iFi Audio ZEN Phono Entry-Level Phono Stage Preamplifier

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ZEN Phono Ultra-Affordable Phono Stage Turntable Preamplifier, by iFi Audio.

Audiophilia Product Of The Year 2021

The ZEN Phono is an entry level phono stage with a difference. Normally, sub £200 phono stages add excessive noise that hinders musical enjoyment. The iFi ZEN Phono is an exception to the rule due to its trickle-down know-how from AMR/iFi phono pre-amps.

First and foremost, the noise floor is a whisper-quiet – 90/96dB (36/60dB, BAL 2V/SE 1V, A-weighted) on MM/MC respectively. It is also able to handle MM/MC cartridges from less than 0.25 mV to greater than 2 mV, bringing true high-end performance and flexibility to the entry sector. Finally, the ZEN Phono has the performance and the features not found in many other phono stages.

Top of the range audiophile phono amplifiers create their own power supplies off the mains, like a mains regenerator. This is the starting point for any good phono stage because without this, it will struggle to amplify the signal and not add noise. The super quiet ZEN Phono is dedicated to this cause. It creates a 1.2 MHz power supply (20,000 x mains frequency of 60 Hz). Here, a 10uF filtering capacitor equals 200,000 uF at lower frequency. The result? VERY large filtering, as per classic LC filtering in tube amplifiers. Located on its own island, as it were, so no surrounding noise pollution. It outputs super clean +/- 12 V DC.

Normal subsonic filters remove rumble AND bass AND phase issues, however the iFi AI Subsonic filter removes rumble ONLY and so has only a positive impact on sound. Their unique AI Subsonic filter has been used since the first iPhono in 2012. Thereafter in the iPhono2 and the iPhono3 Black Label and now, the ZEN Phono. There is no other £200 phono stage that has this.

Equalization uses multiple parallel TDK C0G capacitors for the best stability and least distortion possible, even when compared to polystyrene capacitors. They are nearly as good as Teflon. Despite already using the lowest tolerance capacitors and multiples in parallel, tolerance is exponentially improved by the square root of the number of capacitors. The ZEN Phono achieves RIAA EQ tolerance level (+/- 0.15 dB) which is comparable to hand-selected capacitors!


  • Audiophile-level phono stage preamp at an entry-level price-point.
  • MM/MC from 36dB >72dB gain.
  • Super-silent noise floor -151dBV.
  • Balanced circuit design.
  • Precise RIAA with Balanced output, performance comparable to +$1k phono stages.
  • AI sub-sonic filter. Addresses warp without eliminating bass or causing phase issues.
  • Clean, quiet, noise-free power supply.


  • Gain Settings:
    • MC (v lo) / 72 dB (+/- 1 dB)
    • MC (lo) / 60 dB (+/- 1 dB)
    • MC (hi) / 48 dB (+/- 1 dB)
    • MM / 36 dB (+/- 1 dB)
  • AI Sub-sonic filter: Remedies only the 'warp' in LPs, no negative impact to bass response.
  • Max Output Voltage (RMS): 20 V RMS bal output into 100k (< 1% THD & N) / 13.5 V RMS bal output into 600R (< 1% THD & N)
  • Output Impedance: BAL 200 Ohm resistive / SE 100 Ohm resistive.
  • Input Impedance:
    • MM: 47 kOhms (Load: 110pF)
    • MC High: 47 KOhms
    • MC Low: 1 KOhms
    • MC V Low: 110 Ohms
  • 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 (A weighted) -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
  • Dimensions: 160(l) x 113(w) x 35(h) mm
  • Power Supply: DC 5 V / 500 mA
  • Net Weight: 515 g
  • Warranty: 12 months


  • 1 x ZEN Phono Turntable Preamplifier
  • 1 x Power Supply
  • 1 x Stereo RCA Interconnect Cable
  • 1 x Warranty Card

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