Musical Fidelity X-can V2 Headphone Amplifiers

X-can V2

Class A tube Headphone Amplifier

User Reviews (33)

Showing 1-10 of 33  
Mike_lowrey   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 30, 2004]
Strength:

Good detail good drive, Upgrading makes it sound 10,000 times better. Turn this 3 star into a 6 star.

Weakness:

Sound stage bit weak flatish bass. Very bright as i remember at first.

I have written a review for this product before and now the X-CAN v3 is out. When I first got it I didn’t know what a valve was. This was about 1 and a half year's ago. It sounded really good, bass a bit weak depth a little shallow but good for £130 GBP/$235 USD. Since then I have had it ive gutted the X-CAN V2. I’ve changed all the transistors to ST-Micro and ztx ones. I have replaced the valves To Mullard E88CC a mile stone better than the ones that came with it. I have changed the capacitors with a mix of Panasonic FC’s and BlackGate’s (one of the best cap manufactures in the world), The Panasonics are good but no where near as good as the BlackGate’s if you ever replace caps I strongly recommend BlackGate’s the only reason I used Panasonics I due to space. I have also upgraded the power supply to a toroidal like most people. A lot of people only upgrade the Valves and power supply the cap upgrade is defently the most effective. By the way not really sure if any one should bother with Transistors. The only reason I replaced the transistors is because one failed and caused a lot of caps to extrude. But I have 2 X-CANS only one has done this. The sound now is phenomenal compared, the bass is deep, the sound range is great including great vocal highs that don’t disappoint like they used to(not too sharp though) Overall though the upgrades cost as much as the X-CAN V2 yet to buy a high end cable though. Get all the info you need off this web site: www.rock-grotto.co.uk Great circuit to work on relatively easy to upgrade :)

Similar Products Used: Hmm :D
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
lok   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 22, 2004]
Strength:

Vast improvement over the V1 & V2 of the X-Cans in regards to bass response, drive and soundstaging.

Weakness:

Wall wart power supply, but I guess means it's easier to get c tick approval from the different countries. One has to wonder of the possible improvements if they still made a proper toroidal spec'd PSU for this unit like they did for the original X components.

After building a full valve headphone amplifier from Mapletree Audio Design's range called the Ear + purist. I was curious to see how Lloyd Peppard's Ear + purist design would compare with the latest V3 of the X-Cans. By the way, it was because initially I had demo'ed the X-Cans V2 and found that it wasn't that much better than the headphone stage in my Sony ES CD player that I ventured out to build the Ear + purist headphone amplifier kit from Lloyd Peppard. Even after only about 40 or so hours of burn in for the X-Cans V3, I can clearly hear the improvement over it's V1 & V2 predecessors. This latest X-Cans although still using the same JAN/Philips 6922 tubes hits the mark sonically better than ever before. I must say that it certainly appears it favours hard and fast driving tunes moreso as I threw John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits at it and it picked up every tune and drove it with terrific gusto. I found that jazz numbers from the likes of Diana Krall and Daves True Story had more air and sound stage to them than the previous versions of the X-Cans, but still didn't have the "seductive" sound that Mapletree Audio Design's Ear + purist was able to depict. Although some may not hear this as that large a gap. I've been able to use my Sennheiser 565 Ovation, HD580 and HD600 with Clou Blue Jaspis cable through the X-Cans V3 all with similar improvements in sound. I'm still waiting for a pair of Grado's to test on this rig, but I expect the X-Can V3 will more than live up to it's end of the bargin without much effort. This headphone amplifier has plenty of power and will deliver more than ample volume and punch. There's no doubt it has improved in the areas of soundstage, mid-band and bass response/immediacy/attack. Considering its price when compared to other headphone amplifiers, I believe this current V3 of the X-Cans is certainly worth a serious audition as I believe it has finally evolved/matured into a truly tasty sonic morsel for your ears !

Similar Products Used: Mapletree Audio Design Ear + Purist Headphone Amplifier, X-Cans V1, X-Cans V2
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
blazter   AudioPhile [Apr 18, 2003]
Strength:

Very solid build, highly tweakable to your own personal flavor

Weakness:

if not using right tubes or power supply can sound a little grainy and weak in the bass.

Bruno, I've had the X-Cans for a few years and know them inside and out. The grainy highs you mention is all about the CHEAP TUBES inside the X-Cans and not the circuitry. Try some NOS Amperex Orange globe 6DJ8 if you like warmth, the Amperex orage globe A-Frame if you need more bass, or the Amperex white label 6922 gold pin or Telefunken E88CC gold pin if you want it have the more articulate bass, extended sweet highs and MUCH better soundstage but not as much vocal warmth as the steel pins. BTW the X-Cans are highly tweakable. I set both amp and the X-PSU on 3 inch maple blocks and components directly on top of Golden Sound cones which I invert while placing about 4 pounds of lead shot bags over each one. The power cord for the X-PSU is VERY dramatic change. Going fromstock to HT Pro AC_11 was incredible, but when Iplaced an Omega Mikro DC active PC on the X-PSU things went stratospheric! Te be sure, ICs help out a bunch too. The AQ Diamond X2 w/ Bybee quantum filters is my current fav, but for on a budget the best I've heard are the ZuCable Warmouth interconnects. They are very addictive on this amp!

Similar Products Used: Creek headphone amp, Melos SHA
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Bruno   AudioPhile [Feb 27, 2003]
Strength:

The bass! The power! The excitement! The price! The look!

Weakness:

The "mono in the head" soundstage. The "grainy" highs. The cheap and small volume pot.

I have used this amplifier for a month to drive my Sennheiser HD-600. This amp is much more powerful and sounds way better than the headphone output of my Bryston preamp.The bass is awsome: very fast and strong. The power is sufficient to drive my HD-600 at the highest level. The sound is exciting, upbeat, clear and balanced. But be aware: this tube amp doesn't sound at all like a tube amp! In fact, in direct comparison to the Sugden HeadMaster, a pure class-A transistor headphone amp, it's the X-Can V2 that sounds like the transistor amp, with somewhat grainy highs and shallow "soundstage". The Sugden is much more detailed, has a deeper and fuller bass and presents the sound in an uncanny "out of the head" way. But the X-Cans is more exciting on rock and techno, has a meaner bass and is a lot less expensive.

Similar Products Used: Sugden HeadMaster (don't buy ANYTHING before you hear this one, it's that special). X-Cans V1.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
mcgfloyd   AudioPhile [Feb 04, 2003]
Strength:

Solidly built, highly tweakable, good looking and great sound.

Weakness:

Jan Philips 6922 valves, crappy potentiometer and very poor "jamicon" general purpose capacitors.

I like the V2 so much I've dedicated part of my website to it and many hours tweaking and upgrading it. To view all my tweaks, upgrades etc. go to http://freespace.virgin.net/rock.grotto/index2.htm

Similar Products Used: Creek OBH-11 and a hot rodded B-Tech BT928 head amp.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Lisek   AudioPhile [Nov 01, 2002]
Strength:

Total neutral sound,warm ,nice for ear sound.The bass is strong,deep but it doesn't affect other frequencies.The midrange is accurate and little bit "behind" the sound presentation.Highs are not annoying ,but very light and dynamic.Overall a very good sound staging,show lots of details on jazz and "modern" music.It can be connected on the way CD-P+XCANS+AMP+SPK what gives a nice benefit at bass depth little at detailness.Very good at rendering female voices and nature sound(waterfall,rain).

Weakness:

The volume knob is too small for me,looks like from a toy radio.Most of it's sensitivity is located in the upper scale so all the details and dynamics can be reached only on high(not recomended) volume.Hard to get in my country!

I bought this can about 1 month ago after waiting for it for 7 months.When I finnaly got it I found that my example was broken.I've noticed it after 2-3 hours of listenig,what occured in squeaking sound from right channel.Second bug was that each time a touched the unit or tapped the table that sound was emediately reproduced in the right channel.My system connsits of Sennheiser HD-600,X-cansV2,CD player Sony CDP-XB 930QS and the Monster Cable Z100i interconnet.I listen to "acoustic" music and it fits me well.It shows huge portion od details on background,lips movements can be heard on many songs.When coupled with HD600 gives a gigant "in-head" neutral presentation which forces to concetrate on every sound coming to your ear.Otherwise the sound can make you tired of too much things coming at one time.At the beginnig it was hard to listent to it but now when my skills in listening are getting higher and higher it's a pleasure to me.I heared opinnions that this sound is harsh,has no bass but it was said by people that are keen only on "no bass,no fun" rule and lack of dynamics is bad too.I think that it's sound this way because the sound it gives is the real one with no aditional aspects .For most people meeting the real sound can be a shock st they've been listening to music on cheap systems.It can be hard to get used to it but I think the "real" sound is worth a bit of effort.

Similar Products Used: None
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Raimond Kieftenbeld   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 16, 2002]
Strength:

Open warm,much bass

Weakness:

sometimes to much bass.stock tubes produces some noise in right channel.Since I changed tubes to Telefunken,no noice anymore Weakness of PSU,it hums very loud(mechanical hum)

I bought this amp about an year ago,And I loved the warm sound of it.I have a Sennheiser HD 580 Headphone and PSU powersubbly to use with amp.The Psu dilivers more power to X-cans,I can play louder with PSU than when I use the standard adapter and it has more control. The downside is,it has sometimes to much bass(maybe i is the combination cd,amp,headphones?) I changed the standard tubes to some from TElefunken,and that brings a major inprovemed to sound,more control, better dynamics,

Similar Products Used: I use it with: HD 580 Headphone Meridian506.24 cd-splayer X-PSU T3 MIT interconnect
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
pabloyelisa   AudioPhile [Aug 04, 2002]
Strength:

Good power with a vast models of headspeakers. Good sound in general. A relative low price.

Weakness:

It really needs a good external power supply.

Really I bought the X-Can V2 because it was the cheaper and easy to obtain in my city headphones amplifier, but I had lots of good references about it (at a spanish audio forum). I use it with a Sennheiser HD-600, a Meridian 506.20, a pair of Van den hul The first cables, two DIY mains cables and a DIY power supply for the X-Can V2 (see it at http://club.telepolis.com/adrodriguez/articulos.html "Cable de red HUM" and "Fuente de alimentación HUM" respectively). It's not like hearing a good speaker system in a good installation (accoustic treated room, mains, stands, etc), but if you must listenig to music with headphones, I found it a very good system to: A very good sound (it really improves with the DIY power unit), and a very low price for it.

Similar Products Used: Headphones outputs in integrated amplifiers, CD players and pre (Marantz, Restek, etc).
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Nick Dangerous   AudioPhile [May 17, 2002]
Strength:

Inexpensive. Round metal chassis is indestructible and looks great. Female vocals are beautifully rendered. Provides plenty of power.

Weakness:

Works best with high impedance headphones. Volume pot is cheap and too sensitive. Can be finicky. May provide little benefit when coupled with high-end sources.

The X-Can headphone amp was one of my first amps to experiment with. Initially, the sound was uncomfortably bright but otherwise excellent with my Sennheiser 580 headphones. I decided to take matters into my own hands and change the tubes. I documented the procedure in an easy format here: http://www.nickdangerous.com/misc/xcans/index.htm The X-Can vastly improves the sound of audio coming from the PC and various other budget sources. I don''t consider it a high-end headphone amp, but for the money its a good way to get a taste of smooth sounding tube audio.

Similar Products Used: Creek OBH-11 MG Head OTL Corda HA-1 Mapletree Ear 4 Melos SHA-1 Headroom Cosmic Headroom MAX Headroom Little McCormack Integrated Drive
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Pete Smith   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 28, 2002]
Strength:

Strong for classical and jazz as sold but much better with ''warmer'' tubes, so factor in the extra $45.

Weakness:

Forget it for rock without the tube ''upgrade''.

I agree with most reviewers! As dispatched the X-cans sound good but are certainly too bright compared with the tone of the rest of my setup (Naim amps, Epos 14s Linn LP12, Lingo, Klyde, Linto). Switched the tubes to Amperex PQ Orange A-frames and the tone is fuller without losing any of the sharpness (Ok maybe cymbals are a little less exciting). I''d recommend the X-cans 100% but only with the tube change.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 33  

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