iFi's ZEN series has been characterized by the D/A converters ZEN DAC and ZEN BLUE and the recently introduced headphone amplifier ZEN CAN. Now, for the first time in the series, the new ZEN Phono presents a solution for lovers of vinyl, as it is an MM/MC phono preamplifier that comes with an unusually complete set of features for its price range.
The ZEN Phono also has a compact aluminium housing, typical for the ZEN series, with a width of 158 mm, a depth of 117 mm and a height of 35 mm and a weight, without power supply, of 515 g.
A main feature of the new ZEN Phono is that it is equally suitable for both MC and MM cartridges, whereby only one pickup can be connected at a time. The input consists of a pair of RCA / Cinch connectors, including a ground socket. A switch on the rear panel determines whether an MM cartridge, a high output MC cartridge, a low output MC cartridge or even a low output MC cartridge with a particularly low output voltage is used. Depending on the selection, the ZEN Phono sets the gain between 36 dB, 48 dB, 60 dB or 72 dB.
As output the ZEN Phono offers a pair of RCA / Chinch connectors on the back and, as a special feature, a balanced 4.4 mm PENTACONN connector. For the 4,4 mm PENTACONN port, now only rarely found, iFi Audio will soon offer suitable connection cables.
The "intelligent" Subsonic Filter, activated by a button on the front panel, is supposed to remove noise and completely avoid phase or bass problems, which are often caused by conventional Subsonic filters.
Another special feature is the power supply of the ZEN Phono. It is powered by an external 12 Volt power supply. Inside, the ZEN Phono generates its own voltage supply of +/- 12 Volts by itself with a special circuit and filters. This clean voltage is intended to amplify the audio signal without additional noise.
In Germany, the ZEN Phono phono preamplifier from iFi is available now and costs around 160 Euro.