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CanJam London 2016 Impressions Thread (August 13-14, 2016)

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  1. Aornic
    Bonus Impressions from my Notebook
    Ether Flow/Ether C Flow
    1. The best planar I have heard yet for classic rock. Made details in Pink Floyd’s The Wall album much more noticeable such as the samples of television broadcasts and skidding tires.
    2. The open Ether had more of a sparkle to the sound, but I preferred the Ether C quite a bit more. Very little, almost unnoticeable different in soundstage between the two.
    3. Both didn’t reach any problematic level of treble extension while still being airy and pleasing – be it from the tubes of the Tungsten to the solid state Gold and Carbon.
    4. Really fast transients made imaging quite impressive. Panning audio was second nature to the Ether Flows.
    5. Overall quite clean sounding without bloat. By bloat I mean a certain overlap in the midrange and bass that can hamper detail overall. It can be fun with some headphones as a sound signature but it has its cost.
    6. Medium clamp.
    7. Very light.
    8. Good and clean bass response but not very extended.
    Focal Utopia
    1. Pretty insane separation.
    2. Very natural acoustic guitar reproduction. (listened to God Put a Smile Upon Your Face by Coldplay.
    3. A lot of air around the piano in Coldplay’s the Scientist. Key hits ringing out clearly. Quite a live sound.
    4. Quite a bit of snap to the sound. Very resolving.
    5. Incredible cymbal clarity that doesn’t feel forced/artificial.
    6. Not overly warm but still pleasing. Not very bright either.
    Focal Elear
    1. Still has a lot of the Utopia’s strengths but not as pronounced.
    2. A very competitive price point considering the sound quality.
    3. The same natural sound as the Utopia.
    4. Brings stuff out in the mix in a similar manner, just not as high resolution.
    5. Dense sound, not at all sparse or lean but rather rich in terms of lushness and detail.
    6. Meaty sound, but treble not rolled off. Rather, it actually gets a little peaky in some places – a trait the Utopia lacks by comparison.
    AKG Q701
    1. Quincy Jones signature version of the K701.
    2. Was plugged into a Schiit Valhalla 2 tube amplifier.
    3. Quite a warm sound, much like the K7XX.
    4. Felt a bit more refined than the K7XX however but hard to determine by how much exactly due to the introduction of tube warmth and a noisy environment.
    RHA MA750i
    1. Described as a relaxed V-shaped sound signature.
    2. Clean sub-bass, no bloat.
    3. Some good detail up top but, at times, peaky sounding.
    4. Quite good for warmer electronic genres such as 90s Eurodance.
    5. Instruments.
    RHA T20i
    1. Flagship.
    2. Comes in black and stainless steel.
    3. Quite a bit more resolution than the MA750i.
    4. Sounded more direct and immediate. More resolving.
    5. Still slightly V-shaped, but vocals were more pleasing.
    6. Good air around the instruments but not as peaky as the MA750i.
    7. A lot of separation and an expansive sound.
    8. Comfortable.
    9. T-series come with switchable filters for passive EQ. Didn’t try it myself but interesting sound-sculpting concept.
    Sonoma WAT-H01/Warwick Electrostatic
    1. Insane attack. Each bite of vocal startled me in a Muddy Waters track. I kept turning down the volume because it just hit like a ton of bricks.
    2. Really fast transients.
    3. A lot of detail.
    4. Low end quite rolled off, but a full sound overall.
    5. A lot of snap, once again related to the attack as sound was just pushed into my ears suddenly – very resolving.
    6. Quite intimate soundstage. Could be compared to the HD600/HE400i level.
    Vioelectric / Lake People HPA 281
    1. Really nice synergy with the Sennheiser HD800. Didn’t morph the sound as much as the Cavalli Liquid Tungsten, but it softened the edges while maintaining the Sennheiser sound.
    2. Solid state amplifier with a balanced output and three ¼ outputs.
    3. Had a very 1990s style remote that moved up the volume dial.
    4. Was some slight glitching/noise when moving the volume around. Representative told me this was intentionally done to make sure both channels are volume matched at all times.
    5. Overall a nice listen. Honest but a little musical (benefitting the HD800).
    Noble Kaiser 10
    1. A lot of bass control.
    2. Quite comfortable.
    3. Very efficient, needed to turn smartphone down lower than half for a comfortable listening volume.
    4. Clean sound, not overly peaky.
    5. Listened to No Light, No Light by Florence + the Machine after switching to my Ibasso DX80.
    6. Vocals sound full-bodied. Harps sounded pronounced.
    7. Overall sound was pleasing and not harsh – quite musical with good detail.
    Noble Katana
    1. More detail but a tad harsher.
    2. Even more control of the low end.
    3. Listened to the delicate build-up of No One Is Ever Going to Want Me by Giles Corey.
    4. Every acoustic guitar rattle and buzz rang out clearly.
    5. Expansive sound and detail.
    6. Song had an ethereal pairing with the Katana.
    7. Key moment: a lot of control and resolution during the chaotic breakdown at the end of the song. The often-buried horn section in the mix rang out clearly.
    Comparison between the Katana and Kaiser 10
    1. Kaiser 10 more musical with a touch of warmth. Less detailed than the Katana but still no slouch.
    2. Katana had insane control and resolution but a leaner overall sound.
    Focal Listen (portable headphones)
    1. A lot of detail for a portable full-sized headphones.
    2. Some interesting marketing text on the headphones themselves. Quite congratulating in an unintentionally funny manner.
    3. Not a lot of bass, interesting choice for headphones on the go.
    4. Not much isolation either despite being closed. Still heard the show floor around me.
    5. Brought out the details in pop music quite well, vocal layering and all that. Just needed a touch more bass for listening outdoors as (without noise-cancelling or a good seal) the bass can be reduced by the sound of commuter vehicles like trains and buses.
    Traveller, Currawong, Mython and 5 others like this.
  2. Duncan Moderator
    I wonder, with my criticisms of the K10 vs the Layla, if the Katana would be more my thing...

    Hmm... Shame I didn't think to compare...
  3. Mython Contributor
    I get this, subjectively, with Hugo and Mojo.
    On the one hand, I absolutely love it, and can't get enough of it, but on the other hand, it can be (for me) a double-edged sword, because it lures me in and tempts me, addictively, to keep increasing the volume, and that's not really a wise thing for my hearing, when sudden dynamics and transients catch me off-guard. [​IMG] 
  4. tonykaz
    Missing from "CanJam London 2016"   
    ---LG V20 Audiophile Phone with Quad Dac chipsets ---  it even has a headphone jack! 
    LG has a Sept. 2016 release date, they should've been showing, especially since they are taking direct aim at this exact group. 
    The V20 promises to be the headphone world's most popular electronic device.  ( I wonder if any London attendee was carrying an iPod ? )
    Tony in Michigan
    ps.  it's fascinating to see how CanJam London drew from far away places.  Europe must have pretty good 'civilian' travel systems. 
  5. Mython Contributor
    Nope; I just don't reckon that'll happen [​IMG]
  6. terencetcf
    +1 for the points above! I have exact the same feeling like you comments, well said :)
  7. AndrewH13

    You liked 1plus2 a while back? Katana bests it in openness of treble and soundstage. Not quite the kick in lower bass. But I may have come away from the show with one :)

    Subtle changes from K10, touch less mid bass, airier treble. I like a lively dynamic sound, would think K10 better with average recordings, Katana shine with very good recordings.
    Duncan likes this.
  8. SleepyOne

    Thanks for RME DAC pricing inform. I thought this DAC sounded quite nice & have potential - I didn't spend long enough nor with with headphone i am more familiar with. Definitely worth a second longer listening session with. On quick A-B compare seems much nicer (richer & more colourful) than Mytec Brookyln which is a bit thin.

    I agreed with majority re: Noble katana & K10. Both very nice with k10 more musical & warmer and katana has better separation, less bass & perhap leaner or more high frequency. I use Hugo & comply ear tip for testing.

    Have anyone got any thoughts on the new SPL Phonitor X? Seems very solid piece (both sound & built) and has good bass too.

    The other nice amp I seen is the Moon. Dragon Inspire valve amp, very sweet, liquid & musical but without sounding soft or slow etc. Very nice albeit perhap a bit lacking in power as I have to turn up volume to 80 - 90% on tougher headphones.

    Focal Elear - very enjoyable headphone. Easy to drive, not the most detail nor spacy but has a wicked/ lovely mid bass presence. The only question is will one get bored with the ever presence of its mid bass in long run?

    Utopia - More detail than Elear but not have mid brass presence of Elear nor the most spacy. A little bit heavy but comfy enough. Certainly not 4 x better than Elear...

    As for Cavali SS amp& Valve amp, to be honest I am a bit disappointed. It is detail & clean but a bit thin & lacks bass impact for my liking. This could possibly due to Mr Speakers Ether Flow's bass quality (lacking), didn't try out their amps with other headphones to find out.

    Smyth Reasearch Realiser A16 - yup very impressive. Can't tell whether I was listening to headphones or speakers! It is brilliant for watching movies or gaming without having many speakers.

    MSB - The amp seems to be able to drive 009 well.. However things like vocal is a bit too thick & lacks detail. Perhaps due to over magnifiication there is not enough spatial information. For a set up this expensive I would expect the best thing I ever listened to & not something like 3.7 or 3.8 out of 5....

    Senn HE1 - a bit odd this one. I found it a mix of 800 & the old version. What I mean is there is occasional thinness followed by warm bass/ sound. HE1 is very detail but not sure about its integration. In term of physical, it is made of plastic & quite heavy due to in-built amp. The headphone is attached inside the headphone box. Subjectively the amp part is a bit too eccentric for my taste... I have ask the rap whether Senn will sell just the headphone but sadly it is negative.

    Pass lab amp at Moon booth - any thoughts anyone? From quick listening seems to have power but not clear how good its 3D.
  9. terencetcf
    Did u not listen to MrSpeakers Etherflow?!
  10. bmichels
    Did I missed this one ? :)

    image.jpg image.jpg
    bearFNF likes this.
  11. Duncan Moderator
    How could you miss what you own? :wink:
  12. AR-Voice

    Hello, you do know that Sennheiser use and recommend Acoustic Research DAPs / DACs and used them for demo at CanJam. I have Sennheiser IE800s and they sound fabulous with the AR-M20
  13. Middy

    Arrrg My headphone sex doll has come back to haunt me..... You just can't trust Ebay to be discreet....

    money4me247 and ToroFiestaSol like this.
  14. surfratt
    Any more impressions of the Acoustic Research M20?  Overall impressions/sound quality.  Compared to Acoustic Research M2 & Echobox - Explorer DAP.  Deciding between M2 and M20 and interested in what I am hearing about the Echobox - Explorer DAP, so any impressions will help :)  Thanks all.
  15. FortisFlyer75
    I had the fortunate experience of listening to this Andy, from my time listening to it with my JH16pros as well as Tribute 7's that was on the stand it has a warm feel with out been muddy yet very clear and detailed but with a bass that register 9.5 on a seismograph.
    Really, the bass on this is very deep and not rolled off yet there is a ultra low sub bass which actually becomes a physical feel of sound as well as a listening experience.  I never heard the mids recessed or even humped come to that with this amount of bass and was just ultra clear with a good treble presence still which was never over prominent.  
    It is one surprise I had at the show and would love to hear more of this for longer to see if it is the first dac amp that can have a super bass yet retain clear resolving signature without fatiguing the ears.  If you want that reference sound with resolution but with a killer stadium rock concert level of bass slam and feel then this could be worth a look.  
    With my 16's pros already tuned 6+db (i think) it took me back to when I saw Guns N roses at Wembley stadium 1991! Or the Who live.  It feels like it has power for a tiny amp foot print.  Not that I took to much notice but it does seem to hold a number of user features to adjust the dac's sound. 
    All I know if I get the chance I will have another in depth session with them as it us a unique signature I have not heard so far in a amp/dac.   That was from my brief 10 mins or so with them anyway.
    Heard these on the Senn stand with my JH16pros and having heard the Arm2 for a couple of weeks when that first come out it was nice to hear the M20 have the same type signature and sound quality yet fix the just left right soundstage  experience of the M2 had.
    I know this has been streamlined and adjusted in design a lot from feedback you have had from users but was surprised there was no line out included still as great a standalone player this is it should still of had this and also with these sort of daps now maybe balanced which is now becoming more common place found on daps going into this price territory.  
    Still all positive as despite that if one was for sale on the day with the improvements in been made smaller,slicker and lighter with better battery life as well been cheaper than the first model with still a great sound and plenty of power I would of been very tempted to of purchased one! 
    That in mind is there any plans for a higher model soon if this one is coming  in at the £600 mark? 
    Was going to post impressions but with been busy and everyone covering it pretty much with great observations already but will just give a quick shout out to the ones that impressed and surprised me enough if I had robbed the Queens stage coach the day before I would of bagged them.
    SPL - all their amps impressive and insanely engineered the German way with great build and sound. 
    Violetric - same as SPL but a more relaxed warmer signature. 
    Rob Neve amp - really impressed with this for the money and am close to buying this soon, great simple design with just focus on delivering with out comprimising is the ethos here.  
    RME Adi-2 Pro - One I'm glad I heard, what an experience, one I've not heard on a dac amp at the show with clear balanced resolution with the most seismic feel and hear bass yet it does not detract from the rest of the listening experience due to its quality in all areas. 
    Ultrazone Tribute 7's, not keen on the looks of this but it sounds very good for a closed back of this size and could of listened to this for a long time yet £2K is £2K! Limited retro edition or not. 
    Meze99 classics If you like warm, fun yet detailed sound signature  with good amount  of bass that scales well with gear for a fair price then these may be the ones for you. 
    RHA - T20's still like these despite many other good iems at the show but await for a higher new model from them soon. 
    Cavalli - After having the use of a Carbon for a few months I was impressed with the Spark and and jaw dropped with the Gold as it is in another league with reproducing the highs as well as pretty much every other area.  
    Ether Flow C - Had the chance to compare the original with the Flow and will say eye or in this case ear is in the beholder as I don't think it is a case of one is better than the other but more of a case of personal preference and with the added number of pad mod combinations on offer here it will be a case of trying them all like trying to crack a safe combination until you find your number you are happy with.  
    I found the Open flow on the Gold amp which made my jaw drop so they sounded good!  What I would prefer if I had brought the  original open Ether next to me who knows!?  
    Still the most immersive long un-fatiguing easy to listen  I have when I listen to Mr.Speakers that's for sure. 
    A&R M20 dap _ despite not having a line out is a seriously good sound with power as a standalone dap especially at it's new price point when it comes out. 
    Opus - #1 was a good sound for the money with a responsive UI. 
                #2 Was surprised how good this really sounded and loved the sound as much as the M20.  Only thing for me is the android system is meant to be newer than the #1 yet felt a bit slower and older skin design and navigation and slightly worried the volume rocker felt a bit fragile along with the industrial looks and design not in keeping with the slick #1 design. 
    Focal - Listen's sounded detailed, airy with a touch too light bass response but good value for money if you got it on the day. 
                Utopia's - Was surprised after hearing some not liking it tried it with my Hugo/ ZX1 and sounded okay I thought but not £3k okay though but really need to hear this on a Cavalli Gold with an even better dac to hear these possibly sound how they should.
    Couple of points actually was reminiscent when I heard the Pioneer Master 1's. 
    Elear's,  were more full sounding than I expected with a good sense of pace with good mids and right amount of bass response from my quick listen with them.  Probably on the money with price of these. 
    Ety's - Both models sound good but did prefer the model with slightly more tuned bass and for a single BA are so efficient and accurate sounding.  
    JHA - Owning the 16 pros heard the freq phase version for first time, what a difference, improvement in quite a lot of areas that actually gets you thinking of upgrading my original 16's! 
    Laylas - after finding the Roxannes okay with a airier more treble end the Laylas are like a combination of all the best parts from each model brought together with even better imaging and detail which makes them very tempting even at their price!
    Just never had time to take all the iem's in there as time run out even with two days there! 
    Just a brief summary but really enjoyed it again and look forward to next year reaching deep into my pocket again. 
    Traveller, Currawong and smial1966 like this.
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