iFi AUDIO Pro iCAN - Studio-Grade Headphone Amplifier and Audiophile Line-Stage

iFi AUDIO Pro iCAN - Studio-Grade Headphone Amplifier and Audiophile Line-Stage

iFi AUDIO Pro iCAN - Studio-Grade Headphone Amplifier and Audiophile Line-Stage

B&H # IFPROICAN MFR # 0301002
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Expected availability: 7-14 business days

Product Highlights

  • Solid-State Amplification Section
  • Tube Amplification Section
  • Single-Ended and Balanced Modes
  • Unbalanced and Balanced Headphones
  • 3D Holographic for Headphones & Speakers
  • XBass Correction System
  • Audiophile-Quality Components
  • Alps Motorized Rotary Volume Pot
  • RCA and XLR Inputs
  • Quad-Damped Isolation Base Mount
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iFi AUDIO Pro - iCan overview

  • 1Description

The iFi Audio Pro iCAN is the "flagship" studio-grade headphone amplifier and audiophile line-stage processor with individual solid-state and tube amplification sections. The unit utilizes an Alps motorized rotary volume potentiometer, which features "6-tracks" for true balanced volume control regardless of balanced or single-ended connections. The unit features a variety of line-level inputs including two balanced XLRs and three stereo pairs of unbalanced RCAs, while line-level outputs include two balanced XLRs and a stereo pair of RCAs.

The Pro iCAN's front panel offers a selection of headphones, boasting the ability to drive anything from custom in-ear monitors to difficult-to-drive models, such as the AKG K-1000. For balanced headphones, there are no less than four sets including an 1/8" TRRS, two 1/4", two XLR (3-pin), and a single XLR (4-pin). For single-ended headphone outputs, a single 1/8" TRS and 1/4" TRS are provided.

The amplifier audio circuit is a development of iFi's proprietary 'Tube-State' design. It is fully discrete, fully balanced with either tube or J-FET inputs switchable, bipolar second stage and MOSFET-buffered bipolar class-A Power stage (with Class-AB for low-impedance headphones at very high levels). The resulting circuit may be best described as 'tri-brid' where each device is used to greatest sonic advantage while minimizing any drawbacks. Furthermore, the circuit is pure DC coupled to avoid using any conically degrading coupling capacitors.

The Pro iCAN is chocked full of premium components including TDK Japanese-made C0G-type capacitors and Vishay MELF-type thin film resistors. These are complimented by Panasonic Japanese-made ECPU film-capacitors explicitly designed for audio use with extremely low distortion (<0.00001% @ 1V/10 kHz). Additionally, iFi employed ELNA Japanese-made Silmic II capacitors for the power supplies. These use special silk-fiber paper for the isolating barrier resulting in decreased odd-order distortion and reduced microphonic/mechanical resonances.

Features
  • The Pro iCAN circuit is fully balanced with completely equal circuit sections for positive (hot) and negative (cold) signal phase of each channel. The volume control is a 6-way motorized ALPS type; four tracks are used to adjust the volume for the balanced signal, and the other two are used for monitoring the volume control operation
  • Maximum output is >20V in balanced mode and >10V in single ended mode. Maximum peak current is 1.4A for single-ended headphone connections and 0.7A for balanced headphone connections. The continuous output current is limited by a protection circuitry that only engages in case of sustained overload. A short-term sustained output of around 14,000mW (14VA) is possible in balanced operation
  • The amplifer's audio circuit is a development of iFi’s revolutionary ‘TubeState’ design. It is fully discrete, fully balanced with either tube or J-FET input switchable, bipolar second stage and MOSFET-buffered bipolar Class-A power stage (with Class-AB for low-impedance headphones at very high levels). The resulting circuit may be best described as ‘tri-brid’ where each device is used to greatest sonic advantage while minimizing any drawbacks. Furthermore, the circuit is pure DC coupled to avoid using any sonically degrading coupling capacitors
  • Frequency response (0.5 Hz - 500 kHz @ 0 dB), noise (-142 dB @ 0 dB) and distortion (0.0008% @ 0 dB) depend on gain and on which input device is selected. However, the levels of noise and distortion, especially in balanced operation challenge the limits of the audio precision test system
  • The XLR and RCA outputs on the back offer full preamplifier function, but are not switched off if headphones are connected. Nonetheless, the Pro iCAN should be used either as preamplifier or headphone amplifier, as generally a mixed use setup is not recommended
  • The Holographic matrices are tightly integrated into the signal circuit. Not only there is no use of DSP and the linked AD/DA conversion, but there are also no additional active elements
    • If disabled, the passive elements (resistors, capacitors and inductors) that form the analog matrix are completely removed from the circuit, so the fidelity of the signal in ‘off’ remains unaffected
    • If enabled, the Holographic matrix fundamentally re-shapes the transfer function of the actual amplifying circuit to do its job. So again, the fidelity of the signal is as if the Holographic matrix was designed integral to the circuit. This is a highly unusual design, as normally signal processing functions add extra circuits to the main amplification circuit. Such additional circuitry cannot but negatively impact sound quality when in use and often even when disabled
  • Quad-Damped Isolation Base Mount: Specially designed to provide vibration damping control and electromagnetic shielding. It consists of a custom quad-layer sandwich; dual-layer elastomers (silicone layer and copolymer ethylene and vinyl acetate layer), and a dual-layer metal alloy (aluminum alloy layer and ferrous alloy layer finished with special
    honeycomb coating)
  • NOS GE5670 Tubes: Two "New Old Stock" General Electric 5670. Each GE5670 tube has undergone a special rejuvenation process and the tube circuit is specially designed for long life. Combined, the tubes should offer many years of enjoyment
  • Operation Modes (Solid-State / Tube / Tube+)
    • Solid-State Mode: A pure, solid-state circuit and uses J-FETs and is fully discrete Class-A
    • Tube Mode: 2 x NOS GE5670s are engaged with the J-FET circuitry switched out for an all-valve Class-A operation
    • Tube+ Mode: Reduces negative feedback to a minimum. As a result, a greater amount of the tubes’ natural harmonics are produced (even-order harmonics dominate)
Processing
  • 3D Holographic for Headphones & Loudspeakers: There are two separate Analog Signal Processing (ASP) matrix circuits that switch automatically between headphone and loudspeaker use
    • For Headphones: (Headphone Outputs) Holographic for Headphones is an analog matrix to ‘undo’ the negative sonic impact of headphone listening with recordings that were originally made for loudspeakers (as is the case for >95% of recordings). When listening with headphones this "In-Head Localization" (sound is ‘located’ in the center of one’s head) can often lead to listening fatigue and even possibly, a little nausea
      • Off: Holographic is disabled (this allows the ‘direct’ sound to be enjoyed)
      • 30° Loudspeaker Angle: This matrix simulates a narrow loudspeaker placement (e.g. loudspeakers either side of a large computer monitor or in a car) and can also be used for recordings that have been artificially enhanced for spaciousness or early ‘Ping-Pong-type' stereo recordings
      • 60° Loudspeaker Angle: This matrix simulates traditional ‘textbook’ loudspeaker placement in an equilateral triangle
      • 90° Loudspeaker Angle: This matrix simulates a wide loudspeaker placement favored by some audiophiles. It may also be used to enhance recordings that lack spaciousness (some minimalist ‘single point’ recordings fall into this group)
    • For Loudspeakers: (Line Outputs) The Holographic for loudspeakers is an analog matrix circuit that has two distinct functions:
      • Corrects the fundamental spatial distortion in stereo recordings
      • Increase the width of the apparent soundstage beyond the width dictated by the loudspeaker placement
        • Off: Holographic is disabled (this allows the ‘direct’ sound to be judged)
        • +: This matrix corrects (’+’) the spatial distortion caused by the recording/mixing/mastering process and restores the original width of the soundstage. This is the recommended default setting if the loudspeakers are already ideally placed for imaging
        • 30°+: This matrix corrects (’+’) the spatial distortion caused by the recording/mixing/mastering process and adds an approximate 30° to the apparent width of the soundstage. Thus, loudspeakers with narrow placement (e.g. loudspeakers closely located either side of a TV set) can offer a soundstage that extends beyond the left and right past the loudspeakers and is close to the ideal placement
        • 60°+: This matrix corrects (’+’) the spatial distortion caused by the recording/mixing/mastering process and adds an approximate 60° to the apparent width of the soundstage. This is close to the ‘wide’ placement preferred by some audiophiles
  • XBass—Bass Correction System: Different recordings and different headphones exhibit different frequency responses. XBass is an analog signal processing (ASP) circuitry. It is sonically superior to Digital Signal Processing (DSP) systems. XBass is tailored to correct the bass deficiency in the headphone/loudspeaker and achieve the desired level. It is not a traditional tone or loudness control. The maximum boost is 12 dB and the frequency at which this maximum boost it achieved is as follows:
    • Off: XBass is disabled (this allows the ‘direct’ sound to be enjoyed)
    • 10 Hz: For headphones/loudspeakers missing only the very lowest bass (below 40 Hz)
    • 20 Hz: For headphones/loudspeakers missing some bass (below 80 Hz)
    • 40 Hz: For headphones/loudspeakers missing substantial bass including some mid-bass (below 160 Hz)

 

In the Box
iFi AUDIO Pro iCAN - Studio-Grade Headphone Amplifier and Audiophile Line-Stage
  • iPower Plus Power Supply
  • RCA Cable
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description

    iFi AUDIO Pro - iCan specs

    Headphone Connectors Headphone Outputs

    Balanced:
    2 x XLR 3-pin
    2 x 1/4" / 6.35 mm TRS (iFi SEC balanced system)
    1 x XLR 4-pin
    1 x 1/8" / 3.5 mm TRRS (with built-in iEMatch, output matched to high-sensitivity headphones)

    Single-Ended:
    2 x 1/4" / 6.35 mm TRS (use right jack for unbalanced headphones, however it is possible to drive two separate headphones simultaneously)
    1 x 1/8" 3.5 mm TRS (with built-in iEMatch - output matched to high-sensitivity headphones)
    Line Inputs and Outputs Inputs
    2 x XLR 3-pin (L/R) balanced
    6 x RCA (3 stereo pairs) unbalanced

    Outputs
    2 x XLR 3-pin (L/R) balanced
    2 x RCA (L/R) unbalanced
     
    Additional Connections DC Loop-Out: For use with Pro iCAN add-ons (e.g. electrostatic module)
    iFi Electrostatic Add-On Module: Only for connection with the iFi Electrostatic module
    DC Power Supply Input: 15 VDC, 4 A
    Gain 0, 9, and 18 dB user selectable
    Frequency Response 0.5 Hz to 500 kHz (-3 dB)
    Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) Total Harmonic Distortion (THD, Balanced/Single-Ended):
    Solid-State Balanced: ≤0.0015%
    Solid-State Single-Ended: ≤0.005%
    Tube Balanced: ≤0.002%
    Tube Single-Ended: ≤0.005%
    Tube+ Balanced: ≤0.012%
    Tube+ Single-Ended: ≤0.2%
    Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR, Balanced/Single-Ended):
    Balanced: >147 dB(A)
    Single-Ended: >137 dB(A)
    Output Power Output Power (16 Ohms, Balanced/Single-Ended):
    Balanced: >14,000 mW
    Single-Ended: >4,800 mW
    Output Impedance <1 Ohm
    Output Voltage Output Voltage (600 Ohms, Balanced/Single-Ended): Balanced: >23 V Single-Ended: >11.5 V
    Input Voltage Pro iCAN: 9 VDC, 6.7 A (18 V/ 3.35 A)
    iPower Plus: 85 to 265 VAC, 50/60 Hz
    Power Consumption ≤22 W idle, 50 W max
    Dimensions (L x W x H) 8.4 x 7.6 x 2.5" / 213.0 x 192.5 x 63.3 mm
    Weight 4.3 lb / 1.9 kg

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