Musical Fidelity V-CAN II Headphone Amp (Playback 53)

Headphone amps and amp/DACs
Musical Fidelity V-CAN II
Musical Fidelity V-CAN II Headphone Amp (Playback 53)

Ok, so you just bought a GREAT pair of headphones, but they don’t sound quite as impressive when plugged into the headphone jack of your receiver, iPad, or iPod as they did in the store’s rig. Maybe what you need is a dedicated headphone amplifier. Musical Fidelity’s V-CAN II was created to replace wimpy “courtesy” headphone connections with something more robust. It was designed to deal with the real-world demands of headphones playing music at “realistic” levels. And the best news is that it’s priced under $200.


Audio highlights: The Musical Fidelity V-CAN II is a headphone amplifier, pure and simple. It is not a source switcher or multi-user headphone listening station. It accepts one pair of analog RCA inputs and has one pair of analog RCA outputs. The front panel has a small volume knob and two headphone connections, one for standard ¼” plugs and the other for a mini-plug. Both can be used simultaneously, but since the same volume knob controls both output jacks, headphones of widely differing sensitivities may not work well together.

With its 5-ohm output impedance, the V-CAN II should be capable of driving most headphones with complete success. Only a few extremely low impedance in-ear-monitors may want something beefier, but the V-CAN II worked well with all the headphones and earphones in my arsenal.

In terms of styling, the V-CAN II is pretty modest. It’s a smallish silver-finished box that measures approximately 3 ¾’ by 6 “ by 1 ½”. Compared to the original V-CAN, which was in a similarly sized black box, the V-CAN II is a step forward, but not by much. It’s also light and can be easily pushed and pulled around by cables. I put a VPI brick on top of the review sample to keep it in place.

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