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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    iFi posted a little more info about the 'Pro iEnergizer". First, that appears to be its name. No comment.

    It will be at RMAF, so I imagine there will be much more info after that.
     
  2. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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  3. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    I like his review style. To the point...
    Based on the review I might prefer it to the 9
     
  4. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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    Yeah, I really dig his review style.

    It will be interesting to compare the upcoming Schiit Freya against the M9 and this Pro Ican from a preamp standpoint.

    Just for contrast, the confusing writing style in this review:
    http://www.computeraudiophile.com/c...level-3-kitsune-tuned-edition-r2r-dac-review/
     
  5. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    Wait.. The Freya has a headphone jack?
     
  6. Madaboutaudio

    Madaboutaudio Friend

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    Balanced preamp function(for speakers). It will be quite interesting since Freya has tube, solid state and passive preamp mode. These also can function as balanced preamp: Mj2, Jotun & Ragnarok.
     
  7. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    Oh I see what you mean
     
  8. Madaboutaudio

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  9. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    Thank @Madaboutaudio .

    Lawrence is a great kid. I met him last year and ate breakfast with him and the other iFi folks as they stayed at the same hotel as me.

    The energizer has speaker in taps so you can us it with a speaker amp as well, or the hdmi to the Pro iCan. Cool

    The bass boost on the Pro iCan was actually very nice, with three different boost settings, plus off. It synergized very well with my Ether C. I imagine it would very well with an HD 800

    The SS stage was a little bright/harsh, and I much preferred the tube stage on my Ether C. That was, of course, show conditions. Hard to say how they sound in home conditions. Still, the option is nice. With dark cans, like the nighthawk, Z7, or HD650, the SS stage maybe just what's needed to bring those cans to life.

    My big gripe, and it's a small one, is the weight. The Pro iCan is so light one needs to hold it down to plug/unplug headphones.

    Ok, my other gripe is the price. It should sell for $999.
     
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  10. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Well, that's a gripe that I wouldn't have predicted- the benefits of hands-on experience. I have to say that their industrial design looks very nice in that little video, they're very nice-looking units. I guess I was expecting them to have some heft.

    Regarding the price, their stuff always looks a bit more pricey than it has any valid reason to be- not gouging, fanciful prices.. but high enough that you can often find something that performs as well or better for less.. it'll be interesting to see how this shakes out, as it's an interesting-looking device.
     
  11. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    Woohoo! Got selected for the HF tour of the Pro iCan. @gbeast did too (I think). I'll be reviewing it with a Modi Multibit and a UDA-1. Might even have it at the same time as the Jodie tour, but we'll see.

    Time to get out the audio thesaurus for the review. :)
     
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  12. bimmer100

    bimmer100 Rando

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    I own a custom NOS11 and also the iCan Pro....both are excellent amps... REALLY GOOD. But i'm finding myself gravitating to my iCan most of the time, as it's more versatile and albeit soundstage is every SLIGHTLY less, it's still more detailed to me up top, and the overall sound is better imho.

    My NOS11 is custom, all the wire is replaced with Norne Silvergarde S wire, and all xlr/rca are EiZZ tellurium/gold connectors. A few other nice mods done at Audio-Gd. sounds significantly better than before. And tha amp stage is essentially the same as the M9. SOOOOO, iCan for me. it's my end game. the M9 is a close second.

    Personally I found the bass to be awesome with the iCan as you can bump up the curve at just 10hz for sub bass and it sounds incredible on my V2 H1k or Hd800s. The intimate sound of female vocals are even better on my V2 Edition X.

    The SNR caught me off guard at first, but to be honest. It's the best amp i've ever heard. No question about it. I'm tapping my toe and bobbing my head more than ever. I can't really say much without sounding Bias considering since getting this amp I ended having to have to sell the product. iFi has some "interesting" marketing. But the guys at iFi are truly wonderful. I think they have a winner here. I also spend a great deal of time listening to their Energizer too! that's on my want list!!

    The cool thing I noticed about the Pro iCan is that it's so small...but how?!! they moved the power supply outside the case! and it all makes more sense now! the noise levels are extremely low likely to this great design. The power supply itself is extremely low noise! And it still allows you to use your favorite power cord with it if you choose.

    Personally I don't care for tubes much, on ANY tube amp for that matter, very few I'll prefer over a proper SS amp like this little guy. The mode i'm in most is SS, and when i'm feeling really chill i'll throw it into tube or hybrid (tube/ss mix) and enjoy some older recordings that just give me the chills of a good vinyl sound and warmth. Otherwise, new high end recordings always sound best in SS...my opinion.

    If you're feeling like a small change of soundstage. the 3D was SUPER CHEESY in theory. I thought this feature would surely be bunk and a waste of time. But it surprised me as I find it very subtle. It pulls the sound away from your head only slightly. It's quite subtle and find with certain recordings I prefer to use it. And I can't sense any noise or extra nonsense getting into the signal audio path. It sounds quite good in fact. 10% of the time I might use this feature, and understand it's best when used with loudspeakers when attached to the energizer and using speaker outputs.

    The iem feature surely was a win, as my nos11 has subtle hum when using my fidue a83 and some of my other more sensitive iems. basically worthless. So the iCan has the iEmatch system integrated into the two outputs...3.5mm TRS and 3.5mm TRRS (balanced!) yes... cool, since my fidue are terminated with a Norne Therium balanced 3.5mm TRRS.

    bottom line, take my review with a grain of salt as i'm being upfront here. I sell their products "NOW" but heard this first and bought this first. I am NOT easily impressed with many amplifiers, I don't want to name drop, but there are a dozen amps 2,3,4,5 times as much that didn't even come close to impressing me. My opinion is this is the best amp for you money, and very well could be the best amp available for many people, even the most critical and demanding type. It's so versatile it will be able to be tweaked to whatever sound you want it to be. It does it so well too! discrete circuit for SS and separate discrete circuit for Tube, it's like having several amps in one. And it fits my needs and requirements for an amp...powers ANY headphone extremely well. Also take note the tubes they use, do a little homework on them, they are actually very very good tubes, yet the oddball. iFi made special adapters for them to make them work. Plus their circuit for warming them up is quite brilliant.


    Anyway, i'm rambling. I'm quite excited for this Amp, and i've got a few friends that heard mine and then had to have one. My NOS11 will be up for sale as I don't have room for the beast. Albeit it will be hard to let go with nearly 1000usd of mods done. :D
     
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  13. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    The Nos 11 amp stage and the M9 are not the same.

    Its already been discussed that the 11 series have are almost as good but not as good as the 9. Kingwa's bad english is misleading.

    But with your mods it may even be better than the 9 who knows. Anyhow thanks for sharing.

    The review at Head-Mania was an informative comparison and compared the 9 to the pro by aspect. Have you read that review?
    Any thing you agree on or disagree on?


    Also... Its a bit odd that you prefer solid-state with the HD800 over a tube amp. I would have to call BS on the Pro being able to do better than a high end OTL amp with NOS tubes.... Edit: Well you didn't say that but you should get to hearing that one day before you throw the baby out with the bathwater.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
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  14. jowls

    jowls Never shitposts (please) - Friend

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    Oh hey! You should probably introduce yourself, especially as a MOT, in the 'New Members' thread;

    http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/new-members-introduce-yourself.17/
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
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  15. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    @jowls you quoted the wrong person bud\/
     
  16. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    I wonder if bimmer100 has ever used the energizer. The speaker taps are for input from a speaker amp, not for output to a speaker.
     
  17. bimmer100

    bimmer100 Rando

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    From what I understood at the RMAF is that it has an input and output - so a pass through to allow more tuning of the sound with the 3D options etc. is this not a correct understanding. I swear they told me it had input and output. It would make no sense otherwise.
     
  18. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    OK, looking at the picture, there are 8 posts. I guess that's 4 in and 4 out. Interesting. When I spoke with iFi they didn't mention out.

    The bass boost and 3D tech is the pro iCan, so that signal would need to pass into the energizer, through the pro iCan, then back to the energizer speaker terminal outs.

    I should have gotten better pictures. Sorry.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  19. bimmer100

    bimmer100 Rando

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    I've definitely made no such comment about the HD800 sounding best on the iFi amp. A more accurate comment, imho, is i've yet to find something that makes the HD800 sound to my liking at all. It's a great headphone, just not my preference. I've heard it on plenty of tube amps too and still find the headphone to not be my preference. I can imagine the hate i'll get from this comment.


    and about the M9 and Nos11 was a comment that they are both high end amps, and yet i've not recently had an M9 to test again, i'd like to do this against my modded Nos11. The sound improvements are quite nice with the mods. I found that the M9 and M11/Nos11 came down to preference more than anything. They both sounded good to me, and I still chose the M11, which later was converted to NOS11 and then mods.

    The review on Head-Mania was indeed informative, i've read that and agree to a certain extent with most of what was said. It'd definitely fair competition to rate up agains the M9. IMHO i'd still choose the Pro iCan over the m9 for a multitude of reasons. But is it better for you? I'm not sure. For me, i'm sure it is.

    a couple comments on Headmania's review...

    The m9 vs Pro iCan

    BASS - I wouldn't say the M9 is a clear winner here, as it would depend which headphone, mode you're using with the Pro iCan, I want to get an m9 to do a more direct comparison. But bass was something I found the Pro iCan to do very very well in regards to speed, and deeper. The freq response of this amp is stellar and able to hit low low lowssss with ease while keeping it under tight control.

    TREBLE - fairly accurate, as i'd never call the m9's treble quite digital. But the dac could be part of this. Yes, MSB Analog Dac. FWIW, i'm using my Kitsune Tuned Spring Dac as my source for both amps -NOT nos11's dac. Also thought had occured that even the cables used to pair with these amps could be part of the high freq sound being "off". But this side of things I find the iFi would clearly win due to the complex power supply the iFi has...possibly. I understand it is quite unique and runs at a high frequency of 1.2mhz as opposed to typical mains 60hz or 120hz. This should translate to more detail and less demand on sizing of components. This is what iFi had claimed and explained to me anyhow. This power supply they use may be responsible for many of the excellent measurements the amp is capable of.

    Voices - I agree, and prefer intimate, yet found that the soundstage remained wide,tall,deep at the same time. This alone won me over on the amp being my all time favorite.

    Transients - Again, I'd love to have an M9 to test against the iFi again. But with my Nos11 they are both so close that it's like splitting hairs. Speed and decay is not anything that either of these amps have issues on or could really be rated anything less than excellent.

    Sound Stage and Imaging - I find the sound stage more immersive on the NOS11 yet more smeared, and likely why it's more immersive. I found the iFi to be more pin point precise and accurate, holographic indeed. Sounds coming from the deepest blacks and precisely where they should be.

    Details - I'm the opposite on this view. both are good, but feel the iFi holds the upper hand. of course with my nos11, yet has some pretty good mods, yet remember i'm not using the Nos dac in the NOS11 either.

    Transparency and Clarity - I simply couldn't decide which I liked better. sometimes iFi, sometimes Nos11. But dependant on recording moreso. Yet I found I could tweak the iFi to my liking most of the time If i chose to do so.


    ----------

    conclusion.

    iFi Hold's it's own against the best of amplifiers. This is my opinion. And generally speaking for most applications it's well rounded. NOT perfect of course, and lacking in some departments. But what amp ever could get a perfect rating in all areas?

    I think iFi did a darn good job with this one.
     
  20. bimmer100

    bimmer100 Rando

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    [​IMG]
    hope this is ok to link to a headfi photo, but it's more clear here to see input and output.
    and the signal does pass through from the hdmi connection. I understand the 3D options are very good with loudspeakers. I want to test this!!! so will definitely get an iEnergizer when they become available.

     
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