iFi ZEN PHONO - Phono Preamp


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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

Hissless whisper

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.

ZEN Phono — the ultra-affordable phono stage from iFi audio

Mil-spec RIAA

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. Read more here.

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!ZEN Phono — the ultra-affordable phono stage from iFi audio

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.

Super sub-sonic

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.

ZEN Phono — the ultra-affordable phono stage from iFi audio

 

Specifications
Gain settings - MC (v lo)@72dB (+/- 1dB)
Gain settings - MC (lo)60dB (+/- 1dB)
Gain settings - MC (hi)48dB (+/- 1dB)
Gain settings - MM 36dB (+/- 1dB)
AI Sub-sonic filter 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)
Output Impedance - BAL200 Ohm resistive
Output Impedance - SE100 Ohm resistive
Input impedance MM: 47K Ohms (Load: 110pF), MC High: 47K Ohms, MC Low: 1K 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
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 160(l) x 113(w) x 35(h) mm 6.3" x 4.4" x 1.4"
Power SupplyDC 5V / 500mA
Net weight515g (1.14 Ibs)
Warranty12 months

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