Great headphone sound? It’s in the CAN! iFi audio ZEN CAN!
Aug 3, 2020 at 9:03 PM Post #35 of 450

Bazaar

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This post contains more info on the upgraded components, note that both the amp and DAC feature upgraded components. It's one of the reasons I bought the pair, to use together, vs. just getting the Zen CAN or Zen CAN Signature HDxx and pairing it w/ my (existing) Zen DAC.

ZEN CAN Signature 6XX
iFi audio ZEN CAN Signature 6XX will feature sophisticated circuit design and high end components as also found on the Pro iCAN to produce class-leading results in the traditional measures of performance such as THD, noise floor, output power, etc.

ZEN DAC Signature
Where the Signature stands out is its upgraded circuitry with premium parts selection for unparalleled analog conversion. The Signature features high-end, low-noise capacitors and resistors found in iFi’s flagship Pro series to preserve the signal in the purest form. Any downstream amplifier will sound crystal-clear when paired with this game-changing amp, but the ZEN DAC Signature (with its balanced circuit and 4.4mm output) makes an exceptional duo with the purpose co-designed ZEN CAN Signature 6XX.

Will it make an appreciable difference? Dunno, have to wait until November to find out. :)
 
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Aug 4, 2020 at 6:27 AM Post #36 of 450
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Aug 4, 2020 at 8:21 AM Post #37 of 450

EdgeOfSound

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Received my CAN a day earlier than expected. WIN! Been trying it out with my laptop and phone (Huawei P40 Pro). I'm listening through a DT1990 Pro. I've gone with the +12dB gain. My normal listening volume would be with the volume dial at 9 o'clock and 12 o'clock on the louder end. In general it definitely sounds better. Apart from my headphone this is the only other piece of head-fi gear I have so I can't really say how good it is but I am happy that it makes the music sound fuller. With the XBass setting there is more low end but this doesn't seem to be the case with all music that I listen to. I can only assume that this is because the bass boost is at a lower frequency than some of the acoustic music I listen to.

When used with my P40 Pro (phone) which has a better DAC and more of a V-shaped sound than my laptop basically everything I hear is more exaggerated compared to what I get from the laptop. Which does make me want to get a Zen DAC now :)

I do wish the CAN had a USB input though but luckily I had a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter so that came in handy.

Lastly the build quality of the CAN is nice. Only gripe is that the buttons spin. I wished they didn't. I makes me feel a bit uneasy although I don't imagine it's going to fall off any time soon :) (I hope)
 
Aug 4, 2020 at 8:33 AM Post #38 of 450

Baten

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Received my CAN a day earlier than expected. WIN! Been trying it out with my laptop and phone (Huawei P40 Pro). I'm listening through a DT1990 Pro. I've gone with the +12dB gain. My normal listening volume would be with the volume dial at 9 o'clock and 12 o'clock on the louder end. In general it definitely sounds better. Apart from my headphone this is the only other piece of head-fi gear I have so I can't really say how good it is but I am happy that it makes the music sound fuller. With the XBass setting there is more low end but this doesn't seem to be the case with all music that I listen to. I can only assume that this is because the bass boost is at a lower frequency than some of the acoustic music I listen to.

When used with my P40 Pro (phone) which has a better DAC and more of a V-shaped sound than my laptop basically everything I hear is more exaggerated compared to what I get from the laptop. Which does make me want to get a Zen DAC now :)

I do wish the CAN had a USB input though but luckily I had a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter so that came in handy.

Lastly the build quality of the CAN is nice. Only gripe is that the buttons spin. I wished they didn't. I makes me feel a bit uneasy although I don't imagine it's going to fall off any time soon :) (I hope)
Nice! For now, enjoy the new gear :wink: don't look at new things right away Lol!
 
Aug 4, 2020 at 8:35 AM Post #39 of 450
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Received my CAN a day earlier than expected. WIN! Been trying it out with my laptop and phone (Huawei P40 Pro). I'm listening through a DT1990 Pro. I've gone with the +12dB gain. My normal listening volume would be with the volume dial at 9 o'clock and 12 o'clock on the louder end. In general it definitely sounds better. Apart from my headphone this is the only other piece of head-fi gear I have so I can't really say how good it is but I am happy that it makes the music sound fuller. With the XBass setting there is more low end but this doesn't seem to be the case with all music that I listen to. I can only assume that this is because the bass boost is at a lower frequency than some of the acoustic music I listen to.

When used with my P40 Pro (phone) which has a better DAC and more of a V-shaped sound than my laptop basically everything I hear is more exaggerated compared to what I get from the laptop. Which does make me want to get a Zen DAC now :)

I do wish the CAN had a USB input though but luckily I had a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter so that came in handy.

Lastly the build quality of the CAN is nice. Only gripe is that the buttons spin. I wished they didn't. I makes me feel a bit uneasy although I don't imagine it's going to fall off any time soon :) (I hope)

Thanks for your feedback!

As for USB input, well, it's a headphone amp only, so it doesn't need one :)
 
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Aug 4, 2020 at 9:18 AM Post #44 of 450
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iFi audio ZEN CAN - Tech Note 1/2

1.jpg


Executive Summary

A revolutionary analogue headphone amplifier. Your headphones will sound like never before.
  • Passionately designed balanced amp with latest 4.4mm Pentaconn connectors for input and output
  • Circuit design derived from our $1,799 flagship Pro iCAN
  • Proven 3D and XBass analogue signal processing circuits
Introducing a new headphone/pre-amp that will punch well above its price class.

The ZEN CAN is not to be confused with our ZEN CAN Signature 6XX amp which was launched recently in the US market via the DROP platform. The Signature version was specially designed to drive the Sennheiser 6XX headphone range so is a specialist match made in heaven. Our ZEN CAN headphone amp is designed to drive ALL manner of headphones.

Designing an OK headphone amplifier is easy.

Boutique Op-Amp + Output Stage + Vol control + power supply = voila!

But this is approach is not ideal.
  • Fixed gain creates more noise
  • Single signal input with lack of load matching means limited source flexibility
  • Lack of EQ & sound-field corrections hampers listening enjoyment

Designing a one-of-a-kind balanced headphone amplifier like the ZEN CAN is not.

Inputs

  • A dedicated input circuit stage pairs sources & adjusts levels to match
  • eg Pentaconn 4.4. at 24k Ohm/high impedance and a 1M Ohm for SE input avoids loading the source, the amplifier remains in Class A operation for lowest distortion

Class A Balanced/SE amplifier
  • Draws heavily from the iFi’s flagship Pro iCAN, using the same discrete Class A output buffer combined with a J-FET Op-Amp (OV2637A)
  • Super-low loading means exceptionally low distortion
  • FET input avoids loading volume control – low distortion/noise
  • Low impedance feedback circuit enhances circuit performance and totally avoids resistor noise
  • Output amplifier gain of four steps in +6dB perfect for headphone matching
  • Output stage drives headphones effortlessly and least noise/distortion
  • Full protection of headphones/amplifier from overload/shorts

Equalisation and sound-field know-how
  • XBass for adding back the lost bass for headphones, most especially open-backed headphones
  • 3D for ‘in-room speaker listening’ as opposed to ‘in-head listening’

Power Supply
  • ‘Pro’ series Stealth mode voltage conversion circuit
  • Large inductor/capacitor filtering and ‘isolation’ power supply means separate audio to power circuit
  • 4,000uF power supply capacitance acts as huge ‘power reservoir for short transient signals (ie: music signals)

MCU Control
  • FET-based switching to avoid distortion/noise which is measured below limit of Audio Precision2
  • FET-based switches are 100% sonically transparent and handle ‘beyond rails’ peak signals
  • MCU and LED do not pollute music signal as they are in ‘wake mode’ only when actioned. If not in use they default to ‘sleep mode’ even during listening to music

All these factors and ground-up custom designs mean that the ZEN CAN looks different and is different by offering outstanding performance in a compact platform
 
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