Pros: Portable high power amp, battery powered
Cons: XBass and 3D can be over exaggerating the sound at times
iFi iCan is 1 lightweight portable amp which IMO can be used to power mid difficulty driving headphones.
Turning the knob to power on it, it's that easy, but the power indicator could be larger. A tiny pin hole with color indicator only can make the battery life a little hard to predict.
Under the iCan are 2 gain switches and 2 beside volume knob to activate them. Putting both of them on will color the sound more than it already does. Some song may suit them but for me, it's definitely not my thing. SO, I'm reviewing it under all switches off.
Setup: iFi iUSB + UD120 + iCan + HD650
Song album: Hardwired by Metallica
Bass is lightweight, just sufficient and accurate. Not much bloat and with good drum kicks heard. Bass guitars can be heard striking heavily, giving the song a little mood that it needs.
Mid / Vocals
Guitars are very clearly heard with every strike, and is quite forward sounding. Vocals wise is slightly laid back, not sure if it's the album mastering that lets the guitar be a bit more powerful, which is a Metallica taste IMO. Totally love them with the iFi iCan if you love guitar ripping the **** out and head bang to it.Not to say that the vocals are muffled though, dont get me wrong, speech wise it is very clear, i can follow lyrics exactly on point, although strong guitars.
The treble of the iCan is cripsy and sharp, even with all the mix of guitar raffles and so much distortion guitar sounds going off, I can still hear the high hats and where they are positioned in the back, which is great! Micro details dont get lost by the overwhelming mixes that some hardware fail to completely put it out.
For soundstage, I need a change of song since Hardwired is a studio album, so I went for Nightwish instead. They have a mixture of female vocals, orchestra and metal. Symphonic metal, oh yeah..
The soundstage isnt exactly wide per se, but the hall feeling of it still exist, with positioning going a full circle, and echoes going off but not overly extended. You wouldnt get a grand hall symphonic feeling, but a small audiotorium housing say.. 300 people? You will be positioned roughly in the best seat of a cinema, with even the slight left and rights being accurate as it is.
To me, since I have the mojo, which is much lighter and way more efficient and cleaner, I would give this a pass, but if for folks starting out and wanting to explore the beginnings of an audiophile, this might be a good spot to start off, since it has sufficient power too for some of the crazier headphones around town.