Brilliant Bargain: iFi's Zen Phono MM/MC Phono Preamplifier Offers a Whisper-Silent Noise Floor, Balanced Output and an Intelligent Subsonic Filter, All at a Jaw-Dropping Price
The Zen Phono MM/MC Phono Preamplifier is the result of what iFi audio engineers refer to as "trickle-down know-how." The iFi engineers have designed a phono stage that delivers astonishing high-end performance – yet is accessible to practically any listener, regardless of their budget. The intangible value of this affordable phono preamplifier is its ability to increase the satisfaction you'll feel when listening to your favorite records.
Phono stages in this price range typically generate excessive noise, and that's where the Zen Phono is decidedly different. With a gain range from 36dB to 72dB, it can handle just about any cartridge, and with a noise floor of -151dBV, it matches the performance levels of far pricier components. Based on the technology that iFi has developed since the iPhono was introduced in 2012, the Zen Phono has an intelligent subsonic filter to solve warp issues. Additionally, the Zen Phono delivers balanced output.
For equalization, the Zen Phono uses multiple parallel TDK C0G ceramic capacitors for reliable stability and low distortion (even when compared to polystyrene capacitors). The Zen Phono delivers the RIAA EQ tolerance level of+/-0.15dB.
The design, circuitry and parts are all carefully engineered to eliminate hiss. In fact, the Zen Phono has its own regenerated, clean power supply. It creates a 1.2MHz power supply (20,000x mains frequency of 60Hz). With tremendous levels of noise filtration, it performs at the level of the well-designed LC filtering circuits found in classic tube amplifiers.
The front of the Zen Phono chassis includes a power button, a subsonic filter button, and four LED indicators for gain setting (MM, MC High, MC Low, or MC V-Low). The back of the chassis includes a power input, balanced output (4mm), a gain switch with four positions, two RCA input jacks, two RCA output jacks, and a grounding terminal. 100% Music Direct Guaranteed.
"The iFi Zen Phono is a no-brainer, easy to recommend, timbrally honest, especially quiet MM/MC phono preamp that's priced near the bottom and performs many steps above its pay grade."
—Michael Fremer, Analog Planet
The subsonic filter intelligently detects whether a subsonic frequency is a warp or a bass note. It will eliminate the warps and let all the bass and midrange frequencies pass through untouched.
OV Series Operational Amplifier
The iFi/AMR OV series operational amplifier is used to create the best sound quality. The OVA2637 op-amp has low noise density and low distortion (0.0001%).
Panasonic ECPU capacitors
Each ECPU capacitor is constructed from 3,500 layers of dielectric material less than 0.5μm thick. Thanks to these capacitors and other design elements, the Zen Phono offers class-leading Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR), low impedance, frequency stability and low distortion.
MC (v lo): 72dB (+/- 1dB)
MC (lo): 60dB (+/- 1dB)
MC (hi): 48dB (+/- 1dB)
MM: 36dB (+/- 1dB)
Max Output Voltage (RMS):
20v RMS bal output into 100k (< 1% THD & N)
13.5V RMS bal output into 600R (< 1% THD & N)
BAL: 200 Ohm resistive
SE: 100 Ohm resistive
MM: 47K Ohms (Load: 110pF)
MC High: 47K Ohms
MC Low: 1K Ohms
MC V Low: 110 Ohms
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:
-151dBV (A weighted)
6.5nV|/Hz (unweighted) MM/MC hi:
-130dBV (A weighted)
< -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: 6.2" x 4.6" x 1.4"
Power Supply: DC 5V / 500mA
Net weight: 1.14 lbs.
Warranty: 12 months
User Manual (PDF, 533 KB)