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Pro series - iCAN

 

Endgame, fully-balanced Class A Headphone Amplifier

 

LL

Southport, UK – 7th May 2016

 

Professional series flagship headphone amp/line stage

The Professional ‘Pro’ series is the all-new iFi audio flagship line. The first product is the Pro iCAN; a studio-grade headphone amplifier and audiophile pre-amplifier. It is the world’s first 2-in-1 tube (valve)/Solid-State amplifier. Seamlessly enjoy either amplifiers at the flick of a switch. Revel in the best of all worlds – headphones/speakers, Tube/Solid-State. Just take your pick, four special characteristics in one very substantial aircraft-grade aluminium chassis.

 

Features

 

  • User-selectable amplification modes – liveliness of Solid-State or luxury of tubes*
  • Professional headphone amplifier and high-end pre-amplifier
  • Super-powerful 14,000mW headphone output power
  • True Balanced, fully-balanced, fully-discrete circuit topology
  • 3D Holographic® dual-analogue matrices for headphones and speakers
  • XBass® analogue bass correction system corrects Headphone/Speaker Bass response
  • Reference class parts quality from Elna Silmics to Silver Mica capacitors
  • Expansion port for iFI Electrostatic Headphone (Stax etc.) Energizer module (4Q 2016)

*(2xGE5670 tubes)

 

Specifications

Gain (Bal in to Bal out): 0dB, 9dB and 18dB user-selectable

 

Frequency Response: 0.5Hz to 500KHz(-3dB)

 

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): Balanced Single-Ended

Solid-State ≤0.0015% ≤0.005%

Tube ≤0.002% ≤0.005%

Tube+ ≤0.012% ≤0.2%

 

Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR, Balanced/Single-Ended): >147dB(A) / >137dB(A)

 

Output Power (16Ω: Balanced/Single-Ended): >14000mW / >4800mW

 

Output Voltage (600Ω: Balanced/Single-Ended): >23V/>11.5v

 

Input Voltage (Pro iCAN): DC 9v/6.7A – 18V/3.35A

(iPOWER PLUS) AC 85V - 265V, 50-60Hz

 

Power Consumption <35VA Idle (Tube+)

 

Dimensions: 158(l) x 68(w) x 28(h) mm

 

 

http://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/pro-ican/

 

 

The tech notes will follow over the coming weeks.

 

We wanted to get the Pro iCAN out and then shed more light on the inner workings.

Our PowerStation is here: click me!

 

Check out our Tidal MQA Set-up Guides below. 
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  • 4 weeks later...

iFi Quad DSD Sampler Album – Native DSD Music

 

700

We would like to thank our very kind friends at NativeDSDMusic.

To celebrate the launch of the Pro iCAN, they have offered this very special ‘sampler’ recorded in dsd256 (natively) for all our readers.

iFi Quad DSD Sampler Album - Native DSD Blog

https://nativedsdpresents.nativedsd.com/albums/NDSD002-ifi-quad-dsd-sampler-album

The coupon code QuadDSD

The code is valid for three weeks only. The code gives a 100% discount.

The music is as follows:

Track 1: Groovy and hypnotising percussion music..Album & Artist:• Yarlung Records: YAR 15195DSD – Smoke & Mirrors Percussion EnsembleDSD Track:• Vanish – track 1 - Udacrep Akubrad (Dorman) 8:41

Track 2: Jazz vocals and guitar, to dream away..Album & Artist:• Just Listen: JL002 – Thomas & EvaDSD Track:• 8 Ensembles in 1 Bit - track 5 - Early Autumn (Herman) 2:47

Track3 : Bach's famous Cello Suite, what a genius..Album & Artist:• Navis Classics: NC15003 - Joachim EijlanderDSD Track:• Bach: Cello Suites - track 1 - Prelude (Bach) 2:33

Track 4: 1,2,3 - 1,2,3 - Waltz with Chopin's wonderful piano music..Album & Artist• Eudora Records: EUDDR 1402 - Josep ColomDSD Track:• Dialogue: Mozart & Chopin – track 10 - Waltz in A Minor, Op. 34, No. 2(Chopin) 5:58

Enjoy the tunes natively on your Stereo50, micro iDSD, micro iDAC2, nano iDSD!

Thank you very much NativeDSDMusic!NativeDSD.com

Our PowerStation is here: click me!

 

Check out our Tidal MQA Set-up Guides below. 
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We would like to thank our very kind friends at NativeDSDMusic.

To celebrate the launch of the Pro iCAN, they have offered this very special ‘sampler’ recorded in dsd256 (natively) for all our readers.

 

Nice! Copying to my Dropbox as I write this.

 

Many thanks to the NativeDSD folks.

 

--David

Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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Did you use it as a preamp as well?

 

I just used it as a headamp and loved it. Very enjoyable and flexible unit. I didn't use the bass extreme or 3D stuff but just played with gain used in balanced mode with my LCD-X and HD-800s. While I hate to use the term, this is so good it really will be an "endgame" headamp for most.

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Technical Notes series

 

Pro_iCAN05.118.png

 

Introduction

 

The “Pro series” is the flagship of the iFi range. It is an advanced, ‘one-of-a-kind’ design to perfectly suit both the professional audio and home audio sectors.

 

With 14,000mW output power and a vast range of adjustments, the Pro iCAN is a state-of-the-art component that drives ALL headphones, even electrostatic headphones like STAX (with the special external ESL module).

 

Here is some insight into the technologies used in the Pro iCAN which is packed with trickle-down technology from AMR.

Contents:

Tech Note 1: When Balanced is NOT Balanced

 

  • Typical unbalanced ‘Balanced’ headphone amplifier

 

  • True ‘Balanced’ Pro iCAN
  • The ‘Balanced’ connection [tech note on the balanced connectors]

 

 

and more...(we shall update as we go along).

Our PowerStation is here: click me!

 

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Tech Note 1:

 

True Differential Balanced®

At the upper end of the headphone amplifier market, despite the best protestations of ‘balanced’ things are not always what they seem. This is a curious case of ‘Is balance balanced?’

 

For headphones, it DOES make good design sense to implement a balanced topology (the possibility of higher power, increase dynamic range and lower noise etc.) It goes without saying that the balanced design should be balanced all the way through, ‘end-to-end.’

 

Comp Table.JPG

 

1. The not-so ‘Balanced’ headphone amplifier

 

Input/Output: Balanced

Internal Circuitry: Single-Ended

The majority of ‘balanced’ high-ended headphone amplifiers are actually single-ended amplifiers with balanced inputs and outputs. The balanced input will be converted into single-ended operation inside the amplifier, then converted back to balanced just before the output:

 

The following block diagram depicts the balanced input through to the amplifier (orange) which afterwards, reverts to single-ended and runs through many single-ended stages before then going to the balanced outputs.

 

 

 

26824d1465411923t-idsd-pro-unbalanced-balanced.jpg

 

 

In detail: The balanced input signal will first be converted into single-ended operation by extra circuitry added to the single-ended signal path. The volume control and actual headphone amplifier are formed by a pure, single-ended circuit.

 

To provide balanced drive to the headphone, the signal is inverted using more circuitry added to the single-ended audio path.

 

A sure fire giveaway of such circuitry is the use of a 2-Deck volume control (c.f. 4-Deck for true balanced circuitry), as well as having more than four gain/current buffer blocks among two channels.

 

At the input, the additional balanced to single-ended conversion circuit generates extra noise on top of the volume control pot.

 

At the output, the inverter circuit used to create the balanced signal simply doubles the signal, noise and distortion of the amplifier, nothing is reduced or cancelled, only added. So one gets double the signal but also double the noise and distortion.

 

Hence this is truly a case where MORE IS LESS. There is much more circuitry, but far lesser performance, both objectively and subjectively.

 

 

2. True Differential Balanced® - Pro iCAN

 

 

Input/Output: Balanced

Internal Circuitry: Balanced

The Pro iCAN however, is true balanced end-to-end, from the input all the way through to the outputs. It operates with full-differential internal signaling, meaning the signal is always remains two separate signals of equal level but opposite polarity. This is what we call True Differential Balanced®.

 

 

TDB.jpg

 

 

 

In detail: 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 has 6-Decks, two decks each control the volume of one channel, and the other two decks are used for monitoring the volume control operation. This exceptional volume control potentiometer is custom made for iFi by ALPS Japan and has no parallel from other makers.

 

But, as the two halves of the volume control and the two halves of the amplification operate differentially, they effectively become a single stage. So the circuitry is highly elaborate in actual implementation, yet it comes down to the simplest design possible for a headphone amplifier, that is a volume control, a gain stage and a current buffer*.

 

Compared to a single-ended design with exactly the same circuit, True Differential Balanced® lowers noise by 3dB and also lowers THD dramatically over the. Additionally, it allows the signal level to be doubled, so True Differential Balanced® circuitry also produces 9dB (or 3 times) greater dynamic range.

 

Note:

In professional audio, ‘Balanced Amplifier’ only means the Input/Output connections are balanced, the internal circuits are actually single-ended (if the internal circuit is also balanced, it will be called differential).

 

But in the Hi Fi world, most people view a ‘Balanced Amplifier’ as balanced all the way, from end-to-end, and incorrectly assume even the internal circuits are balanced.

Unbalanced Balanced.jpg

Our PowerStation is here: click me!

 

Check out our Tidal MQA Set-up Guides below. 
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SS + Tube in the same gear - nice!

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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SS + Tube in the same gear - nice!

 

It is a tremendous "value" considering all it offers. I will say it again it sounds great, looks great and is built like a tank.

 

It's remote also controls volume which is a biggie for me. Many head amps do not which can be a pain when relaxing and the amp is out of reach and you have your iPhone/iPad/Android device to change your music which will vary in loudness.

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It is a tremendous "value" considering all it offers. I will say it again it sounds great, looks great and is built like a tank.

 

It's remote also controls volume which is a biggie for me. Many head amps do not which can be a pain when relaxing and the amp is out of reach and you have your iPhone/iPad/Android device to change your music which will vary in loudness.

 

Just curious, why didn't you keep it?

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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Just curious, why didn't you keep it?

 

It was a demo unit that I was asked to evaluate. I plan on buying one as soon as the initial demand is met and they are available. There was no quid pro quo on the demo just my honest assessment.

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NativeDSD's 20% discount on the previous Quad DSD tracks - Album version!

 

The overwhelming wave of feedback about this first ever Quad DSD (256fs) Sampler Album included many complements about the choice of tracks! The percussion ensemble on track 1, the voice/guitar jazz duo on track 2, the baroque solo cellist on track 3 and the classical pianist on track 4... Well, guess what?

 

Those 4 Quad DSD albums on which those 4 tracks can be found are now available with a 20% discount!

Once any or all album(s) are in your cart, apply the coupon code: 4xQUAD

** Valid through June 30th, on the Quad DSD (256fs) downloads ** Any DSD 256fs purchase generates the free option to download the Double DSD (128fs) and DSD (64fs) versions as well!

1). Smoke & Mirrors - Vanish

by: Yarlung Records (YAR15195)

https://yarlungrecords.nativedsd.com/albums/smoke-mirrors-vanish

 

cover_YAR15195DSD.jpg

2). 8 Ensembles in 1 Bit

by: Just Listen (JL002)

https://justlisten.nativedsd.com/albums/jl0028-ensembles-in-1-bit

JL002.jpg

3). Bach Cello Suites (Vol. 1)

by: Navis Classics (NC15003)

https://navisclassics.nativedsd.com/albums/NC15003-bach-cello-suites-vol-1

 

NC15003.jpg

4). Dialogue (Mozart & Chopin)

by: Eudora Records (EUDDR1402)

https://eudora.nativedsd.com/albums/mozart-chopin-dialogue

 

EUDDR1402.jpg

Our PowerStation is here: click me!

 

Check out our Tidal MQA Set-up Guides below. 
Android (Renderer) Mobile
Desktop (Decoder) via USB
Desktop (Decoder) via SPDIF

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