Studio-grade headphone amplifier
The Pro iCAN will for many, be used as a top-of-the-line, headphone amplifier that drives anything and everything – from CIEMs through to the most difficult to drive headphone ever made, the AKG K-1000. Further, Gain is adjustable from 0dB/9dB/18dB. The Pro iCAN can output >10V in Single-Ended mode and 20V in Balanced-mode. The 20V mode is equivalent 100W into a 4 Ohm speaker. So the Pro iCAN can drive almost any headphone into very hard-clipping (protection circuitry typically kicks in under such circumstances).
The Pro iCAN has at the core, a Japan Alps motorised rotary volume potentiometer. This is the ‘6-Track’ version with 4 tracks used for a true balanced volume control. This is the litmus test for any amplifier to see if it is truly balanced, or operates internally in single-ended mode. Those using ‘2-Track’ volume controls may offer balanced in and out, but are not true balanced designs. The Pro iCAN however is fully-balanced from beginning to end. In terms of flexibility, 3 single-ended and 1 balanced inputs and 1 balanced and 1 single-ended output, the Pro iCAN is a full-function audiophile line-stage that is at home in many expensive hi-fi systems. Its user-selectable Solid-State/Tube amplifiers remain and so are 3D Holographic˚ for Speakers and XBass˚ for ultra-fidelity home audio systems.
True Differential Balanced®
At the upper end of the headphone amplifier market, despite the best protestations of ‘balanced’ things are not always what they seem. This is a curious case of ‘Is balance balanced?’
For headphones, it DOES make good design sense to implement a balanced topology (the possibility of higher power, increase dynamic range and lower noise etc.) It goes without saying that the balanced design should be balanced all the way through, ‘end-to-end.’ Read more on this here.
Tube/ Solid-State Real-time Switching
Compared to high-end headphone amplifiers, the tube stage of the Pro iCAN is different in two-ways. First, we don’t use good-quality 6922s or similar. Instead we use the very best; General Electric 5670 which is the premium variant with a different pinout.
Second and just as important is the circuit design. Unlike other headphone amplifiers that have the same circuit and just switch in/out the tube section, the Pro iCAN is the very first of its kind that has two individual input circuits – one tube and one Solid-State. This results in the best sonics of both worlds because the signal path is the shortest and there is no compromise to ‘shoe horn’ the tubes into an already existing solid-state circuit.
For the first time, one can enjoy both the sound of Solid-State and Tubes in a single package (rather than as an ‘Effect Type’ add-on within an otherwise conventional solid-state design) and be able to switch in real-time. For some recordings and headphones/loudspeakers, Solid-State may sound ‘more lively.’. For others, Tube and Tube+ (especially Tube+) will sound more ‘luxurious.’ Select the one that sounds best for that particular moment, be it the recording, the mood or even the weather. After all, enjoying music is an experience to be savoured and not a scientific research exercise.
We haven’t stopped there. We are tube lovers and we appreciate sometimes there is a need for even more tube-like sound, there are two tube settings – Tube and Tube+. The Tube+ position reduces overall loop-gain and thus negative feedback to the minimum. This gives a different trade-off between the tube’s natural harmonics and the transient performance.
|Gain:||0dB, 9dB and 18dB user-selectable|
|Frequency Response:||0.5Hz to 500kHz(-3dB)|
|Total Harmonic Distortion (THD, Balanced/Single-Ended):||
|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|
Gain = 0dB, 0.775V(0dBu) with 300 Ohm load unless stated otherwise
SNR Balanced re 23V, SNR SE re. 11.5V