The Review Smiths
Ifi Audio Zen Air Phono Ifi Audio Zen Air Phono
Ifi Audio Zen Air Phono 5

So for those of you looking to embrace the world of vinyl, some turntables come prebuilt with phono pre-amps but most these days don’t. The phono amp or stage is the bit that enhances the sound from the stylus to a high enough volume for the amplifier to be able to make use of it. This is where the Zen Air Phono comes in. It’s an external phono stage that, as well as providing the essential service just mentioned has also been designed to reduce the background noise common with vinyl listening. And, if you happen to have one already built in, this device will upgrade an existing phono.

The Zen Air has a few handy little features to help it do its thing. Firstly, it has a Subsonic Filter. Most Phono’s have this to be fair but, according to Ifi Audio, theirs is unique in that it doesn’t cut out bass or cause phase issues unlike other phono’s, it simply removes the ‘rumble’ that you often get from warped old vinyl’s. They have also made use of a custom OV Series operational amplifier that really helps with low noise and low distortion and have incorporated TDK ceramic capacitors. These things basically reduce capacitor-induced distortion to almost nothing.

The other big name they have in this little box is Panasonic with their ECPU Capacitors which offer Equivalent Series Resistance as well as lending to frequency stability and again lowering the distortion. The only thing we haven’t mentioned is whether this works with either Moving Magnet or Moving Coil style turntables. Well, good news, it does both! A switch at the back and you’re good to go! Not bad at all for the price tag. RRP £99

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No phono no problem.
  • Good price
  • MM and MC compatible
  • RIAA equalisation setting
  • At this price, I can’t think of any!