iFi at Audio46
iFi ZEN Phono Desktop MM/MC Phono Stage (Open Box)
Product SKU: Zen Phono (US) (OB)
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Fall in love with your LPs all over again.
Pedigree. Performance. Peerless.
LPs + ZEN = Magical combo.
You’ve spent years building your dream LP collection. We know because we have done the same!
The ZEN Phono is a wonderful enhancement to your vinyl setup. It will max out every MM/MC cartridge.
Choc full of AMR/iFi trickle-down vinyl technology, it will have you poring over your LPs into the wee, small hours.
Spec’d to make you smile
Unlike any other entry-level phono stage. The ZEN Phono has:
- MM/MC from 36dB >72dB gain. Super-silent noise floor -151dBV
- Precise RIAA with Balanced output, performance comparable to +$1k phono stages
- AI sub-sonic filter. Addresses warp without eliminating bass or causing phase issues
Flagship phono amplifiers create their own power supply off the mains, like a mains regenerator. This is fundamental to a well-designed phono stage. Without this, it will struggle to amplify the signal without added noise. This is why phono stages ‘hiss’ so annoyingly.
Unusually, the ZEN Phono has its own high-tech clean power supply. It creates a 1.2MHz power supply (20,000x mains frequency of 60Hz). In this circuit, a 10uF filtering capacitor = 200,000uF at lower, audible frequencies. With serious levels of noise filtration, it performs at the level of well-designed LC filtering circuits as found in classic tube amplifiers. Further, located on its own ‘island’ PCB, it is isolated so there is no noise pollution of the analogue stage.
Just super clean +/- 12V DC.
Measured EIN (Equivalent Input Noise) is -151dBV. It is 20dBV quieter than some Stereophile Class A+ phonos which are -131dBV.
The EQ circuit uses multiple TDK C0G capacitors in parallel. This is for best stability and the least distortion. They beat polystyrene capacitors and are close to Teflon.
Already using the lowest tolerance capacitors combined with multiples in parallel, tolerance is exponentially improved by the square root of the number of capacitors. This is quite a natty circuit design.
The RIAA EQ tolerance level (+/- 0.15dB) is impressive as it is en par with hand-selected capacitors!
With great circuit comes great components
The ZEN Phono has some seriously good audio components backing up the fab circuit design which has trickled-down from its ultra-fidelity AMR PH-77 and iFi iPhono siblings.
Scroll down for more on the most consequential circuit highlights/boutique components.
The intelligent sub-sonic filter is from the iPhono range and is quite special.
Normal sub-sonic filters remove ‘rumble’ AND bass and cause phase issues.
Our unique AI phono sub-sonic filter removes ‘rumble’ only.
- With MM/MC, high/low and very low, the ZEN Phono is able to handle just about any cartridge. From 36dB all the way up to 72dB. So as your vinyl system grows over time, the ZEN Phono will always keep up.
- Balanced circuit design. Just not seen at this price point it is a superior method to the traditional single-ended circuit approach. Balanced circuits reduce noise and crosstalk. Less Interference – clearer sound.
- As with many other iFi audio products, we’ve incorporated a custom OV Series operational-amplifier. This top-notch component contributes to the extremely low noise, low distortion (0.0001%) and wide bandwidth.
- Panasonic ECPU capacitors. Each ECPU capacitor is constructed from some 3,500 layers of ultra-thin dielectrics less than 0.5μm thickness. It offers class-leading Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR), low impedance and frequency stability and vanishingly low distortion.
- Texas Instruments low-noise ICs offer great unity-gain bandwidth, very low noise and distortion, high output drive capability, Common-mode and Power Supply Rejection Ratios of over 100 dB, wide maximum-output-swing bandwidths and high slew rates.
- TDK C0G (Class 1 ceramic) capacitors offer high stability and low losses for resonant circuit applications. They are pricey but are a perfect addition to our products.
- muRata control-type, low-ESR high-Q multi-layer capacitors. The ‘ESR control’ aspect of the Murata is something special. Their noise suppression abilities are impressive.
|Gain settings||MC (v lo)@
|72dB (+/- 1dB)
60dB (+/- 1dB)
48dB (+/- 1dB)
36dB (+/- 1dB)
|AI Sub-sonic filter||Remedies only the 'warp' in LPs||No negative impact to bass response|
|Max Output Voltage (RMS)||20v RMS bal output into 100k (< 1% THD & N)
13.5V RMS bal output into 600R (< 1% THD & N)
|200 Ohm resistive
100 Ohm resistive
|Input impedance||MM: 47K Ohms
MC High: 47K Ohms
MC Low: 1.4K Ohms
MC V Low: 110 Ohms
|Signal/Noise Ratio:||94dB(A) MM re 2V BAL/1V UNBAL
80dB(unweighted 80kHz BW) MM re 2V BAL/1V UNBAL
84dB(A) MC Hi re 2V BAL/1V UNBAL
71dB(unweighted 80kHz BW) MM re 2V BAL/1V UNBAL
90dB(A) MC lo re 2V BAL/1V UNBAL
79dB(unweighted 80kHz BW) MC lo re 2V BAL/1V UNBAL
79dB(A) MC vlo re 2V BAL/1V UNBAL
69dB(unweighted 80kHz BW) MC vlo re 2V BAL/1V UNBAL
|EIN (equivalent input noise):||0.6nV|/Hz (unweighted) MC lo/vlo
6.5nV|/Hz (unweighted) MM/MC hi
|-151dBV (A weighted)
-130dBV (A weighted)
|Harmonic Distortion:||< -110dB / 0.0003% MM re 2V BAL/1V UNBAL
< -80dB / 0.01% MC lo re 2V BAL/1V UNBAL
< -86dB / 0.005% MC vlo re 2V BAL/1V UNBAL
|Dimensions||158 x117 x35 mm
6.2" x 4.6" x 1.4"
|Power Supply:||DC 5V / 500mA|
|Net weight:||515g (1.14 Ibs)|