ifi-audio pro iCAN - any thoughts?

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by AllanMarcus, Jun 3, 2016.

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  1. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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

    $1695

    Interesting specs. SS and Tube. variable 3D (crossfeed+, basically), variable bass boost, and lots off inputs and outputs. External power supply (DC 15V/4A). 14W into 16 ohm (balanced), 4.8W single-ended. Adjustable gain too.

    Something called ESL-Link, which is some sort of electrostat energizer add on module.

    With SS, Tube, Tube+, 3D/Crossfeed, Bass Boost, adjustable gain, fully balanced, and many inputs/output, this amp seems very versatile. Initial reviews are positive, but there's aren't many reviews yet.

    I realize that features often come at the expense of quality. Still, this amp sure look intriguing.

    Inner fidelity review
    http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/ifi-pro-ican-mixed-tube-and-solid-state-headphone-amplifier
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
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  2. SingSing

    SingSing Facebook Friend

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    being tube and ss jammed into a tiny box like that (not hybrid, but separate circuits)

    something has to be compromised there

    looks like a neat product though
     
  3. AllanMarcus

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  4. SingSing

    SingSing Facebook Friend

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    Looks like it has a lot of technology, personally, the "x-bass" and "3d magic" sauce are of no interest to me, I'd rather they put the pcb space/$$$ into making a better amp.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but all I can thing of is compromises made on the amp sections due to space and $ limitations. Although at $1699 that is pretty hefty. Would be interested in peoples hands on opinions.
     
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  5. Smitty

    Smitty Too good for bad vodka - Friend

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    The phrase "Jack of all trades, master of none." comes to mind when I look at this thing. Also, the SNR of 147 dB is highly suspect.
     
  6. SingSing

    SingSing Facebook Friend

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    Also the thing is powerrd by a smps wall wart with " military grade stealth bomber active noise cancelation"
     
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  7. AllanMarcus

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    From the manual:
    Tip: Any 9v to 18v DC power source with a minimum 60VA rating can be used with the Pro iCAN (including vehicular, RV and boat based 12V DC power). The Pro iCAN uses double conversion power supplies that make it impervious to power supply noise and related problems. However, we strongly recommend the use of the included iPOWER Plus 15V. It o ers the latest in power supply technology and is better and cleaner than battery and aftermarket linear power supplies. ​

    There's a HF thread on the iPower here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/761310/ifi-audio-ipower-universal-ultra-low-noise-ac-dc-adapter

    It's pretty easy to bash a product based on speculation, although history has taught us much and the thoughts post above certainly have historical precedent. As for XBass and 3D, sometimes a little of each can be useful. I wouldn't use it all the time, but I certainly know people that leave on a little bass boost all the time in EQ.

    I guess it will be interesting to read about measurements and impressions from some of the more experienced listeners, and comparisons to other amps in its price range. I just thought it looks like an interesting amp feature-set wise. I guess this looks like it might be a good amp with great features rather then a great amp with basic features. Only time will tell as it gets in the hands of reviewers. I have the iCan nano, and I find it pretty darned useful for a $125 portable amp (used). When I'm stuck in a hotel room banging away at work email, the XBass is sometimes nice with my Ether C. I realize this is totally subjective.

    Even as a replacement for a Crack and LC, the pro iCan is moe expensive, and possibly not as good sounding. XBass and 3D are definitely not worth the extra $500. Unless the amp really matches up to its marketing, it might be a hard sell.
     
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  8. SingSing

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    If it was sub 1000$ i think it would be a very intriguing product.

    At $1699 your competeing with the likes of the ragnarock and some other totl amps.
     
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  9. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    More interesting news. iFi will have the iCan pro, the iDSD pro, and what appears to be the electrostatic energizer add-on at RMAF. Pics were posted to HeadFi. Also looks like there are speaker outputs too.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Oh god. Head-fi will explode (if it hasn't already) with the utterly Trumpian (it's big! It's so big we can't even tell you about it! In fact... we'll make it as big as you want it! The biggest!) marketing thread.

    I have an iCAN on the shelf. Thought I'd be buying more of their gear, but I have never been so effectively turned off a company by its marketing (well, ok, maybe Microsoft). I think it was the iDSD? or something.

    Well... you did ask for thoughts! :pirate07:
     
  11. MrButchi

    MrButchi Gear Master Europe

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    Had the Pro iCan as a loaner for two weeks in July.
    I thing the XBass and 3d thingie are useless gadgets (the XBass always bleeds higher and the 3d thingie actually introduced artifacts on a few tracks).
    Overall the SS, Tube and Tube+ are quite close, with the Tube and Tube+ being a little more mushy/warmy and eating some tightness and details.
    I really liked the SS with Gumby and HD800SD, actually the first time my HD800SD sounded that good (but then it was only fed by a Lyr2 before that).
    I did find a little grain in the high mids/highs, something 'unsmooth', but enjoyed it overall.
    I like my BW2 (which arrived since) better, although I did have to drop the SD mod.
    What I really loved about Pro iCan was its gazillion inputs and ouputs, the fact that it can drive anything cleanly from iems to HE-6, making it a mean reviewing machine (it makes life much easier to compare side by side two cans or two DACs).
    Maybe not the best SQ out there, but really nice.
    Oh and also the really small footprint is a definite plus in my book (it's about two thirds of a Gumby). And the remote control is a plus too.
    Ps: am a total noob with high quality amps, so take all of the above with the necessary grain of salt.
     
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  12. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    They could be worthwhile with the AT ADH900 that was my headphone at that time. I'd like to play with proper, configurable (as in Phonitor, maybe, though I know some people hate it) crossplay. I did play with those gadgets on the iCAN. Results varied album by album, sometimes track by track.

    I wonder what I'd think of the company if their head-fi marketing had not made me vomit. I really did like the look of it before that o_O
     
  13. AllanMarcus

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    Get over yourself @Thad E Ginathom . Bitching about the hype on Head-Fi here is about as bad (or worse) as when there is unrestrained hype on head-fi). I would rather talk about the pros and cons of a product or the support by the company than the marketing of the company.

    So they tease a little. So what. Either they aren't ready to announce because their engineers aren't ready, or they are building some hype. Nothing wrong with a little hype. They are in business to sell product.

    The head-fi folks aren't going to go crazy over this since it isn't that big of a deal. It's quite interesting, but it costs too much for the average head-fire™.

    With the iCan Pro and the energizer one has tube, SS, and Electrostatic SS and Tube. Tons of inputs and outputs.
    As for the 3D Holo and Bass, I have a regular iCan, and I like using them sometimes. I they work pretty well with the Ether C and iPhone source on travel. They are analog, not DSP, and I don't think they distort as much as alter the sound to their intended effect.

    I do like the work Trumpian as you are using it. It a wonderful, terrific, tremendous, word. An amazing, classy, fantastic, word.
    It will big big. It will be huge. huge, i tell you.
    Others choke when they try to use it.
     
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  14. AllanMarcus

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    Very nice set of impressions. I've requested to be on the HF tour, and I will listen at RMAF, so hopefully I can tell for myself.

    As for your impressions of tubes for SS, I think that is par for course. Tubes have been described as adding a "liquid" sound. My son refers to tubes as "somewhat desirable distortion". It's all a matter of taste.

    How fast does it switch when going from SS to tube? Can you flick a switch and hear a difference? Sounds very interesting for A/B testing.
     
  15. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    You have a point. And a good one too. I'll stick to reading the impressions here, and avoid reading, or talking about, the Trumpeting elsewhere

    :oops:
     
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  16. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    So we have a hint at how it may sound compared to the bw but that wasnt anything to hold on to.

    I am going to buy a solid state amp soon around that price and have settled on the Master 9. However, I have too signed up for the tour and will most likely end up comparing it to another TOTL solid state amp. I will also, should I be picked, compare it to my Trafomatic head 2 all being fed by the Pavane using the Code-X. The specs look pretty good though, low distortion etc.

    The iFi Micro SE sounds really good for the price. It has a good balance, good control and decent dynamics so if this is like that but on steroids it is promising. I would just skip the M-9 and go for the pro but that wouldn't be a smart buy. Shoot even a Rag. I have had a very tough time time scouting solid impressions of the Rag vs the M-9 and will in the end pick the one that has better specs, looks better on my desk, and seems to be clearer and cleaner. I hope the Pro compares favorably to those because analog tone controls etc need to have a resurgence.
     
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  17. MrButchi

    MrButchi Gear Master Europe

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    Thanks for the compliment :)

    Re the tube sound, in that case, it was too close in signature to really bring value. What I mean is that it didnt sound as good as SS to me technically speaking, but didnt bring enough roudness or liquidness eitherto justify the loss.

    Re the switching time, it's like a 2 seconds thing. IFi Audio recommended tube heat for a half-hour, so I did and then would compare in one minute increments with SS so as to not let the tubes cool down.

    @gbeast : it's not even a proper comparison with BW because I received it a full month after returning the Pro iCan. In my failed memory I like the BW way better though. Pro iCan made me turn off my Lyr2 definitely (even after it left) but BW makes my foot tap.
    If you take price in the equation, Pro iCan should sound totl (almost 2k€ in EU). Not the case imho.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
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  18. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    that is why for me I am only interested in how it performs as a solid state. The tubes in an amp like that are really just a slight coloration.
     
  19. JWahl

    JWahl Acquaintance

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    I look forward to hearing your impressions compared to the Trafo as a point of reference since I've owned it before. I'm hoping to get on the review circuit but we'll see how that pans out. I'm mildly curious about the iCan Pro, but not enough to drop money on it anytime soon. This (freshly upgraded) T III is an absolute beast, but unfortunately it's leaving very soon since I had to sell gear off to afford a move.

    The raw PCB design engineering for the size on the pro is impressive, but a boatload of parts does not automatically mean a great design of course.
     
  20. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    I will post them everywhere if I am selected. Review and all.
     

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