Review Work (Headphone Amplifier)

Musical Fidelity Vcan and Vcan II:Sweet Sound

Vcan and Vcan II reached Earmass!

Vcan and Vcan II reached Earmass!

I am generally respected audio products from Musical Fidelity,as the latest BA IEM from them (EB-50) has gain my love by much. They are indeed very sweet and some even stated that Eb-50 is the best BA IEM that they have ever heard. Sincerely, I welcomed Musical Fidelity to provide more product into market.

Nice looking Musical Fidelity logo on the Vcan

Nice looking Musical Fidelity logo on the Vcan

So Thanks again for Yen from Stereo Head,he is indeed a very kind man whom provide me quite a number of head fi stuffs to review,I believe that I will have chance to thanks for his contribution in audiophile world more often in the future at Earmass.com. Actually I have received the Vdac II as well but I am not reviewing it in any short moment due to some reasons.

Vcan and vcan II

Today, I will be reviewing two units of Musical Fidelity headphone amplifier,the Vcan and Vcan II .

Description and Specification

Both of them are not really expensive,but much of the consumer might never thinking of ‘invest’ that much money in the audio world. Vcan is Rm8xx (250 USD) and Vcan II is RM999(300 USD). For a big brand like Musical Fidelity and EB-50 selling around this price,I don’t think that it is expensive given the fact that Vcan and Vcan II is a desktop amp.

I can’t find specification of Vcan in internet anymore,so I just take the picture of the specification stated in the instruction manual there.

Vcan

Specification of Vcan from the instruction sheet.

Specification of Vcan II from the instruction manual

Specification of Vcan II from the instruction manual

Design and Build Quality

Vcan (Left) and Vcan II (Right) Both of them have identical design and layout,it is just the printing of words are different.

Vcan (Left) and Vcan II (Right) Both of them have identical design and layout,it is just the printing of words are different.

Both the Vcan and Vcan II have quite a same design,only Vcan II has sharper edge at the corner,but the layout and control,as far as I observed are all the same. Maybe some ‘art line’ on the surface is different,but nothing big and significant that worth mentioned.

RCA Layout from rear side. From left there is RCA female jack for input,then RCA female Jack for line output then a 12V DC power Jack.

RCA Layout from rear side. From left there is RCA female jack for input,then RCA female Jack for line output then a 12V DC power Jack.

Build quality is excellent.the volume knob has smooth control,really good.

Packaging and Accessories

The box arrive at me in bad condition,so it is better for me not to show the packaging box,but speaking of accessories, what you will get is the amplifier,an adapter and some sheets.

Working method and Pairing/Power

Layout is identical to the one on Vcan.  From left there is RCA female jack for input,then RCA female Jack for line output then a 12V DC power Jack.

Layout is identical to the one on Vcan. From left there is RCA female jack for input,then RCA female Jack for line output then a 12V DC power Jack.

Both the Vcan and VcanIi do not have the 3.5mm line in,so obviously,you can’t just make it as simple as portable amp(They are not designed for portable anyway).

Adapter,I found out that Vcan has a proper adapter than the VcanII,which produce less noise.

Adapter,I found out that Vcan has a proper adapter than the VcanII,which produce less noise.

It does not have built in battery as well,so you must plug in the power jack behind it. if your DAC only has a 3.5mm line out,then you will need a 3.5mm to RCA cable(Both Male). If your DAC is just like Musical Fidelity Vdac or some high end DAC,then a RCA to RCA cable will do the job.

When you connect the power jack and switched on,there will be a blue LED indicator lighten up.

When you connect the power jack and switched on,there will be a blue LED indicator lighten up.

Connect your earphone/headphone then you can start to enjoy the music.

Vcan Ii is more luxury design,compared to the funky design of the Vcan.

Vcan Ii is more luxury design,compared to the funky design of the Vcan.

It give good match to all the earphone/headphone I tested except the Bowers and Wilkins P3,which give me a muddy sound when pairing. Personally I love how it paired with Shure Se425,good sound and sweet. It has good power,with all the earphone and headphone I threw to it, I can get more than audible listening volume. It has better power than my portable amp (JDS Labs Objective 2)with no surprise.Hissing is very minimal,however it is audible on Shure Se425 when i turn the volume knob more than 9 O clock.

Sound Quality

I have tested the Musical Fidelity Vcan and Vcan II with Stoner Audio UD100 through Shure Se425,Creative Aurvana Live!,NuForce Ne700,RHA MA350,Soundmagic E10,Yamaha Eph-100 as well as Bowers and Wilkins P3,play through Foobar 2000.

Layout at the front panel is also the same. From left there is Volume Knob,then 3.5mm female jack and finally a 6.25mm female jack.

Layout at the front panel is also the same. From left there is Volume Knob,then 3.5mm female jack and finally a 6.25mm female jack.

Please noted that below description and review is for Vcan II only,not applicable for Vcan unless otherwise stated.

High : High is as good as you can expect from this price. Not that crisp or sparkly and presenst,but it is at least smooth.

Mid : It has sweet midrange, I understand why there are plenty of audiophile praised sound from Musical Fidelity is ‘tube-like’,it is fluid and smooth along with sweetness that i like.

Low : Weighty and presence,while not ‘eat’ other frequency and being overwhelmed. Quality bass.

Musical Fidelity Vcan II

Musical Fidelity Vcan II

Sound Signature : Vcan II’s sound is dynamic and it is fluidly smooth,with great sense of detail. It is not that superbly clean like some,it do bring the sound more upfront than let say the Objective 2. It too,like Vcan,has slightly rhythmic speed problem,where Vcan and Vcan II has some fast sound,a little bit too fast and uncontrolled(vcan is the worst,Vcan II still a lot better than Vcan in term of . It bring thick and forward sound. I love how the violin sounded with this amp,sounded sweet and with good layer. Overall sound is fluid and thick also smooth,relax and warm.

Sound Stage : I have to admit this is not Vcan II strength. It is slightly worse than Objective 2.

Volume knob has a nice resistance when you are turning it.

Volume knob has a nice resistance when you are turning it.

All of the album I played are in Lossless format unless otherwise stated.

Diabolus in Musica album by Aerpr

Sweet and sweet. Violin sounded really sweet and smooth,refine and I LOVE the sound of it. Sound for each instrument is refine,except some instrument like triangle can be better.

Black Album by Metalica 

I am not a fan of hard metal kind of songs,but I just have this album and upon playing it,it can’t get the ‘OMPH’ that I want. To be fair,Objective 2 can’t do this well as well. Or should I say the headphone that i tested just can’t keep the pace. But the best amp to make this song more enjoyable is Govibe Minibox,quite surprise though.

Side by side comparison

Side by side comparison

The Emissary Album by Chico Freeman

Each of the instrument play with fun and engaging sound,sweet. Positioning and instrument separation is good.

So you might be asking me why am I not testing the Vcan?

Design in England!

Design in England!

Well, Vcan is selling cheaper than the Vcan II,but if you have enough budget,I strongly recommended that you should tie your ball for few more months and save your money to get the Vcan II instead. I know I should be doing A/B comparison among both of them,but for me,Vcan is a different sounding headphone amplifier. Vcan has ‘incredible’ un-precise in rhythmic response,and seriously lack the ‘super sweetness’ of the VcanII,I tried to listen to Vcan for few times,but I switched back to VcanII just after one or two tracks,Vcan is a fine headphone amplifier,somebody might likes its too fast rhythmic response,but that somebody not me.

Standing or lying,up to you

Standing or lying,up to you

Well,I admitted that I enjoyed Vcan II more than Vcan.

Well,I admitted that I enjoyed Vcan II more than Vcan.

Vcan produce imbalance sound where louder sound in right channel(Vcan II has slight problem on this as well) and when you play it too loud,the sound is harsh. But worth to mentioned,high frequency is somewhat more presence in Vcan than VcanII.  When I turn of the volume knob,it still produce some audible sound,I do think that the control is mediocre on the Vcan. No,I am not telling that you can’t buy the Vcan or stopping you,but you should give Vcan II a try before you buy the Vcan. Both of them give lush and full body sound,which is really good.

Conclusion

Same,my conclusion will be only applicable for Vcan II as well.

Front panel of Vcan

Front panel of Vcan

Good : Sweet sound,Dynamic,Musical,Good bass response,Price (Depends), Powerful, Smooth and fluid sound,Luxury design and robust build.

Bad : The Ac adaptor produce too much noise(Audible and quite distracting before you wear your earphone/headphone), not precise.

I simply love how the violin sounded on the VcanII,the violin is God damn SWEET! I am enjoying it for entire of my review session,and I wished to spend more longer time with Vcan II,and how I would love to see how it paired up with my coming-soon-to-review Yu Long D100 II Dac. But so far I can tell you that Vcan II is a refine and good headphone amplifier. Vcan II really provide some of the sweet sound that i like.

Front Panel

I know that I have mentioned performance of VcanII way more than Vcan. Don’t get me wrong,I am not biased the old one,instead I see things like Musical Fidelity has come out with some replacement model that excel than the old model by a large level. Vcan lack sweetness and refinement that make me approached it more,but vcan has,so I love Vcan II more.

Vcan has good looking as well

Vcan has good looking as well

If you love to add sweetness to your music just like how you do on the coffee,you should take a hard look in the VcanII. While I like plain sugar free coffee,but i prefer music with good level of sweetness,so I recommended this Vcan II for you.

When you are asking for more sweetness,and don't really give a damn on rhythmic precision,then you should take out the money to seal the deal.

When you are asking for more sweetness,and don’t really give a damn on rhythmic precision,then you should take out the money to seal the deal.

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3 thoughts on “Musical Fidelity Vcan and Vcan II:Sweet Sound

  1. Hi,

    The V-CAN & V-CAN II internal circuit boards are essentially the same. Musical Fidelity has only changed the outer case & power supply of the V-CAN and marked it as version II.

    The difference you hear may be attributed to the different switch mode power supplies that come with it. Going by the pictures that you have posted, the more robust power supply actually belongs to the V-CAN II and not the V-CAN. It may have got swapped at Stereo Head before they were shipped to you.

    For a more accurate understanding of how Musical Fidelity’s V-Series really performs you will definitely need to upgrade to the V-PSU II power supply. That is transformer based PSU that will truly show what the V-Series is capable of. It’s possible there may no longer be hissing or humming & there may be no pace, rhythm & timing issues.

    Brgds

    • Sound Addict boy,

      Thanks for writing a feedback here. Are you a Musical Fidelity user?

      I do believe that a better PSU is one of the problem, I don;t know that they use similar/same circuit, but sound differences is really too much last time. Regarding this, I might ask Stereo Sound to send me again next time. But sound defference is like spot on.

      Thanks and hopeto see you here often.

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