Released in August 2023, the iCAN Phantom by iFi Audio is a reference-class analogue headphone amp with incorporated electrostatic energiser with advanced user interface and network-connected control system.
Exemplary build quality, sophisticated technology, an unrivalled specification and remarkable versatility, expertly engineered to drive every headphone type to its full sonic potential. From ultra-sensitive IEMs, to the finest dynamic driver and planar magnetic headphones, to the most power-hungry electrostatic designs, the iCAN Phantom delivers a truly exceptional headphone experience – exquisitely tailored to the requirements of the listener.
The iCAN Phantom’s design gives the appearance of two units but in fact it is a single, dual-level device, the full depth of which is fully utilised by its multi-layer circuit design. Its enclosure is sturdily constructed from aluminium, with the bottom layer sporting cable connections front and back, and the top layer offering tactile controls and a colourful 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 aluminium 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 aluminium panel that attaches magnetically. This panel also holds the data cards for the electrostatic bias voltage settings. The iCAN Phantom also comes with an attractive, easy to use aluminium, high quality, remote control.
Two Input Stages
The iCAN Phantom sports two input stages – one valve/tube-based, the other solid state – enabling the user to switch between the two in real time. It is like having three amplifiers in one, each with a different sonic presentation.
Solid-state offers pace and immediacy. Tube mode adds fluidity and a free-breathing dynamic quality. Tube+ accentuates the sonic influence of the valves, delivering a spellbinding romantic warmth that may suit, for example, acoustic and vocal musical styles.
Electrostatic Energizer Included
Electrostatic drivers need an separate energiser – but the iCAN Phantom incorporates iFi’s original standalone iESL energiser technology with regular amplifier technology to make a single amplifier that can handle EVERY headphone type with ease.
Electrostatic headphones have varying requirement when it comes to bias voltage. 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 V and 640 V, selected by the user. If the wrong voltage is selected, it is possible to damage the headphones.
BIAS Voltage Data Cards
To make this far less likely, the iCAN Phantom has a series of data cards that specify different bias voltages (these are supplied with the amp). Simply select the card that matches the headphone’s specification and pop it in the card slot – there are cards for 500V, 540V 580V, 600V, 620V and 640V each with a handy guide on the back showing which headphone brand is compatible with that voltage.
Superior Power Supply Design
iCAN Phantom includes a capacitive battery power supply, originally developed for the Pro iESL, which is intrinsic to its high level of performance. Rather than relying on a mains-powered switched-mode step-up circuit, a large battery of film capacitors rated at 1,000V DC 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.
The iCAN Phantom also performs as a high-end preamplifier – to feed a power amp and speakers (or powered speakers) – enabling headphone and speaker listening to be combined in a single high-performance audio system.
- Reference-class analogue headphone amplifier + preamplifier.
- Able to drive Dynamic Driver, Planar Magnetic AND Electrostatic headphones – with ease!
- Electrostatic bias voltage pre-selected via swappable Data Cards (all cards included).
- Two input stages – valve/tube and solid-state.
- iFi NEXIS network-connected control system included.
- Includes iFi Audio XSpace and XBass tone-shaping controls.
- Capacitive battery power supply (iFi iPower ELITE included).
- Custom-made PPCT (Pinstripe Permalloy Core Transformer).
- Source Inputs: 1 x balanced XLR (L/R), 3 x RCA (L/R)
- Headphone Outputs: 1 x 3-pin balanced XLR (L/R), 1 x 4-pin balanced XLR, 1 x 4.4 mm balanced, 1 x 6.3 mm (positive phase), 1 x 6.3 mm (inverted phase) and 1 x 3.5 mm (includes S-Balanced technology to cut distortion by 50 per cent)
- Electrostatic Headphone Outputs: 1 x 5-pin normal bias, 1 x 5-pin custom bias.
- Preamplifier Outputs: 1 x balanced XLR (L/R), 1 x RCA (L/R)
- Gain: 0 dB / 9 dB / 18 dB, user-selectable
- Frequency Response: 0.5 Hz – 500 kHz (-3 dB)
- THD + N:
- Solid-State: Balanced ≤0.0015% / UnBAL ≤0.007%
- Tube: Balanced ≤0.002 % / UnBAL ≤0.006 %
- Tube+: Balanced ≤0.012 % / UnBAL ≤0.2 %
- SNR: Balanced >145 dB(A) / UnBAL >130 dB(A)
- Output Power: Balanced >15,000 mW (@ 16 Ω) / UnBAL >5,760 mW (@ 16 Ω)
- Output Voltage: Balanced >27.0 V (@ 600 Ω) / UnBAL >14.0 V (@ 600 Ω)
- ESL Output Voltage: Custom/Pro 640 V RMS max / Normal 320 V RMS max
- Input Voltage: DC 12 V / 4 A or 15 V / 3 A (Phantom iCAN)
- Input Voltage: AC 85 – 265 V, 50 / 60 Hz (iPower Elite)
- Power Consumption: <27 W idle, 75 W max
- Dimensions: 256 × 185 × 120 mm
- Net Weight: 4.2 kg
- Limited Warranty: 12 months
- iCAN Phantom
- iPower Elite PSU
- Remote Control
- Stereo RCA Analogue Interconnects
- Documentation + Warranty
Full iFi Audio Range Available
Unilet Sound & Vision are official retail partners for iFi Audio, providing sales, advice and assistance on their entire range of high-quality products. Please do get in touch if you would like a demonstration or wish to purchase.