CanJam London 2022 Impressions Thread (July 30-31, 2022)
Aug 9, 2022 at 8:37 PM Post #301 of 344

samandhi

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Not quite what I mean, what I meant is putting the usual MX500 15.4mm into an in-ear shell. I imagine a lot of front vents must be opened to cut the unholy amount of lower mid and bass that MX500 drivers tend to have when working in a sealed environment.
Oh, I get what you are saying. I was just thinking of something that wouldn't take major surgery to simulate. For instance, take those silicone (semi in-ear) tips, and use them on something like this. It has a dual DD driver, one 14.8mm and the other (a whopping) 16mm. Just saying... hehe :)

I have a set, and I am here to tell you that you can EQ the bass up really high (even though they aren't in-ear) on these. You could really be a TOTAL bass-head with these if you wished. Though they would need a complete re-tune because they are way too hot in the upper mids as it is. Take that away, and they do sound good though.

Either way, it is a really neat idea that they have come up with.
 
Aug 10, 2022 at 5:04 AM Post #302 of 344

doctorjuggles

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I will add that coming from years of full sized headphones and progressively upgraded speakers systems (my final set up consisting of custom floor standers, supplemented by 2x 18" custom subs, properly integrated in a dedicated room), the bass that people rave about in IEMs is far too audible (forward) to be what I would refer to as "sub-bass". I appreciate that it is deemed hard to implement in IEMs but the lower frequencies should be far less (audibly) prominent, and more felt. I say "deemed hard to implement" because I did find some that for me had the right balance of audible LF, with my brain applying what would have been the trouser flapping, punch in the gut sub-bass that continues below 20Hz...
Did you audition any of the IEMs with haptic-based drivers? (Noble Kublai Khan / FiR Frontier range / Jomo prototype being the ones which spring to mind). They pull off the most convincing execution of this in the IEM world in my opinion - sub-bass that can be felt. Obviously it can't be felt through the body, but it's still surprisingly effective.

BTW - I recognise the journey that both you and @netwiz have been on - E2c/E3c/E4c/E5c/E500PTH/SE530....etc until SE846. Happy with them for years (including a story of them being stolen) and then I stupidly walked into Audio46 on a trip to NYC.....that also lead to a Campfire purchase (Solaris) and then a U18t purchase.
Things have not gone well for my wallet since then
 
Aug 10, 2022 at 6:23 PM Post #304 of 344

Beh0lder

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CanJam London 2022 Impressions

I've finally managed to compile my scribbles into a whole post. All listening was done on my DX300 unless stated otherwise. Stock cables, most being terminated in 3,5SE. Tips of choice were Spinfit CP145 or any other that allowed a fit. Enjoy:

Campfire Audio Supermoon
Oh boy do the guitars sound neat on those. My fav track - Money for Nothing - sounds so juicy, clean and energetic. The mids are forward, detailed and definitely the centre of the presentation. Bass is a matured version of the one found in Andro2020 - more rumble and texture, nicely blends in the background. Muse's "Won't Stand Down" drumkick is quite physical, akin to a DD's physicality. Nothing bassheady but doesn't leave anything to be desired compared to the emeralds. Clarity and details seem to be on par with Andros as well, even with messy, compressed metal stuff. Cable is usual CA Litz stuff, nothing new like with the Trifecta. Driveability is almost the same as the IE900, no hiss. Enjoyable IEM.

Campfire Audio Pathfinder
Waterfall hiss was present during demo with AK CA1000 Astell showcased alongside the Pathfinder, oof moment. Both DDs pump mostly subbass which is boosted by a fair bit compared to the mids and trebles. Very wide soundstage, somewhat holographic. Mids are not very tall and sometimes blend into one. Peculiar feeling, having to concentrate in order to pull Freddie Mercury from the mix, when I'm used to it being a piece of cake on most other sets. If Pathfinder's forte would be soundstage width, Supermoon's would be bass texture and mids bonanza for days.

FiR Audio Xe6
Basss with gobs of texture and detail. What shocked me was how well did this bass behave and contain itself throughout the mix. Despite absurd amounts of it (least bassy ATOM was installed IIRC) it was unobtrusive of other sounds, within reason of course. Think IE900 quantity x2 and quality x1.5+some sort of secret sauce? It's hard to put into words but fairly easy to hear with some BCD implementations I've heard @canjam, e.g. the Kublai Khan. Vocal texture and soundstage depth were also better than the IE900's. Oh, and somehow they are also easier to drive. The Sennheisers became self conscious during this audition.

FiR Audio Kr5
Where did the mids go? Why did they take the bass energy along? Come on, clarity also left? Is my hearing already exhausted? Something was clearly amiss so I reached out to the chaps of Elise Audio and was suggested the Cayin N8II. Neat. I listened in tube mode, class AB, 4.4 balanced since I didn't want to mess with the settings too much. Separation got a noticeable improvement as did soundstage depth when compared to my DX300. But vocals where not as textured as I'd like and the cymbals where somewhat hidden (e.g. "Hallowed be thy Name" 2:18 mark onwards). This might be a lack of synergy issue, among other possible things. I think these warrant a longer demo session in the future.

Elysian X
Midrange was enjoyably full and in the front. Soundstage was not quite TOTL department, especially in depth. Too lean in the treble for me.

Elysian Diva
Whoa, these have some nice bass for a full BA setup! Very similar to U12t's bass response. These can push some air, even if at the expense of becoming a little bit boomy. On another note they were less detailed, voices where not as forward and as emphasized.

Subtonic Storm
These crave quite the power to drive. Soundstage is very wide. Bass is of "grand" category, akin to that in a concert at a stadium (once again I'm shocked by a full BA bass). Overall the presentation is cleaner than Xe6 but also has that hint of special sauce thickness. However, something off is with the midrange. Folks like Cooper and Dickinson lacked graininess and dirt in their voices, and the guitars even if energetic, could use more depth and texture to themselves. I'm not really sold on this one, especially it's price range.

Vision Ears EXT
Very flush fit, almost custom-like. Short session is not enough to judge comfort but assuming you win the battle of the bulge :))) these are really small compared to other thicc chonkers from the list above. Love the look, both the colour and the grill. Very punchy, well controured bass. Clean and textured percussive hits. Guitars ooze power but are somewhat veiled making Fade to Black sound less emotional than I'd like. Adagio for Strings by Tiesto is a great example of EXT's enveloping but very well organised bass - making up most of the background without interfering with the rest of the mix. Punchy and thunderous when called upon. These are suprisingly easy to drive - 58/100 mid gain iBasso DX300.

Vision Ears Phönix
Suprising lack of clarity and presence of a veil put me off. Midrange is nicely separated from the rest. Absolutely lovely stuff happening from 2:25 onwards of One Winged Angel when all the instruments display their forte's in succession, however this IEM struggles a bit with busier passages/chaos found on various metal recordings.

Noble Audio Kublai Khan
Very clear presentation with superb detailing and separation. Vocalists like Hetfield sound smaller than usual but are absurdly precisely located on the soundstage, which I find very enjoyable. Bass with gobs of texture and detail (BCD magic?). Free Bird's bassline (which has a boomy tendency on some poorly tuned IEMs) has a nice detailed character sans the club-like bass feel. During solo, the bass also nicely goes down a notch as not to interfere with the guitars.Wide and high soundstage, with depth lagging behind them a bit. Compared to the Sultan, the KK has less bass rumble but more texture. The mids are more energetic and pronounced, which makes the Khan 2.0's presentation a lot less laid back than the Sultan's, which may be fatiguing after a longer listening session. The Khan also has better treble sparkle and percussive hit decay, and the soundstage is deeper. Overall during demo I enjoyed the Kublai Khan by a fair bit more, but Sultan's more laid back and easy going presentation might be better for an all rounder. And the Khan ain't got nothing on that sweet rumble.

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Aug 10, 2022 at 11:41 PM Post #305 of 344
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Aug 11, 2022 at 10:27 PM Post #306 of 344

ngd3

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CanJam London 2022 Impressions

I've finally managed to compile my scribbles into a whole post. All listening was done on my DX300 unless stated otherwise. Stock cables, most being terminated in 3,5SE. Tips of choice were Spinfit CP145 or any other that allowed a fit. Enjoy:

Campfire Audio Supermoon
Oh boy do the guitars sound neat on those. My fav track - Money for Nothing - sounds so juicy, clean and energetic. The mids are forward, detailed and definitely the centre of the presentation. Bass is a matured version of the one found in Andro2020 - more rumble and texture, nicely blends in the background. Muse's "Won't Stand Down" drumkick is quite physical, akin to a DD's physicality. Nothing bassheady but doesn't leave anything to be desired compared to the emeralds. Clarity and details seem to be on par with Andros as well, even with messy, compressed metal stuff. Cable is usual CA Litz stuff, nothing new like with the Trifecta. Driveability is almost the same as the IE900, no hiss. Enjoyable IEM.

Campfire Audio Pathfinder
Waterfall hiss was present during demo with AK CA1000 Astell showcased alongside the Pathfinder, oof moment. Both DDs pump mostly subbass which is boosted by a fair bit compared to the mids and trebles. Very wide soundstage, somewhat holographic. Mids are not very tall and sometimes blend into one. Peculiar feeling, having to concentrate in order to pull Freddie Mercury from the mix, when I'm used to it being a piece of cake on most other sets. If Pathfinder's forte would be soundstage width, Supermoon's would be bass texture and mids bonanza for days.

FiR Audio Xe6
Basss with gobs of texture and detail. What shocked me was how well did this bass behave and contain itself throughout the mix. Despite absurd amounts of it (least bassy ATOM was installed IIRC) it was unobtrusive of other sounds, within reason of course. Think IE900 quantity x2 and quality x1.5+some sort of secret sauce? It's hard to put into words but fairly easy to hear with some BCD implementations I've heard @canjam, e.g. the Kublai Khan. Vocal texture and soundstage depth were also better than the IE900's. Oh, and somehow they are also easier to drive. The Sennheisers became self conscious during this audition.

FiR Audio Kr5
Where did the mids go? Why did they take the bass energy along? Come on, clarity also left? Is my hearing already exhausted? Something was clearly amiss so I reached out to the chaps of Elise Audio and was suggested the Cayin N8II. Neat. I listened in tube mode, class AB, 4.4 balanced since I didn't want to mess with the settings too much. Separation got a noticeable improvement as did soundstage depth when compared to my DX300. But vocals where not as textured as I'd like and the cymbals where somewhat hidden (e.g. "Hallowed be thy Name" 2:18 mark onwards). This might be a lack of synergy issue, among other possible things. I think these warrant a longer demo session in the future.

Elysian X
Midrange was enjoyably full and in the front. Soundstage was not quite TOTL department, especially in depth. Too lean in the treble for me.

Elysian Diva
Whoa, these have some nice bass for a full BA setup! Very similar to U12t's bass response. These can push some air, even if at the expense of becoming a little bit boomy. On another note they were less detailed, voices where not as forward and as emphasized.

Subtonic Storm
These crave quite the power to drive. Soundstage is very wide. Bass is of "grand" category, akin to that in a concert at a stadium (once again I'm shocked by a full BA bass). Overall the presentation is cleaner than Xe6 but also has that hint of special sauce thickness. However, something off is with the midrange. Folks like Cooper and Dickinson lacked graininess and dirt in their voices, and the guitars even if energetic, could use more depth and texture to themselves. I'm not really sold on this one, especially it's price range.

Vision Ears EXT
Very flush fit, almost custom-like. Short session is not enough to judge comfort but assuming you win the battle of the bulge :))) these are really small compared to other thicc chonkers from the list above. Love the look, both the colour and the grill. Very punchy, well controured bass. Clean and textured percussive hits. Guitars ooze power but are somewhat veiled making Fade to Black sound less emotional than I'd like. Adagio for Strings by Tiesto is a great example of EXT's enveloping but very well organised bass - making up most of the background without interfering with the rest of the mix. Punchy and thunderous when called upon. These are suprisingly easy to drive - 58/100 mid gain iBasso DX300.

Vision Ears Phönix
Suprising lack of clarity and presence of a veil put me off. Midrange is nicely separated from the rest. Absolutely lovely stuff happening from 2:25 onwards of One Winged Angel when all the instruments display their forte's in succession, however this IEM struggles a bit with busier passages/chaos found on various metal recordings.

Noble Audio Kublai Khan
Very clear presentation with superb detailing and separation. Vocalists like Hetfield sound smaller than usual but are absurdly precisely located on the soundstage, which I find very enjoyable. Bass with gobs of texture and detail (BCD magic?). Free Bird's bassline (which has a boomy tendency on some poorly tuned IEMs) has a nice detailed character sans the club-like bass feel. During solo, the bass also nicely goes down a notch as not to interfere with the guitars.Wide and high soundstage, with depth lagging behind them a bit. Compared to the Sultan, the KK has less bass rumble but more texture. The mids are more energetic and pronounced, which makes the Khan 2.0's presentation a lot less laid back than the Sultan's, which may be fatiguing after a longer listening session. The Khan also has better treble sparkle and percussive hit decay, and the soundstage is deeper. Overall during demo I enjoyed the Kublai Khan by a fair bit more, but Sultan's more laid back and easy going presentation might be better for an all rounder. And the Khan ain't got nothing on that sweet rumble.

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Top 3?
 
Aug 12, 2022 at 12:39 AM Post #307 of 344

AustinGrayson

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CanJam London 2022 Impressions

I've finally managed to compile my scribbles into a whole post. All listening was done on my DX300 unless stated otherwise. Stock cables, most being terminated in 3,5SE. Tips of choice were Spinfit CP145 or any other that allowed a fit. Enjoy:

Campfire Audio Supermoon
Oh boy do the guitars sound neat on those. My fav track - Money for Nothing - sounds so juicy, clean and energetic. The mids are forward, detailed and definitely the centre of the presentation. Bass is a matured version of the one found in Andro2020 - more rumble and texture, nicely blends in the background. Muse's "Won't Stand Down" drumkick is quite physical, akin to a DD's physicality. Nothing bassheady but doesn't leave anything to be desired compared to the emeralds. Clarity and details seem to be on par with Andros as well, even with messy, compressed metal stuff. Cable is usual CA Litz stuff, nothing new like with the Trifecta. Driveability is almost the same as the IE900, no hiss. Enjoyable IEM.

Campfire Audio Pathfinder
Waterfall hiss was present during demo with AK CA1000 Astell showcased alongside the Pathfinder, oof moment. Both DDs pump mostly subbass which is boosted by a fair bit compared to the mids and trebles. Very wide soundstage, somewhat holographic. Mids are not very tall and sometimes blend into one. Peculiar feeling, having to concentrate in order to pull Freddie Mercury from the mix, when I'm used to it being a piece of cake on most other sets. If Pathfinder's forte would be soundstage width, Supermoon's would be bass texture and mids bonanza for days.

FiR Audio Xe6
Basss with gobs of texture and detail. What shocked me was how well did this bass behave and contain itself throughout the mix. Despite absurd amounts of it (least bassy ATOM was installed IIRC) it was unobtrusive of other sounds, within reason of course. Think IE900 quantity x2 and quality x1.5+some sort of secret sauce? It's hard to put into words but fairly easy to hear with some BCD implementations I've heard @canjam, e.g. the Kublai Khan. Vocal texture and soundstage depth were also better than the IE900's. Oh, and somehow they are also easier to drive. The Sennheisers became self conscious during this audition.

FiR Audio Kr5
Where did the mids go? Why did they take the bass energy along? Come on, clarity also left? Is my hearing already exhausted? Something was clearly amiss so I reached out to the chaps of Elise Audio and was suggested the Cayin N8II. Neat. I listened in tube mode, class AB, 4.4 balanced since I didn't want to mess with the settings too much. Separation got a noticeable improvement as did soundstage depth when compared to my DX300. But vocals where not as textured as I'd like and the cymbals where somewhat hidden (e.g. "Hallowed be thy Name" 2:18 mark onwards). This might be a lack of synergy issue, among other possible things. I think these warrant a longer demo session in the future.

Elysian X
Midrange was enjoyably full and in the front. Soundstage was not quite TOTL department, especially in depth. Too lean in the treble for me.

Elysian Diva
Whoa, these have some nice bass for a full BA setup! Very similar to U12t's bass response. These can push some air, even if at the expense of becoming a little bit boomy. On another note they were less detailed, voices where not as forward and as emphasized.

Subtonic Storm
These crave quite the power to drive. Soundstage is very wide. Bass is of "grand" category, akin to that in a concert at a stadium (once again I'm shocked by a full BA bass). Overall the presentation is cleaner than Xe6 but also has that hint of special sauce thickness. However, something off is with the midrange. Folks like Cooper and Dickinson lacked graininess and dirt in their voices, and the guitars even if energetic, could use more depth and texture to themselves. I'm not really sold on this one, especially it's price range.

Vision Ears EXT
Very flush fit, almost custom-like. Short session is not enough to judge comfort but assuming you win the battle of the bulge :))) these are really small compared to other thicc chonkers from the list above. Love the look, both the colour and the grill. Very punchy, well controured bass. Clean and textured percussive hits. Guitars ooze power but are somewhat veiled making Fade to Black sound less emotional than I'd like. Adagio for Strings by Tiesto is a great example of EXT's enveloping but very well organised bass - making up most of the background without interfering with the rest of the mix. Punchy and thunderous when called upon. These are suprisingly easy to drive - 58/100 mid gain iBasso DX300.

Vision Ears Phönix
Suprising lack of clarity and presence of a veil put me off. Midrange is nicely separated from the rest. Absolutely lovely stuff happening from 2:25 onwards of One Winged Angel when all the instruments display their forte's in succession, however this IEM struggles a bit with busier passages/chaos found on various metal recordings.

Noble Audio Kublai Khan
Very clear presentation with superb detailing and separation. Vocalists like Hetfield sound smaller than usual but are absurdly precisely located on the soundstage, which I find very enjoyable. Bass with gobs of texture and detail (BCD magic?). Free Bird's bassline (which has a boomy tendency on some poorly tuned IEMs) has a nice detailed character sans the club-like bass feel. During solo, the bass also nicely goes down a notch as not to interfere with the guitars.Wide and high soundstage, with depth lagging behind them a bit. Compared to the Sultan, the KK has less bass rumble but more texture. The mids are more energetic and pronounced, which makes the Khan 2.0's presentation a lot less laid back than the Sultan's, which may be fatiguing after a longer listening session. The Khan also has better treble sparkle and percussive hit decay, and the soundstage is deeper. Overall during demo I enjoyed the Kublai Khan by a fair bit more, but Sultan's more laid back and easy going presentation might be better for an all rounder. And the Khan ain't got nothing on that sweet rumble.

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OMG, look at those Prestige gems.
 
Aug 12, 2022 at 5:43 AM Post #308 of 344

Beh0lder

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Kublai Khan and Supermoon as they seem to share absolutely lovely mids, and the Xenon 6 for being thicker and grander than anything I've heard at Canjam while displaying all the details I like to look for - something new for sure!
OMG, look at those Prestige gems.
It was quite weird seeing those Prestige designs scattered on the desk, and almost no one looked at them...
 
Aug 12, 2022 at 6:37 PM Post #309 of 344

Jackpot77

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Bit late to the party, but here is the first part of my Canjam London 2022 impressions - more to follow!

This was my fourth trip to Canjam London, which given the lack of availability of audiophile in ears and headphones across most of the United Kingdom outside of a handful of specialist dealers, makes it my fourth trip to Willy Wonka’s audio factory. There is no doubt that Canjam London holds a special place in the hearts of UK audiophiles (and usually elicits the opposite response from their wallets). I only found out I was able to go to the first post-Covid ‘Jam about three days before the actual event – huge thanks go to Ethan / @third_eye from the Head-Fi / Canjam team for swinging me a media pass with zero notice. Your help was hugely appreciated, and I promise I’ll get my request in with plenty of notice next year!

It was nice to see a lot of big brands there this year – there were a few surprising absentees, but in general between the guys at Hifonix, Hifiheadhones and Elise audio and the brands themselves, there wasn’t much from the current market that was missing to demo. A few models surprised me (in a good way), a few flagships surprised me in a bad way, but my main TL;DR takeaway from this year’s show was that the general standard of audio gear has risen so much that most things now just generally sound good, and most flagships generally sound really good. There just isn’t much crappy gear hitting the shelves these days at any of the main price points, which can only be a good thing for audiophiles. It does make it harder to differentiate yourself as a brand in the general sea of competence, but it definitely makes blind buying a whole lot easier!

img20220731102756_original.jpg

Audeze​

The Audeze table was by far the biggest at the show, set up in a horseshoe configuration right at the entrance to the hall. It was coincidentally the first one I sat down at, hence the impressions start here. I didn’t count exactly how many listening stations they had set up, but judging by the number of people they had there most of the day there must have been north of $50k of audio finery sat on display at any one point in time.
I only managed to grab a listen to a few items throughout the course of the day – I’ve heard a lot of their line before, so the only model I didn’t manage to tick off sadly was the CRBN.

LCD-5 – running on a Burson / Holo Audio May stack
The LCD-5 is as pretty in person as it looks in the promo shots, with a beautifully glossy sort of tortoiseshell colouration to the main driver housing. It’s surprisingly light for a flagship planar, but still feels pretty solid and hefty enough for the price tag. The driver array is clearly visible from the inside of the cups, and looks more like you expect an electrostatic driver to look – in some ways, it reminded me of the Abyss Diana as well.

First impression was that despite the neutral balance of the sound, there is a surprising solidity to the bass, with a nice hint of sub bass warmth and a forward push on the mid bass. The voicing is definitely mid-forward, and I actually found it a little nasal or pinched sounding. Staging overall feels like it is pushed quite close to the listener, enveloping them in the music rather than zooming out and giving a widescreen image. There is plenty of sharpness and punch dynamically to the presentation – these are lively cans, and I suspect would get fatiguing for my ears over longer listening periods.

Guitars sounded crisp but thick, which is a nice combination – I couldn’t find much on the provided iPad powering the stack that I was familiar with, but “Symphony Of Destruction” by Megadeth definitely sounded engaging through the 5s. Overall comfort was also very good, apart from a smaller than expected inner-ear cup diameter, which left my ears pressing up against the walls of the cups. Granted, I do have quite a large head, but that combined with the midrange push mean that these are technically impressive but definitely not for me.

img20220731102818_original.jpg

MM500 – on a Burson DAC/AMP stack
The MM500 were another very well built model, with a beautiful design and feel. They felt solid in the hand but not overly heavy. They definitely feel like they can be worn for extended periods without causing an issue – it’s nice to see Audeze finally embracing an average weight on their new models that doesn’t require a neck brace to wear safely.

Sonically, there is less weight on the bass in the MM500 than is present on the LCD-5 (which isn’t particularly bass itself). There is still that classic planar bass heft to proceedings, but this is the definition of studio-neutral rather than boosted, and wears its “studio pro tool” credentials quite proudly. The midrange is less shouty and forward than the 5, sticking closely to neutrality across the spectrum. It’s still a very resolving headphone, and despite the flatness is still fairly musical, so the tuning has been crafted pretty well there.

The tonality is pleasing, if a tad inoffensive – the imaging definitely as large or immersive as the LCD-5 in direct comparison, which is probably fair given the price differential. Using the same Megadeth track, the guitars sound more tightly packed together compared to the more spacious rendition of the flagship. They still retain a good sense of fatness and a slightly warm organic tone, though.
As mentioned, this would make an excellent tool for a pro, being able to be worn and listened to for hours at a time with minimal fatigue. For audiophiles, unless neutral is your jam, there are other options that will add more colour to your music for a similar price.

LCD-X 2021 – on A&K Kann Max and SE180 (amp unknown)
I actually listened to the X at the A&K booth, but thought it made more sense to pop the impressions here, brief as they are. Long story short: the 2021 revision of the LCD-X is a great headphone. Balanced, good weight in the lows, definition and resolution above its price, and engaging musicality despite staying fairly natural / neutral.

There is one thing that stopped me walking away from the show with one: the weight. Now, I’m a 6’1” ex rugby player with a 21” neck, so I’m used to lifting heavy things, but the X is something else. The damn thing is so heavy on the head I genuinely think it could be responsible for a skull fracture on the cranium of a smaller human. Audeze – if you can get the same sound in a model that doesn’t weigh a metric tonne, let us all know and you’ll probably be able to close up shop and retire on the proceeds. It was genuinely the only thing in the show that rivalled the HEDDphone for wearing discomfort in my opinion.

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Campfire Audio​

The Campfire Audio presence at London ‘22 was taken up by the ever-friendly team from Hifiheadphones. They mainly had the Trifecta on display, along with a universal demo version of the Supermoon.

CA Trifecta – listened on Fiio M17 in single-ended, vol 46 on medium gain
The Trifecta is Campfire Audio’s newest limited edition model, boasting three gold-plated (on the outside, anyway) dynamic drivers all firing in to the centre of the IEM. You can see the exact configuration of the internals as the shell is made entirely of a nylon composite – this feels sturdy, but almost like a cross between some sort of high end furniture or an expensive children’s toy to handle. One thing you can’t argue with is that they are definitely visually arresting, like them or hate them. The fit and cable are both pretty good – the cable is fairly unique as it’s a flat design, but despite being very ergonomic, it feels a little lacking in aesthetics compared to similar $3k IEM packages these days.

The tuning is pretty energetic, with a deep and enveloping sub bass laying a fairly sturdy foundation. Listening to “Heaven” by Emile Sande feels like dipping into a bath of sound as the intro kicks in. The kick drums come in hard, with the vocals cutting through but sitting a little further back on the stage. This is definitely a bass-oriented IEM, and leans towards a U-shape based on my limited listening. It carries a fairly warm overall tone, which is actually a bit misleading, as you are getting plenty of detail from the triple-DD setup, it just doesn’t feel like you are sometimes.

“Palladio” by Escala is a good example – the tiny click in the left foreground in the intro bars is clean and clear in the ear (try saying that after a beer), but the tuning doesn’t scream “detail” when you are listening. “Why So Serious?” From The Dark Knight absolutely thrums with these IEMs, but th trade off is that again the faint background noise (this time cymabals) after the drop only becomes audible for me around the 3:48 mark, rather than 3:41 or 3:42, which it did on other models at Canjam.

Show conditions may have something to with that, but I think this is an area where the warmth may be harming ultimate resolution or clarity, if you are looking at endgame level sound.

Overall impression of bass is that it is fairly liquid but still good and tight, with plenty of texture. It renders the baritone in “We Shall not Be Moved” by Mavis Staples perfectly, blending smoothly with the creamy alto in the same chorus. Vocals err more towards dry than lush, but still retain a nice smoothness.

I think the Trifecta is just a shade too warm for my preferences, and can come across as lacking that last bit of treble clarity or air you expect from an IEM in the ultra-high end bracket. It’s a great fun and enjoyable sound, but I think you will be paying as much for the exclusivity as the underlying performance in some areas of the sound.

img20220731104506_original.jpg

CA Supermoon – listened on Fiio M17 in single-ended, vol 59 on high gain
Now, where the Trifecta was fun but left me wondering about the price tag, the Supermoon was ridiculously fun but also performant, and at a much lower (relative) price. The Supermoon is Campfire’s first foray into miniature planar magnetic drivers, sporting a c. 14mm single planar driver. It also comes only in custom form at present, although the demo universal unit fitted my ears about as well as some of my actual custom IEMs, so they really should think about releasing a universal version using the same shape at some point.

The Supermoon has the classic CA bass W-shaped tuning, and to my ears is the natural successor to something like the Atlas (the Vega 2020 was too warm and treble-light to claim that crown). It feels a lot crisper than the Trifecta, but still packs a large portion of low end. The bass is fairly dry and tight in texture, and packs a serious wallop – this 14mm driver moves a lot of ear when it’s angry.

The perception of clarity is higher than the Trifecta (again, bear show conditions in mind), with vocals definitely sounding more emphasised and easier to hear the finer intonations on some of my more nuanced test tracks. In terms of detail, the ticking in “Why So Serious?” Kicks in around 3:45, which is a definite improvement over the triple-DD. Staging also feels more around the head on the planar model, again imitating the OG Atlas and painting a BIG sonic picture, with the listener planted squarely in the middle of the stage.

It can get too bassy on occasion, like with “Resplendence” by Foy Vance. That track is positively swimming in low bass in the actual mix, and the Supermoon turns it into a full ice cream headache at some sections, so I guess you can say it’s fairly true to the source. Speed definitely isn’t an issue though, with breakneck tracks like “World On Fire” by Slash not skipping a beat or blurring a note edge. Transient speed isn’t something the Supermoon seems to struggle with, making it great for rockier genres.

“A Thousand Words” by Myles Kennedy sounds absolutely fantastic through these, and my Chris Stapleton testers eke out all the rawness and emotion from the troubadour’s vocal without accenting the harshness that can sometimes creep in, reminding me of the classic Final Audio style of vocal rawness. Treble is more subdued than sparkly, but the Supermoon doesn’t have any issue articulating notes in quicker tracks like “Flight Of The Bumblebee”.

Final impressions: I’d definitely take the Supermoon over the Trifecta, and at $1500, I’d say it’s pretty competitive against most other IEMs in that lower bracket of the TOTL market. Definitely one of my favourites of the show.

image.jpg

JOMO Audio​

JOMO have always been a brand I have been curious about. Their main man Joseph Mou is a regular at the London based Canjams, and it is always a pleasure to sit down at his table and hear whatever IEM magic he has just cooked up. He is also one of the brains behind sister brand Metal Magic Research (MMR), so had some of their models like the Thummim and Balmung on display at the table as well.

308 Spyder – listened on the Fiio M17, balanced medium gain at vol 50
The current JOMO range is car-themed in its naming convention, so I started by listening to the 8-driver 308 model. This is the current BA flagship, and comes in a range of automotive inspire paint jobs for the custom fit versions. The universal models have a classic pseudo-custom shell, which I actually found a little finicky to fit in my larger than average ears, so had to tip roll a little to get a secure seal. The shell is coloured clear green acrylic, with a speckled “flecks of gold” style faceplate that reminded me of the UM MEST Mk2, just in more day-glo colour scheme.

The sound is somewhere around a W-shape to my ears, but with a definite tilt towards the upper end of the frequency spectrum. It carries a decent extension into the low sub bass for an all-armature set, but definitely can’t be described as bass heavy. The 308 is quite a punchy sounding IEM, with a forward presentation that emphases the midrange and treble. Detail is emphasised, with the ticking on “Why So Serious?” audibly kicking in around 3:41, which is partly to do with the overall clarity of the monitor and partly to the lighter touch on the mid bass not masking the sounds.

While the bass is more towards neutral, it doesn’t lack for tightness or clarity, dragging all the reverb and texture in the low notes of the Mavis Staples gospel tune “We Shall Not Be Moved” right to the forefront of the stage for the listener’s pleasure. The overall tuning reminded me a little of the Campfire Audio “big” house sound, with the notes pulled towards the listener on the stage and given plenty of size. Vocals can shine on the right tracks, but the 308 is very upfront and intimate on some tracks to my ears, almost feeling like my face was pressed up against the singer’s microphone. “Since You Were Mine” by Smith & Myers is a great example – on the 308, it felt like Brent Smith was singing directly into my brain.

Speed and bite is definitely not an issue, with the Spyder being a very capable technical performer (as you would expect for a $1k bracket in-ear). It can verge on hot on some tracks, so if you are treble-sensitive, this may be an IEM that requires an audition rather than a blind buy. The cymbal work on “World On Fire” by Slash practically sizzles, and the guitars on “Holy Wars” by Megadeth felt sharper and thinner than they did on other gear I listened to on the same day. The sharpness does work well on some tracks, cutting through the bass on “Resplendence” by Foy Vance to bring attention to his gruff croon and the jangling guitars at the top end of the track.

Overall impression – very technically good, but possibly a shade too sharp and light for me.

img20220731112006_original.jpg

306 Supra – listened to on Fiio M17, single ended on medium gain vol 59
The Supra shares an identical shell design (just in a different blue colour way), and loses two of the treble drivers from the 8-driver config of the 308, and sports a more weighty, less sharp overall sound as a result. There is a slight emphasis on the sub bass compared to the flagship model, without too much sacrifice in overall resolution. It paint the music with a slightly more organic tone than the crisp and reference-leaning 308, relaxing back into the sound a little.

Resolution wise, the clicking is still audible around the 3:41 mark on “Why So Serious?”, but definitely sounds fainter and further away than the ultra-clear 308. There is more of a roundness to the bass rendition, with tracks like “Hello It’s Me” by Sister Hazel feeling more fleshed out and weighty, but not sacrificing much in the way of texture or detail to my ears.

Similarly on “We Shall Not Be Moved”, the texture and reverb is all there in the music, but the overall blend of voices and instrumentation feels more musical and enjoyable.

Overall, this is definitely much more aligned to my listening preferences, and I would definitely take it over the 308 if I had to choose between the two. It was up there in my top 5 favourite IEMs of the day, and was one of the only in-ears I considered taking home with me (someone sadly got there first and bought the demo though). Very enjoyable mix of musicality and resolution from a 6-driver setup – in a lot of ways, it reminds me of a baby Balmung, which is pretty high praise.

img20220731112935_original.jpg

GT600 – listened to on Fiio M17, forgot to note settings
The GT600 is the new JOMO flagship, with a tribrid design offering 2 dynamic drivers mounted in a unique coaxial format, 6 balanced armatures and 4 EST drivers. There is plenty of unique tech packed inside this model (known as the “Grand Tourer”), with the DDs being the most noteworthy. The two DDs are mounted coaxially (I.e. one behind the other), with the front one having a hole cut out of the middle. There is some clever circuitry handling phase correction built in to the DD mounting itself, so the two diaphragms split duty between bass and the other frequencies without any coherence or phase cancellation issues. If I’m honest, Joseph’s very kind explanation went a little over my head, but safe to say that between that and the 6-crossover design, this isn’t an IEM that has just been thrown together.

The shell design is on the sleek and dark side, and is quite large. It actually fit me worse than the 308 and 306 (which weren’t great), so I was even more reliant on seal from the tips. I guess my elephant ears aren’t the best match for JOMO’s universal shell design – your mileage may vary.

Moving on to the important bit: the GT600 sounds fantastic. As in “best of show” fantastic. It doesn’t hit you straight away, but even on first listen, there isn’t anything you can pick out that the GT600 does badly. It follows the mainly W shaped house sound of the other models I listened to, with a tuning that is more sculpted than neutral.

Sub bass is voluminous but tight, “Heaven” by Emile Sande sounding fat but grippy. “Palladio” by Escala again sounds fat but textured and very well controlled with the cello notes (although the north of neutral bass quantity did make it slightly more difficult to hear the click sound in the early part of the track – show conditions may have played a part there though).

Playing “Why So Serious?”, the sub bass rumble is physically powerful, and the ticking sound that is one of my detail barometers comes in around 3:42, which again is pretty impressive. The baritone male vocal in the chorus on “We Shall Not Be Moved” is sublime, sounding clear and resolving and standing out against the rest of the vocals without dissecting the track or losing musicality. The detail and separation is just all there, which once you notice it is something that strikes you throughout the frequency ranges.

Physical impact in the bass is high – the presentation is on the dryer side, but it oozes texture and resolution in among the quantity, and it slams hard. Similarly, there is plenty of bite to the tonality of the GT600, with guitars sounding spiky and angular, and metal riffs coming through as chunky and aggressive. “World On Fire” by Slash fairly blisters out of the nozzles, the breakneck riffing resolving cleanly into the ears and carrying plenty of crunch.

The GT600 isn’t overly thick sounding, but the tone and timbre is spot on in terms of realism. Vocals and guitar both sound overwhelmingly “real” rather than stylised, which is a nice trick given this is definitely a carefully sculpted tuning rather than an attempt at neutral or reference.

This is highlighted best by the track “Whiskey And You” by Chris Stapleton – there is plenty of gravel and rawness in the vocal delivery, but the GT600 manages to make the country balladeer sound organic and rich at the same time, pouring just enough honey over the ragged edges to make it compelling rather than painful in the ear.

Overall, the GT600 has the right balance of the models that sit underneath – it is forward and large sounding, but not too forward or oversized. It is technically impressive across the board in all the usual categories (resolution, layering, separation and staging), and balanced enough to play well with most genres but musical enough not to sound dull or lifeless. Throw in a nice in-house cable (very reminiscent of the M2 cable that UM throw in with their higher end models) and a good looking design, and you have a modern day flagship that can easily trade blows with all the usual suspects in the $3k+ range.

For my money, this was the best thing I heard at Canjam London this year.

More to follow, when I can get the rest of my notes written up!
 
Aug 13, 2022 at 4:13 AM Post #310 of 344

miT

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Did you audition any of the IEMs with haptic-based drivers? (Noble Kublai Khan / FiR Frontier range / Jomo prototype being the ones which spring to mind). They pull off the most convincing execution of this in the IEM world in my opinion - sub-bass that can be felt. Obviously it can't be felt through the body, but it's still surprisingly effective.

BTW - I recognise the journey that both you and @netwiz have been on - E2c/E3c/E4c/E5c/E500PTH/SE530....etc until SE846. Happy with them for years (including a story of them being stolen) and then I stupidly walked into Audio46 on a trip to NYC.....that also lead to a Campfire purchase (Solaris) and then a U18t purchase.
Things have not gone well for my wallet since then
I tried a few, yes. I did not focus on the LF so the haptic drivers were wasted on me tbh. Next show, I will have more hours under my belt to focus on things like that, but I do not necessarily feel I need improvements. Will see though as they have only been used indoors so far.

FIR - XE6 and KR5 (which I preferred), but neither had the HF presentation I crave; most IEMs just feel like they are missing the last few kHz.

I tried the Jomo stuff. Even the GT600 missed the last octave or so, but it was closer than most.

Did not make it to Noble unfortunately, but considered going a few times.

I believe I enjoyed the Solaris when I was at Hifi Headphones, but the U12T beat them. The U18T is a different monster that challenges everything, especially your credit rating. Do not listen to the Subtonic Storm!! 😂

I try to be disciplined enough to just own one pair until it fails, but that is probably due to having other interests that suck up more funds than I could allow myself to spend on IEMs. 😅

I have ordered some different tips that have been recommended to find the perfect fit, but the real test will be when I take them out in the wild with me as I bought these to be used... Hoping the isolation will be a match for my ER4 as I originally wanted CIEMs.
 
Aug 13, 2022 at 4:32 AM Post #311 of 344

samandhi

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Hmmm, haptic response in an IEM seems interesting, though I didn't really care for it much in the Skullcandy Skullcrusher many years ago. Might be because it had Skullcandy sound to go with it though... LOL
 
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Aug 13, 2022 at 4:45 AM Post #312 of 344

weexisttocease

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I tried a few, yes. I did not focus on the LF so the haptic drivers were wasted on me tbh. Next show, I will have more hours under my belt to focus on things like that, but I do not necessarily feel I need improvements. Will see though as they have only been used indoors so far.

FIR - XE6 and KR5 (which I preferred), but neither had the HF presentation I crave; most IEMs just feel like they are missing the last few kHz.

I tried the Jomo stuff. Even the GT600 missed the last octave or so, but it was closer than most.

Did not make it to Noble unfortunately, but considered going a few times.

I believe I enjoyed the Solaris when I was at Hifi Headphones, but the U12T beat them. The U18T is a different monster that challenges everything, especially your credit rating. Do not listen to the Subtonic Storm!! 😂

I try to be disciplined enough to just own one pair until it fails, but that is probably due to having other interests that suck up more funds than I could allow myself to spend on IEMs. 😅

I have ordered some different tips that have been recommended to find the perfect fit, but the real test will be when I take them out in the wild with me as I bought these to be used... Hoping the isolation will be a match for my ER4 as I originally wanted CIEMs.

Did you demoed the Subtonic STORM?
 
Aug 13, 2022 at 6:39 AM Post #313 of 344

waveSounds

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@Jackpot77 Great write up. Totally agree with your sentiments about being able to get hands on, or the lack thereof, with a lot of Head-Fi equipment in the UK. I think we're quite far behind in the market but hope things improve over time.

Funnily enough, I found the weight of the XC - which both my father and I tried - to be no issue; and I'm certainly no ex rugby playing behemoth at 5'9 (although I was a pseudo-amateur bodybuilder back in my 20s). In fact, we both found its weight to be part of its appeal. Maybe years of colliding with other colossal man mountains have left your head a bit more sensitive than it otherwise would have been :stuck_out_tongue:
 
Aug 13, 2022 at 6:13 PM Post #314 of 344

miT

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Did you demoed the Subtonic STORM?
Yes mate.

I spent a total of around 4+ hours at Ahmed's table as it turns out he had 9x IEMs from my shortlist that I went to the show to demo, and I even got to try an additional one of his personal sets that was not on display. Funnily enough, I found out that my emergency purchase of the Qudelix 5K a few weeks prior was from his website! 😆

When he asked for my feedback after the Storm demo, I could not find the words to describe it; it was sublime and I was at a loss for words. My ears have not demo'd another set of IEMs to date that could compare. Definitely end game IEM, period. They genuinely made me question the need for full-size headphones, but disclaimer: that was only after a 15 minute demo or so of a set I realistically have no intention to purchase, so I did not pay the closest attention to its specifics.

Affording them is one thing but if I could justify the cost, I would be looking far more closely for flaws tbh. But for mere mortals like myself, that is unlikely to happen anyway as I prefer owning one set that does everything I want everywhere I am, so will be used commuting around London. £4k IEMs would be a tad suicidal... Even the £1k+ set I settled on is a risk, but it defeats the purpose of buying something and then not using it. And hey, phones are £1k now so there are enough other people to mug with far more useful goodies. (I joke of course... 😅)

Hmmm, haptic response in an IEM seems interesting, though I didn't really care for it much in the Skullcandy Skullcrusher many years ago. Might be because it had Skullcandy sound to go with it though... LOL
I went in blind with those sets, but they in no way jumped out as vibrating or bone-conducting headphones so may not be what you expect.
 
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Aug 13, 2022 at 6:34 PM Post #315 of 344

weexisttocease

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Yes mate.

I spent a total of around 4+ hours at Ahmed's table as it turns out he had 9x IEMs from my shortlist that I went to the show to demo, and I even got to try an additional one of his personal sets that was not on display. Funnily enough, I found out that my emergency purchase of the Qudelix 5K a few weeks prior was from his website! 😆

When he asked for my feedback after the Storm demo, I could not find the words to describe it; it was sublime and I was at a loss for words. My ears have not demo'd another set of IEMs to date that could compare. YMMV, but end game IEM, period. They genuinely made me question the need for full-size headphones, albeit that was only after a 15 minute demo or so...

Affording them is one thing but if I could justify the cost, I would be struggling for reasons not to purchase tbh. But for mere mortals like myself, that is unlikely to happen as I prefer owning one set that does everything I want everywhere I am, so will be used commuting around London. £4k IEMs would be a tad suicidal... Even the £1k+ set I settled on is a risk, but it defeats the purpose of buying something and then not using it. And hey, phones are £1k now so there are enough other people to mug with far more useful goodies. (I joke of course... 😅)

I have bought the STORM from Ahmed. If everything goes as planned I will get them later next month.

I agree it doesn't make much sense to use high-end IEMs for commuting, it's a bit risky.
 

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