Musical Fidelity V-CAN II review

This new headphone amp is worth an audition Tested at £120

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

While not a total sonic all-rounder, this engaging performer gets enough right to be worth serious consideration


  • +

    A refined presentation

  • +

    fluid dynamics

  • +

    rich, weighty bass

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    good level of insight


  • -

    Lacks a little rhythmic precision

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No headphone output on your amplifier? Musical Fidelity’s V-Can II may be just the thing for you. For the reasonable sum of £120 you get a simple yet well-made unit that produces a rather good sound too.

Features are limited to a single stereo input and output, plus a volume control. Unusually, though, there are both 3.5mm and 6.3mm headphone outputs on the front panel.

This Mk II version of Musical Fidelity’s headphone amplifier is a smarter looking affair than the original incarnation, featuring tweaked circuitry to improve performance.

Musical Fidelity V-Can II

Musical Fidelity V-CAN II: Sound qualityPlay Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and the V-Can II is in its element. It conveys a pleasingly open and expressive sound packed with a high level of detail.

The music’s dynamics are delivered with fluidity, and there’s a pleasing amount of weight and richness to the low frequencies.

Move onto the likes of Johnny Cash’s version of I Won’t Back Down and the Musical Fidelity continues to shine with a nicely nuanced rendering of Cash’s voice and a lovely full-bodied sweetness to the presentation.

It’s only when asked to deliver hard charging, rhythm-driven music such as Blur’s Song 2 that the Musical Fidelity begins to struggle a little. There’s no problem with insight or refinement, it’s more that the amplifier has a little trouble in communicating the energy and rhythmic precision in music such as this.

It’s not an enormous problem, of course: the results are never less than enjoyable, but it trades in a little too much excitement for our tastes.

Musical Fidelity V-CAN II: Verdict
Overall, Musical Fidelity’s V-Can II remains a fine product for the money. Its presentation might not be as totally rounded as we’d like, but is never less than enjoyable to listen to. And for that if nothing else, this likeable headphone amp is well worth a serious listen.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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