In 2013, the tiny iFi Micro iCAN desktop headphone amplifier proved one of the most pleasant—and pleasantly affordable—discoveries of the year for serious headphone audio enthusiasts operating on real-world budgets. I’m not sure if I conveyed this impression as vividly as I ought to have done in my Hi-Fi+ review of the iCAN, but the simple fact of the matter is that the iCAN was and is just ridiculously good for the money (£225). “Surely,” I thought to myself, “one would have to wait a very, very long time before anyone offers a better value in the world of small, overachieving headphone amps.”
But then again, perhaps not. I say this because, as it happens, the mad geniuses at iFi Micro (aka the R&D team from Abbingdon Music Research) have been at it again and may have come up with an even greater, higher value achievement: namely, the new iFi Micro iCAN Nano portable headphone amplifier (£149 with VAT). At Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2013, iFi Micro’s Vincent Luke kindly loaned me an almost-ready-for-prime-time, pre-production sample if the iCAN Nano to play with until such time as a full-product review sample could be made available.