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iFi Audio ZEN Phono Desktop Phono Stage

£149.00 £124.17
SKU
ZEN Phono
Free UK Delivery
12 Months
New
24 hours
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SPEAKER CABLES:

A quantity of 2 means you will receive a pair of speaker cables e.g. for your front left and front right speakers. By entering a quantity of 1, you will get a cable for a single speaker e.g. centre speaker and this option also enables you to vary the length (and termination) of your cable for each speaker.

OTHER CABLES:

A quantity of 1 means you will receive a single cable in the case of aerial, satellite, subwoofer, digital coaxial & optical cables and a pair of cables in the case of 2 rca to 2 rca analogue audio cables.

NON-CABLE PRODUCTS:

A quantity of 1 means you will receive 1 of the specified products.

Available

Need help? Call us on 0800 772 3688 or 0208 905 1555

Prefer email? Contact us via sales@futureshop.co.uk

The ZEN Phono is the fourth product to join iFi’s ZEN Series – a range with a mission to make high-performance audio more accessible than ever. Just like the ZEN DAC, ZEN Blue and ZEN CAN, it delivers a level of specification and performance never before seen (or heard) at its price point.

iFi Audio ZEN Phono Desktop Phono Stage

 

The ZEN Phono is the fourth product to join iFi’s ZEN Series – a range with a mission to make high-performance audio more accessible than ever. Just like the ZEN DAC, ZEN Blue and ZEN CAN, it delivers a level of specification and performance never before seen (or heard) at its price point.

First and foremost, the noise floor is whisper-quiet - 90/96dB (36/60dB,BAL2V/SE1V,A-weighted) on MM/MC respectively. The Zen Phono is also able to handle MM/MC cartridges from <0.25mv to >2mV, brining true high-end performance and flexibility to the entry sector. Finally, the Zen Phono has the performance and features not found in many other phono stages, such as; Balanced circuitry, Intelligent Subsonic filter (solves warp issues effectively) and 36dB to >72dB of gain.

 

Features

  • Regenerated Power Supply
  • RIAA EQ at military specification level
  • AI Subsonic Filter
  • Works with both MM & MC cartridges
  • Balanced Circuitry
  • iFi/AMR 'OV' ICs
  • Panasonic ECPU capacitors
  • Texac Instruments ICs
  • Class 1 ceramic TDK C0G
  • Multi-layer capacitors

 

Take the stage

Every turntable needs a phono stage to amplify the low-level output from a phono cartridge to ‘line level’ and apply RIAA equalisation. Some integrated amps and preamps have phono stages built in, but these vary in quality and are rarely as good as a well-designed offboard phono stage placed in the signal chain between the turntable and a line-level input on the amp.

Designing a truly high-performance phono stage is not an easy thing to do. For one thing, it is difficult to amplify the delicate output from a phono cartridge without also amplifying noise. In addition, the wide variation in output from different cartridges means that many phono stages only work optimally with certain cartridge types. These issues are exacerbated at the entry-level end of the phono stage market, where basic circuit design using common off-the-shelf components often leads to a performance that is adequate at best –okay for entry level, but easily outclassed by spending more.

The ZEN Phono has been designed to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in an entry-level phono stage. Its circuit design is like nothing else at the price, with a range of precisely engineered settings that ensure genuine versatility. Whatever the turntable, whatever the cartridge, the ZEN Phono always delivers a class-leading performance.

 

A question of balance

The ZEN Phono’s circuitry is of balanced, symmetrical dual-mono design –a topology usually reserved for high-end audio products owing to complexity and cost. Balanced circuit design has the ability the reduce noise and crosstalk, thus increasing sonic clarity, and has long been championed by renowned high-end audio electronics engineer John Curl –a man whose analogue amp designs, including several landmark phono stages, have been lauded since the 1970s.

Curl, now a technical consultant for iFi, has worked with iFi’s in-house technical team, headed by Thorsten Loesch, to produce a circuit design of exceptional quality for such an affordable phono stage. A fully balanced, ultra-low-noise design of this kind is unprecedented at such a lowprice point.

 

Sum of the parts

The ZEN Phono’s balanced circuitry contains surface-mounted components of unusual quality in an entry-level design. For example, the capacitors used include TDK C0G and Murata multilayer ceramic types, as well as Panasonic ECPU polyphenylene sulphide film devices –none of these are cheap, but their class-leading ESL (Equivalent Series Resistance) and individual qualities such as high stability and low distortion pay great dividends in terms of sound quality and the accuracy of RIAA equalisation.

In common with many iFi audio products, the ZEN Phono incorporates a custom OV Series op-amp –in this case, the OVA2637. This also contributes greatly to the price-busting audio performance, thanks to ultra-low distortion(0.0001%).

 

Clean power

The best phono stages on the market create their own power supply off the mains, similar to a mains regenerator, in order to amplify the audio signal from the cartridge without adding noise. The ZEN Phono achieves this aim, but notin a conventional way;it creates a power supply with an oscillation frequency of 1.2MHz, which is 20,000 times that of mains electricity. In this circuit, a filtering capacitor with a 10uF rating is equivalent to 200,000uF at lower, audible frequencies –exceptional filtering power. The power supply circuitry is located on its own ‘island’ on the circuit board to ensure there is no contamination of the audio signal –just super-clean +/-12V DC.

 

High-end features, entry-level price

Phono cartridges vary greatly in their technical characteristics, but few sub-£200 phono stages handle moving coil (MC) cartridges in addition to moving magnet (MM) types, let alone offer further gain adjustment to make the most of whichever MC cartridge the user chooses to employ.

The ZEN Phono is the exception, delivering a range of gain settings from 36dB to 72dB –impressive even in a much more expensive phono stage. There are four gain settings in total: 36dB (MM), 48dB (high-output MC), 60dB (low-output MC) and 72dB (very-low-output MC). This enables the ZEN Phono to take even the more exotic MC cartridge types in its stride.

Another rarity at this price level is a subsonic filter, engaged via a front-panel button to tackle the large subsonic signal output caused by warped records. A feature of all iFi phono stages, this proprietary circuit ‘intelligently’ filters out the unwanted subsonic output without affecting any deep bass on the recording –an undesirable side effect of some warp filters.

This is how it works: vinyl cutting lathes incorporate a so-called ‘elliptical filter’, which means that low-level bass on an LP is invariably mono and creates only horizontal movement of the stylus. Therefore, any low-frequency vertical movement of the stylus as it tracks the LP can only be the result of record warp. iFi’s subsonic filter removes the effect of record warp from the vertical plane, doing its job efficiently without the common drawbacks of attenuating any low bass or adding group delay.

 

Ins and outs

As well as the usual stereo RCA inputs and outputs, gold-plated for optimal signal integrity, the ZEN Phono’s rear sports another phono stage rarity –a 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced output. This can be used to connect to an amp or active speakers equipped with a balanced input –either a Pentaconn 4.4mm input, such as the one found on the ZEN CAN analogue headphone amp, or XLR inputs via an adapter. This enables a fully balanced connection that makes the most of the ZEN Phono’s balanced circuitry –no other phono stage at this price level offers a balanced output option.

A grounding terminal is also provided; attach a turntable’s grounding wire to this to avoid ground loop issues that can cause an audible hum. Even the way the ZEN Phono switches between settings has been engineered to ensure sonic transparency, handled by a microcontroller that only ‘wakes up’ when a setting is changed to avoid any sonically deleterious electronic noise.

 

Specifications:

  • Gain Settings:
    • MC (V Lo) @72dB (+/- 1dB)
    • MC (Lo) @60dB (+/- 1dB)
    • MC (hi) @48dB (+/- 1dB)
    • MM @36dB (+/- 1dB)
  • AI Sub-Sonic Filter: Remedies the 'warp' in LP with 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: 200 Ohm (BAL), 100 Ohm (SE)
  • 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
  • EIN (equivalent input noise):
    • 0.6nV|/Hz (unweighted) MC lo/vlo @ -151dBV (A weighted) @141dBV (unweighted)
    • 6.5nV|/Hz (unweighted) MM/MC hi @ 130dBV (unweighted) @119dBV (unweighted)
  • 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
  • Power Supply: DV 5V / 500mA
  • Dimensions: 117(l) x 158(w) x 35(h)mm
  • Weight: 515g (1.14 lbs)
  • Warranty period: 12 months

 

About iFi Audio Made in United Kingdom

iFi is a brand new line of electronics with trickle-down technology licensed from AMR and aimed primarily at the future, Computer Audio generation. All iFi products boast Class A analogue circuitry with no DSP and the signal stays ‘Bit Perfect’ throughout.

How a product looks and performs matters, but so does its impact on the environment. That’s why nearly every iFi product and its packaging are made from highly recyclable materials like aluminum, paper, recycled plastic and why we refuse to use harmful toxins in our components. iFi Audio do this to ensure that every product they release meets their environmental standards.

Specifications:

  • Gain Settings:
    • MC (V Lo) @72dB (+/- 1dB)
    • MC (Lo) @60dB (+/- 1dB)
    • MC (hi) @48dB (+/- 1dB)
    • MM @36dB (+/- 1dB)
  • AI Sub-Sonic Filter: Remedies the 'warp' in LP with 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: 200 Ohm (BAL), 100 Ohm (SE)
  • 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
  • EIN (equivalent input noise):
    • 0.6nV|/Hz (unweighted) MC lo/vlo @ -151dBV (A weighted) @141dBV (unweighted)
    • 6.5nV|/Hz (unweighted) MM/MC hi @ 130dBV (unweighted) @119dBV (unweighted)
  • 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
  • Power Supply: DV 5V / 500mA
  • Dimensions: 117(l) x 158(w) x 35(h)mm
  • Weight: 515g (1.14 lbs)
  • Warranty period: 12 months

UK Delivery

 

1. We use Royal Mail 1st Class Services as a Standard Postage Option

Orders received before 4.30pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) are usually dispatched the same day by FIRST CLASS post (unless premium postal or timed courier services are selected), subject to stock availability. Over 98% of our orders are usually delivered the next working day including Saturdays.

Standard delivery is usually within 2-3 working days, although 98% of all orders are delivered the next working day including Saturdays . In extreme cases, such as delivery to the Highlands and Islands, this may take 3 days.

All items are fully insured and come with an invoice from Futureshop.co.uk. We use the Royal Mail for delivery of small packages and DPD or Interlink Express for items that weigh over 2KG. Items over 2KG are fully insured and will usually be delivered within 48 hours of placing your order Monday to Friday subject to stock availability. For International orders, we use FedEx Services where customers have selected this option.

Please note, special orders for non-standard cable lengths or custom-made cables may be subject to longer delivery time-scales. This may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

We offer 'Free UK delivery on orders over £99' subject to the following terms & conditions:

  • Applies only to orders with £99 or more of items (including VAT at the UK rate), at FutureShop.co.uk
  • Free Delivery on orders over £99 utilises Royal Mail First Class postal service for items weighing under 2KG. For items weighing over 2KG, we use DPD next working day services which deliver from 9.00am to 6pm within mainland UK (excludes Royal Mail Special Delivery Services and timed next day delivery services by UK Mail).
  • Applies only to deliveries to addresses within mainland UK and Northern Ireland addresses. Applies only to orders that are to be delivered to a single Mainland UK delivery address.
  • You will not be eligible for free delivery on your order if any items are cancelled or returned for a refund, bringing the total order amount below £99. Where items are returned, the refund due will be the cost of the item less any postage costs.
  • We reserve the right to change or discontinue 'Free delivery on orders over £99 promotion at any time.
  • FREE DELIVERY FOR ORDERS OVER £99 OFFER DOES NOT APPLY TO TRADE CUSTOMERS.

Free Delivery on orders over £99 utilises Royal Mail First Class postal service for items weighing under 2KG. For items weighing over 2KG, we use DPD or Interlink Express next working day services which deliver from 9.00am to 6pm within mainland UK.

Free Delivery for orders over £99 excludes Royal Mail Special Delivery Services and timed next day delivery services by DPD or Interlink Express.

 

Royal Mail 1st Class Shipping DPD Next Day Delivery

 

2. Special Delivery UK - Guaranteed Next Working Day

We have 99.9% of the UK covered With Royal Mail Next Day Special Delivery. We guarantee delivery to most UK addresses by 1pm the next working day. This includes Northern Ireland, Jersey and Guernsey. Some places take longer to deliver to but we still guarantee delivery within three working days by 5.30 PM.

For the Next Day Special Delivery service, orders must be received by futureshop.co.uk by 4.30pm weekdays. Orders after the 4.30pm deadline cannot be guaranteed for same day dispatch.

Please note, Royal Mail Special Delivery for next working day may not be possible where non-standard cable lengths are ordered. If this is the case, the item will be shipped via The Royal Mail Special Delivery service as soon as the cable is custom made.

For orders weighing over 2KG, we reserve the right to ship items using Next Day Pre-Noon Courier Services where Royal Mail Special Delivery option has been selected.

 

Royal Mail Special Next Working Day Delivery

 

3. Channel Islands & Northern Ireland

We accept orders from all Channel Islands including Alderney, Jersey, Guernsey and Sark. Unless you select a premium service, Items weighing under 2KG are delivered using our standard UK delivery option above. For items weighing over 2KG, a surcharge may be applied for all deliveries to the Channel Islands as well as Northern Ireland.

 

European Countries

Deliveries to EU member states are subject to 20% VAT. We offer the following shipping services:

  • Royal Mail First Class International Untracked Airmail Services - Items are usually delivered within 10 working days.
  • Royal Mail First Class International Tracked Airmail Services - Items are usually delivered within 3 to 7 working days.
  • DHL Express International - Items are usually delivered within 24 to 48 hours. DHL orders must be received by 3:30pm for next day service to most destinations in Europe
  • Federal Express International Priority - Items are usually delivered within 24 to 48 hours. FedEx orders must be received by 3.00pm for next day service to most destinations in Europe
  • Federal Express International Economy - Item are usually delivered within 48 to 72 hours

 

Royal Mail International DeliveryRoyal Mail International Tracked DeliveryFedEX Express Economy International DeliveryFedEX Express Priority International DeliveryDHL Worldwide Express International DeliveryDHL Econmy Select International Delivery

 

Worldwide - Excluding UK & Europe

Deliveries outside of the EU are not subject to 20% VAT and so the 20% tax on items is automatically deducted when you login or register.
We offer the following shipping services:

  • Royal Mail First Class International Untracked Airmail Services - Items are usually delivered within 15 working days.
  • Royal Mail First Class International Tracked Airmail - Items are usually delivered within 10-15 working days.
  • DHL Express International - Items are usually delivered within 48 hours. DHL orders must be received by 3:30pm in order to ship items the same day, subject to stock availability.
  • Federal Express International Priority - Items are usually delivered within 48 hours. FedEx orders must be received by 3.00pm in order to ship items the same day, subject to stock availability.

Where the actual weight of the package significantly exceeds the shipping cost charged on orders, we may write to you for an additional shipping charge. For larger orders, items may be shipped in multiple packets.

 

Royal Mail International DeliveryRoyal Mail International Tracked DeliveryFedEX Express Economy International DeliveryFedEX Express Priority International DeliveryDHL Worldwide Express International DeliveryDHL Econmy Select International Delivery