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iFi’s ZEN Phono 3 is Designed to Help You Rediscover & Reconnect With Your Record Collection

At $249, the 3rd generation iFi ZEN Phono preamp handles both MM and MC cartridges with a subsonic filter that removes imperfections.

iFi ZEN Phono 3

With Record Store Day 2024 rapidly approaching, it only makes sense for iFi to introduce the new iFi ZEN Phono 3 Pre-amplifier that fills a rather important role at the entry-level of the market.

The ZEN Phono 3 is almost $50 more than the model it is replacing but it would appear that it offers quieter operation and a wider range of loading options with MC cartridges — Denon DL-103 anyone?

One of the most neglected parts of the phono chain is the phono preamplifier; this is particularly true if you’re new to vinyl playback and have not really given that much thought to how that cartridge on the end of your tonearm actually works and how that minuscule level of output is amplified.

The best affordable phono preamplifiers will likely do a much better job than the internal phono stage inside of your amplifier and offer greater flexibility with both MC and MM cartridges. 

Even with all of that great news in regard to record sales, most consumers don’t think about the best phono pre-amplifiers for their turntables and that’s a problem. 

What concerns us the most is that consumers who have taken the plunge into vinyl for the first time have not even scratched the surface when it comes to the playback quality of their turntable. Will this group abandon vinyl as high-end digital streaming becomes more affordable and accessible?

Budget phono pre-amplifiers offered less than ideal performance looking back almost a decade, but a lot has changed since the vinyl revolution took off in 2014 and there has never been greater demand for better options priced below $300.

iFi ZEN Phono 3 Closeup front

$249 for the ZEN Phono 3 makes it very competitive with similar products from Schiit Audio, Andover Audio, and Cambridge Audio.

The two things you really want to look for at this price point is a unit that offers both MM/MC cartridge compatibility and very quiet operation.

With its enhanced features and intelligent warp filter, the ZEN Phono 3 allows you to dive deeper into your record collection, uncovering hidden nuances and rediscovering beloved classics with unparalleled clarity.

Traditional subsonic filters often compromise music by filtering out both the rumble from warped records and essential bass frequencies.

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The ZEN Phono 3’s subsonic filter sets a new standard of excellence, selectively removing imperfections while preserving the integrity of the music hidden within the grooves.

Its precise RIAA equalization circuit maintains a consistent frequency response, preserving the original sonic characteristics of your vinyl records with remarkable accuracy. With an exceptionally low Equivalent Input Noise of -151dBV, the iFi ZEN Phono 3 is designed to let you hear more of the music and less background noise.

The inclusion of balanced and RCA line outputs ensures versatile connectivity options, while the high-precision power supply controller and adjustable gain range and load impedance further optimize performance and compatibility with moving coil cartridges.

iFi ZEN Phono 3 Front
iFi ZEN Phono 3 Rear

Key Features

  • Intelligent subsonic filter that removes LP warp without removing low end
  • -151dBV measured Equivalent Input Noise. 20dBV
  • Precise RIAA EQ with +/- 0.15dB tolerance from 20Hz-20kHz
  • 4.4mm balanced and RCA line outputs 
  • High precision, (1.2MHz) high-current power supply controller
  • 36-72dB gain range and load impedance adjustment button to support a range of cartridges
  • Two loading options for MM and MC-High (100 & 200pF capacitance) and three options for MC-Low and MC-V Low (100, 400 & 1kOhm)
iFi ZEN Phono 3 Rear Angle

Price & Availability

The iFi ZEN Phono 3 is available to purchase from ifi-audio.com and selected retailers for $249.00.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. ORT

    April 17, 2024 at 12:53 am

    It looks cool in the same way the Martian space ships looked cool in the original “War Of The Worlds”, albeit in an upside-down space ship from Mars kind of homage to cool way. I like its looks, thank you!

    And surprise (no…really!) no Master Quisling frAughthenticated anywhere to be seen or for that matter heard. Unlike their gnuest Zen DAC/AMP which I ain’t never buying. Why?

    Because it is a Polled Hereford of the frAudians. A bull with no horns. All BS (MQA) but nothing pointy to back it up.

    But this Phono Preamp looks very, very Martianized Cool so mayhap I shall get one. I just got a Douk Pro8 EQ (in silver!) for the headphone setup.

    ORTson Welles

  2. AintAllBad

    May 5, 2024 at 6:47 pm

    It’s so funny how some people make hating MQA their entire personality. ^^

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