CanJam Dallas 2023 Impressions Thread (November 11-12, 2023)
Nov 13, 2023 at 11:40 PM Post #136 of 274
about Caldera Closed, I have made good progress and feel hopeful to have a debut at Canjam NYC

Nov 14, 2023 at 12:13 AM Post #138 of 274
As always, it was great bringing things out for everyone to try at Mimic's home show!

I'm fiddling with demo plans for Tungsten into the future. The gear I thought would be good pairings turned out to stumble a bit when met with the high noise floor of a show. That said, I'm local to most everyone that came through and will be happy to lend my demo pair of Tungstens to anyone interested in some quiet listening time with their own gear at home.
Nov 14, 2023 at 1:16 AM Post #139 of 274
Had a great time at CanJam Dallas over the weekend! I was happy to be able to bring some of my local friends to try and learn about hifi, as well as seeing a bunch of friends from the audio community and hanging out. I'd like to thank everyone who tried my Philphones, including but not limited to @EMINENT , @Gowry , and of course, @jude himself. I really hope that we can all do this again in Dallas next year, otherwise I'll see everyone again for SoCal and maybe NYC!
Nov 14, 2023 at 1:23 AM Post #140 of 274
I had a total blast and appreciate all of your insights! Glad you guys liked it and weren't hospitalized with food coma :D Will trek out to Socal next year and we'll do some Korean BBQ.

Sharing stuff about the hobby is one of the best parts of meeting up! :smiley:

In the future, I need to remember to do ringer units that have a resistor for a very very high gain level to account for all the background noise in the room.

Next time, you come, problem solved! :smile:

I learned a dangerous lesson at CanJam. Much like the golden rule that calories don't count on holidays, I feel like there is a CanJam rule that dollars spent on an audio vacation don't count. Then you get home and realize they kinda do. But boy do they sound good.

I'd do it again.


I went in with very modest intentions. All I wanted was to pick up some more Baroque tips because I'm lazy and didn't want to keep switching them from one set of IEMs to another.

But arriving home and unpacking...


Wow, how did that get into my luggage? :open_mouth:

This was my first CanJam and I attended with my 25 y.o. son. I flew in from Maryland and he flew in from Denver. It was a fantastic event we both had a blast.

It was fantastic meeting the both of you! 😀

I thought the venue was perfect, though elevator operation left something to be desired. 😊

Lastly, I look forward to attending another CanJam, maybe New York. I know that NYC is well attended by vendors.

It didn't make much sense for this particular Marriott, as traffic was relatively low. But the same system is in use at the Marriott Marquis Times Square, where we host CanJam NYC. And trust me when I tell you, with only six banks of elevators serving over 50 floors, it's definitely an efficiency boost! :thumbsup:

Warren, that shirt is awesome! I loved the design, the size/placement of the logos on the shirt, the front the back, everything. Great work!

Thanks so much! 🙏😊

Loved the sitting configuration in the middle.. keep that next time 🙏😁

Yeah, we've always made sure to have a lounge at every CanJam, with the only violation of that being SoCal earlier this year. It was a hard call, but SoCal was simply to ginormous to fit one in.

MSB Select.. Jeez I'll have to get another mortgage. Well at least I'll listen in peace then since my wife will divorce me and take my cats away. 😅😅

It's hugely aspirational, even for the craziest of us! 😁

Warren -- don't forget GA's own Alan Jackson and give Junior Brown, the pride of Austin & Tulsa, a spin.

Will do! Thanks for the rec! :smiley::thumbsup:
Nov 14, 2023 at 2:16 AM Post #142 of 274
Thanks to the Head-Fi crew, all the exhibitors, and the venue staff for putting on this event! I had a great time at my first CanJam :)

Shout out to the folks from ZMF and dCS. Both were very friendly and their show rooms were fun places to hang out and geek out over great gear.

Brief impressions:
  • Abyss Diana TC w/ Woo Audio WA23 & PHANTOM DAC - No amount of adjustment made for a comfortable fit, and I was left with a gap beneath my ears that may have affected the performance. Light on bass. Detail retrieval seemed about on par with my ZMF Calderas, but it had a dryer and more neutral sound with more emphasis in the highs. The WA23 is absolutely beautiful in person!
  • Abyss 1266
    • dCS Rossini DAC, Lina Clock, and Lina Amp - I did not really enjoy this combo -- pianos sounded harsh, but the bass was the closest to feeling physical that I've ever heard.
    • Woo Audio WA33 & PHANTOM DAC - More enjoyable! Good detail retrieval and dat bass! the highs were still a little too pronounced for my preference.
  • Final Audio D8000 w/ Phonitor XE - A nice listen. Nothing jumped out as surprisingly good or bad. After a few minutes I started to feel the clamp on my jaw but maybe further adjustment could have fixed the fit.
  • Focal Utopia 2022 w/ T+A Audio 200 DAC (I think) - Very nice. Reminded me a lot of Caldera+Red October. The soundstage was bigger than I expected -- but my expectations weren't that high.
  • Hifiman Susvara w/ dCS Bartok APEX, Lina Clock, Lina Amp - I liked this more than I expected. Really engaging, more bass than expected but can see why people say it’s light. On Viva La Vida by Reuel, the synth strings sounded more real than I’ve ever heard!
  • Meze 99 Classic w/ Astell&Kern ACRO CA1000 - Nice for the price, but overal kind of "thin" sounding.
  • Meze 109 Pro
    • Chord DAVE - Really, really good! I can absolutely see why the Meze has gotten so much praise.
    • Woo Audio WA6 & PHANTOM DAC - Also really nice!
    • Woo Audio TUBE mini - Not good synergy, IMO. Mids sounded thin and highs were harsh. Glad this wasn't the first pairing I tried.
  • Meze Empyrean w/ Ferrum stack - Very nice. Can see why it was such a darling, and super comfortable.
  • Meze Empyrean II
    • Woo Audio TUBE mini - Very nice. It made me want to put on soft music and just chill, and it's just so comfortable.
    • dCS Lina stack - The chill vibes are still strong here, electric guitars and bass are good but the chill still overrides the thrill.
    • Chord DAVE - A little different flavor than the Lina stack but a fabulous simple evening chill setup.
    • Ferrum stack - The chill vibes are getting familiar, maybe that is why it was a little easier to click with more exciting music or maybe the Ferrum has some magic ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    • LTA Velo & unknown DAC - The chill vibes are back. Really enjoyed this pairing.
  • Meze Elite w/ Ferrum stack - Heard this right after listening to the Empyrean I & II on the same stack and would characterize this one as the "audiophile" of the three siblings. A little cleaner, a little more discerning, and invited me to listen closer to the music.
  • Modhouse Tungsten w/ iFi iDSD + iCAN - Enjoyable bass, but overall not really my preferred tuning and the soundstage seemed a little unpredictable to me.
  • Sennheiser HD 800S
    • Sennheiser HDV 820 - Massive sound stage and very delicate sound. A little light on the bass but I really enjoyed this more than I expected.
    • dCS Lina stack - A great pairing, IMO. I kept slipping out of critical listening to just enjoy the experience.
  • ZMF Aeolus
    • ZMF/Decware OTL & iFi iDSD - A fun aesthetic with its VU meters, sprouting wires, knobs, and tubes; and it sounds really good too! Not quite my cup of tea, sonically, but there is no denying its prowess. I've owned an Aeolus for years -- it's warm and utterly enjoyable.
    • ecp Audio DSHA-3F Ravenwood - I only got a few minutes with this combo and it was excellent. It had the tube-y warmth that I crave and has me seriously considering jumping on the next run of the Nitsch reincarnation.
  • ZMF Auteur Classic
    • ZMF/Decware OTL & iFi iDSD - Really nice, reminded me of the Atrium Open with a soundstage presentation kind of like the Verite Open.
    • Aegis - Wow! This is a great amp with this headphone. It was really popular so I didn't get to listen with other headphones but I'm optimistic it would be gone well.
    • Feliks Audio Envy & dCS Lina DAC - Very similar character to when used with ZMF/Decware OTL.
  • ZMF Bokeh
    • ZMF/Decware OTL & iFi iDSD - Didn’t love this pairing. Sounded dry and lacking “fun”, high end was a little harsh.
    • Chord Mojo 2 - Much better pairing, IMO. Still kinda dry but didn’t feel that it detracted from the experience, and high end was smoother.
Stand outs & surprises (in no particular order):
  • Meze 109 Pro - I was shocked by how good this headphone is. IME it requires a bit of source matching -- really wish I had been able to try this with the Mojo 2 -- but then it is a very rewarding listen without breaking the bank.
  • Sennheiser HD 800S - Not the newest, sexiest HP on the scene but everyone should hear it at some point.
  • Aegis tube amp - Such a fantastic amp! It fits my sonic preferences so well, and I've only heard it bettered by one other -- at 5x the price :money_mouth:
I'm already looking forward to my next CanJam!
The problem of.meze 109 pro is the price. Too low, so ignored by audiophiles
Nov 14, 2023 at 3:09 AM Post #143 of 274
It was great to be at the first (of hopefully many) CanJam(s) in the Lone Star State. While full , fair and complete coverage of my two days in near audio heaven would require a novella, I'll hit a few highlights of a fantastic event featuring even more impressive people -- from the Head-Fi staff and great exhibitors/vendors to the greenest newbie in attendance.

Thanks to Sennheiser who plucked me from the stand-by list to provide an opportunity to spend some ear time with the HE-1. As a bonus I also got to listen to the HD 414, which I first (and last) heard in the early 1970's. The HE-1 is the best headphone (system) now that I have heard and the HD 414 was the best that I had heard in its time.

The Metaxas & Sins Tourbillon tape deck was a display only exhibit; that is until early afternoon on Sunday, when the proper cables were found and attached to the deck and their most striking in show headphone amp. I was one of the lucky few who had that opportunity to hear a 3rd generation from the master tape song on this system. It was on a tape reel that contained about 15 to 20 classic rock (called "Pop" on the reel box) songs -- all rendered at 15 i.p.s. My song was Elton John's "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" (1972). It was an outstanding and unique listen.

Thus twice during Canjam Dallas I was was transported to the studio with the artists as they cut some of my favorite music.

Having the opportunity for face time with some great people who you barely know or have never met before is a treasure of every CanJam. Without diminishing time spent with many others, my conversations with fellow "youngster" Tom from Rega/Cord was a personal highlight. We talked far more about music and times in our lives when we attended live music shows than about equipment.

Great affordable kit, whether part of an audio chain that drives speakers or headphones (or perhaps both) has long been one of my passions. In the real world, especially in times like we are in, most people have to live within a budget. Although I did not run into one at the show, the Philips Fidelio X3 (currently available for less than $160) is such a headphone. For a bit more money the Sennheiser HD-660S2 and Meze 109 Pro, both of which were in attendance at CanJam Dallas, offer outstanding performance at price points within the budgets of many. The HD-660S2 was available at the Bloom tables for $399, a price that might reappear on Black Friday.

Thanks to all who made CanJam Dallas possible and made it a great event for people, music, equipment and learning more about our passions for these things and more.
Nov 14, 2023 at 8:34 AM Post #145 of 274
Hey CanJam guys and gals! I want to start off by saying CanJam Dallas was a great show and I sincerely hope it gets another shot next year.

Not my first audio show or meet up, but it was my first CanJam. What an absolute treat. I had a bit of a different experience than most others at the show because I brought my entire family of 5, to include myself, my wife (who needs to get a head-fi account) my 2 elementary aged daughters and my 3 month old son. It was my sons first audio show, but my daughters have been to a few before, most recently the Schiit/Emotiva Texas Cheap Audio Round Up in Austin last summer. My girls love listening to different cans, especially if they can find the Beatles, or more importantly, Taylor Swift. So the goal of this show was for me to listen to a few things that have been on my list, but more importantly, it was a mini vacation for the family to hang out at a nice hotel and enjoy time together. So CanJam was a smashing success in that regard.

So before I get into audio impressions that most people care about, I'd just like to talk about some of the other great parts about the show, and everything that Jude and his wonderful team did right.

Great location scouting. The hotel was great. It was super coinvent to come down the elevator and flow into the convention area. It was in a great spot in the DFW area to go grab some great food. And the price of rooms compared to the quality of the digs was fantastic. Kudos to the scouting team.

Second, the people. My kids were playing all day Saturday and Sunday between occasional listening when there were open stations with no lines and they weren't robbing anyone of audition time. So many of the staff were fantastic with my kids. There were multiple security officers that loved talking and laughing and entertaining my girls, and kept finding them throughout the weekend to check in on how they were enjoying the show. Awesome. Then there were the Head-Fiers that were volunteering at the check in counter that were playing with them during lulls, and they loved that.

Then there was the fantastic vendors there. The wonderful guys at Bloom were awesome with engaging them in audio. Both of my girls had Dekoni Audio caps they were repping by midday Sunday because of the nice guys at Dekoni and Bloom. They love those caps and repped them throughout all of central Texas on the 5 hour trip home yesterday. Thanks guys!

Schiit was great as always and my kids loved the Syn and new Magni (as did I, but more on that later).

Zach and Bevin (ZMF) were awesome and allowed my kids to take more than a few John Lennon and other audio related stickers.

Noble Audio was also fantastic. Jim, Kai, and Fumie were awesome to talk to, they make great stuff, and let my kids try some awesome Japanese chocolate cookies. Unfortunately, they left them slightly unsupervised with the bag, and the contents promptly disappeared. I guess that speaks to the quality of the cookies.

So in summary, the weekend was great as a family event, and I can't wait for the next opportunity.

***Audio Impressions***

***Pre-amble*** Okay, so I went to listen to a bunch of stuff, but what ended up happening was we went to the black hole that is the ZMF room, and that killed most of Saturday. I brought my Atrium Closed Olive to the show to try on a bunch of different tube amps. My wife saw all the amazing cans ZMF brought and wanted to try them all. She said they sounded good, and she enjoyed the music. But when she tried on the Auteur Classic, she said the music sounded emotionally engaging and she had trouble taking them off. Then she tried a bunch of different amps with them and took a bunch of notes (I'll see if I can get her on the board for her impressions) and found an amazing set of Auteur Classics with a pink/maroon/purple resin and purple hardware with rose gold metal accents and she was in love. She tried them with everything, A/B'd them with my Atrium Closed as well as Atrium opens, Caldera's, VC's, Verite Open, you name it. The Auteur Classics won for her hands down. I spent a lot of that time playing with kids, so I didn't get many impressions that day. Which is fine, we went to have fun with audio, and we did in spades. At the end of the day, she set the cans down and decided to sleep on it. We were in ZMF at 10 am promptly the next day to buy them, and she got there just before another gentleman came in to buy the same set. Apologies to whoever that was. My wife said she would have been devastated if she didn't get to keep them, and felt an attachment and magic connection to them, so to whoever also wanted them, at least know they went to a good home. So now we have his/her ZMF's hanging at my desk while we figure out a rig for her desk. Fun problems to have.

Show Highlights for me


I started with the MicroZotl. I really liked it. Then I moved over to the new Velo. The new LTA Velo is fire. Just an incredible experience. I went back 3 times throughout the weekend to listen to it. It was my second favorite thing I heard all weekend. It trounced the MicroZotl, and is cheaper to boot. Just and incredible amp. I tried it with my Atrium Closed, LCD-5, the new Meze (can't remember it's name), Atrium Opens, Caldera's, and my wife's new Auteur Classic. Everything sounded great on it. It had detail, it had speed, it had open space, it had bloom to the notes, but most of all it just sounded effortless. Music just flowed like a river out of it. It really paired well with all the ZMF offerings, and not surprisingly, I preferred my Atrium Closed with it. If you have a set of ZMF's you need to hear this amp, it was just an incredible synergy. Then I slid over to the Z10E. That was the best thing I heard all weekend. Period. And what a product. I was floored to see it does normal headphones, speakers, pre-amp, and the stunner, electro-stat! All in one box! And it took everything I loved about the Velo and gave me more. More space, more detail, more smoothness, more flow-y river effortlessness. I tried it with all the headphones listed above as well as Stax 007 and 009 I believe. The Stax sounded great, I really couldn't complain, but I then went back to the Atrium Closed and Calderas, and thought they both beat the Stax with similar speed and space, but more bottom end, so it sounded like a fuller experience throughout the frequency range. Money and space no object, the Z10E would be my end game amp. But in the real world, the Velo is sitting at the top of my list for my next audio purchase.


Full disclosure, I'm a Schiit-head. I'm listening to my AC's on a Gumby into Lyr 3, my wife has a Hel on her desk, and my 2 channel rig has 2 Tyrs, a Yggy, a Freya+ and a Skoll in it. And that's just my current setup. So I feel really acquainted with their stuff. I heard the MJ3 prototype at a Corpus meet last xmas and remembered it sounding very tubey for a solid state amp, and also very fast and controlled. I liked it a lot. I was excited to hear it again. I was surprised to find it wasn't to my taste this weekend. I was using balanced into my Atriums, but it was a noisier environment, I'm not sure which settings were set on the front of MJ3, and the EQ was on and pretty well adjusted. I had a line behind me to listen to it, so I heard 3 songs and left, meaning to give it another listen later, but I never got around to it. I really owe it another listen at some point. But. The new Magni! Wow! That little guy was awesome! A real highlight of the show. I put the gain to high and plugged in my Atriums and it had so much authority, but the word that kept popping up in my head while listening to it was warm. As in tube-like warmth. It almost had tube magic in a tiny, highly affordable, solid state dac/amp! It was a (very surprising) highlight of the show for me. Really, really good.

Other impressions.

Woo Audio Tube Mini

I really wanted to hear this setup. I spend half the year on the road in hotels for my jobs in the shipping industry, so it looked like a product designed for me. I tried it with my Noble Sultans. The guys at Woo said I was the first guy to try it with IEMs and were curious as to how noisy it may have been. I only had the volume up to maybe 6 or 7 and it drove my Sultans fantastically well. Dead quiet, no observed tube hiss or noise on sensitive IEMs. So that was great. Also, it was a stunning product to look at, and it was in a really nice stand/power enclosure that displayed it very well and showed off the wonderful tube glow. But. For my IEMs, it sounded a little scooped in the mids and thin. I was really surprised. I really wanted that wonderful tube-y goodness, and for my limited listening session, I was missing the mids. The Woo guys said I should stop by with my ZMFs and try that, but I don't bring my ZMFs in my rollie bag on the road with me, so while it is likely great at driving full size cans, that wouldn't be my use case, so I didn't try it.

ZMF Caldera

I really wanted to listen to this one, and I was able to multiple times in different rooms. I liked it a lot. But. I preferred my Atrium Closed. I love the way my Atrium Closed have loads of detail, dynamics, imaging, but are also fun with a little bit of a bass bump, and those signature lush mids that ZMF has. The Caldera felt like it had everything my Atrium's have, but a bit less romantic and fun. To me it was like looking at a super model that you know is objectively attractive, but she just doesn't do anything for you. I get why people would really like them, but Atriums just grab me and have a special sauce that I didn't get with the Caldera. The Caldera were a very good In-n-out Double Double. My Atrium Closed are a Double-Double Animal Style. They just have that extra bit of special. Some people don't like animal style, and there's the Caldera for that. I happen to love it, so I'll happily stick with my Atriums.


I tried the new Ronin and really enjoyed it. Very similar in sound signature to my Sultans, and gorgeous enclosure. I seek lush mids first, with good resolution, slight bass bump and treble sparkly, in that order. The Ronin had it all. But I love my sultans as IEMs, and the Ronin's were not different enough to feel like a must buy for me. What I did buy was their awesome new dac/amp balanced "not-dongle." It looks like a little T intersection that plugs into your phone and allows the balanced 4.4 to connect at a 90 degree angle. It's tiny, it sounds great, and it's only 80 bucks! Sold! I also loved their new standard cable that comes with a quick disconnect that allows you to swap from 4.4 to 3.5 on the fly with the same cable. Super practical, and it sounds great. I bought one of those as well. I also heard a few other neat new Noble things. They have an awesome new 700 dollar-ish with the new silicon driver (I think it called XM1, I believe it's the same tech Creative Labs was debuting there as well) but the cool part is the amps are internal to the IEMs, and you just plug it straight into your device and go, no dongle or anything. They sounded really nice, but a little thin to me, but I went in the wrong order. I listened to a bunch of cables on my Sultans, then listened to the Ronins, then the new self driven IEMs, so of course they didn't sound as good as flagships, but still very nice.


Their travel full size headphone bag is great! Lots of padding, internal cable compartment, shoulder strap attachment. My wife bought one for her new ZMFs and we both love the quality and thoughtfulness of it. Plus the guys working there were great!

It was a great event that I really hope has the opportunity to become a regular occurrence. Thanks to Evan, Alex, Jason, and all the team at Schiit. Thanks to Zach, Bevin, Kevin, and Katherine of ZMF for being such great hosts. Thanks to Jim, Fumie, and Kai for allowing us to hang at Noble and chat. Thanks to Jacob from LTA and Jeremy of Prosper Cables for allowing us to keep coming back and listening to all the great LTA goodness. Thanks to Jude and team for bringing this rodeo to town. Please keep Texas in mind for future CanJams. Dallas was great, but San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Corpus Christi are all great spots too if you wanna shake it up next year.

Thanks guys, let's do it again.

Pictures to follow.

Pleasure to meet you Brandon! Thank you for the wonderful feedback and for being so easy going. Your ZMF Atrium Closed sounded amazing on the Z10e, I will admit.

We didn't make it to the Ranch (?) Steakhouse but our tour guide for the weekend (Jeremy) took us to High Eight BBQ which was an experience.

I got to the Quorum at about 9 and got all checked in (they let me put stuff in my room even though I wasn't staying until that night, very nice of the Marriott). It was a ton of fun, met some awesome people, drank ENTIRELY too much Saturday night at the bar, and left with two pairs of headphones. It was completely awesome overall. Here are my impressions of what I heard:

ModHouse Tungsten:
I immediately went over to Mimic to check these out with all the hype around them. I played them on the Naim they had set up and left very...unimpressed. I couldn't get a lot of volume to them, and the noise level when I was playing them was quite high, so maybe it was that. I had similar thoughts on the Double, I really just didn't leave thinking that the bass was very impressive. Could've been a product of the area. The build quality felt very 3D printer and not in a good way. Final Score: 5/10

Abyss Diana MR:
This was the most disappointing of all. I was so excited to try an Abyss headphone finally. I went over to Woo, and boy...these were wildly underwhelming. Shrill, missing bass, and did not seal whatsoever on my end with the bass ported or normal pads. Possibly Woo was not feeding them correctly, as they had it on the Woo Tube Mini, which had a strange ringing noise in the background that would not go away. Final Score: 3/10

Abyss 1266:
I listened to one song on these and could not stand the way they fit on my head. So I don't have a lot of impressions. Final Score: 0/10

Abyss Diana TC: I much preferred these to the MR. Still not much bass, but seemed much less shrill than the MRs, which just could not handle metal treble whatsoever. I played Peter Gabriel's Red Rain on DSD off my A&K on these with the big Woo stack and left very impressed. I still do not like the way these fit. Unfortunately, I went to CJ hoping to buy a pair of Dianas and left without them because as much as I liked the TC, the fit was bad. Final Score: 7/10
Stax L700:
Went into these with zero expectations and these blew me away. Not a ton of bass, but everything sounded smooth and effortless. I loved the fit, surprisingly. These sounded smooth, and wonderful. Very much like my electrostatic speakers at home. Final Score: 9/10

Stax SR-009: These were a little odd, I thought they sounded great, but the highs were very sibilant and sharp, I thought the 700s were far superior. I thought they felt a little cheap for the price, as well. I liked everything they had to offer except for the treble spike. Final Score: 7/10

Hifiman Susvara:
I have never heard these, so really wanted to try them, and thought they sounded great! Build quality lacking a bit, yes, but they sounded very natural with gobs of bass. Final Score: 8/10

Audeze CBRN:
These were the best EStats I heard all show. Effortless and punchy when needed, they really had a ridiculously large soundstage. I would've loved to hear these in a quiet room. I don't have much to say because these hit everything I wanted from them. Final Score: 9/10

Audeze LCD-5:
I am an Audeze fangirl, so these were a big one I wanted to test, and they did not disappoint. Personally, I like the old school design of the LCD-2, so I am a little bummed to see them leaving that design in the past. But these were lovely headphones. The bass was punchy and thick, I also heard a soundstage which the 2s do not have much have. I really pushed these to their limit with some Black Metal, and these had no issues, and asked for more. I already have a pair of Utopias, but these are on my radar as something I might buy and sell my Utopias for. Final Score: 9/10

Audeze MM-500:
Personally, I'm not a fan of overly neutral and natural headphones, I much preferred the LCD-5s, but these were still nice nonetheless. Final Score: 7/10

Meze Empyrean II:
Easily the worst setup at the show, but they had them in the Woo room and the dCS room, so I did get to hear them in their proper glory. Personally, I don't like the sound signature of Meze, but these had a bit more punch than usual. Comfort and build quality is obviously off the charts, I still don't like their aesthetics much but these were probably the Mezes I heard all show. However, can I complain about their booth? They had a couple stations, but you had to share listening with someone else? And it was just so loud over there, I just kind of left dissatisfied. dCS room and Woo did the Empyreans well. Final Score: 7/10

ZMF Atrium Closed:
I went into the ZMF room completely blind, having never listened to anything from them or knowing anything about them...holy crap! The ZMF Atrium have a ridiculous amount of bass punch, but are so well balanced and warm, I just want to snuggle up with them. You could feel the texture of the music, I have never experienced anything like these before. The build quality was exquisite, hand made and absolutely gorgeous. Did I buy the purple stained Atrium Closed? I absolutely freaking did and have ZERO regrets. Pic attached below. I have never heard closed backs like these. Again, wow. Everyone was lovely, lifetime warranty...I mean, this is a premium product from top to bottom, zero hype. Final Score: 10/10

Sennheiser HE-1:
I mean...pure bliss. Never heard anything so effortless and eloquent. I couldn't pick out any strengths or weaknesses, because they just sounded perfect. That's really all I could say. GORGEOUS equipment, and Eric was wonderful. Don't have much else to say, but wow. Final Score: 10/10

Empire Ears Raven:
I own the Odins, so I made a beeline for the Ravens. I was skeptical of these, but I have never heard such bass in a headphone before. Ever. Everything else was balanced and forward, but the bass was so immense that's all I remember from them. Also, very very large, not sure I liked the sheer size of them. Final Score: 8/10

64Audio U12T:
A bit...boring. I mean, precise as hell, and there is no pressure in the ears at all. Smooth, detailed, natural...not necessarily my thing, but I was impressed at the sheer reference level of them. Also, they are so light, it's pleasant. Final Score: 7/10

64Audio Volur:
Most disappointing IEM I tried, by a significant margin. Everything seemed distant, tucked back away, way too dark. Going from the 12T and my Odins to these was...not the best look. Final Score: 3/10

Thieaudio Monarch MKIII:
I have been incredibly skeptical of ever spending such money on ChiFi before, but these absolutely stunned me. I go back and forth between them and my Odins, and it's damn close. These have better bass than the Odins, close to the Ravens, and everything seems so immediate and visceral. Top tier PRAT, they just seem on top of everything, with no distortion. I think the Odin have a smoother top end, these have that ChiFi shouty nature, but man, just *chef's kiss*. These and a Perseus came home with me. Final Score: 10/10

Fir Audio E12:
Bass cannons! And not much else. Felt very cheap. Not a big fan of the shrill high ends, Peter Gabriel's So album is known for some sibilance, and these were borderline piercing. I think these were missing some sub bass as well. Final Score: 4/10

Campfire (?):
Tested a bunch of Campfire stuff, and left unimpressed with them. Can't remember which was which, tbqh. No thanks.

Noble K-XM1: Very immersive with pummeling bass, a bit light in the sub bass but overall a well balanced IEM that was fun. Final Score: 8/10

Pleasant room with great people. Great setups, had very little WiFi interruptions. I had some issues with the Woo Tube Mini, which had a strange ringing that John said went away with time as they warmed up, but it never did. Woo products are truly works of art. I don't really subscribe to amps sounding different, but the Luna was something to experience, and the WA2 is just beautiful overall. The Fireflies amp...beautiful. Loved all the gear they had to audition and how easy it was to swap around.

ZMF: What can I say? Amazing people, amazing headphones, fun environment, a RIDICULOUS amount of amps and headphones...just a spectacular experience. The WiFi was miserable off and on, so I don't know how to fix that, but I struggled quite a bit with Roon on their WiFi. But the amount of special edition and headphones they had was a little overwhelming.

dCS: Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. The room, employees, gear all felt like stepping into an exotic car showroom. Everyone was so friendly, no issues with anyone being snooty, just a top tier experience. As for the gear, was awesome to hear such fun stuff, I went around the room, but it all was indiscernible to me. I don't see the value of these, but gorgeous stuff. The DAC having such a low resolution screen odd choice.

Mimic: Holy crap. They had every headphone you could ever want to demo, with every amp I swear ever...the Naim wasn't really working which was disappointing as I own it and wanted to test the Tungstens on it, but otherwise, incredible. I wish they weren't in the main room, it really devalued some headphones.

Schiit: The employees looked miserable and the Yggy had some channel imbalance with my Utopias. So I didn't do much listening.

LTA: None of their amps sounded right on my Utopias, everything felt very far and distant to the point of wanting to make sure the amp wasn't out of phase. I was looking to be impressed but wasn't. The Prosper Cables guy manning the booth was awesome.

Meze: Terrible setup. If you wanted a proper audition, go to somewhere else.

Bloom: Lovely employees, had tons of gear to buy, didn't care how long you took to audition, had a dCS stack out, I mean...just everything. I spent so much time at their table, and can guarantee they'll be my headphone store of choice moving forward. Got my Monarchs from them.

Warwick: Have never liked their stuff, and spent probably 15 minutes trying to get Roon to connect before I bailed. Disappointing.
Really missed seeing Focal, Hifiman and HeadAmp, three that I really wanted to hear.
Got way too boozed at the bar, so Sunday was a fairly short day for me. The hotel was gorgeous, but the elevator system was bunk...What, why build a better mouse trap????
Shirts being cash only made me sad........
If you came behind me and saw lots of black metal and industrial on the Roon iPads...I apologize LOL.
Was GREAT! Hope they do it again.





Thanks for stopping by to try out our amps with your Utopia. Sorry your experience wasn't as impressive as we would have liked. We have a pair of the Utopia '22 in our shop and think they sound amazing, with a huge soundstage, on Velo and the Z10e. One of my favorite pairings.
Nov 14, 2023 at 9:21 AM Post #146 of 274
As always, it was great bringing things out for everyone to try at Mimic's home show!

I'm fiddling with demo plans for Tungsten into the future. The gear I thought would be good pairings turned out to stumble a bit when met with the high noise floor of a show. That said, I'm local to most everyone that came through and will be happy to lend my demo pair of Tungstens to anyone interested in some quiet listening time with their own gear at home.

For some amp suggestions for the Tungsten, check out the “Amplifier Pairing” section of my review - you carry many of these and can have a wonderful setup for NYC 😊:

High Eight BBQ which was an experience.

We were there Sunday night, that was the best!! Oh, those beef ribs..
Nov 14, 2023 at 9:32 AM Post #147 of 274
Pleasure to meet you Brandon! Thank you for the wonderful feedback and for being so easy going. Your ZMF Atrium Closed sounded amazing on the Z10e, I will admit.

We didn't make it to the Ranch (?) Steakhouse but our tour guide for the weekend (Jeremy) took us to High Eight BBQ which was an experience.
That's a great call. I'd say if you only have a few meals in Texas, good Texas BBQ should be top on the list, followed by high quality Tex-Mex, then if you have time, a good Texas steakhouse. Hard 8 was a great choice.

Great to meet you and hang with you, hopefully we can do it again next year. in the meantime, I can't wait to be your customer in the near future!
Nov 14, 2023 at 9:37 AM Post #148 of 274
Thanks for stopping by to try out our amps with your Utopia. Sorry your experience wasn't as impressive as we would have liked. We have a pair of the Utopia '22 in our shop and think they sound amazing, with a huge soundstage, on Velo and the Z10e. One of my favorite pairings.
I felt like something was wrong with it, tbh. Maybe I was just tired of listening to things!
Nov 14, 2023 at 10:12 AM Post #149 of 274
Thanks for stopping by to try out our amps with your Utopia. Sorry your experience wasn't as impressive as we would have liked. We have a pair of the Utopia '22 in our shop and think they sound amazing, with a huge soundstage, on Velo and the Z10e. One of my favorite pairings.
For what it's worth (and I know that this is just subjective, and not meaning to dismiss the poster's experience), I listened to music on the MZ3 and found it to be a very enriching experience. I don't have a ton of tube experience, but the MZ3 sounded intimate and engrossing for the time I spent at the booth. The LTA booth was a highlight for me, for the LTA stuff I tried, and the Prosper Cables dude was great as well. I WISH I tried out the Velo, because it's more in my price range than the MZ3, but I was running out of time. Hope to see y'all again in the future!
Nov 14, 2023 at 1:33 PM Post #150 of 274
Having the opportunity for face time with some great people who you barely know or have never met before is a treasure of every CanJam.

Especially when they become treasured friends in the years to come!

Users who are viewing this thread