15th July 2013 Fujiya's Summer Portaken Photo Report
Fujiya, like clockwork, held it's Summer 2013 Portaken today on 15th July. This event was held in Sun Plaza in Nakano just a minute away from the Fujiya store itself. It's a smaller event than the usual Spring May and Autumn October events, but the same size as their Winter events.
One thing that's different about this from the past events is the presence of quite a few new CIEM makers in Japan who have labs here rather than being sent out of the country. The usual suspects made their show too but had smaller booths as few new products have appeared since their May show.
As before, I have to admit that I did little critical audio tests but just more general listening. And with the number of IEMs, amps, and cables I listened to I failed to jot down notes of my thoughts. Therefore I'll provide very little thoughts and opinions of my experiences of the products exhibited today.
Fujiya Avic's: Makoto Ishizone
A big thank you to Fujiya for letting me cover this event, and even let me in early before the rest of the crowd. I was allowed to mingle with the exhibitors during their setup, chat with them without being a nuisance (at least knowingly ;-)) .
Timelord (Distributor of Ultrasone, Aedle, April Music, and Focal to name a few)
Timelord's Reico Irisawa
Ultrasone had a new earphone to display, the Pyco. Unfortunately I didn't actually pick up any information about this earphone nor where it lies with it's other IEMs Tio & IQ. I'll edit this post when I'll get more information about this.
The Edition 12's naturally made their appearance again and I had another chance to listen to it before the crowd came in. It's actually quite pleasing to my ears and a vast improvement over the infamous Edition 10's. And as before, I feel these do sound with greater finesse than the Edition 8's. Overall signature though is still not to my liking however at least within the Ultrasone range, these are more "up there" with the Signature range and definitely one of the better sounding Edition range.
The Aedle looks beautiful as always but unfortunately I didn't try it.
Mixwave (Distributor of Unique Melody, 1964 Ears, JH Audio, CEntrance, ALO Audio, Cypherlabs, Audeze)
The first earphone that was shown to me was the Unique Melody 3DD which only recently started production delivery. They had been demo-ed in Singapore before but this was their first appearance in Tokyo. Overall I felt their signature was mid to treble focused which was decently airy. They soundstage was somewhat unique which I'm still trying to figure out in my head. There are 3 bass port filters of +6dB, +3dB, and neutral +0dB. Supposedly the +6dB was in the 3DD however didn't feel too bassy to me. I'm uncertain if the wrong bass port was in the demo 3DD.
Jaben (GoVibe, Hippo CriCri, ProOne)
Jaben was the only foreign exhibitor in this event (I believe) and Uncle Wilson pulled out a magic from his sleeves. This well wrapped up amp was a mystery DAC/Amp with balanced inputs and outputs. They even had a custom balanced cable for the Hippo ProOne and this sounded surprisingly good. I didn't recall the Hippo ProOne wow-ing me when I first heard them back in February but this combination did sound rather pleasing to my ears.
Musica Acoustics (Distributor of Aurisonics, Tralucent, Apex Glacier, Vorzuge, MyST)
Dimitri and his assistant had his usual display of products, the Aurisonics ASG-1 & ASG-2 which seemed to have done reasonably well in the stores here in Tokyo. He also had the Tralucent 1Plus2s with silver and Uber cables. Other products he had on his display were the Voguze AmpDuo and Pure, and MyST 1866. He should be receiving an updated MyST 1866 with a better Bluetooth antenna to extend the range between the Bluetooth transmitter and the receiver.
Analog Squared Paper (Makers of transportable Class A Tube Amps)
Shikada-san made his appearance again with his TU-05b and TUR-06. I didn't listen to them this time as I had already written a review of these amps here on Head-Fi. However I did talk to him about delivery times and it seems he's quite backlogged with many orders.
Music with Hikakugai (Custom hobbyists)
This was an interesting table of audio hobbyists displaying their own custom home-made amplifiers.
myi381 makes an appearance again and even has a fancy LED-lit badge!
This Wonka amp has a Mullard!
J-Phonic & Sensaphonics
They have some rather interesting custom IEMs that are soft silicone based (same as US basically). I've not actually held/touched a soft silicone-based CIEM and I can guess that they're probably more comfortable and less hard on the canals than the standard acrylic. These are actually made in a local lab in Japan however, as opposed to being shipped to the US.
The new Momentums on-ears made a show. I didn't try them on though.
Ortofon, Kojo-Seiko, & Stax
I didn't cover Stax or Ortofon who had the SRS-002/SR-003Mk2/SRS-005SMk2, MHd-Q7 and Hd-Q7, covered in past reports. Their tables were joint together with Koko Seiko too with some really heavy and expensive KM01 amps in different flavours. I didn't get a chance to try them but I've seen them in Fujiya Avic shop on a regular basis. I'll have to give them a try one day.
The IE-HF300 sports a 14.3mm single dynamic driver. The bass was quite apparent and has an overall warm signature. The cables are detachable.
Fostex had a much simpler display this time. They had their new BA 9mm DD (thx to tomscy2000 for the correction) IEM on display and although I did try them, I must say I can't remember (at all!) their signature. I'll have to listen to them again. They also had their HP-V1 however another customer was testing it. Surprisingly they didn't have the TH-600 or TH-900 on display.
Currawong could probably talk a lot more about Elekit/EK Japan as they're based in Fukuoka. I've already bought their TU-HP01 portable tube hybrid amp which is probably one of the cheapest and simplest portable tube hybrid amp on the market.
They also had display their TU-882AS and TU-882R kits
In addition they had these cute little Frisk DAC/Amp kits.
VentureCraft (Portable DAC/Amp for iDevices)
A visit to a Fujiya event wouldn't be complete without a stop by the VentureCraft desk. Today (actually yesterday) they had the Typhoon Droid on production. mtthefirst (HF member in Sendai) couldn't resist being the first to pick one up 2 days ago! I'll leave it up to him to share his thoughts on the Typhoon Droid. It's the first portable DSD-capable DAC/Amp and provides upsampling of up to 32/192.
Aside from the Typhoon, they also had their TT, also a first portable DAC/Amp for the iDevice which was released a few weeks ago. This little business has been making a name for themselves with their uniquely featured and aesthetically stealthy DAC/Amp designs.
This prototype iPhone 5 case will bolt onto any VentureCraft Go-DAP. Magnets are used to hold the swinging door.
On the left is how the integrated look will appear.
Head-Fi Members Coffee/Tea/Coke Break Time!!
As you can guess, we couldn't just spend the whole day just listening - we had to share, show off, exchange, and quench our thirsts. On the first half we had mtthefirst coming down from Sendai for the show (and to pick up his Typhoon), ExpatInJapan and friend to show his production-model CEntrance HiFi M8, and I brought along my HM-901 for ExpatInJapan to compare against the HiFiM8. My RWAK100 also made an appearance.
mtthefirst brought his entire VentureCraft range of products and probably had enough to set up his own exhibit :D.
To satisfy my curiosity, I had to pop by the Hifiman desk to ask them about the range of options they were bringing in for the HM-901. It turns out that my suspicions were correct. Their base model of HM-901 actually has no amp board at all! In that scenario the HM-901 is supposed to be used line out to an external amp, or on the docking station. So as a portable DAP, Japan only brings in the standard amp module and the high end/balanced amp module. There are no plans to bring in the minibox.
In addition there was speculation if the Japan version of HM-901 were more "durable" or of higher quality standards. The response is that they are the same as in China. We just happened to be lucky not to see any broken scroll wheels, etc.
Shoshinsha Guide (Beginner's Guide)
It took me awhile to work out what this table was about but turns out that it's merely an Audiophile Guide. They had photocopied booklets of "how to be an audiophile". Surprisingly many visitors stopped by this desk!
EleGadgets & SoundPotion (Custom Kits)
EleGadgets offers kits for making LODs, mini-2-mini, earphone cables, etc. Their wires are primarily copper-based and some SPC. Very much an introductory to DIY. I very much like the maker's business card - an amp board PCB.
SoundPotion on the other hand are amp kits and also sell complete products.
Kumitate Lab (Custom IEM by KumitateK: MoT here in Head-Fi)
I first heard of KumitateK only recently on Head-Fi and was surprised that he had his own table at Fujiya. He had some rather interesting Custom IEMs with a lab in Japan. No need to ship impressions overseas!
The KL-001 were mid/treble focused and actually quite decent for vocals. Whilst the KL-003x (with the external resistors) were quite trebly focused. He mentioned that the resistors could be customed/chosen prior to making the CIEM but once done it's fixed. The K?-??1 Stage (why did I cover up the label?) was the bassiest of the 3 however probably still not bassy enough for my liking (and I'm not really a bass head). However it's really nice to see a local Japan CIEM and think this little business has potential.
Eme Audio has some aesthetically nice DAC/amps for speakers and headphones. In the stack below, the top is actually a DAC/Amp for headphones.
Next below is also a DAC/Headphone Amp but primarily a DAC for the power amp below for speakers. Whilst the bottom is a toroidal transformer for the power amp above it.
I don't know the name of this little device but it's a really cute/small DAC/Amp with USB input and a 3.5mm output on the other side. I really like the oversized volume dial. It kind of reminds me of the Ortofon Hd-Q7 but without the body.
The T-Peos H-100 and H-200 also made an appearance. What is surprising is that it's not really known at T-Peos but as EME Audio. The OEM/rebranding isn't only for localising the product name but the tuning of the T-Peos for the Japan market is actually different from the international one! I will need to e-mail the distributor to ask him the details of the differences as specs-wise, it appears the same but the FR chart is different.
Wagnus (Amp and cable maker)
The Bialbero Epsion S and their cables have been featured and even owned by a few Head-Fi members here. But today they debut their FitEar Proto-A cable. It's a SPC-based cable and has quite a warm signature for the FitEars. I can see how it'll appeal to Monet owners. The connectors to the FitEar are the actual original FitEar ones too (rather than Sennheiser or Sennheiser-copy). The maker approached FitEar on terminating their cables with Fitear's connectors.
Head-Fi Member's 2nd Break
During this break,DonnyHiFi, AlwaysHungry and I had a lunch break. We bumped into a regular Japanese audiophile who customs his own headphones (he even made his own S-Logic plate for his Edition 8s), who showed us his latest mod. Unfortunately with my broken Japanese I couldn't ask him what he customed on these pair. But his friend was more than ready to show it to us so I asked her if she could model for it.
The Cardas EM5813 although available in the US finally made it's appearance on Japanese shores. THey did attract quite a bit of attention and keen listeners, including myself. I was probably most impressed with the cables that it came with - it sorta showed "we mean business". The signature was probably a little too warm for my tastes but overall, I can see the appeal.
A Friend From A Different Shop
I'll leave it at that ;-).
Mass Kobo (Amp Maker)
Masuda-san displayed not only his headphone related amps but amps for synthesizers, etc.
But first I had to listen to the 385 again and it's really a very nice immersive amp. It's neutral yet so addictive.
This is the synthesizer thing. I'd like to call it an amp but I'm not so certain.
The 370 has actually been making some ground with Mass Kobo's Hong Kong fans.
And the Model 392 which I know nothing about. I'll have to ask Masuda-san.
This Fujiya event was rather unusual that not all the big makers came out but some. Shures didn't make a show, and as such the SE846 which was a little disappointing. However it was great to see a lot of the hobbyists and the small businesses showing their products which was most enlightening. Overall an enjoyable show with a unique taste.
We didn't have all the usual Head-Fi members turning up but a few did show and it was always great to see them.