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Ifi ican nano - any impressions?

post #1 of 128
Thread Starter 

Hi!

 

I've noticed that there hasn't been any impressions on the Ifi ican nano (the iDSD on the other hand has got tons). I've been wondering whether anyone has tried it out yet and what impressions you guys have on it? 

 

Thanks! :)

post #2 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by WCDchee View Post
the iDSD on the other hand has got tons.

Do you mean iDSD nano? Because i can't find hardly any reviews of it.

There is a short review about ICan nano on Absolute Sound http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/first-listen-ifi-ican-nano-portable-headphone-amplifier

post #3 of 128
Thread Starter 
Yeap! Not full reviews but very favourable impressions at least smily_headphones1.gif for the ican nano however other than that initial review there havent really been any other impressions around frown.gif
post #4 of 128

Just got mine today. Only thing im noticing is a little bit of hiss (not too annoying thought) with my balanced armature iems. No hiss detected on my m50s though. Need more time with it in order to do a good review.

post #5 of 128

Hi I've just purchased the iCAN NANO yesterday from a local dealer.

Previously I went to the same shop to preview the sound of the original iCAN through a Macbook running iTUNES with USB output through the iDAC.

I was wowed by the sound through headphones such as the M50 especially. The 3D effect made the music sound more spacious and the bass boost feature really got the drivers vibrating in their housings. All in all it was a very engaging listening experience.

It was the only time I previewed it but the sound signature stayed in my head all this time till I found out that the store was selling a new version called the iCAN NANO.

I read the specs online and found the price and functions such as the battery operation very appealing as now I could get the same sound on the go. So I took the plunge and decided to buy it.

Of course I tested it out at the store first and found the effects though not as dramatic as the original iCAN, the small size and portability won me over.

*It must be noted that I found it less dramatic may be because I only tested it out through the headphone port on my iPhone 5C and perhaps, it would have reached the same level of awesomeness if it had the iDAC as a source instead.

So far I'm having fun testing it out at home after charging it and running on battery power through my HD 518 on the iPhone 5C as well as on a pair of Beats Solos that I purchased in Vietnam. (Don't judge me cause I have it, I bought it cause it was a steal of a price. Like about $30 USD and it looked and sounded like the real thing and even came with the accessories) :P

So anyway, I've been testing it on the lowest gain settins. There are dip switches on the underside of the iCAN NANO that allow you to increase the gain to suit your headphone impedance. And I have tested it out on a pair of HD 600's at the store and it can drive them well past ear splitting levels.

It's fun playing with the switches for the bass boost and 3D effect. Flicking them on and off while listening to a song. I can hear an increase in bass on the HD 518 when I have the bass switch on on but it makes the already bass heavy Beats Solo sound too boomy.

I feel I must commend the 3D effect switch as it does give a wider sound stage and makes me notice more details that I previously did not hear in the song. As well as enabling me to crank up the volume much louder which I previously could not do perhaps due to the enclosed in-your-head feeling of the music without the effect.

Bass boost and 3D effect switches both on works well with the HD 518 but only the 3D effect switch for the Beats Solos. Without the bass boost for the HD 518, with the 3D effect only, the music still sounds more detailed and wider staged but a little thin and lacking bass.

That's my review so far and yes it does produce an audible hiss when there is no music playing both with the Beats and HD 518 with the 3D effect on but I don't find it disturbing. I imagine the sound to be like a little classic analog tape hiss which I suppose helps to bring out more details? (Wild guess)

I'll be happy to answer any more questions and FYI this is my first time posting as I just signed up today but I've been a guest on these forums for perhaps a year or two already and I have to thank everyone here for their wordy contributions in the past which helped me to make more informed buying decisions when it comes to audio gear.

Cheers.

post #6 of 128

Thanks for the detailed review! Sounds like you've made a good purchase. 3D effect sounds amazing! :)

 

 

I'd like to know how the amp is driving sensitive IEMs since I'd like to boost the volume and bass (but without distortion) of my Klipsch X10s.

 

For reference these are fairly sensitive at 110dB/mW but have a higher than normal impedance (for an IEM) of 50ohms.

 

 

I'll be using a iphone4 as the source for on the go listening.

 

Thanks

post #7 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tr1ppy View Post
 

Thanks for the detailed review! Sounds like you've made a good purchase. 3D effect sounds amazing! :)

 

 

I'd like to know how the amp is driving sensitive IEMs since I'd like to boost the volume and bass (but without distortion) of my Klipsch X10s.

 

For reference these are fairly sensitive at 110dB/mW but have a higher than normal impedance (for an IEM) of 50ohms.

 

 

I'll be using a iphone4 as the source for on the go listening.

 

Thanks

 

Sensitive iems do have a slight hiss, but its hardly audible anymore when you start to pump in music. I don't remember the bass boost feature giving any extra hiss on my tf10s or w4rs. I've been using my itouch 4 with a line out, quite similar to iphone 4, so i don't think there should be any problem for you.

post #8 of 128

Hi.

I'm not an IEMs person as I generally get a discomfort after having them in my ears for too long. However my experiences are only with cheap inears and perhaps the premium ones would be much better but I digress.

So anyway, I haven't mentioned that there is some channel imbalance coming from the nanoICAN at very low levels. What I mean is when I turn the gain knob at the front to a very small degree from zero, the left channel sound kicks in first then the right comes in afterward as I turn the knob more to the right.

This only happens at like 10% volume but the rest of the way is alright and no real issues.

I only discovered it when I brought it home and hooked it up to my Audioengine D1 USB DAC that is connected to my desktop PC.

I maxed out the volume knob on the D1 first before I tried to do anything to the nanoICAN

I believe because of the DirectDrive® technology, the nanoICAN basically just boosts any gain that is fed to it from the source. So if the source gain is maxed out, you can't really use the gain knob on the nanoICAN much.

So a happy medium that I found for myself is to set the source gain at 50% then I'm able to get a usable gain knob on the nanoICAN.

Which incidentally would avoid any channel imbalance issues mentioned earlier.

Hope this helps in a way with the issue of your very sensitive IEMs.

post #9 of 128
Thread Starter 

Having used the Ican Nano for a while now, I would like to give some impressions on it. To give a little bit of a background and a comparison, I previously used the E12 before switching over to the Ican Nano. I am planning to get the Fiio X5 but until now have been using my Iphone 5 as a source. 

 

Of course, the E12 was a definite step up from the Iphone 5's headphone out directly. The sound was engaging, with great prat, very intimate sounding, luscious warm mids and lows, very nice sounding. The depth was somewhat increased, however, soundstage remained narrow as from the iphone 5's headphone out. The separation was also mediocre, basically the spatial representation was nothing to be too proud of.

 

Now, after using the Ican Nano for a while, I find the sound to be less coloured than that of the E12, it is very transparent, more laid back in presentation, overall giving smoother tones across the spectrum. the soundstage is significantly better and coming from the iphone's headphone out or the E12, it immediately gives a much better sense of space, both in width and depth. The music becomes a lot more immersive, and separation is greatly improved. All in all, there is a much more coherent spatial representation in the music. more complicated passages are also better navigated as a result. Even when I tried it with the Fiio X5, I noticed that there was an improvement from the X5's own internal amp despite the x5 having an already excellent headphone out.

 

Just my subjective opinions!

post #10 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by WCDchee View Post
 

Having used the Ican Nano for a while now, I would like to give some impressions on it. To give a little bit of a background and a comparison, I previously used the E12 before switching over to the Ican Nano. I am planning to get the Fiio X5 but until now have been using my Iphone 5 as a source. 

 

Of course, the E12 was a definite step up from the Iphone 5's headphone out directly. The sound was engaging, with great prat, very intimate sounding, luscious warm mids and lows, very nice sounding. The depth was somewhat increased, however, soundstage remained narrow as from the iphone 5's headphone out. The separation was also mediocre, basically the spatial representation was nothing to be too proud of.

 

Now, after using the Ican Nano for a while, I find the sound to be less coloured than that of the E12, it is very transparent, more laid back in presentation, overall giving smoother tones across the spectrum. the soundstage is significantly better and coming from the iphone's headphone out or the E12, it immediately gives a much better sense of space, both in width and depth. The music becomes a lot more immersive, and separation is greatly improved. All in all, there is a much more coherent spatial representation in the music. more complicated passages are also better navigated as a result. Even when I tried it with the Fiio X5, I noticed that there was an improvement from the X5's own internal amp despite the x5 having an already excellent headphone out.

 

Just my subjective opinions!

 

What kind of battery life are you experiencing, and what kind of headphones are you using with it?

post #11 of 128
Thread Starter 

Battery life is nothing short of amazing. Ifi has rated up to 70 hours, and well, I have never even gotten to the stage where I had to charge it. After owning it for about close to two months i have only charged it once, and not because it was flat but because I was going on a short trip. The battery life isn't something you should be worrying about :) I currently use it with the focal spirit ones.

post #12 of 128
Thanks Zayer and Ravincia for the feedback! smily_headphones1.gif

Just one more thing, does anyone know what the bass boost is like in terms of frequency range; does it boost sub bass (<64Hz) or is it more of a mid-bass boost (~64-200Hz)?
post #13 of 128
Thread Starter 
Its definitely much more of a sub bass boost. Not by too much though, im hazarding a guess at under 50hz peak. It doesnt make your music all that bassier but rather goves it more weight and body, making things potentially fuller. Imho really useful in solving the sub bass roll off found in many headphones.
post #14 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by WCDchee View Post

Its definitely much more of a sub bass boost. Not by too much though, im hazarding a guess at under 50hz peak. It doesnt make your music all that bassier but rather goves it more weight and body, making things potentially fuller. Imho really useful in solving the sub bass roll off found in many headphones.

Thanks WCDchee, just the answer I was hoping for lol! I listen to a lot of dnb and deep house so hopefully this will bring out the much needed low end weight these kind of tracks call for
post #15 of 128
Anyone have both the original iCan Micro and the new iCan Nano? It'd be nice to see a detailed review on the comparisons between the two, if only to see how well iFi managed to make a portable version of its much beloved predecessor. The biggest changes I can see are the lowered gain and output power, but those aren't problems since they're both understandable (while the Micro is slightly bigger and can be made portable with a battery pack, the Nano is designed as an actual portable amp) and expected (portable headphones and IEMs generally don't need as much volume blasting anyway). In particular, I'm quite curious about how well the level of the 3D and XBass are preserved since they're unique highlights of these amps.
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