iFi Audio's New ZEN Phono 3 Offers Intelligent Rumble Management and More


(April 17, 2024) With Record Store Day 2024 just around the corner, iFi is launching a new device targeted at vinyl lovers and music aficionados. It's a sophisticated phono stage Called the ZEN Phono 3, designed to enrich the vinyl listening experience by addressing various challenges associated with record playback. A standout feature of the ZEN Phono 3 is an intelligent subsonic filter, which effectively targets and eliminates warped record rumble without impacting essential bass frequencies woven into a music track. This ensures that the music's low-end integrity is preserved, allowing listeners to enjoy every note as intended by an artist.

iFi says ZEN Phono 3 achieves remarkably precise RIAA playback equalization, maintaining a tight tolerance of +/- 0.15dB, facilitating exceptionally accurate audio reproduction. Additionally, it features an impressive Equivalent Input Noise figure of -151dBV, making it quieter than many high-end phono stages in the market.

Its balanced circuitry comprises premium components such as TDK C0G and Murata multilayer ceramic capacitors and Panasonic ECPU polyphenylene sulfide film devices. These components are selected for their low distortion and high stability, contributing to the superior sound quality and fidelity of RIAA equalization.

Power is derived from a cutting-edge power supply with an oscillation frequency of 1.2MHz, which is significantly higher than standard mains electricity. In this circuit, a filtering capacitor with a 10uF rating is equivalent to 200,000uF at lower audible frequencies – impressive 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.

Connectivity options include stereo RCA inputs and outputs and a distinctive 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced output. Users can connect ZEN Phono 3 directly to an amp or active speakers using balanced inputs, taking full advantage of its balanced circuitry for optimal sound quality.

The ZEN Phono 3 offers a variety of gain settings from 36dB to 72dB, supporting different cartridge types, from moving magnet (MM) to very-low-output moving coil (MC). It also introduces a new load adjustment button that allows users to alter input capacitance and load impedance settings independently of the gain settings, providing extensive customization for a tailored listening experience.

Interested? The ZEN Phono 3 is available for purchase now at a retail price of $249 direct from ifi-audio.com and selected retailers.

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Todd Anderson

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Jan 20, 2017
Balt/Wash Metro
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I would hope so! They claim it eliminates the rumble without neutering the bass. Hard to imagine how that will work without some of the bass being affected. But, perhaps internal algorithms are able to predict expected output?
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