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iFi Audio ZEN CAN (Launch Edition)

Desktop headphone amplifier

Item # 246ZNCANLE

This solidly built amp fits into small places and feeds clean, robust power to your high-performance headphones.

This solidly built amp fits into small places and feeds clean, robust power to your high-performance headphones.

Need help?
Contact our Virginia-based experts.
Discontinued item
2 questions - 3 answers

Item # 246ZNCANLE

Need help?
Contact our Virginia-based experts.

Product highlights:

  • desktop high-performance headphone amp with balanced and unbalanced connections
  • "Launch edition" includes iFi iPower 5V adapter for a cleaner power supply
  • better headphone sound from your PC, DAC, digital music player, iPhone®, and/or Android® phone
  • power output up to 1,600mW
  • compact design with sturdy metal chassis
  • four rubber feet with no-slip grip
  • same Class A discrete balanced circuitry as iFi's flagship Pro iCAN headphone amp
Balanced headphone amplifier:
  • two front-panel headphone outputs:
    • one unbalanced 1/4" headphone output (3.5mm mini to 1/4" adapter included)
    • one balanced 4.4mm output
  • iFi's dual-mono circuitry helps reduce crosstalk between the left and right audio channels
  • TDK C0G (Class 1 ceramic) capacitors offer high-stability signal
  • low noise floor for clear audio reproduction
  • output impedance: 16-600 ohms (balanced); 16-300 ohms (unbalanced)
  • output power (balanced):
    • >1890mW @ 64 ohm
    • >385mW @ 600 ohm
  • output power (unbalanced):
    • > 1600mW @ 32 ohm
    • > 196mW @ 300 ohm
Front-panel controls:
  • four-position gain switch to match impedance (0dB, 6dB, 12dB, or 18dB)
  • sound control processing: XBass® for boosting bass and 3D Holographic® for expanding the soundfield
  • power button and input selection button
  • high-precision volume control dial
Back-panel analog connections:
  • stereo unbalanced RCA inputs
  • one unbalanced 1/4" stereo input
  • one balanced 4.4mm input
  • one balanced 4.4mm output for connecting a powered speaker or amp
    • Note: do NOT connect balanced headphones to this output — the full signal could damage your headphones and/or hearing.
  • 5-Volt DC power input
General info and specs:
  • iFi iPower 5V adapter included
    • uses active noise canceling circuitry to lower noise floor up to 40dB
  • frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
  • 6-1/8"W x 1-3/86"H x 4-5/8"D
  • weight: 18 ounces
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • MFR # 311004

What's in the box:

  • Analog headphone amplifier
  • AC adapter with 6.5' DC output cord (DC output: 5V 2.5A)
  • US 2-prong AC plug adapter
  • 19" RCA cable (male stereo RCA plugs on both ends)
  • Headphone plug adapter (3.5mm-to-1/4")
  • User Manual
  • Warranty card

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More details on the iFi Audio ZEN CAN (Launch Edition)

Mark G.

Product Research


Overview: The ZEN CAN desktop headphone amplifier is the little brother to iFi Audio's flagship Pro iCAN at less than one tenth the price. It has approximately 52 times the power of a traditional smartphone or laptop (<1.0V) to let you hear more detail. It offers both balanced and unbalanced inputs and outputs, and multiple headphone connections, including a 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced headphone output. The fully analog ZEN CAN is powered by a 5V DC power supply through the included AC adapter. A 3.5mm-to-6.3mm (1/4") headphone adapter is included.

Class A Discrete Circuitry: ZEN CAN shares the same Class A Discrete balanced circuitry as iFi Audio's Pro iCAN flagship. This Class A dual-mono headphone amplifier circuit combines with a J-FET Op-Amp (OV2637A) to deliver exceptionally low distortion.

Input Options: The ZEN CAN has three inputs: one balanced and two single-ended (unbalanced). The balanced input has a 4.4mm Pentaconn jack (4.0V nominal; 7.4V maximum). The single-ended inputs have stereo RCA and 3.5mm connections. The RCA input has a 2.0V nominal / 3.8V maximum voltage, while the 3.5mm input is rated at 1.0V nominal / 1.92V maximum voltage. You can select the desired input via the Input Channel Switch.

Headphone Outputs: The ZEN CAN offers front panel connections for balanced and single-ended (unbalanced) headphones:

  • Balanced: 4.4mm Pentaconn headphone output
  • Single-Ended: 6.3mm (1/4") headphone output (headphones with a 3.5mm plug can be connected with the included 3.5mm-to-6.3mm adapter)

Gain: The ZEN CAN has a 4-way front panel switch to adjust the gain. You can select 0dB, 6dB, 12dB, or 18dB. The unit can output more than 7V in the Single-Ended mode and 15V in Balanced Mode.

XBass®/3D® Matrix: The Settings button on the front panel lets you select XBass® or 3D Holographic Matrix®. The XBass® Bass Correction System is a pure analog signal processing circuitry that corrects low frequency deficiencies. It is not a simple tone or loudness control. It adds back the lost bass that is typically lost in open-design headphones. 3D Holographic Matrix® creates a sense of listening to your music as if you were listening to speakers in a room, instead of inside your head. This "in-head localization" can cause listening fatigue or even a little nausea. Pressing the Settings button turns on XBass or 3D Matrix, or off. Corresponding LEDs indicate your selection.

Balanced Line Output: In addition to the headphone outputs, the unit offers a balanced line output with a gold-plated 4.4mm Pentaconn connection. This allows you to connect the ZEN CAN to an active speaker. (Connecting headphones to the 4.4mm line output could cause damage to your equipment.)

Power Supply: The ZEN CAN is powered by an AC adapter with a 5V / 2.5A DC output.


  • Frequency Response:
    • 20Hz to 20kHz (+0dB / -0.03dB)
    • < 10Hz to 200kHz (-3dB)
  • Power Output (Balanced):
    • 756mW (15.1V) @ 300 Ohm (< 1% THD per channel)
    • 385mW (15.2V) @ 600 Ohm (< 1% THD per channel)
  • Power Output (SE):
    • 1000mW (4.0V) @ 16 Ohm (< 1% THD per channel)
    • 1600mW (7.20V) @ 32 Ohm (< 1% THD per channel)
    • 196mW (7.6V) @ 300 Ohm (< 1% THD per channel)
    • 98mW (7.6V) @ 600 Ohm (< 1% THD per channel)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio:
    • Balanced: >120 dBA (@15.2V)
    • S-E: >118 dBA (@7.6V)
  • Dynamic Range: 120 dB (balanced) (@ maximum output, A-weighted)
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD+N):
    • Balanced: <0.006% (@ 360mW/2.4V 16 Ohm)
    • S-E: <0.005% (@ 100mW/1.27V 16 Ohm)
  • Output Impedance:
    • Headphones: 24K Ohm (balanced); 1M Ohm (SE)
    • Line: 200 Ohm (balanced)
  • Gain:
    • Balanced Out: 2X/6dB; 4X/12dB; 8X/18dB; 16X/24dB
    • SE Out: 1X/0dB; 2X/6dB; 4X/12dB; 8X/18dB
  • Crosstalk: -90dB
  • Inputs:
    • 4.4mm Pentaconn (bal): 4.0V
    • RCA L/R Socket SE: 2.0V
    • 3.5mm jack SE: 1.0V
  • Power Consumption: ~5W (no signal); ~13W (max signal)
  • Dimensions: Width 6.217", Height 1.384", Depth 4.637" (6.025" w/RCAs)
  • Weight: 1 pound 2.2 ounces

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Customer Q&A

2 questions already asked

Being a class A/B Amp, is there a need to turn this unit off?
[ Tim  Feb 12, 2021 ]
2 answers
I don't. This is not an authoritative scientifically researched response. My basic knowledge of ANALOG IC and SOLID-STATE CIRCUITS tells me not to worry. If I think about it, I do and if I don't, I'm not concerned. I will tell you when used with my Isine-10's and an equalizer....magic!
[ Kevin  Feb 13, 2021 ]
If you're changing out cables and headphones definitely shut off, but I leave mine on all the time. When the amp is on all the time, and is warmed up, it seems the volume knob is less sensitive to channel imbalance at lower volumes. Especially with more sensitive headphones.
[ Jerry  Feb 12, 2021 ]

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