This year was the first CanJam to happen in NYC in years. The venue was the beautiful Marriot Marquis in Time Square, and we had a fine, enthusiastic turnout (About 2,000 CanJammers are estimated to have come). The room on the sixth floor had a large room with many tables where vendors displayed their wares, and there were a few rooms nearby with smaller demonstrations. I heard some complain it seemed small; I spent 2 solid days going from table to table, trying to listen to as much as I could, and I couldn’t get to everything I would have liked to have listened to. Even if I could, I find listening to too much gear in a marathon session leads to exhaustion, physical and audio, and everything starts to sound the same to me, so I generally just like to get a bit of familiarity with all the gear I’ve been reading about, check out the latest, greatest, up-and-coming gear, meet some of the folks I’ve seen posting on line, in the biz, moderators, and civvies. Thanks to the Producer of the show, Ethan Opolion, and all the volunteers and others who helped pull off a very successful show. It was great to meet Jude Mansella, who was also a panelist at a seminar, and there was buzz was about basketball great David Robinson (was he the really tall dude?), who was an attendee.
Again, I couldn’t get to everything, and really couldn’t do review quality listening to everything I did hear, so just posting some highlights-my apologies to any vendors I didn’t get to. I’m basically going in the order I walked in (I started on the far right).
Focal had a busy table, with the Utopia and Elear on display (I heard the Utopia with the Questyle CMA800P/CMA800A), sounding really good
Pioneer had their well-regarded SE Master 1 on display, with the Onkyo DP-X1 DAP (balanced) and some Pioneer Branded DAPS.
Sonoma, who began in professional digital recording, made an entry into the electostat headphone world, with its system, the M1 headphone DAC and energizer system.
Linear Tube Audio and Innous shared a table, pairing the latest version of the MicroZOTL2 with the LaVoce DAC (using ZMF new Atticus and Audeze’s LCD-XC).
ZMF had the new Eikon ($999.99) and Atticus ($1299.99) headphones on display as well (the tan one in the picture above is ZMF), new, original designs (with the usual beautiful woodwork; the Eikon was open and clear sounding in my quick show audition).
FAD pulled out all the stops, with more models on display than you could count on your fingers and toes (and you’d look pretty weird doing it…). They had some of their TOTL models, the Sonorous X, some limited edition in ears like the Lab2, and a new, very small in ear, F7200 ($479), which, in FAD’s inscrutable, unusual way of doing things, is said to allow tuning to preference by shifting it in your ear.
Care Audio had on hand the Dharma Acoustics Abyss, which is one of the weirdest looking cans I’ve seen, but didn’t feel bad on the head, and made some nice sounding music.
Mytek was using the Sony MDR-Z1R to demonstrate the cute, $1995 Brooklyn AMP/DAC (which is also a preamp, Phono preamp, and can scratch your back if you talk to it nicely). They also had the Manhattan II ($5995) on hand, much larger and more costly, but it wasn’t working when I was at the table (temporary technical difficulties). This was one where I had to pretend I didn’t have my credit card with me…
Mr. Speakers had the Ether Flo driven by the Cavalli Liquid Gold (DA conversion handled by Mojo Audio’s Mystique), and also a prototype of an upcoming Cavalli amp, fine sound from this table. The unusually shaped, soon to be released AEON also made quite a splash, especially at its $799 price point.
Noble also had a full line of iem’s on display, up to the Katana and Encore on display.
Campfire Audio was also there for in ear enthusiasts, with the Vega and the Andromeda getting much attention.
At a more entry level, Periodic Audio had 3 models, Mg, Ti and Be (priced at $99, $199, and $299 respectively), and delivered convincing sonics along with a cute, lab coat wearing staff for demonstrations and discussions.
64Audio, a very well known iem company, also had a full line on display; I was able to audition the A12, which I enjoyed indeed.
Audeze had their over ears, but what caught my eyes/ears was the two iSine models the 10 ($349) and the 20 ($599), which are unusual looking and fitting in/on ear monitors with planar magnetic drivers, offering the technology in a very portable and affordable (in high end terms) package.
I got to check out the Opus #1 and #2 DAPs, which were an enjoyable listen.
The Hifiman Shangri-la and the Edition 6 made its appearance at their table, with its included tube amp, and its $50,000 price tag.
Not to be outclassed, the Sennheiser Orpheus HE-1 headphone (with amp/dac included, making it a bargain) had its own room, with a sign up for appointments
Unique Melody and Cayin had a joint separate room, each having many items on display.
And another separate room demonstration was of the Smythe Research Realiser A16, a processor that gives real sounding surround using an over the ear headphone. The DVD player wasn’t working when I went to the room, but I got a demo of drum sounds from all corners of the room that had me jumping out of my seat.
And, I got to one seminar, “Music Recording and High Fidelity”, with Music Producer Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis, Jude Mansilla, and Dan Clark of Mr. Speakers, and moderated by Frank Iacone of Headphone.Guru. It didn’t really shed any new light on music recording and high fidelity for me, but Jerry Duplessis has a world of performing and recording experience which was fun to hear about, and he even got to demonstrate his audiophile nerd credentials (in no short supply at the show) when he started talking about collecting and loving vinyl. A man after my own heart.
That is a not so brief presentation that is still just an overview. Again, apologies to folks I didn’t get to (I really wanted to get to the Yggy and the Chord stuff; they were always too crowded when I tried). It was great meeting folks and watching them enjoying the festivities. It’ll have to hold me until next year’s NY CamJam.