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iFi Pro iCAN 国外评测

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发表于 2018-9-29 12:33 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
СИСТЕМА
  • Источники:
    • ноутбук Apple MacBook Air A1465
    • ЦАП Schiit Modi Multibit
  • Телефонный усилитель Stax SRM-727II
  • Интегральный усилитель Audio Analogue Cresendo
  • Наушники Stax SR-307, SR-507, SR-L700, Sennheiser HD-800s
  • Кабели:
    • цифровой USB InAkustik Referenz High Speed USB 2.0
    • межблочные RealCable CA1801 (модифицированный)
    • акустические InAkustik Referenz LS-502
    • балансный для наушников D.Head Cable SS-20

Согласующий усилитель iFi Pro iESL
Производитель: iFi Audio/Abbingdon Music Research (Великобритания)
www.ifi-audio.com
Входы: HDMI ESL Link, балансный XLR (4 pin), Speaker L/R || Выходы: Normal (6 pin) и Custom/Pro (5 pin) для электростатических телефонов, XLR (4 pin) для динамических балансных наушников || Максимальное выходное напряжение: 640/320 В (на нагрузку 16/64 Ом при входном напряжении 20 В) || Воспроизводимый диапазон: 5 — 50 000 Гц (при неравномерности -3 дБ) || Потребляемая мощность: менее 1 Вт || Габариты: 213 х 63,3 х 206 мм || Масса, кг: 2,5 || Цена: 118 188 руб.

  详细评测请点击此网址查看http://www.salonav.com/arch/2017 ... el-ifi-pro-iesl.htm

 楼主| 发表于 2018-10-8 11:34 | 显示全部楼层
Test ampli casque iFi Pro iCAN : Tubes et/ou Transistors pas besoin de choisir

Publié par Pierre-Yves Maton le 13 janvier 2017. Publié dans Tests - auditions privées
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Dès ses débuts, la marque britannique iFi Audio nous a habitués à des productions audiophiles abordables telles que le l’iCan ou encore l’iDac dont nous nous sommes fait l’écho dans nos colonnes. Mais voilà qu’elle nous revient avec un amplificateur beaucoup plus haut de gamme pour casque fonctionnant avec un circuit à tubes ou à transistors; un appareil censé ravir les professionnels comme les audiophiles avertis.

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CE TEST A éTé PUBLIé DANS NOTRE GUIDE 2017 DES CASQUES ET éCOUTEURS AUDIOPHILES
RETROUVEZ TOUS NOS TESTS DANS NOS GUIDES EN LIGNE.
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En 2013, nous avions salué le débarquement  de cette nouvelle marque anglaise en France qui proposait un amplificateur analogique pour casque iCAN, un modèle très musical grace à ses circuits en Classe A. Son design était assez avenant et la qualité de fabrication d’un niveau plutôt poussé. Ce modèle était accompagné également d’un convertisseur nomade iDAC avec la possibilité d’y adjoindre une unité USB Power une alimentation externe bien utile avec un ordinateur. Le succès fut rapide car derrière la marque iFi Audio se cache la société ARM pour Abbingdon Music Research, une marque très réputée outre-manche pour ses appareils audio de haut vol. En effet, pêchant dans ses technologies haut de gamme, son offre d'appareils plus abordables, avec la marque iFi Audio, a immédiatement séduit bien des mélomanes. Depuis, la gamme iFi Audio s’est à la fois différenciée avec deux nouvelles séries Nano et  Micro et les modèles du début ont subis bien des améliorations avec l’iCAN SE ou encore l’iDAC2.

Mais avec l’iFi Pro iCAN d’aujourd’hui, ARM change quelque peu de registre. Cet amplificateur pour casque haut de gamme reste totalement analogique et tranche avec le reste de la production iFi Audio et même de la production mondiale car la marque propose là un appareil qui peut fonctionner soit à transistors soit à tubes. Les puissances comme la connectique sont beaucoup plus étendues, et le schéma totalement symétrique. Cet ampli casque conserve néanmoins les originalités de la marque comme deux fonctionnalités propriétaires : le 3D Holographic et le X-Bass.

Un hublot pour voir les tubes de puissance étinceler

Question esthétique, le format de ce nouvel arrivant change littéralement avec une forme plus classique, l’habillage en alliage couleur argent mat restant comme une marque de fabrique. En effet, à la place de la forme tout en longueur des autres modèles nous trouvons un boitier presque cubique plus traditionnel qu’ornent des ondulations de métal sur ses trois côtés tandis que sur le dessus un petit hublot permettra de voir le rougeoiement des tubes lorsqu’ils sont actifs. La face avant et celle de l’arrière sont extrêmement bien garnies, ceci donnant une bonne idée de la connectique complète comme des possibilités offertes par l’Ican Pro.
Nous ne comptons pas moins de quatre entrées analogiques dont trois RCA et une symétrique avec prises XLR. Une double sortie, reprenant les mêmes standards (RCA et XLR) est placée juste à côté pour le raccordement à un préampli, un ampli intégré, des enceintes actives ou un bloc de puissance. La prise d’alimentation 15V est raccordée à un second connecteur de sortie pour alimenter un autre appareil tandis qu’un port iFi Electrostatic Add-On-Module permettra l’utilisation d’un casque électrostatique. A ce titre, une alimentation externe digne d’un ordinateur est livrée d’origine, elle développe 4 ampères sous 15 volts.
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Une connectique qui voit large

à l’avant, 5 branchements pour casque sont disponibles : deux asymétriques (mini-jack 3.25 mm et jack 6.35 mm) et 3 symétriques sur prise XLR 4 broches, jack 3.25 mm ou double jack. Deux gros bouton rotatif occupent les côtés droit et gauche. Le sélecteur de source à gauche reprend les quatre entrées tandis que celui à droite ordonne le volume. Viennent ensuite deux autres sélecteurs qui serviront aux réglages des fonctions XBass et 3D Holographic. La première agit sur le signal en corrigeant les manques de basses de certains casques avec une augmentation maximale de 12 dB aux fréquences 10, 20 et 40Hz, tandis que la seconde a pour but de réduire les distorsions des enregistrements tout en augmentant l’ampleur de la scène sonore. Pour finir cette description, ne ratons pas les deux petits inverseurs situés juste en dessous : l'un permet d’augmenter le gain entre 0 et 18 dB, l’autre de choisir le mode de fonctionnement du double étage de puissance du Pro iCan : transistors, tubes ou tube Plus (avec contre-réaction limitée). Voilà bien une originalité que nous n’avons jamais vue auparavant.

Deux amplis en un

Une fois le capot retiré, nous arrivons au cœur de la technologie très particulière du Ifi Audio Pro iCan. Le circuit principal regroupe presque tous les éléments de l’appareil sauf les circuits d’alimentation et de stabilisation des tensions qui ne comprennent pas moins de 8 condensateurs de filtrage de 1000 μF/25 V et deux autres de 100 μF/50V avec transistors associés. Tous ces composants sont implantés sur une carte déportée à gauche de l’appareil. à l’opposé, une carte fille accueille un étage de puissance à tubes avec une paire de General Electric Nos 5670, des doubles triodes qui firent leurs débuts à l’aube des années 1940. Ils sont précédés de deux transistors de chez On Semicondutor en guise de drivers.
L’étage de puissance à transistors du Pro iCan est configuré en entrée autour de modèles bipolaires J-FET à très faible distorsion suivis par un double étage avec transistors Mosfet polarisés en classe AB. Ces derniers sont rangés sur deux lignes parfaitement parallèles (deux fois cinq paires par chaque canal) sur le dessous de la carte mère avec un dissipateur thermique à ailettes que l’on voit bien en plein milieu de l’appareil. D’autre part, tous ces circuits fonctionnent en mode symétrique depuis l’entrée jusqu’à la sortie, ce qui élimine des étages et des composants symétriseurs donc une dégradation des signaux.
Le Pro iCan possède un potentiomètre de volume motorisé Alps dont la rotation est assurée par un circuit L9110S. Nous parlons ici de la version avec six connecteurs, dont quatre sont utilisées pour un réglage optimal et précis du volume. Au plus près de ce contrôle de volume, nous distinguons également un ampli opérationnel de précision et faible bruit Burr Brown OPA1654 et sur la partie gauche de cet ampli, encore d’autres composants tels des condensateurs à film plastique pour la tension de polarisation élevée qui servira à l’alimentation d’un casque électrostatique, connectable depuis le port prévu à cet effet.

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Nous ne pouvons qu’admirer l’ingéniosité de la marque Ifi Audio comme sa volonté d’aller jusqu’au bout de sa logique pour offrir à l’utilisateur, tant particulier que professionnel, un appareil pouvant répondre à tous les cas de figure. Les puissances annoncées le prouvent avec jusqu'à 14 watts sous 16 Ω. Même les casques les plus difficiles seront aux anges avec cet appareil.

Ecoute

Avec autant de possibilités, l’iFi Pro iCAN est tout à la fois une aubaine pour son utilisateur et un casse-tête à qui veut le cerner sur son aspect musical. Quelle est la plus juste configuration à adopter pour le décrire au mieux ? Suite à quelques essais avec plusieurs casques nous avons écarté les deux fonctions XBass et 3D Holographic qui n’apportaient assez gadgets. Mais reste le plus important : le mode d’amplification : tubes ou transistors ? Et là ce sera aussi une question de goût pour l’auditeur, et pourquoi pas aussi de type de musique. Néanmoins, il apparaît que le premier type d’amplification offre plus de chaleur et de densité à l’équilibre tonal, en perdant quelque peu en tension et en nervosité dans le registre grave. En mode transistors, nous sentons que  les différents casques sont bienmieux tenus avec une belle maîtrise des transitoires.
Le son est aérien, léger et d’une très belle analyse. Le haut du spectre est lumineux avec une profusion de détails qui en fait la signature sonore. L’exemple nous en ait donné avec les sœurs Ibeyi qui sont d’une magnifique présence scénique. Leurs voix ne masquent en rien tous les détails des instruments qui les accompagnent. Les différents bruits comme du verre tapé du morceau Ghost et les effets de réverbération sont reproduits avec une précision qui rends la restitution très vivante mais sans pour autant devenir trop décharnée. Certes en passant en mode tubes, il y a plus de poids sur les notes comme si les timbres des voix avaient descendu d’un ton. Idem sur tous les instruments placés légèrement en arrière, mais on se surprend à regretter le côté nerveux et vif de la configuration avec la section à transitors.
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Alors nous sommes passés sur de la musique Classique avec le fichier des Concertos pour Violon BWV 1041-1043 de  J.S Bach joué par l’Ars Antiqua Austria dirigé par Gunar Letzbor tout en basculant sur la section amplificatrice à tubes. L’ensemble est très relevé mais gagne en réalisme. Il s’appuie sur une dynamique des petits signaux qui offre à cette interprétation un aspect des plus vivant tout en conservant de l’épaisseur. Le rang des violons brillent sans étinceler trop artificiellement, les isntruments à cordes savent conserver toutes leur étendue spectrale et les harmoniques ne sont pas tronqués une seule seconde. La ligne basse est bien soutenue, et le boisé de certains instruments à vent est bien plus apparent. Il est clair qu’en passant en amplification à tubes, on gagne en véracité sur les timbres.

Cet iFi Pro iCAN a plusieurs visages manifestement. Il sera se montrer chaleureux tout en remplissant l’espace sonore de façon très convaicante avec son étage à tubes, comme il s’évertuera à une analyse plus fine et fouillé avec celui doté de transistors. Un appareil que l’on pourra adapter au fil des écoutes et de son goût.

Le site de la marque : ifi-audio.com

L'iFi Pro iCAN décortiqué par On-mag

Spécifications

Connectique d’entrée : 3x analogiques RCA asymétrique + 1x symétrique XLR
Connectique préampli : 1x asymétrique RCA et 2x symétriques XLR
Sorties casque : 2x asymétrique sur jack 6.35 mm et 3,25 mm; 3x symétriques sur XLR, jack 3,25 mm et double jack 6,35 mm
Puissance sortie casque : 14 watts en symétrique et 4,8 watts en asymétrique sous 16 Ω
Gain : 0, 9, 18 dB (sélectionnable)
Distorsion THD : <  0.0004%/<0.004% (transistor), < 0.0005%/<0.005% (Tube)
<0.1%/< 0.01% (Tube +)
Rapport signal/bruit : > 147 dB (A), > 137 dB (B)
Réponse en fréquence : 0.5 à 500 kHz à -3 dB
Dimensions : 213 x 63.3 x 192.5 mm (LxHxP)
Poids : 1.3 kg
Prix : 1950
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 楼主| 发表于 2018-10-9 14:47 | 显示全部楼层
以下来自B9Scrambler评测,详细查看https://www.head-fi.org/showcase ... eviews#review-17997

Pros - Lots of useful features - Clean sound and background - Very powerful - Tons of input and output options
Cons - Difficult to read labels - Tiny switches may be tough for some to grip - Limited to ability to stack with non iFi Pro range products due to tube protruding from the top of unit - Gets quite warm (not so much a negative as a head-up)
Greetings!

Today we're checking out iFi's top tier hybrid amp extraordinaire, the Pro iCAN.

Any time I'm in a thread or forum where someone is asking for a suggestion on which new amplifier to buy, inevitably someone will throw one of iFi's many options into the mix. With such a vast selection of products to choose from, and with a positive reputation to back it all up, it's not particularly surprising. Almost every review of a product of theirs is rife with praise and positivity, regardless of whether the review is coming from someone like myself who was loaned a unit to check out, or from a legitimate customer who simply wants to share their experiences with others who might be interested in buying the same thing.

I really don't enjoy reviewing devices and prefer to stick to headphones and earphones, so when Lawrance at iFi reached out to see if I would be interested in reviewing a product of theirs, their reputation in the community was more-or-less the deciding factor. I wanted to see what makes the iFi brand so beloved in the audio community. The Pro iCAN was selected almost exclusively for the purposes of getting the most out of the HiFiMan Susvara.

Before we get started, I want you to know that my experience with other iFi products is nil and other amplifiers limited at best, boiling down to my current headphone amp, the TEAC HA-501, a few old Kenwood's from the 90's, a classic Marantz Model 3800, and an NAD C 356BEE owned by my cousin. I've also messed around with countless other stereos belonging to others but not enough to know them inside and out. If you're expecting a technical, in-depth look at the Pro iCAN, you might want to check out some other reviews. Mine will be a subjective take on this compact powerhouse.

I also come from a psychology background and as a result my writing can be quite sterile. I can't wax poetic like some other reviewers unless a product really grabs my attention in a particular way, something amps and players haven't really done for me yet. In my world, they're really just there to transmit music to the headphone with little need for in depth features or fancy gimmicks. All I want is for them to be intuitive to use and to stay out of the way of the music. The Pro iCAN does both of those things very well, while also containing a slew of features and things that could be considered gimmicks if they weren't implemented so well.
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Disclaimer:

The Pro iCAN was a loaner unit sent over by iFi for the purposes of review. Thanks to Lawrance for reaching out to see if I would be interested in checking out one of their products, and for suggesting the Pro iCAN. As this was a loaner, it was sent back to iFi.

At the time of this review the Pro iCan retailed for 1,600 USD; https://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/pro-ican/

Specifications:
Gain: 0dB, 9dB and 18dB user-selectable
Frequency Response: 0.5Hz to 500kHz(-3dB)
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD, Balanced/Single-Ended):
Balanced SE 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): >14,000mW / >4,800mW
Output Voltage (600Ω, Balanced/Single-Ended): >23V / >11.5V
Input Voltage (Pro iCAN): DC 9V/6.7A – 18V/3.35A
Input Voltage (iPower Plus): AC 85 – 265V, 50/60Hz
Power Consumption: ≤ 22W idle, 50W max.
Dimensions: 213(l) x 192.5(w) x 63.3(h) mm
Weight: 1.93kg (4.3lbs)
Test conditions: Gain = 0dB, 0.775V(0dBu) with 300 Ohm load unless stated otherwise
SNR Balanced re 23V, SNR SE re. 11.5V
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Packaging, Build, Features, Sound, and Other Stuff:

I'm used to my stereo equipment arriving in a fairly basic cardboard box with some branding, model numbers, and some other random stuff plastered on the outside. Open it up and the device is usually wrapped in a sheet of plastic and tucked in some squeeky foam cutouts. There's usually a manual that could have been crafted from any standard printer, then folded and stapled. To say the unboxing experiences are unremarkable and completely forgettable would be an understatement. iFi's unboxing experience on the other hand is a little more modern and less sterile than that.

The Pro iCAN's shock-white box and minimal branding, limited to iFi in silver letting on the top and two sides has an Apple-level of minimalism and style to it. The exterior sleeve, which shows images of the front, side, and rear of the iCAN along with a list of specs and features shakes things up a bit. Inside, you're immediately greeted by the iCAN nestled in a soft foam ring shaped perfectly to fit around the plethora of knobs, inputs, outputs, and other protrusions present on the device. Below in a few segmented compartments are the remote, power brick and cable, along with a short audio cable.

The Pro iCAN itself is a solid and hefty device considering it's compact size. The all-metal shell is nicely constructed with clean cutouts in the rough shape of a rippling wave emitting from the tube. The rest of the shell has a broad corrugation to it which is subtle but looks pleasant. Its too bad that effect doesn't carry over to the faceplate which maintains a simple rectangular shape, breaking design cohesion. On the bottom isn't the usual rubber pad per corner, but one large silicone pad with an indent for stacking the iCAN with their other flagship device, the iESL. As others have mentioned, this large silicone pad lets the iCAN pivot or slide around more than it should. A mild annoyance at worst for me. What annoyed me more was the labeling of the various dials and knobs. The matte silver writing on the silver faceplate meant they were washed out in certain lighting conditions or at specific angles. Not an issue after a couple days with the device as it is fairly intuitive to use. All the iCAN's functions fell to hand without much thought after getting used to the layout.

When it comes it inputs, outputs, and options, the iCAN should have most users more than covered. This is a very flexible device, much more so than my equivalently priced TEAC HA-501 which is simple and barren in comparison. On the front of the iCAN, starting from the left, you find the power button and LED indicator, input knob, XBass selector, switch for moving between solid state/mixed/tube-only functions, left balanced input, standard 3.5mm input, 4-pin balanced XLR input, right balanced input which doubles as a 1/4” input, 3.5mm balanced input, 3D effect selector, gain selector, volume knob, and the IR receiver for the remote. And that's just on the front. Flip to the back and you've got another set of balanced XLR inputs, three RCA inputs, balanced XLR outputs, an unbalanced RCA output, a DC loop-out, ESL-link, and the 15V/4A DC input for the power brick. That's a lot of holes in a reasonably small device. The most amazing part is that it's all laid out in a very neat and uniform manner where everything is easy to access, though the two toggle switches on the front for the state selection and gain are quite small.
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While I appreciate the inclusion of the remote, it found little use while this unit was in my possession. One reason being the iCAN was almost always within reach, usually sitting a couple feet from me on my desk so there was zero need for the remote. The other being the remote adjusts volume only, and each adjustment required an individual press of the button. Maybe the battery was low, I didn't have another to test it with, but you couldn't simply hold the button down to adjust volume. Being the impatient person that I am, I'm much more likely to get up and walk across the room to adjust volume rather than chill in my chair and press a button countless times. Sure, I'd rather have the remote than not, but overall it wasn't particularly useful.

What was useful was just how wonderful this unit sounded and paired with nearly everything I threw it's way. One thing users won't be wanting is extra power, that's for sure. As mentioned earlier, the primary reason for selecting this amp was to get the most out of the Susvara from HiFiMan, a top of the line, full-sized planar magnetic headphone. It doesn't take much to get it up to volume, but to get the most out of it's dynamic performance it does take some proper driving power. My TEAC HA-501 just barely does the job. The iCAN did not disappoint.

With the Susvara plugged into the balanced 4-pin Neutrik XLR input, hybrid state selected for a touch of warmth, XBass off and 3D Enhancement off, gain set to +18, I sat down and leaned back in my leather Lazyboy recliner with the lights off and a HiFi E.T. MA8 sourcing Supertramp's “Crime of the Century”. The next 44 minutes were utter bliss. Rick Davies' harmonica solo leading off the album on the track “School” sounded beyond crisp. The following build up to the piano solo and eventual battle between Davies' chunky guitar work and Hodgson's unique vocals egging Davies on set the stage for the rest of the listening session. “Asylum” ended up the next highlight with the iCAN sketching out and defining the soft piano work, swells of emotion from the eventual strings and guitars filtering in as the track progressed. And of course, Hodgson's wailing vocals begging not to be admitted, pleading his case for sanity. On my favorite track, “Rudy”, the iCAN's outstanding separation paired with the Susvara's technical excellence surrounded you in the mellow, weightless piano work dancing in the background. At around 1:20, the pulsing swells of strings were perfectly captured by the iCAN as it worked in conjunction with the Susvara. Around 4:00 things get 70's with a wakka wakka guitar groove kicking in. Hodgson's vocals shift stage from back and to the left with a subtle filter placed overtop, to dead centre and clear as day. The iCAN's outstanding sound stage and layered presentation really aided in giving this track depth and urgency, especially in the closing moments where strings appear again, pulsing louder and louder only to fade into “If Everyone Was Listening”. Closing out the album is another excellent entry in the Supertramp portfolio, the title track “Crime of the Century”. Paired with the iCAN, the dark, heavy tones and pained guitar solo oozed emotion and feeling, even more so when swapping away from the iCAN's hybrid setup to tube only where the presentation takes on a slightly softer, warmer tone. I've listened to this album countless times over the years, front to back. Never was I pulled in quite to the same extent as I was when experiencing it again through the Susvara and iCAN. It was something truly special.

That feeling carried over into every subsequent listening session as I experienced my favorite albums for the first time all over again. It wasn't just good for music either. Wipeout 2048 on the PS Vita is one of my favorite games and can be an intense experience with headphones, even through that tiny screen. It's fast paced with some pretty outstanding sound design. Filtering it through the iCAN and Susvara was such a hilariously overkill experience to have with a mobile video game, and I loved every second of it.
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Additional Notes:

Since reviewing devices isn't my forte, here are some additional observations about the device gathered through use during the couple months the Pro iCAN was in my possession. I was having trouble working it naturally into the review. Instead of forcing it, you can read these details in a more easily digested form.

Solid State (Blue light): In this state, I found the iCAN to present with a very precise, detailed sound with very little coloration. It was nearly analytic in it's presentation giving the Susvara additional definition to it's note presentation. I really enjoyed pairing the iCAN on this setting with warmer headphones like the thinksound On2, A-Audio Legacy, and Polk Audio Buckle.

Hybrid (Yellow): Here the iCAN sounded quite similar to running in solid state mode, but with some added warmth and a softer note presentation. I found running it in this mode extremely flexible, pairing well with everything. The Susvara especially sounded lovely during hybrid playback, maintaining it's natural warmth but gaining a bit of additional precision.

Tube (Green): If set to tube more, turning on the iCAN cold would net a relaxed 25 second boot time as the tubes warmed up. Switching from other states after the device was already one was much quicker, as would be expected. Also expected was the iCAN to show off a warmer, softer tone than running in the other modes, though it still wasn't quite a lush sounding in this setting as my solid state TEAC, something that took me by surprise. Vocals in this mode were smoother and slightly less detailed, but damn if you couldn't listen for hours on end without experiencing fatigue. I really like pairing brighter headphones like the HiFiMan HE-350, Philips SHP-9500S, or AKG K553 Pro with the iCAN on this setting. The Susvara sounded best here with classic rock and metal.

Xbass: Unlike more traditional bass enhancement features, it doesn't simply increase bass across the board but focuses on specific frequencies, namely 10Hz, 20Hz, and 40Hz. This will come in handy for addressing limitations in your headphones. It came into play for watching movies and with the K553 Pro which made use of the 10Hz boost, giving it some extra grunt in the lower bass where I find it lacking.

3D Sound Enhancement: Beyond the initial 30+ option, this feature didn't do much to the Susvara. Maxed out it also took away from the impact of bass and deeper tones. It's impact was much more noticeable with the ADVANCED Alpha, a more budget friendly planar, and didn't act as a negative towards the low end. It was also very helpful with some of my closed back headphones. The A-Audio Legacy has a reasonably intimate and compact stage, opening up considerably with the setting maxed out at 90+. The thinksound On2 also benefited, but not to the same extent. It already has a pretty good sound stage for a closed back on-ear and lost some imaging precision as 3D Enhancement was added in. For some, the trade off for a more spacious sound would certainly be worth it.

Black Background: The iCAN was a very silent runner, showing off a colorless, black background with everything I tossed it's way. That included sensitive BA-only iems like the B100 to power hungry products like the HiFiMan Susvara.

Toasty Taylor: The iCAN runs pretty warm, which is to be expected from a powerful, compact, Class A device with tube functions. It was never hot enough to cause worry, though I wouldn't be particularly keen on stacking it with other units that generate a similar amount of heat unless in a space with ample ventilation. Experience with my own equipment of an older vintage, composed of gear from the 70s and early 80s, shows that devices that pump out heat to the extent of the Pro iCAN really need that airflow. If you're coming from equipment that doesn't run quite as warm, this might throw you off.

Stacking: Because of the tube poking up gingerly through the top of the unit, the iCAN will probably find itself at the top of your stack of devices. Stacking it with other products in iFi's Pro series would be ideal since they are designed to be used in conjunction, or stacked, with each other. Scroll back up to the picture of the silicone pad on the bottom of the unit and you can see where there is a clear indent to accommodate the tube. Handy little feature.

vs. TEAC HA-501: To my surprise, regardless of the setting, the HA-501 was the warmer of the two devices. The various settings on the iCAN gave it a lot more flexibility and pushing power. Whereas my TEAC pushes the Susvara adequately, on particularly bass heavy tracks like The Prodigy's “Charly (Trip into Drum and Bass Version)” the TEAC will distort once the volume increases enough. The iCAN did not. Also, with the 3D Sound Enhancement featured dialed in, the iCAN was capable giving off a larger stage. The only area where I definitely preferred the TEAC was in the low end presentation. It seemed to have a little more depth and impact, though the advantage was whittled once you started taking advantage of the XBass enhancements of the iCAN.
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最后的想法:

我是那种找到我喜欢的音源和放大器的音响爱好者,然后围绕它构建我的其余听觉体验,专注于拾取各种签名的各种耳机。其他人通过找到代表他们和他们的偏好的单个耳机完全相反,然后他们追捕完美的放大器和/或源,以便他们可以充分利用它。Pro iCAN适合这两类人。对于像我这样的人来说,它可以是一个可靠的来源,可以构建他们的体验,但它具有灵活性和性能,可以让您从最喜欢的设备中获得最大的收益。耳机无需购买多个功放用于签名品种。

能够以固态,管状或混合设置运行您的齿轮,使iCAN具有令人印象深刻的灵活性和适用性,并具有多种不同的签名。通过XBass和3D声音增强功能进一步增强功能只会增加它的变色龙般的性质。它有三种增益设置,可让您以任何体积为任何音量提供动力,不受失真影响。它具有足够的输入,输出和多样性,可以让你几乎附加任何东西,并从几乎任何地方获取声音。它...有点只做一切。当你考虑到它可以做的大量事情时,进入的成本实际上是非常合理的。我会为我的心爱的TEAC HA-501交易吗?对。我的TEAC看起来和听起来都很华丽,但从长远来看,iCAN的功能和灵活性都非常强大。

感谢阅读,再次感谢Lawrance和iFi有机会查看iCAN。
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 楼主| 发表于 2018-10-9 15:29 | 显示全部楼层
来自 ngoshawk评测,详细查看https://www.head-fi.org/showcase ... eviews#review-17997
ICAN, UCAN, We All CAN!
Pros - Price compared to competitors, multi-function controls, multi-connective"ness." Tubey-goodness, ability to tailor to almost any capability. Sound is wonderful!
Cons - I'm not sold on the isolation pad on the bottom...makes the critter slippery...Can't see the tubes enough!!! Not as well known as Chord products...XBass/3D buttons too small and close to larger knobs...
iFi Pro iCAN-4.5 stars...
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Entrée:



I had a dream sometime ago…I was walking down a road, not unlike an old London street, fresh from rain and cobbled, of bygone era. I caught a look into a shop with much dust on the shelves and wares stored on said shelves. I could almost make out that whatever was on the shelves, was quite intriguing, to the point that I changed my path to enter and inquire of the shopkeeper what type of shop it might be….it was at that point I woke up. I have imagined that it could be of almost anything, but after receiving an email from Lawrance, I understood…you see it was a scant two days later, that he contacted me… it was rather unsettling, but titillating at the same time…At current, I look down upon our Australian Shepherd puppy, and pen this intro, thinking of that dream. It all became clear tonight, and one hopes I can convey that in what follows. White Shadows guides me to the finishing of this diatribe, and I am glad.
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Listening to Radioactive from Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix, through the UM Maestro V2, one simply sits drinking in that fine single-malt, and amazes at the wonderful cacophony of sounds and sensations wrought from such diverse vocals and music. While not something I listen to all that much, the combo certainly gains my respect for their sheer musical prowess, and an exceptional guise to decipher finer and faults of the critter(s) at hand. Love can indeed be built slowly, but explode exponentially when the paths converse in the universe of synergy. And that is what I can garner from the iFi Pro iCAN, adding a synergy of almost simplistic pleasure. Harkening back to an older day, when tubes were not only the best, but an exceptional tool for our indulgence, I find myself imagining that I am front and center in the finest McIntosh system, something I have stated before, and probably will again (possibly from that shoppe…). The combo of Maestro leading, and the tubey-support rendered by the Pro cannot be underestimated. Even through a “normal” MacBook Pro, one can certainly appreciate the qualities wrought from those fine wares. Exquisite mids, and vocals to make one simply exist. Treble, which while a bit hot for me in the Maestro, can certainly be tamed through the tubeyness of the iCAN. And for that I am grateful.
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To come off of the Chord Hugo2 tour, into this was a surprise I could not imagine. To say that I could go from one $2400 DAC/amp (much, MUCH more…) to a $1700 hybrid amp is more than could be asked. But, that does allow one a certain look into how those who relish or fret over a choice such as that think…we as audiophiles are blessed with choice such as that. And I for one am honored to be included with the ability and the want to audition such worthy “problems.” A problem, I hope can be helped by the wretched writings I put forth here. Words cannot really allay the emotives of which I feel. Moving into Kitchen by twentyonepilots, I “suffer” that consequence of trying to garner diminutive differences or similarities, which would allow those in the position to purchase that little extra motivation. That over the edge push I give them in order to nudge them in their chosen path, knowing full well that they probably chose before…but needed that verification I provide.

I wholeheartedly thank Lawrance and iFi for the continued support. To have such an opportunity come up out of the blue such as this is indeed humbling. My hope is that my feeble words can lend some guidance for those looking. I do not take that responsibility lightly. In return for the loan, they only asked two things, an honest opinion, and the ability to use whatever they see fit from said review in their advertisements (one hopes that part comes true!!).

About me: *I am older. I am happy that I have rediscovered the joy of music, through personal listening devices. Through this opportunity, I have become exposed to some wonderful kit. Much I now own, much I covet. Much I would never purchase, for various reasons.devices. Through this opportunity, I have become exposed to some wonderful kit. Much I now own, much I covet. Much I would never purchase, for various reasons.

My listening style has changed somewhat over the years…from old time Rock-n-Roll to the Blues to Reggae, to Bluegrass. I cut my teeth on Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, The Who, Santana, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Bob Marley, and Pink Floyd. But the music I hold dearest and nearest my soul, is Stevie Ray Vaughan. I was lucky enough to see him perform four times…twice in open air venues, followed by (that evening each time!!!) smoky blues bars, where intimate would be an understatement. Each holds a very special place in my psyche, and I can almost remember the whole of each concert in their entirety…

I enjoy a warmer signature in my equipment, and listening, with a good bass line (but not basshead), complimented by outstanding vocals. Combine the sweetness of SRV’s guitar and Billy Holiday’s voice, and you get my musical grove.*guitar and Billy Holiday’s voice, and you get my musical grove.*
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Entrée part deux:

I am lucky to have a stack of the iFi products, running together as my main testing equipment, with the ability to hook into any of my players. Purchasing the excellent iFi iDSD Micro Black Label first, I added the iFi iTubes2 after the audition tour (a victory tour of the BL), and finally an iDAC2, with which to tame the whole system. Spending roughly half of what I would have on the Pro iCAN, this was a natural test of “would it be better,” or “could double the price give THAT much better.” I did compare the two set ups, but mainly used and experienced the Pro iCAN (with and without the iFi iDAC2), since I had fresh knowledge of the stack. A stack, I will add in which I am extremely pleased and feel no need to upgrade.


The iCAN is a device, which can take the place of my whole iFi stack, but at what cost? As mentioned, costing roughly double what I spent, for the trio, is it worth it? Well…I do think I am the wrong person to ask. But through my words, I hope that a semi-informed decision can be fashioned. I will state, that since my loan of the Pro, I have not even turned on the iFi stack, except to draw a quick comparison (until tonight and a final comparison). Is it better? I would respectfully state, “yes.” Is it worth double the cost I spent? The Luddite in me says NO WAY! But, the practical, long-term answer is I do believe yes. Why? Well, for that price, you do get an all in one, which can do everything my stack can, and does it better. It is more dynamic in sound, takes up less space, and can attach many MANY more device set ups than the stack. One could easily throw this into a small home system, and not miss a beat. I do also believe it has enough power to sufficiently drive all but the hardest speakers or headphones. Using Pinky’s HD600’s, I did have to run the 18dB push. But that was the only set up in which I did. And it sufficiently drove the legendary hard-to-drive headphones. It would be quite adequate for all but the hardest songs. That alone, says quite a bit.
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To get the best out of the Pro iCAN, one should include a DAC of similar quality. Through conversations with Lawrance, I extended my time to test that aspect. And it was WELL worth it!!
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To say I was excited would be an understatement...



Equipment used/compared:

Macbook Pro
Shanling M1/M5
Fiio x5iii
iFi combo of: iDAC2, iTube2, iDSD Black Label

iFi iDAC2 used between MacBook Pro & Pro iCAN

Unique Melody Maestro V2
Unique Melody Martian
Lendmeurears FLC8s
Grado GH-2
Audioquest Nightowl
Sennheiser HD-600 (borrowed from @PinkyPowers)


Music used:

Adele- Hello
Adele-Someone Like You
Tom Petty-I Won’t Back Down
Tom Petty-Learning to Fly
Tom Petty-Free Fallin’
Coldplay- Technicolor ii
Coldplay- Sky Full of Stars
Coldplay- White Shadows
Coldplay- Paradise
Coldplay- Lover’s in Japan
Lindsey Stirling w/ Pentatonix- Rasioactive
SRV- Mary Had A Little Lamb
SRV- Look at Little Sister
Twentyonepilots- Regional At Best album
Ziggy Marley-I Am A Human
Ziggy Marley-Dragonfly (Live & Studio)


Specs (from the iFi site):

Specifications:


Gain:

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): >14,000mW / >4,800mW

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

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

Input Voltage (iPower Plus): AC 85 – 265V, 50/60Hz

Power Consumption: ≤ 22W idle, 50W max.

Dimensions: 213(l) x 192.5(w) x 63.3(h) mm

Weight: 1.93kg (4.3lbs)

Test conditions: Gain = 0dB, 0.775V(0dBu) with 300 Ohm load unless stated otherwise, SNR Balanced re 23V, SNR SE re. 11.5V
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Sound:


Compared to iFi stack, the Pro has better control of the bass. Not necessarily MORE (in fact less due to the ability to add “Bass Boost” from both the iTubes2 & BL…and a LOT, too!), but better controlled. Also, the sub bass is a bit forward, giving that more full sound to my ears. The iFi stack for whatever reason has a more forward mids sound, to me. Bass is more, but less controlled. I think this might be a result of the bass boost switch, as mentioned but with either 6dB (on the BL), or 6/12dB (@20Hz on the iTubes2). While I do enjoy that push on some songs, I like the Pro’s ability to add at more frequencies, tailoring to a possible lack in the headphones/IEM’s used…a nice touch, indeed.



As mentioned above, the Pro iCAN, one can tailor the bass boost to different frequencies. I cannot really tell what the difference is at the 10 Hz setting, but can clearly hear the boost at 20 & 40Hz. The push of bass at 20Hz is quite pleasant, giving that somewhat audible rumble to me. At 40 Hz, the push forward is quite noticeable on songs such as Tom Petty’s (RIP, dear sir) Learning To Fly. An extremely energetic sound is the result. I left the bass switch at 40 Hz most of the time.



On Ziggy Marley’s live version of Dragonfly, the sound is simply intoxicating. I can say with a decent authority that this is as close a sound as I have heard to the vaunted (to me) ampsandsounds Kenzie, with which I had the pleasure to audition some time ago. An incredible synergy focusing on that exuberant support guitar can be heard like it should be…an equal to Ziggy’s voice. Just incredible. And I would be hard pressed to decide between the Hugo2 and the iCAN based upon that song alone…It would be a long audition’s night for me to decide, and a good one…



While I appreciate the ability to adjust either set up as needed when speaking of bass boost, 3D, gain, wash, rinse, spin, etc.…I have decided that I am simply a lazy slovenly sod, who would just as soon set something and leave it. There is a reason I like complicated things, but this isn’t one of them. Changing only as needed, I do find both aspects appealing, but…just a random thought, and to tie it to the gear at hand (if you are still with me…), my personal iFi stack needs adjusting more than the Pro iCAN, when it comes to the toggles, and buttons. I can get away with, errr tolerate less adjusting while listening to the Pro. On the stack, I seem to be constantly reaching for those little toggles, and I have a genuine fear of destroying my four hours of hard Lego work on the rack itself as a result…I do lose much sleep over this…no really…
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Coming back to the Pro (finally, you say…), I found it to be eminently competent. As Army Firedog mentioned, it does pretty much all well. This can be a fault, if you want, especially if you are anal about “compatibility.” THIS amp, MUST go with THIS headphone, and THIS DAP, etc…blah, blah, blah. I do not fault any of you that wish, desire and have that. In fact, I applaud and bow in your general direction. But something must be said for a device, which can simply work. I state this in several reviews, going all the way back to my Vibro Labs Aria IEM…it just works. Call it the Luddite in me (haha, I know especially with all this durn technology), but the Pro simply works. I say this as I now listen to twentyonepilots excellent Regional At Best album, with no added bass or 3D. I could go 40Hz on the Bass boost and 90/60+ (floor-standing speakers setting) 3D, and happily drink my Boulevard Nutcracker Ale, but going “naked” seems to be how this particular time in the space continuum was intended for me. And I am not disappointed in that.
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Cracking a smile out of the corner of my mouth, with the Traveling Wilburys song, End of the Line, I get it. I love my stack; don’t get me wrong…I will happily have that for a good long while (ssuuurrre I will…). But the Pro can do that and more. iFi set the bar again when it comes to compatibility and adjustability, but on that simple tubular-level. Desire Solid State? Turn the switch. Tubular? Cool bro, flip the switch one more notch. Totally tubular? Again, flip the switch. It is almost like each Wilbury taking turns singing a verse in that iconic song. And that is the way it should be. A Mega Group to end all Super Groups, much like the Wilburys, the Pro comes along for that ride letting you swing gently in your rocking chair. And I thoroughly appreciate that. And GOD, I miss the Wilbury’s.
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This is one critter you do not have to Handle With Care, for it can handle quiet as well as loud and boisterous. This little critter can rock. Much the way the remaining Wilburys carry on, the Pro just glows along in that sensuous orange, almost smiling through those ever increasing in size vent rings. Taking in more and more, the song envelops your senses, just the way the Pro looks. Small, with the ability to be a multitude of things, and powerful. Kind of like that ultimate Executive Assistant. The one who can anticipate your every move; and in many ways is MORE qualified than you for the job at hand. But one, that just as happily stays behind the scenes knowing their role perfectly. One in support of the overall program. That role, which is invaluable and perfect for most situations. Maybe perfect would be too much of an insult. It has been a good long while, since I have enjoyed an audition device at low volume as much as cranking it up. Quite often we are hell-bent on cranking things to 11, but here I am quite content to stay below the horizon.



Listening to Adele’s Someone Like You, I think of a dear friend I lost recently. We traveled some of the same roads in life, but not often enough. I am sad I did not find out sooner after he died, but in his honor I analyze the iCAN like he loved analog albums. I so thoroughly enjoyed hearing about his latest find, or replay of an “old friend.” He was an exquisite writer of prose, published rightfully so, deep of thought. I drink a local Porter in his honor, and envelop myself in the sweet succulent virtue of Adele’s melodic interludes. Dear god, this is good. Saturated depth, which would make Rembrandt jealous, the Pro provides that velvet tubeness, which oozes through every tender note of her voice. Simple in support, the piano plants the foundation, and Adele flowers the song, as it should be. A thorough drowning of hue, note & tone; sweet & sorrow; rich and forlorn. Vibrant & colorful, I stop to take another sift of drink. I am thoroughly enthralled with how this song is presented.



It is often said, that if a song can move our soul, move our desire to provide the best we can, then the song is perfect. I prefect that this song is indeed faultless for my needs as of this instant in the cosmos. Supple bass through her voice, fulfilled and complimented oh so well by the piano. A song, which needs no more, but makes you desire more. A song, which the iCAN presents respectfully, highlighting her sensuous voice of deep, rich and melodious tone. Thorough in presentation, and complimented by her “duet” part, the song indeed is perfect through this mix. I shed a tear, lift my Porter skyward for that dear friend, and do my best to emulate his wonderful prose of writing. I feel, that I fail in that regard, but must continue writing. It is to be, and I will.
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Sound deeper:




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 楼主| 发表于 2018-10-9 15:31 | 显示全部楼层
A love affair can be sudden. It can also be long of build. It can blossom from the go, or be subtle of that build. I would say my affair with iFi was of the former. Fortunate I was to be on the iFi Micro iDSD Black Label tour; I was thrown over a cliff at what the BL could do (much the way those of Chord UK love are…). So much so, that my comparison stack consists of the BL, the iTube2 (after I started that tour, honored I was), and the excellent iDAC2. Roughly half the price of the Pro, this is now my basis of comparison for all. The stack held up well to the excellent Chord Hugo2, at roughly 1/3 the price. A comparison you will have to read, and view elsewhere. Needless to say (but I do anyway…), the trio will be used again for comparison, and I am glad.



At roughly half the price of the Pro, the comparison may be more valid. Should one splurge double the cost for the excellent iCAN? Well, for that my hope is that I have outlaid a proper response. If one wants an all-in-one, then the iFi Pro iCAN should be on your short list. If you are frugal of means, or want of piecing together, you may have to go a different route and still be 85% satisfied.

As with the latest iterations of iFi products, the Pro iCAN has both XBass and 3D technology. From my first interlude on the BL with both, I was impressed at how the tech could change the sound. Not an equalizer, but worthy of inclusion in that argument, XBass & 3D provide listener “tunable” aspects to aid an otherwise excellent sound. Crave more bass in a song? Move the toggle to the right. Prefer a more “expansive” floor standing speaker sound? Again move the 3D all the way to the right. There is a difference to all, and gives one the ability to tailor each song to your contentment.



As stated above, I am more one to set the toggles and switches, and simply listen. That said, given the ability to fine tune, one would be silly not to try. Using the above Adele songs as the test bed, when moving the 3D to floor-standing speaker equivalent on the scale I was stunned. Stunned at how the already excellent depth of the song was given MORE. A most definitive width of stage was added, and it was good. Too often when the “bells and whistles” are added and played with, they are either gimmicky, or unfounded in their ability. Happily what iFi does with their two-standout technologies is not gimmick. It works to these tired old ears.



The XBass does work a bit differently than other iFi products, though. Instead of a 9dB or 12/18dB (product dependent), the Pro uses different frequencies. Coming in at 10Hz, 20Hz & 40Hz, the “added bass” works differently than a simple loudness or the other iFi XBass switches mentioned. Targeting a specific frequency, the 10Hz gain is for headphones/loudspeakers missing only the very lowest bass (below 40Hz). The 20Hz is for bass missing below 80Hz, and the 40Hz is for those missing “substantial bass” & some mid-bass below 160Hz.



To me, a “thinning” of sound ensued when the switch moved towards the lower frequency settings. When switched off completely, the mids moved forward almost overpowering the sound signature. Almost. Maybe “truer representation” would be a better response. Regardless, I found happiness in all of the settings, leaving the switch mostly at the 40Hz setting with my Martian’s, and off or 20Hz with my Grado GH-2’s. A maximum of 12dB was added, and I assume at the 40Hz level, as I could “feel” that the most. Unscientific, I know, but the added bass could be heard most at this level. Conversely, I kept the bass switched all the way to 40 Hz with the Maestro V2, and I liked it. An added boost of the bass pretty much made the already wonderful Maestro sound near perfect to me.



As for the 3D, the settings are “similar” to the other iFi units, in that there is a definite widening of stage. Other than that, the settings are unique to the iFi iCAN lineup. With settings running from 30, 60 & 90 degree setups, one can mimic narrow placement of speakers such as outside a computer to a full-on room setup with floor standing speakers. This last set can also be used to enhance recordings, which lack “spaciousness.” The 60-degree setup would be similar to bookshelf speakers, which can sound quite good in and of themselves.

I ran either 60-degree or 90-degree settings for all headphones involved.



Comparing the Pro iCAN to the Hugo2 may not seem like a fair comparison, but since I was fresh off the H2 tour, valid in my mind. Garnering numerous design awards for 2017, the H2 is stunning. Getting the connections right, one could very easily be set for a long time in the “portable” audio world. With numerous filter settings, boosts and the ability for a multitude of hook ups, versatile would be an insult. With the sound to back it up, I rarely passed the mid-range on the volume “color wheel.” I did like how when one gets used to the colors, you could easily decipher what settings you were on, and it does make logical sense. If you are across the room, you only need look at the colors to know what adjustments you have made. A novel idea, and done mostly well. And logically laid out, too. Following the color spectrum from cold to hot, you only need know your colors (such as the rainbow…) to decode what levels you set. An interesting concept done well, once you understand.



Here is where the Pro iCAN falls behind the H2…other than the volume pot and the input switch, you must be fairly close to understand the settings. Not a bad thing mind you, but just like those who want every conceivable option in their CUV, many here would want the ability to read all of the knobs/settings. The Luddite in me says who gives a crap, and leaves it alone. Also, the 3D knob is too close to the volume pot on the iCAN, even for these skinny digits on your humble narrator. But, I’m not sure what could be done to alleviate that…

As I mention in my H2 review, the Hugo has superb detail retrieval. No muss, no fuss as to where and what the instruments are to sound like. Placed where they should be, the detail amazes me no matter the setting. The iCAN falls a bit behind here, but not enough to worry. I found that the Pro is more listening device of choice dependent than the H2. Moving from my Martians to the Maestro, opened up the iCAN the way it should. Wide sound stage, excellent depth, solid but not bloated bass, as well as detail of the same range as the H2. The GH-2’s were portrayed the same way, with excellent depth as well. Make the iFi more IEM/headphone dependent, and you can hopefully understand the differences. Not unpleasurable mind you, but not as forgiving as the H2. One would expect this most likely for a device costing roughly 50% more…



That said, when you throw the iDAC2 into the mix, between source & the iCAN to take advantage of it’s excellent DAC capabilities, you end up with something very close to the Hugo2’s price; and a sound, which is quite close. In fact, when using the two together, I prefer the iFi set up. I just do. It’s hard to explain, but just the way I prefer the Shanling “house sound” to their DAP’s, I prefer the iFi sound to others. And as said above, for ½ the price I have a very good set up, in which I am happy. Choosing only one, between the H2 & Pro; I would lean towards the Hugo2. I like what iFi does to the sound very much. I respect what Chord has done for the sound. When it comes down to it, I prefer like to respect in what I listen to...



Compared to the stack, the Pro wins all the way around. Better control, less fiddling to achieve that “perfect sound, “ in which you strive, the Pro just works. The stack is like that old steam machine you see in movies, where the Scientist is constantly fiddling with knobs, buttons and pull levers to achieve maximum “velocity.” The Luddite in me screams, ENOUGH! Just play! But the techno-Scientist in me cherishes the adjustability…a conundrum indeed. With the iDAC2 along supporting the Pro, it is a sound, which could satisfy for a good long while…


Finale:


From my first indoctrination with the iFi DSD Micro Black Label, I have been smitten. My first foray into the netherworlds of “mid-fi,” I have consequently pathed to high priced and “better” items. One need only look at my review of the wondrous ampsandsounds Kenzie or Focal Elear (luckily together) to understand how far I have journeyed. And the last two in my review stable, the Hugo2 and this one iCAN have allowed me to passion further up into the “high-fi” range. But I still harken back to the BL, thinking how it threw me over the cliff, and I protected it, lest we all lose the privilege of such fine wires and circuit boards. Much stays the same with the iCAN, and I am glad. Glad that Lawrance allowed me this extended visit with such a fine piece. One, which I do say can indeed go toe to toe with the vaunted Hugo2, in my humble opinion. The H2 certainly gets all of the accords, while the Pro simply sits by waiting for that next person who wants something a bit different. With a bit of a different approach, and does it well. A stop in that shop, which looks dusty and deserted if one simply walks by, but if one takes a closer look, you see history. You see the old dusty forgotten turntables on the shelves, or the vintage tube amps from days gone by. And you are piqued with interest. Interest you dare not ignore, such, as you would listen to your inner voice. Because to do so, would be what the mainstream does. And in that own right, if that is what makes them happy, that is all right, too. But you stop knowing there is something special in that “shop,” so you enter. An Australian Shepherd of unknown aged sleepily raises her head and looks up at you, smiles (which they indeed do, incredible dogs, they are…) and goes back to sleep, while her owner states, “You have come to the right place, please sit down and join me in a single-malt while we audition.” And you do, knowing you have made the right choice, with Duke Ellington sounding in the background.




As Tom Petty so fervently stated, I Won’t Back Down, and neither will the Pro iCAN. It takes your challenge and throws it into the wind, to watch the ensuing wonderful show of music on the wind, such as the flowing plastic bag scene in American Beauty. I don’t care if that was a scene, which was staged or made up for the film. To me, it was the most beautiful scene and dialogue of the entire movie (which was simply superb anyway). The artist would be the iFi Pro iCAN, and the bag being strewn about so eloquently the music thrown, and for that I am grateful for iFi and the passion in which they provide their wares. I am so very grateful, that I have found a company as passionate as I in what I listen to…and one, which would be humbled if you were to part with some of your daily wage to make your life better.



As you Learn To Fly, one becomes enamored and respectful of all that the Pro can do…after all it IS the iCAN. And can do, might as well be the motto.





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 楼主| 发表于 2018-10-9 15:43 | 显示全部楼层
You Can With The Pro ICAN
Written by SoundApprentice
Pros - Power, Flexibility, Resolution
Cons - Slides around? Cost might be prohibitive to some.

Pros - Power, Flexibility, Resolution
Cons - Slides around? Cost might be prohibitive to some.
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It’s funny how things work out sometimes. Just before my annual spring/summer hiatus from pursuing #AudioNirvana, I decided to part ways with my Eddie Current Balancing Act amplifier, HiFiMAN HE-6 headphones, and Schiit Yggdrasil DAC as part of a downsizing, capital-raising, not-quite-sure-why-I-am-doing-this selling spree. During the process, the buyers of the HE-6 and Yggy both asked me how they would perform with iFi Audio’s Pro iCAN. Of course, I hadn’t the slightest idea because I had never used an iFi product in any of my personal audio systems. Ironically, the first product I am offered to audition this fall turns out to be the Pro iCAN. So, thank you Lawrance at iFi Audio; now I’ll be able to share some real opinions about this desktop headphone amp the next time someone asks.

Prior to this audition, my experience with iFi stretched as far as a brief audition of the original Micro iCAN at a friend’s and seeing several iFi products compared against Schiit Audio’s. Much like Schiit’s USA-made wares, UK-based iFi has made a mark in the computer audio and headphone scenes for its small, silver, affordable amps, DACs, and power-purifying devices. You’ll often see these two brands going head-to-head in debates on audio forums across the web. Aside from competing in the same spaces with similar products, there’s another reason why these two brands are so well regarded among their fan bases: Quality—both brands benefit from R&D by veterans of high-end audio manufacturers. It doesn’t seem often noted, but iFi’s parent company is Abbingdon Music Research, or AMR. AMR is regarded for making ultra-high-end, reference-class stereo amps, DACs, transports, and other hi-fi wares. The Spirited Uncle Mactually cycles AMR’s DP-777 DAC through The Sound Lab on occasion, which I attest is one sweet piece of equipment. But I digress; my point is that iFi is able to later deploy tried-and-true technology from AMR at a fraction of the cost—enter the Pro series.

The Pro iCAN is iFi’s first flagship product released under the brand’s “Pro” or professional series line. Designed with some trickle-down technology from AMR, the Pro iCAN is iFi’s “studio-grade” headphone amp and preamp, chockfull of features not commonly found in desktop-sized amps, let alone ones priced at $1,699. I can see some iFi fans suffering from initial sticker shock, but this is a distinctly different product from anything iFi has put out before, and it brings far more value and flexibility than you’d first think.

You can read about all of the technically excellent details and specs—like the end-to-end, fully-balanced design, premium components, and incredible dynamic range—on iFi’s website, so I’ll just tell you about the features I liked most.

Tube Flavor

Do you like tube or solid-state sound? Don’t know? The Pro iCAN gives you a taste of both. The Pro iCAN houses individual solid-state and tube amplification sections. A switch on the front panel shifts the Pro iCAN between its Solid-State, Tube, and Tube+ modes, letting you select which circuit sounds best to your ears.

Solid-State mode is notably for you audio purists; employing a pure solid-state circuit using JFET transistors and a fully discrete, Class A power stage. Switching over to one of the two tube modes engages two top-grade General Electric 5670 tubes for an all-valve sonic presentation to give you that taste of tube flavor.

As a tube guy, I unsurprisingly preferred the Tube+ mode, which iFi says “reduces negative feedback to a minimum” and lets a “greater amount of the tubes’ natural harmonics” be produced. Still, I personally found the differences between the solid-state and tube circuits to be little more than subtle overall. My takeaway is that the Pro iCAN in Solid-State mode is crisp, clear, and precise. It has good reach and resolution without being overly dry or analytical. On the other hand, the 5670 tubes introduce a few degrees of mild but welcomed warmth and body to my ears. Bass lines and vocals seemed a touch richer and more involving, dynamics became a bit rounder and less pinpoint precise, and the sound stage opens up just ever so slightly, becoming a share wider and more holographic.

While clearly audible, I admit to wanting a greater sound variance between the different modes—more of that classic tube lushness, make-me-feel-euphoric goodness if you will—but the Pro iCAN remains a dialed and mostly analytical amp across the different modes. Don’t take this as a bad thing; iFi is clearly going for a notably resolving reference sound with the Pro iCAN—just don’t expect it to sound like three completely different amps by switching modes. I know this goes against what some other reviewers have touted, but I stand by my impressions that the solid-state and tube modes only let you subtly tweak the performance to best suit the gear and music you’re enjoying at the time.

In use, I also personally found the Pro iCAN’s wide dynamic range and sonic purity a challenge to describe in detail. Accuracy and neutrality are what come to mind most, which are pretty self-explanatory. Add in the amp’s ample power and the Pro iCAN is simply a lively performer that lacks any notable “house sound” coloration like my Eddie Current, Ray Samuels, and Woo Audio tube amps all had. Again, not a bad thing, just different. Neutrality and resolution in an amp can help a system’s synergy; by essentially getting out of the way, your sources, DACs, headphones, and speakers are given the opportunity to shine—providing they’re resolving enough.

That’s not to say the Pro iCAN is sonically boring. In fact, it’s quite engaging as it’s wide dynamic range and resolution draw out fine details and texture in the music that lesser spec’d amps gloss over. Add in the simple and surprisingly good sound tweaks for those that might need, scratch that, will need them, and you can an amp that packs a powerful punch.

Easy EQ

I generally let my system speak for itself, avoiding digital equalization tools and adjustments that alter the voicing of my gear. But the Pro iCAN packs two very usable EQ-like features into its compact chassis that are impossible to ignore. “XBass” and “3D Holographic” are two proprietary circuitries that help correct two common headphone and loudspeaker shortcomings: sub-bass and imaging.

XBass is iFi’s solution to bass deficiency in reference headphones and loudspeakers. Through analog signal processing circuitry, XBass provides a 12dB boost at the 10, 20, and 40Hz frequencies through a convenient front panel knob that lets you dial in the desired level of bass correction on the fly.

iFi says this implementation is not like traditional tone or loudness controls and is “sonically superior to Digital Signal Processing (DSP) systems.” I don’t know-how to confirm this in a meaningful way, but I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by how well the controlled bass boost integrated into the resolving timbre of the amp. Results obviously vary by recording frequencies and headphone/loudspeaker responses: XBass filled in the nether regions of my Sennheiser HD650 gloriously up to 20Hz but quickly made my AudioQuest NightHawk bloated and boomy with most recordings. XBass is likely more useful for filling out a headphone like the flatter responding AKG K701 or Q701.

Turning to the recording side of things, I found XBass most useful in combating tipped-up rock and anemic live recordings. And while it would have been nice to have varying levels of decibel boosts, the appeal of the 12dB XBass boost is that this easy-on, easy-off feature breathes visceral life into bass-light recordings and headphones/loudspeakers at the turn of a dial, which turns out to be something pretty nice to have—especially for us bassheads.

While XBass helps correct for bass deficiency, 3D Holographic for Headphones helps correct for imaging and sound stage deficiencies when listening to stereo recordings through headphones, meaning that closed-in feeling when the sound is stuck right between your ears. In other words, 3D Holographic was designed to create an “out-of-head” headphone listening experience that parallels listening to loudspeakers in a normal room.

This is something other manufacturers have tried to achieve with software plug-ins and crossfeed features, but as iFi explains, 3D Holographic for Headphones “is not based on a standard crossfeed system, as found in some high-end headphone amplifiers. Many so-called ‘3D systems’ are usually DSP based that artificially effect the sound and add unwanted reverb in order to simulate a ‘spacious’ type of sound.

“It’s true that traditional crossfeed tends to produce an ‘out-of-head’ sound, but with much diminished spatial components and a narrower soundstage,” iFi continues, adding that these implementations often produce “unnatural, echo-like sound, which may initially be impressive, but soon becomes tiring.” By contrast, iFi claims 3D Holographic for Headphones, which was developed based on research extending back to the 1980s, is the first system in commercial production to achieve the desirable out-of-head imaging rendered without added reverb.

Because the Pro iCAN is the first amp I have tried with a feature of this kind, all I’m willing to say is that I generally liked whatever was happening when turning the 3D Holographic front panel dial from off to the 30°, 60°, and 90° Loudspeaker Angle settings. Much like the XBass feature, 3D Holographic has varying degrees of impact. In particular, I found 3D Holographic to gradually widen the sound stage in each increment, especially with must-own jazz classics like John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” and Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” where instrument localization is often strongly apparent. Studio recordings by Ben Howard and John Mayer’s various live albums also gained noticeably more depth and dimension by cranking the dial, although electronic tracks from the likes of Bonobo and Moderat seemed to benefit in lesser degrees.

During my time with the Pro iCAN, I often found myself cranking the 3D Holographic dial all the way to the 90° setting for the fun of it, which created a more lively listening experience at the expense of some precision. The 90° setting generally gushed with the greatest sense of space and width, moving the sound stage from dead center in my head to the edges of my ears. Admittedly, some tracks can get too busy and displaced sounding in this mode and in some instances cymbals and strings tacked on a strange artificial sounding tizzy-ness. So, it’s safe to say results will vary—implement as needed. As a guy who also has a listening room with a loudspeaker setup, I won’t say that 3D Holographic truly emulates properly positioned loudspeakers, but it takes welcomed and major steps in incrementally making headphones far more bearable and spatially believable, especially during long listening sessions when that “stuck in your head” feeling gets fatiguing.

Heady Options

Lastly, as I own and audition a lot of different headphones and IEMs with different types of cables, I thoroughly like the flexibility and scalability packed into the Pro iCAN. Never have I had a headphone amp that had every jack I needed, let alone one that could play well with every headphone or IEM I threw at it. The Pro iCAN never failed to impress here.

Armed with a host of balanced (3.5mm TRRS, two x 6.3mm, two x 3-pin XLR, and 4-pin XLR) and unbalanced (3.5mm and 6.3mm) headphone outputs, outside of some exotic cable types, the Pro iCAN has compatibility covered.

Better even, regardless of whether I had a sensitive IEM or a power-hungry full-size headphone connected, there was absolutely zero background noise or that annoying gain hiss—even in Tube mode with the volume knob cranked to the max.

What’s more, the Pro iCAN pumps out up to 20V via its balanced outputs, which is equivalent to 100W into a 4 Ohm speaker. Pair this ample power with the variable gain stages (0dB, +9dB, +18dB) and the Pro iCAN easily drives just about every headphone on the market with accuracy and ease—including the venerable HiFiMAN HE-6 and AKG K1000.

Parting Thought

With plenty of single-ended and balanced inputs and outputs, pretty much every headphone jack you could ever need, a ton of power, a few unique tone-tweaking features, great specs, and packed-in premium components, the Pro iCAN packs a powerful punch, offering scalability, flexibility, and performance. Oh, and it sounds darn good. If you’re already an iFi fan, you’ll undoubtedly like the Pro iCAN. If you’ve never tried an iFi product, the Pro iCAN is unlikely to disappoint. Without a doubt iFi’s flagship Pro iCAN is a headphone amp and pre-amp I can live with.
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 楼主| 发表于 2018-10-9 15:55 | 显示全部楼层
Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None
Written by Armaegis

Pros - loads of power
many features to play with
Cons - features don't live up to the hype
price
I had the iFi Pro iCAN on loan for a few weeks and have assembled my notes below. They will remain mostly in point form, because no one wants to read an essay. I ran it through a fairly extensive gamut of different headphones and speakers.

Since there is a lot of "stream of consciousness" in these notes, it would be prudent to not examine any particular section by itself. At the very least, read the section immediately above it so you know where the relevant comparison is coming from.

Also be aware that in point form, my notes are very nitpickish. I do not dispense with pleasantries here, and my editing will be minimal. This is simply the style of my note-taking, so don't get your knickers in a knot if you disagree with something.


Main equipment used for evaluation:
Hifiman HE-6: well known as the most power hungry brute in the headphone world, and serves as my main reference can, low-ish impedance and stupid low sensitivity
Sennheiser HD650: my other reference can, and should be well known by most headphone users, high impedance and medium sensitivity
Sennheiser HD598: little brother of the HD650; horrible impedance curve
Nuforce HEM8: multi driver iem, low impedance high sensitivity
Fostex TH-x00 Purpleheart: closed, low impedance medium-high sensitivity
Bryston B60 - integrated speaker amp and my primary amp for the HE-6
Prism Lyra and Prism Callia - both pro level dac/amp, the latter being the "hifi" version with a more powerful amp
RME ADI-2 Pro - pro level dac/amp
iFi iCAN Pro - well d'uh
Stereoknight transformer based balanced preamp


Reviewer Bias:
- purist
- leans to preferring dry/clinical sounds
- snarky


Build Quality
- chassis overall very nice build quality; no complaints here
- casing is solid and feels good
- large rubbery pad on the bottom isolates it from the desk
- good feel to the volume knob
- very slight play to all knobs/switches, but nothing unreasonable
- gets warm but not hot; avoid stacking though, especially if it's a component underneath that needs to breathe since the rubber pad will insulate
- remote: cheap plastic thing, it works most of the time but doesn't seem to detect sometimes depending on angle
- switches are good, stick out just enough to be functional but not feel too fiddly or obtrusive


First listening impressions
- first: hey this is nice
- later: new toy syndrome has worn off, still good but not as enthused
- kinda brutish, not an ogre, but more Fezzik than Inigo Montoya
- I have a really hard time matching volume, because the iCAN "feels" louder all the time
- overall feels slightly on the V-shaped side (both warmer yet brighter)


On the inputs/outputs:
- the actual switching mechanism itself is quite seamless
- use the balanced XLR inputs; they sound so much better than the single ended
- I'm certain it's not my source, because mine does both and I've evaluated on other gear and found the differences to be marginal*
- single ended seems muted and loses energy (especially treble) and impact/punch compared to balanced inputs
* however, I cannot fully discount that this is a function of how my source is interacting with the iFi inputs
- but noise floor is higher with balanced input while using single ended output... not sure why this is; could be a cabling or power thing but it's unusual and I can't fully track it down
- switching inputs (both with nothing connected or the same source connected to both xlr and rca), there is a higher inherent noise from the balanced inputs which is opposite from expected
- however this noise is not affected by gain
- but it is affected by the pot... so the origin of the noise is coming from in between? It's not a huge problem, so I'm not chasing it down anymore after this
- balanced output is always quiet, regardless of input


Noise floor:
- not detectable with HE-6 (no surprise there)
- very slight noise floor with HD650 on balanced low gain with volume turned up all the way (can't tell with music)
- more noticeable with HEM8, but again it's low enough that your music would be deafening by the time you reached audible levels of noise



Impressions with HE-6
Note that my primary amp with the Hifiman HE-6 is the Bryston B60 which is a speaker amp. Most of my comparisons will be against that unless otherwise noted. Yes the HE-6 is a power hungry beast, so that makes it a good stress test so to speak.


General musings:
- in single ended mode, Callia and iCAN are somewhat close, with iCAN carrying more grunt but Callia feels more refined
- in balanced the iCAN pulls closer to the Callia in refinement
- Callia headamp is cleaner (single ended) while iCAN seems stronger and punchier (same impression from both HEM8 and HE-6)


Initial thoughts on Balanced vs single ended (HE-6) with the various options:
- no issues with power in either single ended or balance, it gets plenty loud
- initial feelings on all the various options and knobs: I am not a fan
- the character of the various settings actually changes depending on single ended or balanced
- typically I found myself preferring balanced solid state
- the two tube modes seemed stronger in single ended mode; going to balanced seemed to take out some of that tubeyness or changed the tone to something odd
- on Xbass and 3D most of the time the first setting is ok-ish, but anything higher I did not like



Mode: Solid State (single ended)
- does not hit as hard as the Bryston B60 (but more than Prism Callia)
- slightly more sibilant yet softer at the same time; the initial "sss" is stronger but the trail is softer or drawn out
- midbass has a slightly hollow impact (sort of like emphasized at both edges); I can see how this might make people feel it is more detailed and impactful
- so maybe this is simply how it handles a transient; harder front edge, perhaps more overshoot then followed by ringing?
- initial feeling is more air and more zing, but this fades after some time
- coming back to B60 immediately feels fuller and more balanced, even though it's hard to quantify and doesn't have the same "kick" as the iCAN
- overall prefer solid state over tubes after listening back and forth


Mode: Solid State (balanced)
- more power, seems to have more control
- feels a bit more full bodied, but it's a very slight difference here
- midrange presence seems slightly smoother, but marginally so
- upper range unaffected
- still doesn't feel as full as the B60, but brings a bit more kick to the game
- if I had to pick one mode of the six possibilities, it would be this one


Mode: Tube (single ended)
- definitely not neutral
- you can easily tell there's a bass hump/harmonics
- more thump (different from kick), but softer on edges
- pretty much what you expect of a stereotypical tube sound
- you'd think this would be nice on music that was a little bass light... but adding those harmonics into stuff that doesn't have it in the first place doesn't work and you get a harmonic warmth but not any actual body; it actually makes those mids feel... not quite honky, but too thick


Mode: Tube (balanced)
- less hump, less thump
- seems like less of a deviation from normal compared to single ended
- still warmer compared to solid state, but in a different way than the single ended mode
- let me rephrase... feels like warmer with a tilt?
- perhaps slightly cleaner sounding than single ended, but tone is slightly offput
- I find myself marginally preferring single ended over balanced in tube mode


mode: tube+ (balanced)
- so I thought: ok if you're gonna go tube, might as well go all the way???
- seems like richer deeper sound? nope I lied, that's not what I get
- not any thumpier or softer
- but definitely an extra harmonic or something that pulls on the ear in an odd way; I'm guessing it's odd order harmonics here
- upper end feels less refined
- it's not a treble glare, but maybe a high order distortion product
- I actually feel like this one is more fatiguing than regular Tube mode
- not sharp, but seems kinda hissy/sibilant
- feels like... a delay in the upper registers? (rather than harmonics?)


mode: tube+ (single ended)
- ok this one seems richer compared to balanced
- adds more warmth
- too much of a "good thing"
- midbass steps forward
- does not tame bright recordings; just smooshes it out
- feels like a reverb
- even as an outside listener while someone else is wearing the headphones, I could tell this sounded different



Crossfeed / 3D Holographic:
- bleh? maybe I'll try a different song... nope, still bleh. Maybe a different setting, wow nope wtf is going on. Let's try a mono recording... nope, now it's just further away.
- loses impact and sharpness
- I do consistently feel that there's less "centre", but it comes at the expense of everything else.
- Let's not pretend that we're emulating speakers here. I prefer the stock crossfeed plugin on Jriver, or better yet just get the free ToneBoosters Isone Pro vst plugin (but this requires all the software shenanigans)
30: dips the middle
60: dips the middle more
90: boosts the edges
- really not much more to say here; overall this mode did nothing for me
- but note for later, this feature redeems itself a bit on the preamp outputs


XBass:
- oh the lowest setting is kinda nice... but the others are just too much; in fact distractingly so
- even with metal recordings which I find are typically mastered bass light, the boost just didn't seem right
- you can't use this to correct for bass deficient headphones, because then you're pushing past what the headphones are really capable of and it turns into a muddled and distorted mess
- on bass-light recordings... eh I guess sorta it works, but you can't really amplify something that isn't in the recording
- so really this is only ok with bass capable headphones but bass-light recordings, and only on the first setting
- this feels like a bit more than just a typical EQ bass shelf, like maybe there's a tiny bit of harmonics added in too? I wouldn't be surprised if there were some crossfeed effect happening too, but don't know that for certain and am purely guessing here
- I suppose if you're in the "MOAR BASS" category of listeners then you'll be happy with this; I tried this using some bass heavy Fostex TH-X00 Purplehearts which are already bass heavy and this was simply too much



Gain (level match as much as possible by ear and multimeter)
- I'm surprised that it seemed like there were differences here
- low: kinda weaker? vocals seem slightly strained, but smoothest mid and treble, least impact
- med: "stringier" (not necessarily bad per se) upper end, impact seems cleaner
- high: hissier and slightly more sibilant, impact same as medium or ever slightly stronger, feels a bit like midbass boost again
- overall I stuck with Medium gain as my favourite and most of my listening was done here



Impressions with Sennheiser HD650
- all the fiddly knob stuff is less disagreeable on HD650 than the HE-6, like it's not as sensitive/resolving
- initial impressions seemed positive, but this dissolved after fifteen minutes
- soft touch/edges
- I thought it would be warmer but that's not the case
- still sounds brighter compared to my Bryston, it's not a "tss" sound but the trailing edges have a slight upturn to them
- resolution is ok, but not the best I've heard with the HD650
- Lorde - Royals: good kicks, but metallic, snaps don't have the body that they should
- all above impressions in solid state mode (balanced)
- Tube mode (balanced): ahh wtf?? distorted wonk wonk wonk
- Tube+ mode (balanced): huh better, like returning more to solid state, less sibilant, but slightly more fatiguing than regular tube mode
- SS mode (SE): sounds about the same as balanced, maybe a touch more metallic
- Tube mode (SE): warmer, hazier, this is the softest sound of all the modes and configs
- Tube+ mode (SE): too much harmonic, almost feels like an echo? even fuzzier, loses kick; vastly prefer balanced in this mode
- overall I do no not recommend the HD650 with this amp; it was not an ideal pairing


Other headphones:

Fostex TH-X00 Purpleheart (single ended only)
- this is a bassy headphone going into what I feel is a somewhat bassy amp...
- as expected combo produces too much bass overall for my tastes, but could be fun for others
- Xbass: too much; it overwhelms
- crossfeed: meh... too mushed with all the bass, it just makes things feel hollow in the middle and flabby everywhere else
- tube mode: is ok, definition goes down, but rumble and thump increase (no surprise there); if I wanted to go for a stereotypically tubey sound with lots of warmth, this is it
- tube+ mode: also ok; it's just softly thumpier, same definition as regular tube mode but has a softer tonality, not warmer but low end feels stretched out, upper end
- this would be a basslover combo


Fostex T50rp (single ended)
- just not a good match
- top end feels withdrawn regardless of setting
- midrange is there, but feels detached
- bass hits quite hard, this was about the only part I lked
- tons of power, but it simply didn't mesh well
- I gave up on this


Sennheiser HD598
- very similar tone as the HD650
- similar changes with the various settings, but overall effects are less so and this seems to work in its favour
- I would pick the 598 over the 650 with this amp
- solid state: single ended is good, balanced feels somewhat tubbier
- tube balanced: not as wonky as the HD650; I can tolerate this one
- tube SE: warmer, softer, lazy-ish
- tube+ balanced: like a slightly edgier solid state
- tube+ SE: mush mush mush, stick with balanced
- crossfeed is actually no too bad, the middle doesn't dip as much, overall feel is more like a sideways stretch
- Xbass: it's weird that the 598 feels more comfortable boosting bass than it's big brother 650; still not my cup of tea, but it's workable here


NuForce HEM8 (from the 3.5mm jack)
- the 3.5mm jack is lower in volume compared to the 6.5mm
- congested? what the heck is going on? I'm having trouble trying to do a volume match because something doesn't sound right
- no seriously, what's wrong with this thing... is it broken?
- loses cohesion
- snaps and plucks are in the wrong place in time???
- is this just some sort of L-pad going on to bring the level down? feels like something more than that
- in any event, the sound is a mess and I'm abandoning this
- reading the manual... oh this is the iEMatch thing? I have no idea what that's supposed to be, but it's clearly not working for me

3.5mm jack with Fostex T50rp
- not as messed up as the HEM8, but still feels slightly muted


NuForce HEM8 from regular TRS
- ok, so right away this is miles better than the 3.5mm output
- seems a bit bassier
- does not feel as neutral as my NuPrime uDSD
- midrange is flatter, treble has good extension if very very slightly upturned
- slightly cloudy in resolution...
- REVISED: balanced inputs cleans this up (don't know why, but the above when I was using single ended inputs the sound sucked)
- overall tone still slightly fuzzy, but not cloudy like before
- overall tone balanced is restored
- Callia headamp is less stuffy, like a veil has been lifted
- midrange clarity improved, feels much better and breathes
- bass hits harder and cleaner now
- all above noted with solid state mode
- tube mode: there's a tradeoff here... seems cleaner up top but muddier down low
- tube+ mode: wow big pop when switching mode here so be careful; did not get any cleaner like tube mode but did not get muddier either... but sounds withdrawn
- actually just be careful with sensitive iems with the knobs; they all seem to produce pops when changing modes
- Xbass: even 1st notch seems too much, 3rd notch gets distorted
- 3D: 1st notch collapses the middle stage and becomes withdrawn, 2nd notch not much different, 3rd notch adds elements to the side (but lower, unlike speakers which was placed higher) but still sounds artificial; overall staging feels better with this turned off
- Callia headamp is cleaner (single ended) while iCAN seems stronger and punchier



Impressions on Speakers

Speaker "3D Holographic" settings from the preamp outputs:
- does not have the middle dip like with headphones; general balance is better
- staging is better preserved than with headphones

+ mode: it's ok, seems to add more air? very tiny smear but yeah I guess it feels like a different room or speaker setting; placement of side instruments moves further out and slightly up; with a mono vocal and my speakers slightly offset, I can hear this distortion effect like a comb filter? (yes this happens with offset, but I've never heard it this apparent before and it disappears with the crossfeed turned off)
30+: feels like a reverb now, angle doesn't really change but speakers have moved further away
60+: really pulls it out to the side, it's gone past reverb and is almost like an echo; instrument location has moved further behind and up, a bit like I have some satellite speakers in a surround mode behind me; the middle is a bit of a weird null zone

- overall 3D effect is less noticeable in Tube and Tube+ mode

- with desktop speakers the effect is very noticeable; likely most of the processing occurs in the upper registers of the frequency range, so the entire speaker and staging flies out to the side
- the various bookshelf speakers I tried exhibited mostly similar behaviours (main ones I had on hand: Celsus Sound SP-One, Centrance Masterclass 2504, John Blue JB3)
- the one that sounded best was my John Blue JB3 which feels like a horn and has a very narrow sweet spot; the + mode expanded this and gave it more space (almost too much air, though the speaker veers that way to begin with)

Larger speakers used: Genelec 1030, Yorkville YSM8, Yorkville U15 (full sized PA cabinets), a couple Paradigm bookshelves
- with larger full range speakers that have a deeper reach, the 3D spatialization is not quite so drastic since the lower energy range doesn't move, thus helps keep things in place
- but the effect here is that I felt like I moved closer to the speakers (increasing effective angle) rather than have the speakers widen out
- it's still a bit hazy and/or feels buzzy out at the furthest edges and raised up higher (again like I have some small satellites above and behind me, though their location is much higher here than compared to the desktop movement); the middle isn't a null zone like with bookshelf speakers, but does feel squishy
- the better the bass reach of the speaker, the less egregious the effect of the spatialization
- sub integration is kinda odd though; I feel like I'm getting phase discrepancies and walking around the room feels weird, so it's probably better to stick with a regular 2.0-ch setup rather than 2.1

- but overall I find it easier to adjust my ears to the speakers with the 3D effects; with headphones it just doesn't work for me



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 楼主| 发表于 2018-10-9 15:56 | 显示全部楼层
接上
XBass speakers:
- if you're trying this on desktop speakers, you're gonna push them past what they're capable of and get a horrible mess because you're just distorting the speakers
- this did not sound good with any of my small bookshelf speakers
- on speakers with very good bass extension, you'll get rumble but not impact, it does feel deeper but also like you're in a bass bubble
- my Genelecs gained body, but still the strain was showing
- with my full range Yorkville PA speakers, this was generously room filling
- like on headphones, I find the first notch ok, 2nd is passable, but third is way way too much
- also similar to my headphone assessment, this setting really only works when you have bass-capable speakers and bass-light recordings.



How about as preamp?
- I wish there were a way to mute the preamp outputs
- all the fiddly knobs pass through in their own way
- not as transparent as the Stereoknight (but this is one of the best preamps I've ever heard); feels slightly mushier in comparison
- SS (balanced out) - soft yet a bit hard somehow; feels like a slight V emphasis
- tube (balanced out) - softens the sound, sharp plucks and twangs are smoothed out
- tube+ (balanced out) - actually less soft than regular tube mode; there's roundness to the sound but not warmth
- SS (SE) - same as balanced; maybe just a tiny bit more definition?
- tube (SE) - ever so slightly different flavour from balanced but hard to describe
- tube+ (SE) - more warmth than balanced

Closing thoughts:
- no, I didn't hate it, despite my snarkiness
- I did not read other reviews before taking my notes, so my observations are fairly untainted
- solid state mode strikes me as a very competent amp
- preference for balanced vs single ended depends on the mode used
- there is an impressive amount of power on tap; it is rare that I find an amp that can handle the HE-6 and not struggle
- all the variable functions strike me as trying to do too much in such a small space; I understand the appeal and it's a tweakers' delight, but for me those added features were detractors
- just because I didn't like the Xbass or 3D spatialiazations doesn't mean others wouldn't enjoy them; the only feature that baffled me was the iEMatch
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 楼主| 发表于 2018-10-10 16:37 | 显示全部楼层
ICAN Be One Of The Most Versatile Amplifiers On The Planet! The IFi Pro ICAN Amplifier
Written by Hisoundfi
Pros - Drives every earphone under the sun (including electrostatics when the ESL adapter is launched), Options of Tubes or Solid State, Lots of extras
Cons - Remote is cheap and functions poorly, Delays when switching from solid state to tube mode, High price tag & still needs a DAC to maximize performance
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At the time this review was written, the iFi Pro iCan was listed for sale on Amazon’s website. Here are some links for purchase and information:

https://www.amazon.com/iCAN-Prof ... p;keywords=ifi+ican

Introduction
Are you looking for the ideal headphone amplifier? What are your requirements?

The answers to these two questions varies, sometimes significantly depending on the person asked. The simple fact that we as audio enthusiasts have to be specific in our answer tells me that there’s room for improvement in one particular area, VERSATILITY. That’s where the Pro iCan steps in.

There are arguments about amps that carry on in audiophile circles…

“Is balanced worth the leap in price?”

“Solid state or Tubes?”

“High impedance and power hungry cans or low impedance portable gear with sensitive in-ear monitors?”

...as well as many others.

The truth is that there’s no wrong answer. As our gear and preferences evolve and change, so too does our demands and opinions of what’s ideal. What is agreed upon is the fact that we want to get the biggest return on the dollars we spend.

What if I told you that the answers to just about every single listening preference were answered in one amplifier? The folks at iFi have been listening, and the result is the Pro iCan. I said iCAN, not iCAN’T!

Let’s take a look at the amplifier that is versatile enough to eliminate specific preferences and go over it with a meat and potatoes review, shall we?

Disclaimer
The Pro iCan was borrowed from iFi in exchanged for a comprehensive review. I would like to thank my good friend Lawrence for the opportunity to spend some time with the unit and share my experience with the iFi community.

Review
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The Pro iCan comes in a white sleeved box about the size of the average men's shoebox. A nice photo of the front of the unit is featured along with a brief description. The back of the box displays a photo of the rear portion of the device along with some key features.
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Removing the sleeve I’m greeted to a simple white box with the iFi logo.

Specifications and Accessories

Specifications   
Gain: 0dB, 9dB and 18dB user-selectable
Frequency Response: 0.5Hz to 500kHz(-3dB)
Total Harmonic Distortion (by output setting):   
Solid-State:    Balanced: ≤0.0015%        Single Ended: ≤0.005%
Tube:        Balanced: ≤0.002%        Single Ended: ≤0.005%
Tube+:        Balanced: ≤0.012%        Single Ended: ≤0.2%
Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR, Balanced/Single-Ended): >147dB(A) / > 137dB(A)
Output Power (16Ω, Balanced/Single-Ended): >14,000mW / >4,800mW
Output Voltage (600Ω, Balanced/Single-Ended): >23V / >11.5V
Input Voltage (Pro iCAN): DC 9V/6.7A – 18V/3.35A
Input Voltage (iPower Plus):    AC 85 – 265V, 50/60Hz
Power Consumption: ≤ 22W idle, 50W max.
Dimensions: 213(l) x 192.5(w) x 63.3(h) mm
Weight:1.93kg (4.3lbs)

Accessories
1X Pro iCan
1X Power Supply (15 volt, 4 amp)
1X Wireless Remote
1X Pair RCA jacks

Design, Build, Functionality
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The Pro iCan is an all metal chassis. For a desktop amplifier it’s on the smaller side. The size is comparable to the likes of the Schiit Jotunheim or Asgard. For its size, the iCan Pro is fairly heavy.
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I paired the Pro iCan with its older sibling, the micro iDSD. I ran line out in preamplification mode from the iDSD (used the iDSD as my DAC). Hooking the Pro iCan up was simple. Power adapter and two RCAs is all it took. As if I had to mention, the iDSD did a great job and paired well with the iCan Pro.
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Looking at the back of the unit, there’s multiple inputs and outputs. The Pro iCan has left and right three pin XLR balanced inputs and THREE sets of unbalanced RCA inputs. For preamp output purposes, the unit has left and right three pin XLR balanced outputs as well as a set of unbalanced RCAs. Also located on the back is the power adapter input, a DC loop output, and a ESL link (special connection for a special iFi electrostatic add-on, not yet released).
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Taking a look at the front, there’s a TON of stuff to go over (I will cover the front of the unit from left to right).
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Top left we have a iFi Pro indicator light. Depending on what internal amplifier you’re using, the light will change color. The unit’s power button is discretely located on the lower left part of the front. A large dial is also located on the left side. This dial allows users to choose between the three analog RCA inputs and the dual three pin XLR balanced input. To the right of the input selector dial, there is an XBass selector dial. XBass options range from off, to a 12dB boost at 10Hz, 20Hz, or 40Hz. The XBass is definitely a useful tool that adds depth and lower frequency to leaner headphones, or gets the bass bumping when called upon. The boost is powerful, controlled and tastefully done from what I’ve heard. To my ears, each setting adds a noticeable emphasis that can give even the leanest headphones a nice amount of added oomph. Underneath the XBAss dial, a small metal three way lever switch can be found. This is the amplifier selector switch. I can choose to go from solid state, to tubes (with class A amplification), to a tube+ setting (even more “tube-ish” sounding).
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The middle portion of the amplifier has several output jacks. Let's use the next to paragraphs to explain single ended and balanced modes.

Outputs- Single Ended
In the middle of the device, there are up to FIVE OUTPUTS THAT CAN ALL BE USED SIMULTANEOUSLY (in single ended operation). With single ended operation there are two ¼ inch output options, a four pin XLR balanced output, and two single ended 3.5mm outputs that are wired with IEMatch technology. Simplified, the two 3.5mm outputs are ideal with more sensitive earphones (like IEMs, and sensitive low impedance headphones). I find this many output options to be a very useful tool for someone like myself who does multiple comparisons, writes reviews and goes to shows. The amount of outputs the Pro iCan has is fantastic, and what I consider to be one of the device’s biggest strengths.  

Outputs- Balanced
If you use the balanced input, the outputs change to balanced as well. Instead of having five different single ended stereo outputs (in unbalanced mode), the Pro iCan outputs change to three different balanced signals. Options are dual three-pin XLR (or dual ¼ inch outputs) which split the signal into left and right channels. The four pin XLR runs in balanced. The two 3.5mm outputs split the left and right signals as well. When using the Pro iCan in balanced mode, the output power is increased as well.
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On the far right a large dial is placed to control volume. The Pro iCan also comes with a small wireless battery operated remote that changes the unit’s volume. The remote is a simple two button remote to be used for volume only. There is no power or input buttons on the remote. To the right of the outputs another smaller dial can be found. This is the 3D switch. To my ears this is an “awesomifier” for warm headphones and headphones that seem to struggle in terms of soundstage and imaging. Here’s iFi’s definition of this technology:

“The 3D Holographic for Headphones is not based on a standard cross-feed system, as found in some High-End headphone amplifiers. Many so called ‘3D systems’ are usually DSP based that artificially affect the sound and add unwanted reverb in order to simulate a ‘spacious‘ type of sound. It’s true that traditional cross-feed tends to produce an ‘out of head’ sound, but with much diminished spatial components and a narrower soundstage, sometimes almost approaching mono. Most DSP based 3D designs produce an unnatural, echo-like sound, which may initially be impressive, but soon becomes tiring. By contrast, 3D Holographic for Headphones, provides not only ‘out of head’ placement of the sound sources, but renders the whole 3D sound field in a manner that strongly parallels listening to loudspeakers in a normal room, all achieved without the added reverb. This is the first system in commercial production to achieve this.”​

Underneath the 3D dial is another three way lever switch. This controls the amplifiers gain. There are three gain settings (0, +9dB, +18dB). Just a heads up, the gain settings increase the sound output quite a bit, and the Pro iCan gets insanely LOUD. How loud you ask? It’s capable of putting out up to 14,000mW. This device is literally is capable of pushing any headphone on earth including Electrostatics (with the electrostat add-on component, not yet released). In the same breath it can drive the world’s most sensitive IEMs with minimal to no background hiss (via the 3.5mm outputs).

Sound
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Do you want the lean and clinical sound of a TOTL solid state amplifier? CHECK (solid state amp setting)

Do you want the best of both worlds with a class A tube amplifier? CHECK (Tube amp setting)

Do you want a warm expansive sound of a creamy tube amp sound? CHECK (Tube+ setting)

Do you want to use all three of these amp variations with anything from sensitive in-ear monitors to power hungry full sized headphones (and eventually electrostats)? No problem!

This amp is absolutely fabulous. Don’t get me wrong, this thing isn’t going to slay every summit-fi full sized headphone amp that exists. In some cases there are going to be elite headphone amps that have higher quality internals and perform better with full sized (primarily power hungry) headphones. Just the same, I’ve heard some multi-thousand dollar tube amps that will outperform the Pro iCan’s tube amp setting as well (as well as provide a larger panel for tube rolling). HOWEVER, these higher priced models don’t come close to the Pro iCan in terms of VERSATILITY. It’s really hard to ask for more considering the fact that this thing is under two grand and can push every earphone on the planet.

Because of the various settings and MULTIPLE amplifiers packed into the Pro iCan, I can’t give the unit a definitive sound signature. This device has multiple sounds once you factor in the various amplifiers and adjustable bass and 3D settings.

There are some basic observations I made when using the device. I found that neutral and semi open headphones sounded better with the amp in the “Tube” or “Tube+” setting. I found myself using the “Tube+” setting in combination with the Xbass setting on headphones like the Sennheiser HD600 and Philips SHP9500. I was able to really dial it in for my preference using the amp with this setting and added luxury of the Xbass dial.

Just the opposite, I enjoyed pairing the iCan Pro in solid state setting with warmer, bassier and closed full sized cans. Using the 3D dial seemed to add air and improve imaging with headphones like the ZMF Atticus, Meze 99 Neo and NAD Viso HP30.

Using the iCan Pro with in-ear monitors was a great solution for desktop use. I had fun using all the settings the amplifier had when using it with IEMs. Truth be told, not many amps are made to work with IEMs and as a result there is a fairly large amount of background noise and hiss. Not only did the iCan Pro avoid this phenomenon, it also gave me the luxury of dabbling with amplifier and sound settings like no other amplifier can. The single ended 3.5mm jacks are equipped with iFi's IEMatch technology found in the micro iDSD, making these outputs ideal for sensitive earphones.
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结论:
格因素和我可以保证在每个放大器设置中的iCan声音将使其范围内的所有内容都为其付出代价。我仍然喜欢我的micro iDSD,并认为它是更好的设备之一,但iCan Pro的放大器部分会破坏iDSD引擎盖下的任何放大器。
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iCan最大的竞争对手是,如果我们谈论的是一种放大器或其他类型的放大器的性能(基于偏好),那么在500到1000美元的范围内有放大器可以让它有钱。固态或管状,但不是两者兼而有之)。想到的品牌和产品包括Cavalli,Violectric,Woo Audio ,Aune和Schiit。与此同时,这就是iCan Pro的魅力所在。你不需要购买一个放大器或者必须购买多个桌面放大器,你可以将它们合二为一!

每个放大器设置都与TOTL保真度相关或达到极佳的TOTL保真度。您需要高端固态的临床和平衡声音放大器?翻转开关...你想要一个电子管放大器的温暖和广阔的声音?翻转开关...你想要更多低音?转动表盘......您想从耳机中获得更宽广的声音吗?转动表盘...你想听400欧姆的平面?有一个插孔...你想听你的高灵敏度多驱动器入耳式监听音箱?有一个杰克......它一直持续......

虽然Pro iCan并没有特别重视耳机世界,但放大器的出色性能和多功能性使其成为史诗般的装备。Ifi几乎“破解了代码”并制作了我认为最通用的耳机 放大器今天在市场上。它具有适合您所有耳机的输出和设置。只要您有一个不错的DAC 来提供音乐文件(这是您必须考虑的额外成本,以最大限度地提高Pro iCan性能),Pro iCan将放大器部分归结为甜蜜科学。微型IDSD中使用的大部分魔法已经与Pro iCan一起使用,他们还增加了一个带有负载和负载功率的惊人放大器部分。

iCan Pro是一款产品中的几款放大器。拥有者可以将设备与他们拥有的每对耳机一起使用。这为想要一体化放大器的用户提供了巨大的价值解。 感谢阅读和快乐聆听!

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