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2015 CanJam @ RMAF Impressions thread - (October 2-4, 2015)

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  1. Cotnijoe
    Attending the show this year was an incredible experience for me, as it was also my first appearance at a CanJam event. While I got to roam around quite a bit during the 3 days I was there, I didn't get too much time to really stay in one place for a real solid listen since I spent most of my time manning the UE booth, so these are very brief impressions if you can even consider them that. Nonetheless, I thought I'd post some of my pics and thoughts here! Sorry for some of the poor picture qualities in advance, my camera is FAR inferior to what most people use at these events.
     
    Noble Audio
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    Talking to Brannan is always a pleasure, and it's always inspiring to know that the co-owner of Noble is actually around your own age! I've gotten time to spend with almost all of the Noble products before, so there wasn't too much for me to see at this booth. I still respect the K10 and K10U for being a fantastically musical piece while producing a very nice amount of detail, but ultimately the signature is still just not quite for me. Talking to people around, it seems that the Savants are also quite liked. For me and my good buddy @money4me247 we both agreed from just some brief listening that the Savant is an fantastically well balanced piece.
     
    Beyerdynamics
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    It's been so long since I've heard the original T1, so I can't really say how the T1 and T1.2 compare, but I can say that the T1.2 stays true to what people have said about the original T1. The soundstage is nice and open while having some fantastically capable imaging and a very 3D and holorgraphic feel to it. The treble also wasn't too harsh, and the bass had good weight too it without being all that boosted. If i recall properly, I would say that the treble is certainly less sharp than the T90 that I owned a while back.
     
    HIFIMAN
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    The Edition X sounds good. Whether it's awesome or not now depends on its price. Compared to the HE1000, the Edition X seems to be more energetic sounding compared to the incredibly smooth and liquid HE1000. The treble has a good bit of sparkle to it and is really nice and crisp while the low end has a good bit of authority as well. I didn't have too much time with the Edition X, but I from my short time with it, I still found it fairly balanced.
     
    Moon Audio
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    The Moon Audio booth is awesome because you can basically listen to everything here. The LCD-3 for me was an amazingly musical and clean experience, but somehow it was just insanely uncomfortable for me. The drivers would touch my ears, which seemed super weird to me since they earpads are thick as hell and my ears are also miniscule. I didn't have such an issue with the LCD4, so I'm not sure what was going on there.
     
    It was at the Moon Audio booth that I also discovered that I prefer the closed back Ether and EL-8 to their open back counterparts, which is interesting because closed backs have generally not been my thing. In particular, the Ether C felt much more natural and organic to my ears compared to the Ethers, which I found a little peaky maybe in the upper mids and had an overall thin sound to it.
     
    ALO Audio and Campfire Audio
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    The Studio Six is a beast and it's awesome (and expensive). connected to it, Ken had a few Campfire Audio over ear prototypes, and I think they're going in a very good direction. I completely forgot what Ken said when he explained the drivers to me, but both of them are quite exciting sounding to me. One of them is a bit boomy for me, but the other one really hits a sweet spot for me and I can't wait to get more information on it. They seem like they're gunna be portable headphones for the most part as they're built nicely with good form factor and comfort.
     
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    Out of the 3 Campfire IEMs, I think I was most surprised by the Lyra. This thing packs a big big punch in the bass - but it's clean, quality bass and I absolutely enjoyed it despite being someone that doesn't enjoy too much color in his music. Simply put it, I think the Lyra should be on every bass lover's radar. It's not basshead level bass, but its bassy, and its fantastic!
     
    Schiit Audio and Ether C
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    I listened to the Ether C with the new Mjolnir 2 and Gungnir multibit. It seemed to me that the Schiit stack is maybe a little more forward sounding overall, as I heard the Ether C elsewhere (maybe it was at Cavalli?) and it seemed a lot more relaxed that second time around. Either way, I think the Ether C is a fantastic closed headphone with amazing comfort, weight, and looks to complement its sound.
     
    Now the Fulla and K7XX... that might end up being the combo I was most impressed with in the entire show. The entire setup is something along the lines of 3-400 bucks, and it really sounds great at that price. I think this might be my go to suggestion for my friends who are interested in spending some cash on audio. 
     
    Audeze
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    The LCD4 and The King pairing was quite a treat, and certainly my favorite at the show - it's also incredibly expensive of course. The combo sounds absolutely effortless. True to its Audeze name, the LCD4 reproduces bass like no other I've heard. Someone was telling me that they felt the Abyss is still better in the bass region, but I've never heard the Abyss and didn't really have any interest in doing so. So for now, the LCD4 is the king of bass for me. It extends like its a bottomless pit its authoritative and so damn punchy. The LCD4 is really quite a treat, and I'll be putting them on my head whenever I see one. In terms of its price tag... ... well that's a different story.
     
    JH Audio
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    The first time I heard the Angie, I was really impressed. I really liked it. Second time around though wasn't so hot. The mids to me sounded just a bit hollowed out and thin. The Layla, however, was quite a treat. The legends that speak of its soundstage is true. The Laylas are very open sounding with a great sense of 3 dimensionality and great imaging. The adjustable bass on both products is really well done and very easy to use. While the prices are hard to swallow, I think it's not completely insane to consider getting a custom pair of them. For the universals though?... HA... no.
     
    Sony
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    I got to hear the somewhat controversial MDR Z7 for the first time here, paired with the PHA3 to my ZX2 and I can see why its sort of a love it or hate it product (similar to my thoughts of the Nighthawk). It's no king in terms of its technical capabilities, but it's warm, punchy, and fun. I think we still need this kind of headphone even when it gets into the higher end of things. I do think that its 700 dollar asking price makes it a more difficult decision when it comes to purchasing it, but I would be pretty happy dropping a good 500 bucks on it.
     
    As you can see from the picture, the Z7 was connected to the PHA3 by a Kimber Kable Axios. Without getting into debates or what nots, I will say that I could just feel that Axios all day. The 16 braids come together flawlessly and the build quality is really something incredible. Price on those cables and if their worth it... ... again... different story. 
     
    Sennheiser
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    Sennheiser does a lot of really awesome stuff. This is actually the first time I've gotten to try the HD650 and HD600 side by side, and I have to say I do enjoy the HD600 a bit more. Both are timeless masterpieces, but the HD600 has more of a fullness to the mids that just sounds more "right" to me. I honestly would be happy listening to both, and there's no doubt that these two deserve the popularity they've enjoyed for the past decade or so now(?)
     
    Sennheiser's new products are also exciting! The Momentum 2 is a big step over the old Momentum, which I could never get myself to recommend to my friends because they just sounded a bit dull to me. Even cooler though, was my time spent with the new HD630VB. For me, the HD630VB is without a doubt the most well-implemented bass adjustment mechanism on a headphone. It goes from really bass light, to decently bassy. It's probably the most moderate bass adjustment I've used, and its super easy to use. 
     
    Head-Fi Booth
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    The man... the legend himself...
     
    V-Moda
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    I got my first pair of headphones from V-Moda, and there's always a bit of nostalgia when I see the V-Moda booth. Their shields now are, of course, insanely gorgeous and artistic with the new 3D prints available. I was also quite impressed with the new Crossfade Wireless. The difference between wireless and wired is really close, and both are a step up from the M100 to me. I found the M100 to be a little shouty for me, while the Wireless retains all the bassy goodness that is V-moda while having quite a liquid sound to it.
     
    P.S. Val Kolton EASILY wins for having the coolest business card on earth. He gave me a shield with his information engraved on it. How sick is that?
     
    Fostex
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    I got to hear the TH900 paired with the new monster of an amp that is the HP-V8. While I didn't get to spend too much time here as there were lots of people waiting to hear the combo, I will say that it sounds beautiful. If you're looking for a really nice lush sound, these are worth a consideration. If you're more on the detail, Sennheiser HD800 camp, you might want to skip this one.
     
    Meeting some really awesome people!
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    Astell and Kern
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    Unfortunately, I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the new earphone they collaborated with Beyerdynamic on. The bass was a bit boomy for me and wasn't particularly tight either. To me, the Unique Melody Merlins, which lacking quite a bit in soundstage in comparison, does an overall better job in creating a fun and bassy sound in an IEM.
     
    1964 Ears/64 Audio
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    I spent a good amount of time with the folks at 64 Audio and they're absolutely awesome guys. After giving their line a listen, my favorite turned out to be the 10 driver U/A10. It's a bit more neutral in comparison to something like the U/A12, and to me is just a bit more transparent. While I'm unsure and perhaps skeptical on the whole protect your hearing idea, since BA drivers don't really move all that much air to start off with, I do have to say ADEL make a difference in sound. Turning the ADEL unit does more than just increase and decrease bass quantity by a tiny bit. It really gives the unit a great sense of openness while retaining the very good isolation you get from an in ear. 
     
    Ultimate Ears
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    And of course we have Ultimate Ears. They haven't come out with any new earphones in a while, but there are still some pretty cool things happening with them. The 3D scans are always fun to observe and the ability to switch between different earphones in real time without having to take them off and put them on is revolutionary to me and such a cool concept and idea.
     
    Something new that hasn't really caught much press or attention but will soon, is the UE Line Drive which has been our for a few months I think. In a nutshell, consumers today expect their sources to be able to drive everything from the most sensitive IEMs to the beast that is the HE6. With the sensitivity and complex design of multi-driver IEMs along with the "do-it-all" driving power of recent players and products, sensitive multi-driver IEMs can experience inconsistencies in its sound from source to source due to impedance issues. The Line Drive is an impedance transformer that addresses that issue. I was somewhat skeptical of it since my DAPs have driven my IEMs just fine, but I was honestly really surprised by the results - and lots of people that stopped by the booth were also surprised by the results. AK240 owners didn't yield as significant results as the AK240 already drives IEMs fantastically well, but there was some DAPs, such as Fiio DAPs, that yielded some surprising results when paired with the Line Drive. Cool little product to look out for.
     
    Others
     
    There are some booths that I didn't get to take pictures of.
     
    Unique Melody:
    The Merlins were a surpise to me. Soundstage was a bit closed in to me, but they sounded like a whole lotta fun. The Maestro was also an interesting piece. The bass seemed a little anemic to me, but its midrange is very dynamic sounding and overall soundstage is also very respectable. I'll be getting a review unit of a UM IEM in the future at some point. UM was once quite popular but has since fallen out of flavor quite a bit, mostly due to customer service issues I think. It'll be interesting to see how they plan to impress the western market again.
     
    Lotoo:
    So Lotoo makes pretty ugly DAPs, and I've never really gave them a shot since their UI is so primitive in comparison to the likes of Sony, Apple, and Astell & Kern. But holy crap the Lotoo Gold sounds good. Like... really good. I talked to Xiao Qi, the rep for Lotoo for a good bit and it seems I may have the shot of getting some review units from him. If you have the money and don't care about UI too much, give these a shot. For me personally, as much as I love the sound, I can't see myself owning a Lotoo Gold... which is a bit unfortunate.
     
    Aurisonics:
    I was a bit lukewarm coming out of the Aurisonics booth. The new Forte and Harmony retains the nice warm and smooth Aurisonics sound, but I feel that the bass of them are lacking a bit in overall refinement. The impact was punchy, but lacked just a bit of tightness. 
     
    Again, I didn't get to spend too much time at each booth, so these are very brief impressions or even just extraneous thoughts that came to mind. A big thank you to everyone that made RMAF 2015 and awesome experience!
     
    Unique Melody Feel free to reach out to us at any time! To reach me personally, leave me a PM or email me at umwang@uniquemelody.org and I'll get back to you as soon as I can! Stay updated on Unique Melody at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com/UniqueMelodyIEM/ https://twitter.com/UniqueMelodyIEM http://en.uniquemelody.org/ service@uniquemelody.org
  2. sheldaze
    I loved your entire post, but I had to focus on this one point!
     
    I kind of feel like this is secret that no one knows about - except since they had it at the meet, I now feel someone at Schiit must have known about this awesome pairing. One of my friends borrowed my Schiit Fulla and had his AKG headphones, along with many other headphones. Then he came back to me one day, quite excited! He asked me, had I ever paired my AKG headphones with my Fulla? I told him no, and that I really did not think the pairing would go well. From his enthusiasm, I had to try it.
     
    Wow - was I surprised! It was amazing!
     
  3. mikemercer
     
    YES!!!
     
     
    and, Impressions coming!
     
    I'm goin' over my notes from the Cavalli portable and Liquid Carbon - never ANY type of what I would call "strain" on my ears,
    and I had a pre-production Carbon to play with for awhile like Warren - ONLY difference was a mod to chassis for Ground so the sonic performance was same...
    MORE ON THAT SOON!
     
    LCD-4 - wow I got alot to say, and it ain't mostly good - unfortunately - but, they CAN MAKE IT GREAT - I think, given the magnets, given the implementation w/ the driver, but the tonal balance - and how they're playin' it safe.. Well, this is just babble now..
     
    Here's some pix, and goin over notes for Impressions!!
     
    BUT  - for me, just to slap the clip in and bang a couple shots real quick:
     
    Some Highlights for me for CanJam 2015:
     
    My MrSpeakers ETHER-C + Double Helix Cables (terminated 2.5 TRRS - so my adapters cover EVERYTHING from 4-pin XLR, to RSA, 3.5mm, 1/4", etc...)
    PLUS:
    Zesto pre-amp at the MrSpeakers booth
    Cavalli portable and Liquid Carbon
    Woo Audio WA8 + my AK380 via Nordost iKable
    MIT Vero headphone amp - Surprisingly (and SO glad George Cardas dug it too - got to s/w George about it) - but it ain't worth 2K!!!!  But I enjoyed it.
     
    and those magic cans with an amp I got to take home!!! - 
    The Cypher Labs Sustain84
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    and here's some pix - Impressions comin!  Bangin' out some work so I can DIG into em:
    IMG_7544.jpg   IMG_7521.jpg
     
    a look inside my reference Questyle CAS192 DAC at their booth - me and STILLhart - the Heavyweight Champ!!
     
    IMG_7538.jpg    IMG_7522.jpg
     
    BIG love for Wei from ENIGMA Acoustics! Got those cans comin'!! - Me and Nate from Kimber Kable go WAY BACK - LOVIN my AXIOS on my EL-8 open-backs and LCD-XCs!
     
    IMG_7483.jpg
    Thanks to Kim Kaplan from Kim Kaplan Productions & MIT for Reppin' OccupyHifi.org!!!
    (Ts available for sale - SOON!)
     
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    and my Asian brotha from anotha motha - who's now an Honorary Jew ( [​IMG] )
     
    Stillhart and marhol like this.
  4. barleyguy
    I'm an idiot.
     
    I missed RMAF this year because I thought it was on the 9th, and I haven't been engaged in things lately.
     
    Oh well, I hope it was a great show as usual, and I'll catch you guys next year.
     
    Cheers,
     
    Harley.
     
  5. pbui44

    If it was on the 9th, I would have considered going, but I can save more on CanJam @ SoCal anyways, provided it stays on schedule.
     
  6. richard51
    where is the Kennerton Odin impressions ? [​IMG]
     
  7. Cotnijoe
     
    They're heavy as hell, which made them somewhat uncomfortable despite having fairly comfortable pads. I thought it was pretty good but not sure the 2200? price is justified imo. Bass has fantastic authority and hits low while midrange sound just a tad distant but clear with good treble crispness and energy.
     
    I didnt spend to much time with them cuz they were bulky to me. Hope at least that's a start tho. I'd love to hear what others say as well! I only spent a few minutes with them myself.
     
    Unique Melody Feel free to reach out to us at any time! To reach me personally, leave me a PM or email me at umwang@uniquemelody.org and I'll get back to you as soon as I can! Stay updated on Unique Melody at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com/UniqueMelodyIEM/ https://twitter.com/UniqueMelodyIEM http://en.uniquemelody.org/ service@uniquemelody.org
  8. richard51
    i just read a review that is totally dismissive of the Odin but the reviewer is very serious ....at the opposite totally of the french audio school ... i dont know what to think now because i am also  interested by the odin... By the way thanks for your impression [​IMG]
     
     
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/732814/new-kennerton-odin-planar-magnetic-magister-vali-headphones-cables-amps-from-fischer-at-ifa/195
     
  9. Demo3
    Sorry... I was making a joke.  I spent two days on the first floor.  Maybe I will do three days next year, one day devoted to no headphones.
     
  10. mikemercer
    here's a nice pic I snapped from last year w/ @warrenpchi @bearFNF
    & @HiFiGuy528
    Givin' a Head-Fi Gang-Sign Throw-Up at breakfast!!!
     
    IMG_3792.jpg
     
  11. Hansotek
    I spent a bunch of time with the them... Working on getting a coherent write-up together.
     
    richard51 likes this.
  12. Mach3
     
    Nice coverage of CANJAM, what's that massive silver box on the left?
     
  13. Hansotek
    @richard51
     
    Kennerton Odin
     
    Positives:
    -    -  The bass! Super fast! Super impactful! Nearly perfect on the low end.
    -    -  Beautiful, sultry, romantic mids.
    -    -  Rare combination of romantic mids and fast bass
    -    -  Never harsh.
    -    -  Great clarity, separation and resolution. Very articulate.
     
    Negatives:
    -    -  Super heavy.
    -    -  The pads are hard and uncomfortable.
    -    -  A bit rolled off. Lacks some microdetail.
    -    -  Overpriced by about $700 for what it is.
    -    -  More of a “hi-fi” than a “reference” sound. Not inherently a bad thing, but sibilance is hidden to a fault. Could never use this as a reference tool.
     
    Verdict: I liked it, but I probably wouldn’t buy it. Wouldn’t hesitate recommending it if someone was looking for that sound. They are a little different, not quite as dark as these, but if you like the LCD2 and LCD3, you might very well love it. 

     
  14. Allanmarcus
     
    Actual audiophile pens!
     
    http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/hamada/hamada.html
     
  15. Hansotek
     
    Well, I plan on being first in line for that amp, so we'll know how it goes down once it hits the market!
     
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