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. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    Ive had 4 products with ifi:
    retro stereo 50: I have a problem with the dac
    itube: ok
    pro ican: ok
    micro ican: ok
    so 1 problem out of 4 with ifi audio
     
  2. khragon

    khragon Acquaintance

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    It's selfish of me if I dont' share this with fellow Pro iCan owners. You guys should try out the WE396As, they increased clarity compared to the GE (and solid-state mode), as well as opened up the sound stage. I think they bring the Pro iCan up another level, close to WA5 with top tubes. Very nice upgrade.

    https://photos.google.com/u/2/share...?key=QkZfMDIzM1VkR29PY090Z2haTzlhRkVHdDFIZkV3
    [​IMG]

    Disclaimer: may void warranty.

    *Edit* Sorry I don't know how to embed image.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  3. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    Ifi said it voids your warranty, but who cares. Where did you get yours? I can't seem to find a good pair.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    You'd have to extremely stupid to spend $800-$1000 on vintage 6SN7s for the Freya. Like as stupid as a rock. Lots of good sounding 6SN7s around, and if you know what you are doing, less than $100, even $60, for four of them.

    I call bullshit on this claim.
     
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  5. khragon

    khragon Acquaintance

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    I owned WA5 (1st gen, w/o upgraded parts) about 2 years ago, now I have Glenn 300B, I felt the Glenn is better, more clarity and dynamics vs. WA5, while using cheaper rectifers and driver tubes. Comparing WE396A driven Pro iCan to Glenn 300B with SERP I felt it's only a tad behind in musicality, everything else is just fine and is very enjoyable. I leave it to Torq to try WE396A against his WA5 for the final judgement.

    As for 6SN7 and schiit preamp, I just purchased the Saga (sorry no Freya), and you're right, it's a very transparent preamp, and sounds good even with the stock tube. Kudos to Schiit!

    I got my WE396A from a member here. You can get a pair on eBay, I'm not sure where else to buy them if you don't like eBay.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    That doesn't make sense. The 396A is the same (essentially same electrical characteristics) as the 2C51 and 5670. This isn't Xtreme Tube Rolling as seen as in the HF Fur Elise OTL amp thread.
     
  7. loplop

    loplop Acquaintance

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    Ifi believes the 5670 will last the life of the amp. They have chosen, as such, to treat them as an integral and non removeable component.

    It's a rather silly position.

    With the problems I've had with the Pro series, initially I made the decision not to tube roll until after the warranty is up. That said, I've not been impressed with ifi support, and I'm not sure the warranty is worth anything, anyway...
     
  8. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    Thanks for verification, that was my initial assumption.
     
  9. HitmanFluffy

    HitmanFluffy Hoping to see real genitals someday!

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    Mfw reading Randos: The Thread

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    They seem to generally love their iFi, Audio-GD and Nighthawks, that's for sure. If you ever needed to trap one for food, that would be primo bait.
     
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  11. HitmanFluffy

    HitmanFluffy Hoping to see real genitals someday!

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    It begs the question though: How did the Rando develop a taste for these things?
     
  12. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    iFi has pretty strong hype advertising and have hit that critical mass point where it's now one of the easier brand names to find on the used market. So even though the experienced listeners have moved on, all the old gear moves to the next set of hype-parrots.

    Audio-gd pushed out so many revisions that people can't sell the old models fast enough, which again floods the used market for all the newbies to snatch up and perpetuate the chain.

    The Nighthawk is the new hotness and has replaced the Fidelio X2 as the easy-to-amp blind recommendation for those who don't want to amp an HD600/650. Personally I think the Nighthawk is actually good, especially with the new pads.
     
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  13. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    I'd describe it as more of a side-grade than an upgrade, even just comparing them side-by-side in the Pro iCAN (which is how we did the tube-rolling i.e. using two units). I actually prefer the GE5670 for the iFi Pro iCAN - which is convenient since it's the stock tube.

    I'd strongly disagree here. While I rather like the Pro iCAN, I don't think it comes that close to my WA5-LE (latest revision, all parts upgrades) just using punched-plate Sophia Princess (not the "Royal" versions) 300B/274B and Sylvania 6SN7GT let alone with my Takatsuki 300B/274B.

    That'd be two of us!
     
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  14. khragon

    khragon Acquaintance

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    You guys are pretty rough over here... I like it. Will take some use to compare to interacting over at HF.

    I guess the WA5 v2 w/ all parts upgraded is better than WA5 v1 stock, which make sense. I'm happy with my WE396A, guess that's all that's matter.

    Happy listening.
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Yup, we are pretty tough. I figured I'd let @Torq take the first shot since he owns a WA5. It's been my experience that the difference between a base WA5 with crappy Chinese tubes and a fully decked out one with beefy rectifier and a real 300B (WE, Taskatsuji, possibly EML) is huge.

    Secondly, I feel that SBAF must take a stand on putting tweaks in their proper context. It's not uncommon, and actually human nature, for audiophiles to announce significant huge gains and improvements with tweaks: rolling tubes, boutique capacitors, audiophile fuses, etc. The tweaks do make a difference, but the differences are always smaller than what the tweaker believes. Examples of this include the following: swapping opamps in a servo, playing with DIP switches, and announcing that a $700 DAC has reached the next level and is now competitive with a $2500 high-value DAC; or rolling a Christmas tree of tubes and tube conversion sockets (without regard to filament current requirements) to announce that a $700 amp has reached the next level and is competitive with a $2500 high-value amp.

    In every single one of these cases, the tweaker suffers from ATM Audiophila Tweakers Myopia. This is something I used to suffer from myself, so there is no shame. With ATM, the audiophile tunes in so much that even the smallest changes from tweaks are pronounced as significant changes. I am not doubting there is improvement, but what I am stating is when one steps back and looks at (hears) the big picture, the improvement is not all that significant, and possibly more a matter of different than better.

    Thirdly, I want to re-emphasize that tube rolling must take into context of the price and capability of the gear. Got a TOTL amp? Go all out. But don't buy $800 worth of tubes for the Lyr or Valhalla 2. And don't even suggest that $800-$1000 worth of 6SN7s is necessary for any piece of audio gear that needs four of them where only two need to be matched. I've heard most of the exotic unobtainium 6SN7s, and you know what? They are mostly different rather than better. Much of the time, the super expensive 6SN7s are the oddball sounding stuff which happens to be rare. 6SN7s for the most part have a tonal signature that is more consistent with each other than not.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
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  16. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Mine too.

    In general, with all-tube designs the effect of changing tubes is significantly more pronounced than with things like the iFi Pro iCAN (which is "just" a tube-input stage), or other tube/solid-state hybrids such as Lyr.
     
  17. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    People might sound rough, but they're also a lot less likely to try to snow you or rip you off. Choose your poison.
     
  18. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Alright, so I've got a loaner iCan in house at the moment and it's warmed up a little bit. Haven't really read much for impressions (or if I have, I've completely forgotten them) so here are some untainted initial stream of consciousness scribbles...

    - crossfeed: 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. 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. The stock crossfeed plugin on Jriver works better than this, or better yet just get the free ToneBoosters Isone Pro

    - XBass: oh the lowest setting is kinda nice... but the others are just too much; distractingly so

    - mode: Solid state: initial impressions are ok, no complaints. Tube mode: wow, not even trying for neutral huh? it's like I turned the knob on the bass boost.. More thump but softer; there's easily some added distortion/harmonics, if not outright bass boost. How about Tube+ mode... oh geez, what's happening here? are we sure this isn't some weirdly done hybrid state? the manual says they're putting in more tube harmonics but this feels kinda harsher and more fatiguing, and what feels like a delay in the upper registers?

    Ok so I pretty much don't like any of the fiddly knob settings except for the 1st notch on XBass. I'm going to switch back to solid state mode and refrain from scribbles until my ears have settled into the sound.


    source: Prism Callia
    headphones: HE-6
     
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  19. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Nope, I lied. Ten minutes more listening in solid state mode with a more critical ear and with everything else turned off and I'm writing a few more notes... there's something funny happening in the transients here, like it's simultaneously more sibilant yet softer at the same time. Initial "sss" sounds seem sharper, but then the trail seems drawn out. Midbass stuff has a slightly hollow fake impact to it*. Like I'm listening to something conceptually poorly damped with overshoot and ringing, though I really shouldn't be getting that with my HE-6.

    *I could see how this might make the amp seem more detailed and impactful
     
  20. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    Give it a week. Let your brain burn in. Try it for a while. Then post impressions.
     

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