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

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  1. ClassicalViola
    Thanks for sharing your impressions! Just curious, what was your source for trying all those different IEMs/headphones?
  2. Ra97oR
    I guess I finally got lucky.
    This feels exactly like lab equipment, just missing "Calibrate Before Use" stickers on it.
    The sound out of it is very promising from a short listen!
  3. mainaman
    A great show(first one for me and first time listening to top high-end headphones).I couldnt listen to the Sen HE-1,the MSB/Stax,the Focal Utopia and the DT1990 Pro,but i had a great time with the HD800S,the LCD-4,the HE1000,the Sonora and the Katana,among others.A noisy expo enviroment is not the ideal place for evaluating open backed headphones,but this is not news.The exhibitors were all very friendly,accomodating and helpful.

    The HD800S is a clear upgrade from the HD800,smoother and with better separation(the brighter HD800 was almost congested in comparison)and soundstage.Probably the most comfortable big headphones on the market,at least in my relatively limited experience.Slightly overdamped and thin bass.

    The LCD3 sounded slightly darker and warmer than the HD800 and more resolving as well.It would be very hard to choose between the it and the HD800S!

    The choice between the very heavy LCD-4 and the HE1000 would be even harder,i wish i was in such a situation!

    I was slightly disappointed with the music on offer at some stands and i didnt really heard combos like the Dave and the LCD4 at their best,not even close.Listening to Tidal just doesnt cut it when you try to show off such capable devices and demoing the Nobles via small smartphones was slightly puzzling as well(kudos to those bringing their own music on Daps).

    The build quality of some not inexpensive gear like the Brooklyn and the Hugo TT did not impress me and noisy surroundings or not,but practically all of the DACs had to be at max volume or close if they were not connected to an amp,even the outstanding Dave.

    All in all,it was very enjoyable experience,but it didnt involve me as much as a pair of high-quality loudspeakers and a turntable.That said i am still thinking how would the HD800S sound at home in the place of the HD595,which i use sometimes.
  4. Skint
    No worries :) Used my Cowon Plenue D. I auditioned with and without EQ with various FLAC songs - quite a mix of styles. For electrostats and most over ear headphones I used whatever DAC/Amp they had on the table. The Plenue struggles to power a lot of the bigger headphones - to be expected. 
  5. zappazappazappa
    Jawed likes this.
  6. bmichels
    guess what it is....
    The BHSE from CanJam brought to his new home :wink:.  I will unpack it later because now I have to fly to VERONE for 2 Opera listening :wink:
    raypin, glassmonkey and HeadAmpTeam like this.
  7. ThELiZ
    My first Head-Fi meet and it was certainly worth it. So much to listen to! You can get a bit lost wandering around, hoping to jump in on a free spot for a pair of cans you've only seen in pictures. It was like musical chairs at times.
    I'll start off by saying something that I'm sure will get a slating. I cannot hear differences between different DACs. Okay, so this wasn't the best environment for listening for possible subtle differences in DACs, but still, I couldn't tell the differences between any of them reliably. That actually makes me quite happy. I can stick with my DacMagic 100. FYI, I blind tested the DacMagic against my old Mojo (level matched)... Sold the Mojo on. Sounded the same to me. So, there will be no DAC impressions from me.
    Anyway, some impressions...
    Ether Flow - Started off by being a bit too grating in the treble for me and I was a bit disappointed. I then switched tracks and realised it was the recording that caused the slight grating. Simply put, these cans are incredible! Vocals were smooth and lifelike. Ariana Grande was seducing my ears. Right up there with the Stax SR-009, if not quite as clear. So much space around all of the music. Instruments were separated to the point that I could pin point where everything was. Magical. Bass was perfect for me. Hearing that the original Ethers were bass light, I was expecting something similar here. No chance. bass was deep, powerful, but always controlled.
    Also, I was mightily impressed with the speed of these things when it came to metal. Okay, so they wouldn't be my first choice for metal due to the possibility of being too detailed thus rendering the majority of metal music as a bit treble hot, but the speed with which these things went along was mightily impressive. Overall, these were possibly my favourite cans of the show. I just wish the UK price was lower. Might pick up a pair next time I'm in the States. Certainly won't be buying them at their current UK price.
    Ether Flow Closed - First cans I listened to at the show. Right away I was impressed with these. Genuinely the most open sound from a closed pair I've ever heard. These are neutral and detailed, but non fatiguing. I still don't like the feeling of wearing a pair of closed cans. Something to do with the sound pressure in my ears. It feels unnatural to me.
    Bass performance, to me, wasn't as tight as the Ether Flow. The closed had a tendency to sound a bit loose and a tad boomy. I really must state that this is relative and compared to the Ether Flow. The Ether Flow Closed had the best bass performance of any closed can I had heard that day. By far and away the most neutral of all the closed cans. If I had never heard the Ether Flow open I would not have even commented on this aspect of the bass performance. I simply wouldn't have known. It's just that the Ether Flow is open and has an advantage. Simply put, if you need a closed can that is the one to rule them all, it's this one. But, if you can get away with an open can, the Ether Flow is the better choice, in my opinion.
    Focal Elear - Okay, so this was the headphone I was most excited to listen to. This was the one I was going to drop some coin on and purchase blind. Well, I'm glad I listened to it, because it's true what they say. Don't buy anything blind! To start with, Focal's stand had the worst selection of music going. I couldn't form an opinion on the sound because the music just wasn't what I would listen to. Luckily, Moon-Audio had these cans (and just about every other flagship!) hooked up to Tidal.
    This really is of the same mould as the HD650. Bass goes lower, highs extend further and are more detailed. Mids are similar. Now, in my opinion, this doesn't make them a 'game changer', as I've seen stated. Sure, they are good, but they are not that much better than the HD650s. Bass actually sounded a bit too full on some parts. To be quite honest, these headphones were a bit boring for me. They didn't wow me in any particular way. If anything, they got a bit irritating. At certain times, some parts of the music seemed too much. The volume seemed to be a bit boosted in certain areas. Mainly lows and highs. It's hard to explain.
    Highlights that we all hear things differently. These weren't for me. And to be honest, for the price difference between these and the HD650s (2nd hand), the Focal Elear is not the bargain they've been touted to be. Yes, they are better than the HD650, but certainly not a bargain. Look very nice though!
    Focal Utopia - Really not for me. Didn't like these at all. Seemed too bright and emotionless. Can't really say much more than this. Possibly needed more time and a quiet environment. But to me, if you've got that kind of coin, get the Stax SR-009! Thinking about it, it's not really fair to slate them like this. Conditions were not ideal and I didn't give them enough time. That said, first impressions are important to me. I'd say the Ether Flow is a much better headphone, for my tastes at least.
    Sennheiser HD800S - Love the way these feel on my head. So airy and really wide soundstage. I like the effect. Out of all the headphones I tried on, these ones were the only pair that didn't make you overly aware you had headphones on. Sound was enjoyable. Smooth and detailed. Possibly still a bit too emotionless and lacking in musicality for me, but much better than the original HD800. I could easily live with these.
    Classical music was a joy. The wide soundstage really helps paint the orchestra in front of you and all around. Highs were smooth and the bass was there when needed. The comparisons against the original HD800 seem to be correct. I can see how some might prefer the more analytical sound of the original for classical. To me, the HD800S is a much better all rounder. With that said though, I feel like the Ether Flow is a much better headphone all round, especially at their US price points. For us in the UK, it gets a bit trickier. Personally, for my taste in music, I'd save the extra money and go for the Ether Flows. If classical is more your bag, the HD800S would be the better choice.
    Sennheiser HD650 + Apogee Groove - This combo works really well. But, it's still an HD650. It doesn't bring anything new to the table. I prefer my Woox pair of Fidelio X2 to these.
    Beyerdynamic T90 - Way too bright and unnatural. Didn't like these at all. Nothing going on in the mids. Move along...
    Beyerdynamic T1 v2 - When I first put them on I expected to hear something similar to the original T1. I was a bit shocked. These definitely tame the, at times, hot treble of the original T1. I'm not sure what I think about these. A really nice sounding headphone. Soundstage was wide. Detail was there. Bass perhaps sounded a bit odd to me, but definitely more of it than the original. I think I needed more time with them, but I can fairly confidently say that with a good tube amp and the 2nd hand deals available, I'd go for the original. If you don't have/want a tube amp, the 2nd generation are a good choice.
    Beyerdynamic DT1990 - These will be my new cans. I really enjoyed these. For the price they are asking, they've nailed it. The previous comments I've read about these being like a half way house between the original T1 and the T1 v2 are pretty accurate. Beyer seemed to have added some mid presence with these, something I haven't really heard in their other headphones. Vocals were smooth, if a bit forward. Bass was deep and punchy, but never boomy or loose. Detail levels were just the right balance for me. Not too peaky, not too low. Compared with the T1 v2, the DT1990 were more forward sounding, but not in a bad way. Just a different flavour. Both headphones are great, just depends what you prefer. For me, I prefer the DT1990. Beyerdynamic have really got this one right. Also, they were driven pretty well out of my iPhone.
    Stax SR-009 - Well, now I know what the fuss is all about. Simply put, these were astounding. You could hear everything. I've heard various people saying these are bass shy. Well, they certainly weren't out of the Blue Hawaii amplifier. Bass was just right. Extended and never boomy or loose. Just not possible. Now, the mids and treble are definitely the show stoppers. I've never heard anything quite like it. Just perfect. Now, if only I had the money!
    Smyth Realiser A16 - Easily the most impressive experience at the show. I was genuinely shocked at what these guys were able to do. The recreation of 3D sound (Dolby Atmos in this case) was spellbinding. I could not tell the difference between the speaker system and the headphones. It's like magic! If you are into cinema, these are a must. I could never get away with having a Dolby Atmos speaker setup in the house. With the Realiser A16, I don't need to worry. This thing did such a great job of convincing me I was listening to 12 speaker setup system, that I will never ever need 12 speakers in my house. I just need this! Seriously, the one time that the phrase 'game changer' is warranted, is for this thing. All other 'game changers' pale in comparison and are just different flavours of existing technology. This is innovation.
    To sum it all up... If you've got the money, the Ether Flow is the best bang for buck headphone out there. If you have the money and don't care about bang for buck, get the Stax SR-009. If you are more budget orientated, try out the Beyer DT1990. All in my worthless opinion.
    joe, arnaud, Traveller and 9 others like this.
  8. smial1966
    Surely someone must have listened to this RME ADI-2 PRO? 
    Potentially it looks like a really great DAC/amp with EQing and loads of other features.  
    Even a precursory audition and comment from a CanJam attendee would be great. [​IMG]
  9. Hawaiibadboy Contributor
    It's gonna be a lot of folks favorite portable AMP/DAC option ..ANDROID users no doubt.
    Love the heck outta mine.
  10. Duncan Moderator
    The nearest I got was to say that it looked great, but this was at 1700hrs yesterday, so didn't get to listen...

    Having just looked at the price tag, kind of glad I didn't listen - there is no way my wallet could sustain that, no matter how good it may be (which I'm sure would be excellent!)
  11. smial1966
    I haven't seen a price quoted anywhere yet, so please share your source. Thanks. [​IMG]
  12. Duncan Moderator
    Just a google search - should a fellow mod, or the manufacturer deem this wrong or incorrect, feel free to delete...

    As normal, no affiliation with vendor - purely a google search...
  13. extenso
    What!? In Norway it is announced at NOK 13.995, approx. £1,300. Something weird going on here.
  14. smial1966
    Thanks. I googled yesterday and nothing came up. Holy moley, that's phenomenally expensive. [​IMG]
  15. smial1966
    I have emailed the UK distributor for price clarification and availability. 
    UK pricing is likely to be £1,375 inc VAT with availability in September. 
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