Has anyone else had the chance to try this new balanced amp? It’s very impressive, in my opinion. The first 1000 units are bundled with a 5V iPower for $169, after those are sold, it will come with a standard power supply for $149.
Yes, I grabbed on to go with the Zen DAC that’s on my smaller desk. My initial impression is favorable, it sticks to what iFi tends to do, features and a very punchy sound. The build looks nice. I like the retro kinda feel the units have, but the buttons are a bit loose which makes noise when you move the unit around. At that price point, I’m okay with some “not the best build” things, especially if the main function, sound amplification, is done right.
This little guy definitely delivers with power, I think it’s the thing I like most about iFi stuff, there’s a significance to the sound that I love, especially with some headphones come alive with it. Stage is pretty narrow without the “3D” turned on, and, while it messes with sounds the should be center slightly, I prefer it “on” than “off”. I think this was the only thing that I was kinda like “aww” with. I don’t really use the bass boost, all of my headphones have enough in that department.
Overall, at the price, I’m happy with the buy. I like the small form factor and power. My biggest wish was a wider, deeper stage as a default though the 3D option gives it that. I think I’m going to do some comparisons with the old micro-iCAN SE and Loxjie P20 (I think I can comfortably give soundstage a win to the P20) if I have some time and remember later in the week.
I’m not a good judge of headphone soundstage, but my Asgard 3 does have a more spacious quality, the Zen Can seems more dynamic though.
I just received mine. Love the sound. I tend to favor it over my JDS labs Elemental II, which is much more expensive.
nice space for the stack Sheldon!
I am also a ifi fan with the xDSD, which could use some more power, with some headphones
Some random thoughts on the Zen Can for y’all.
It doesn’t seem like this amp’s balanced out is well suited for sensitive headphones and IEMs. I’ve been using the HD 660S on the lowest gain setting, and there’s almost too much power. I haven’t tried the single ended out yet.
It has a good volume pot, but it turns a little too easily. Not a big deal, but it would be easier to make small adjustments if there was a little more resistance.
You may hear a difference from swapping power supplies. It takes a standard barrel connector. I’ve been using a Qualtek wall wart (5V 3A), and it sounds a bit warmer than with the included iPower. It might not be worth rolling power supplies with an affordable amp like this, but if you have a compatible one lying around, it doesn’t hurt to try.
I haven’t used the Xbass or 3D filters much so far, but they seem well implemented. They make a difference, but it’s fairly subtle. You can enable the modes independently, or both at the same time.
Out of my recent headphone and DAC purchases this year, the Zen Can has been one of the things to impress me the most so far. It is definitely punching above its price point and I’m surprised they haven’t caught on more yet. Most reviews for this came out pretty late after the release, not to mention the Drop versions that were announced first seemed to overshadow it further.
I find the flexibility of the device to be one of it’s greatest selling points currently. I’m more of a fan of the XBass than the 3d filter, but love that it adds a little extra flavor to my existing headphone collection. Single ended gets a lot of use from my TH900 and MX4 on the +6db setting due to my EQ profiles requiring a headroom adjustment. Balanced can drive an Ether CX comfortably on +6db as well, although my volume pot is closer to 2:00 with those.
Unless I start looking at really hard to drive headphones I think this is going to be serving my needs for quite a while.
Hey, welcome to the forum fellow IFi fan!
I’m new around the headphone community, so catching up on old threads!
So glad you’re enjoying the ZEN CAN and left your feedback here, it helps others in their research and we always love seeing happy customers!
I’m using mine as a stack now with the NEO iDSD and it’s an awesome combo.