iFi ZEN CAN Signature 6XX (Amp)

I didn’t see a topic about this. Pardon if I’m duplicating.

New iFi product(s) launching soon: the ZEN CAN Signature 6XX amp, which is a customized Drop exclusive; and followed up in the near future with the general ZEN CAN. They apparently stack with the ZEN DAC. I’m intrigued! Would love to hear from everyone if and when you get their hands on them!

6 Likes

This looks pretty cool. I wonder why they’re not mentioning the ifi Drop DAC which is the matching DAC for this amp.

@bigshel99 saw these at CanJam NYC and even snapped some pics of them.

4 Likes

Is the iFi Drop DAC different from the Zen DAC? I’m in love with the sound from the HipDac, and am definitely considering other iFi products for transportable/desktop use.

3 Likes

Yes, it’s a stand-alone DAC. I believe it’s meant to be paired with the ifi CAN 6XX.

2 Likes

It is / was at least in February. The Zen DAC could work as a standalone DAC/Amp while the Drop version was just a DAC. Not sure if the DAC topology is any different between the two but output-wise, both had SE RCA outputs and a balanced 4.4mm output to connect to an amp or something (the 4.4 I think it meant to be for the Zen CAN). The color scheme is meant to match the 6XX for the Drop version.

4 Likes

Any idea on pricing for the stack? And how did it sound compared to the original Zen DAC?

I thought the stack price was going to be $250 but sounds like that maybe the price of the amp only based on the Drop post :flushed: … Other than that I haven’t heard.

Honestly it’s been so long ago, I can’t remember much difference which probably stands to say there may not be much of one outside of the EQ function for the 6XX. I thought that made the 6XX sound more appealing to folks like myself who found the headphone a little lacking outside of vocals and mids.

3 Likes

Oh man that’s a beautiful looking stack, love the mid century modern aesthetic. The wife would approve :stuck_out_tongue: Thank you for the pictures and further info, @bigshel99 and @ValentineLuke!

4 Likes

Whats the chip in the this? Usual IFI Burr Brown or something different?

1 Like

More info about the DAC posted today on Drop. Sounds a bit more interesting and scaled up from the current Zen DAC

4 Likes

I’ll add the non-Drop Exclusive one here as well…

Available on Amazon:

2 Likes

Here are some measurements and comparisons done on the GRAS 43AG between the ZenCAN Signature’s bass boost and that of the ZenDAC.

Note that the green line is the ZenDAC and not the ZenCAN non-signature. I’m still investigating that. But in essence, the ZenDAC’s ‘Truebass’ gives it a lot more energy than the Signature ZenCAN’s ‘HD6XX’ button. Also important to note is that the ‘HD6XX’ button also boosts 5-6khz by a noticeable amount. I’m not sure if this is actually a good thing, since one of the things I really like about the HD6XX is that it’s on the smoother side, and this gives it a bit of a peak there.

Speaking with one of the reps, apparently they did do quite a bit of research on this and that was a preference for a lot of people. I’m just not sure it’s what I personally want out of the HD6XX. But maybe that’s also because I like the HD6XX to be smooth, and for some it may be a bit too laid back. Fun how subjective this hobby can be.

For the bass differences, if the non-signature ZenCAN is similar to the ZenDAC’s truebass, then this difference may just be similar to the difference between Harman 2018 bass and Harman 2013 bass. I prefer the latter.

Interestingly, the Signature ZenCAN’s bass boost does put it pretty close to that:

7 Likes

This is presumably the same analog bass boost present in most of the IFI products? It is surprisingly prominent here for the ZenDAC, first guess was marketing reasons and your conversation wth the rep confirmed that. At least they are trying to supply what they think their target audience wants.

The XBass option on the black label can be deleterious at times and I dont think it is anywhere near as boosted as this, I havent recently checked any FR to confirm though.

1 Like

I actually think the Xbass on the MBL is stronger than that of the ‘HD6XX’ bass boost. I never use it because it’s just too much. What I love about the high end model the Pro iCAN is that you can dial in the amount of bass boost you want.

EDIT: Just did some testing and I think it’s slightly stronger in the upper bass, but the rest is about the same between the MBL XBass and HD6XX bass boost.

That’s interesting. Do you think the bass boost on the Zen CAN is doing anything you can’t accomplish with digital EQ? I recently tested what the 6XX sounds like with it’s bass boosted enough to be fully extended/flat (with the help of an EARS rig). I felt the results weren’t great due to how much distortion 6XX has.

Also do you mind if I post your measurement graphs elsewhere if I link your post?

It shouldn’t be … as long as you know what you’re doing.

You’ll want to ensure that you adjust pre-gain appropriately so you don’t wind up encountering digital clipping with your bass boost. You’ll also want to employ IIR, linear phase, filtering, in the EQ to avoid adding unwanted phase shifts.

2 Likes

By all means you can link my post to all the places haha.

Regarding digital EQ vs this… I did read somewhere that the benefit of the ‘HD6XX’ bass boost button on the Signature ZenCAN is that you don’t get any distortion like you might get with EQ, but in my testing I couldn’t find any difference. Raising the FR to the same level shows the same amount of distortion - or at least pretty similar - although I’m not as confident in the accuracy of the THD measurements in the chain yet, it’s still being worked on. From subjective testing this is still below the audible threshold.

I think that’s the key though, it looks like the ZenCAN Signature bass boost gives the HD6XX enough bass energy to still be below an audible threshold for distortion, where as using the TrueBass from the ZenDAC may actually be too much. The big question in my mind still is whether the non-signature ZenCAN uses the bass boost of the ZenDAC or the same bass boost of the Signature (or neither?)

4 Likes

Thanks for the reply. I hardly use the XBass switch either so I never bothered to remember the extent of it. Wonder if the FR graph Im picturing in my head was a bit off as I really dont recall this kind of bass shelf. I’ll trust your rig.

1 Like

Is there a easy way to know if I’m getting phase shifts? The only filters I’m familiar with are the RBJ filters used in EQ APO. Do you recommend a different EQ software?

Well I’m sure you wouldn’t mind that lol. I was asking if it was fine to post the graphs themselves while listing the source.

Regarding my comment on distortion, I was just saying the 6XX bass doesn’t sound clean compared to higher end stuff. And so boosting it makes that flaw more apparent. So attributing that to distortion is probably not correct on my part.

Yes by all means you can. And yeah I think that’s also partially 2nd harmonic showing up there when boosted. The HD6XX has upper bass presence but it does roll off as it gets into the lower frequencies.

1 Like