ZEN Air Phono
ZEN Air Phono
ZEN Air Phono from iFi audio
ZEN Air Phono from iFi audio
 There’s something in the Air.

Our super affordable phono stage makes your vinyl sound purer than ever.

ZEN Air Phono

Enjoy a purer listening experience with the ZEN Air Phono, our super affordable phono stage.

A phono stage, also called a phono pre-amp, provides the connection between the record cartridge/pickup (stylus) and the amplifier.

Turntable cartridges output a very small signal. This signal needs amplifying up to several hundred times the original size before it is loud enough for your amplifier. A phono stage increases the signal level from millivolts to volts.

When vinyl was the standard for audio recording, the phono stage was built-in to receivers and amps, allowing direct connection of a turntable. These days most receivers and amps do not contain a phono stage so a separate unit is needed.

It is a necessity for any turntable without a phono stage already built in. It will also upgrade a basic built-in phono stage in a turntable or amplifier system.

ZEN Air Phono from iFi audio

Purer still

Listening to music on vinyl is good for the soul. It sounds purer than listening to a track via your phone or computer.

Make this experience purer still by reducing hiss, noise and rumble on your records with the  ZEN Air Phono.

MC and MM

There are two kinds of turntable cartridge – Moving Magnet and Moving Coil – and the ZEN Air Phono works with both of them.

  • The MM setting  is for cartridges with an output voltage of 2mV and higher.
  • The MC setting for outputs less than 2mV.

You use the gain switch on the rear to change this setting.

It also has a precise RIAA equalisation setting to satisfy the most demanding vinyl lover.

ZEN Air Phono from iFi audio

Engage warp drive

As we all know, records can become warped with age. With the ZEN Air Phono any warp on your records will be driven away by our ‘subsonic filter’.

Normal subsonic filters remove ‘rumble’ AND bass and cause phase issues.

Our unique AI phono sub-sonic filter removes ‘rumble’ only.

As with many other iFi audio products, we’ve incorporated a custom OV Series operational-amplifier. This top-notch component contributes to the extremely low noise, low distortion (0.0001%) and wide bandwidth.

TDK C0G (Class 1 ceramic) capacitors offer high stability and low losses for resonant circuit applications.

Getting ever closer to the theoretical ideal of pure, frequency-constant capacitance, these capacitors reduce capacitor-induced distortion to vanishingly low levels.

They are pricey but are a perfect addition to our products.

Panasonic ECPU capacitors. Each ECPU capacitor is constructed from some 3,500 layers of ultra-thin dielectrics less than 0.5μm thickness. It offers class-leading Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR), low impedance and frequency stability and vanishingly low distortion.

Support

Power supply requirementDC 5V/1.0A (centre +ve)
Frequency Response20Hz -20kHz (±0.15dB)
Channel Separation> 75dB (1kHz all modes)
Max Output VoltageRMS6.5V RMS 600Ω(<1% THD & N)
GainMM 40dB / MC 64dB
Input ImpedanceMM 47k / MC 1k
Output Impedance100Ω
SNRMM (40dB ±1dB)
MC (64dB ±1dB)
86dB (A-weighted) re 1V
82dB (A-weighted) re 1V
Ein (equivalent input noise)

MC
MM
0.6nV | /Hz (unweighted) 6.5nV | /Hz (unweighted)
-151dBV (A-weighted)
-130dBV (A-weighted)
Total Harmonic DistortionMC
MM
<-80dB / 0.01% re 1V
<-90dB / 0.005% re 1V
Power Consumption<1.8W
Dimensions158 x 117 x 35 mm
6.2" x 4.6" x 1.4"
Net weight320g
0.71 lbs

Reviews

Thank you Ricardo Villanueva for your review!

“I recommend the ZEN Air phono! For the price you can’t ask for anything better! It’s very quiet, I’m impressed!” (translated)

Check out the full review here..

(Click name to read original review)
MM and MC Cartridges

There are basically two kinds of photo stage – MM and MC

MM = Moving Magnet cartridges.   MC = Moving Coil cartridges.

On a MM cartridge, there is mounted a permanent magnet on the stylus cantilever. As the stylus traces the grooves, the magnet vibrates between two sets of fixed coils inside the cartridge. The moving (vibrating) magnet inside the fixed coils creates a tiny electromagnetic generator that produces the electrical music signal. The magnet move with the stylus.

On a MC cartridge, the coils are mounted on the stylus cantilever while the magnet is fixed. Here, the moving (vibrating) coils inside the fixed magnet form a tiny electromagnetic generator that produces the electrical music signal. The coils move with the stylus.

Subsonic Filter

Tom Evans who makes very nice phono stages made the following astute comment:

A rumble filter simply adds to the bass cut making your already “cut” records sound bass light. Plus, it “time-steps” the bass in relation to the higher frequencies (where our hearing is most sensitive) so much so it can confuse the ear into believing the bass is playing out of tempo.

iFi’s solution:

Since the very first iPhono launched in 2012, we have used our own in-house ‘Subsonic Filter’. It’s last appearance was in the ZEN Phono and now the ZEN Air Phono.

Basically, it means warped records play as normal with no bass loss.

As there is only minimal vertical modulation remaining at very low frequencies with an an actual cut LP that is playable, we know that “vertical modulation” at low frequencies must be warp.

So we designed a filter to take advantage of this.

This is not artificial but real knowledge. By understanding fully how LPs are cut and replayed,  it is possible to filter record warp strongly without at the same time attenuating low bass or adding group delay.

RIAA curve

What is an EQ curve?

An EQ Curve is simply a preset equalizer that knows you are going to be missing certain frequencies…it then just adds them back in for you automatically.

At the introduction of the Long Play record (LP) in 1948, most record companies implemented their own particular equalisation curves and continued to experiment with equalisation in order to extract the best performance from the new medium. This led to a baffling array of different and incompatible equalisation curves being applied worldwide.

The most popular are RIAA, Columbia, and DECCA.