multipurpose stereo RCA outputs plus a 4.4mm balanced line-level output to reduce signal noise and crosstalk between channels; input modes are selected via a dial on the front panel.

The Zen Blue 3 features audiophile-grade circuitry that puts Bluetooth, DAC and high-quality iFi-designed op-amp circuits on separate chips to avoid sound-degrading interference and uses “cherry-picked” premium components from TDK and Texas Instruments. For more information, visit ifi-audio.com.

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