Analogue Zen Can headphone amp unveiled by iFi Audio

posted on Friday, 31st July 2020 by Steve May

Hi-fi  Headphones 

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UK Hi-Fi specialist IFi has expanded its range of Zen desktop DAC components with the Zen Can, an all-analogue headphone amplifier that uses the same compact aluminium chassis as its stablemates.

As an all-analogue headphone amp, the Zen Can has no digital input of any kind, USB or otherwise. It connects to any audio source with an analogue output, such as the headphone output from a DAP (Digital Audio Player), a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, or the phono outputs from a CD player or phono stage.

It could be paired with the Zen Blue to add Bluetooth reception, or combined with the Zen DAC to upgrade the DAC’s headphone amp stage. As well as a headphone amp, it can double as a preamp to feed a power amp and speakers or a pair of active speakers.

Headphone outputs comprise a 6.3mm output for headphones that have a standard single-ended connector and a 4.4 Pentaconn balanced output for headphones offering balanced connection.

29773_ZEN CAN

An increasing number of high-quality headphones and in-ear monitors either come so equipped or give the option of detaching the cable and upgrading to a 4.4mm Pentaconn connector, says the brand, and this output makes the most of them.

A 4.4mm balanced output is also provided, to connect to power amps and active speakers equipped with a balanced input, be it either a Pentaconn 4.4mm input or XLR inputs via a 4.4mm-to-XLR cable.

There are two post processing options, XBass and 3D audio spatialiser. XBass adjusts frequency response to enhance low frequency performance, while 3D offers a mores speaker-like listening experience, as it compensates for in-head localisation.

Both XBass and 3D engage analogue processing but can be bypassed if preferred.

The first 1000 units will be bundled with iFi’s ultra-low noise iPower power adapter, which costs £49 when purchased separately, at a special package price of £169. When these bundles have sold out, the Zen Can will be available with a standard AC/DC power adapter at £149.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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