1-Year Official Warranty by iFi Audio Malaysia
iFi audio iCAN Phantom Reference Analog Headphone Amplifier
The iFi audio iCAN Phantom is a reference analog headphone amplifier designed to drive every headphone type to their full sonic potential, from sensitive IEMs to the finest dynamic drivers and planar magnetic diaphragms, to the most power-hungry electrostatic headphones. The amplifier combines two discrete input stages—one valve-/tube-based, the other solid state—enabling the user to switch between the two in real time for different sonic experiences. With remarkable power—up to 15,000mW, 14V in single-ended mode, 27V in balanced mode, and up to 640V for electrostatic headphones—the iCAN Phantom delivers a truly exceptional headphone experience, exquisitely tailored to the requirements of the listener. The unit can also perform as a high-end stereo preamplifier that connects to a power amp or powered speakers.
Elegant and Functional Design
The iCAN Phantom’s design gives the appearance of two units but in fact it is a single dual-level device. Its enclosure is sturdily constructed from aluminum with the bottom level sporting cable connections front and back, and the top level offering tactile controls and a colorful OLED display.
The top of the iCAN Phantom incorporates a flush-fitting smoked-glass panel, enabling you to see the amp’s circuitry and its glowing audio valves. Circular aluminum vents ensure the circuitry within does not overheat.
When not in use the sockets at the front or back can be hidden by a neat aluminum panel that attaches magnetically. This panel also holds the data cards for the electrostatic bias voltage settings. The unit also comes with an attractive easy-to-use remote control.
Every Connection Covered
The iCAN Phantom supplies a wide array of balanced and unbalanced connection options. The headphone outputs are at the front with the source inputs and preamp outputs at the rear.
Source inputs: 3-pin balanced XLR (L/R) and three stereo RCA (L/R)
Headphone outputs: two 3-pin balanced XLR (L/R), 4-pin balanced XLR, 4.4mm balanced, 1/4" (positive phase), 1/4" (inverted phase), and 3.5mm (includes S-Balanced technology to cut distortion by 50%)
Electrostatic headphone outputs: 6-pin normal bias and 5-pin custom bias
Preamplifier outputs: two 3-pin balanced XLR (L/R) and stereo RCA (L/R)
A Tale of Two Input Stages
The iCAN Phantom's valve-/tube-based and solid-state input stages are entirely separate and switchable in real time. Circuitry is kept short and direct for optimal sound purity.
The fully discrete Class-A solid-state input stage uses J-FETs, while the all-valve Class-A circuit features a hand-selected computer-matched pair of General Electric 5670 tubes, a premium variant of the 6922 tube. This stage has two user-selectable modes: Tube and Tube+. The latter minimises overall loop gain and thus negative feedback, offering a different trade-off between the tube’s natural harmonics and the transient performance.
15,000mW of Power
The iCAN Phantom is an extraordinarily powerful headphone amplifier capable of delivering more than 15,000mW from its balanced outputs and more than 5760mW from its unbalanced outputs into a 16-ohm load.
It can supply more than 27V into a 600-ohm load; when it comes to electrostatic headphones, it can delivers up to 640V.
Three Gain Settings
Three gain setting (0, 9, and 18 dB) enable the amp to precisely match the connected headphones.
Unity gain (0 dB) is useful to ensure low noise with more sensitive headphones and IEMs, while the higher gain settings make the most of tougher headphone loads, delivering excellent dynamic headroom.
Electrostatically Good, with Bias Voltage
Electrostatic drivers need a separate energizer stage to operate. The iCAN Phantom incorporates iFi's original standalone iESL energizer technology with traditional amplifier technology to make a single amplifier that can handle every headphone type with ease.
The iCAN Phantom has two outputs for electrostatics: one set at the normal bias voltage of 230V, the other offering variable bias voltage between 500 and 640V—selected by the user.
A series of data cards that specify different bias voltages are supplied with the iCAN Phantom. Simply select the card that matches the headphone’s specification, and pop it in the card slot: there are cards for 500, 540 580, 600, 620, and 640V, each with a handy guide on the back showing which headphone brand is compatible with that voltage.
XSpace for headphones is designed to compensate for the in-head localization effect that can occur when using headphones to listen to music that was mixed using a pair of speakers, effectively widening the headphone soundstage to deliver a more spacious and speakerlike experience.
XSpace for speakers increases the width of the apparent soundstage beyond the width dictated by speaker placement.
Both types of XSpace feature multiple levels that may be selected according to preference or switched out of the signal path completely.
XBass is a proprietary analog circuit that can be engaged to enhance low frequencies, doing it while maintaining bass definition and without muddying the midrange.
This is useful with some open-back headphones that can sound bass-light; XBass enhances the bass, enabling the listener to hear the low frequencies as intended by the artist.
The iCAN Phantom offers three XBass steps: 10, 20, and 40 Hz, or it can be switched out of the signal path altogether.
Capacitive-Battery Power Supply
The capacitive-battery power supply is intrinsic to the iCAN Phantom’s high level of performance. Rather than relying on mains-powered switched-mode step-up circuitry, a large battery of film capacitors rated at 1000 VDC is charged and occasionally topped up using AC mains power.
This virtual battery pack delivers pure DC power, completely free from all AC and switching noise—the perfect high-voltage supply for electrostatic headphones.
PureWave PRO Balanced Circuit Design
The PureWave PRO fully differential balanced circuit design delivers ultralow distortion.
Each channel (left and right) is fully separated in the circuit design and each of these channels has two separate signals of equal level but opposite polarity (positive and negative).
This requires four separate amp circuits, two for the left channel and two for the right channel.
This proprietary iFi iEMatch circuit attenuates the output to better suit high-sensitivity IEMs (in-ear monitors), removing potential background noise and increasing the usable volume range.
This can be optionally applied to the 3.5mm and balanced 4.4mm outputs.
iFi Nexus App for Control over WiFi
iCAN Phantom is the first product to incorporate the iFi Nexus module, which combined with the Nexus free app provides a comprehensive, scalable network-connected control system.
The Nexus app enables your Android or iOS device to act as a super remote control for the iCAN Phantom, providing access to additional features not accessible via the amp’s fascia or standard remote control.
The app can display diagnostic information and allows the user to monitor the iCAN Phantom’s operational status in real time—for example, voltages, the condition and projected life span of the vacuum tubes, and so on. It can also be used to apply updates wirelessly to the iCAN Phantom’s firmware, downloading and installing update files via your home Wi-Fi network.
In the Box
iFi audio iCAN Phantom Reference Analog Headphone Amplifier
Limited 1-Year Manufacturer Warranty