CanJam NYC 2018 Impressions (February 17-18, 2018)

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  1. AxelCloris Administrator
    CanJam NYC 2018 has finally arrived. Discovered new music? Fell in love with a new product? This is the place to share your photos and impressions from the show, so post away!

    If you want to stay up to date on the most recent impressions, make sure to click the "Subscribe to Thread" link near the top of the page.
    Sennheiser and Imusicman like this.
  2. Sennheiser
    891FE412-DE0E-4717-A192-6583366F4F70.jpeg The Sennheiser booth is ready and eager for a visit and your impressions! :wink: Take your own smug picture with the new HD 820... can you catch the convex shape of the glass? Any songs give you chills?
    volly, baiyy1986, Mshenay and 5 others like this.
  3. Malcolm Riverside
    Be ready for a long line to get in!
  4. Lookout57
    The line to get in this morning was ridiculous and disorganized.

    One person said there 2 lines, short for pre-paid and the long for paying. It ends up there was only one line.
  5. Uncle00Jesse
    I’ll start off the impressions as I just got back from the event. It was an absolute blast, thank you to all the organizers and volunteers who made this possible. Yes the line was crazy this morning and I initially wanted to complain but it moved relatively fast so it is what it is.

    I made my way around and tried a multitude of headphones and setups. The absolutely best thing I heard at the show was the Sonoma electrostatic all in one system. They were glorious. That right there is the ultimate bedside rig for pure relaxation with classical, jazz, acoustic rock etc. Bassheads need not apply. This includes the 009, mr speakers electrostat, and shangri la...yes it was that impressive.

    I was also very impressed with the mr speakers and headamp room. The founder of mr speakers was a pleasure to talk to as well as the guy from headamp who really knew his stuff and gave me phenomenal advice on my rig. Gsx mk2 was awesome driving the lcd-4 and susvara, although I just cannot fathom paying 6k for those. I love hifiman and own some of their products but it sounds a lot like the he1000 to me with a bit more space.

    The new Woo 33 is a monster amp. I listened to it for a while with the Abyss phi and Diana. The Diana literally looks like something from Skullcandy but damn it’s a little beast. I actually preferred them to the Abyss but not by much. Excellent excellent rig.

    It was extremely loud by the Sennheiser both so take this with a grain of salt but the new 820s didn’t really do anything for me. Maybe it was the unfamiliar source playing but it sounded kind of peaky and not relaxing. I never owned an 800 so take that for what it’s worth.

    The Schiit booth was cool, albeit again in a loud spot so trying to decipher differences between a yggy and a Gumby was nearly impossible. Did have a nice chat there though, nice group of guys.

    I definitely recommend anyone on the fence for tomorrow to attend. I had an amazing time.
  6. NaiveSound
    More picture plz
  7. K1030
    What a day. Arrived late but got enough in on the cans I could eventually afford. This far 3rd place would be the OneMore Triple Driver; gorgeous and real nice mids and great treble. Low end wasn't bad just wasn't tight enough off my X5 gen3...I'm sure they'd perform better with a stronger amp but I blview those as portable. 2nd place goes to the Dekoni T50RP Blue. Smooth AF; almost tube-ish. Very light, very comfortable, and beautiful. I can see myself listening to them for hours on end. And my winner of the day is the Campfire Cascade. So much detail and clarity in the upper mids. Treble sparkles without sibilance. Bass is tight, precise, and gets low without hitting the mud. Pragmatic design, ultra durable and portable, and mmm mmn mmm balanced. 1st time going certainly not the last.
  8. zzz
    I wasn’t planning to go to the CanJam, but I happened to be in Hell’s Kitchen this afternoon and felt that I would regret not swinging by. Going in, I was mostly interested in hearing the Abyss and the CA Andromeda, and perhaps the Chord DAVE. Here are some random impressions:

    Abyss was kind of a disappointment. I ended up listening to it in 3 different systems: the (noisy) JPS table, the (quiet) Woo Audio room, and the also quiet Wells Audio room. I admit that I came in expecting thunderous bass and tremendous body, but that was not what I heard. What actually captured my attention was how sibilant Abyss was in every setup—more so at the JPS table with the Mytek Brooklyn DAC and the Eleven-something (?) headphone amplifier I’ve never heard about before, but the same sibilance was present with the big Woo amp and the Headroom Reference monoblocks. There also seemed to be a disconnect between the lows and the midrange, so despite the decent and not at all overwhelming bass, the body of the music was missing. I experimented with positioning and the seal: from the tight clamp in the Woo room to the looser feel in the Wells room, but the sound didn’t change much. In any case, this was very useful for me to learn as it allowed me to strike the Abyss from my list. I haven’t tried the Diana because there was a bit of a line for it, and I also figured that there’d be little point in doing so as JPS headphones are clearly not voiced for my preferences.

    I also felt that Andromeda was another strike-it-off-the-list entry. The reviews often mention its sparkle and upper midrange sweetness, but I found it cold-sounding and uninvolving out of the ZX300 they hooked it up with for me. Maybe some tip- and source-rolling would make it sound the way others hear it, but I am now not tempted to try. I also tried the Vega while there, but somehow the Vega just wouldn’t stay in my ears with the Spiral Dots, so we had to switch to foams, and the foams made everything bassy, muddy, and muffled. Oh well.

    This out of the way, let’s get to the stuff that was awesome.

    The Viva Egoista STX + 007 mk2 was spectacular. The full-bodied sound reminded me of the best planars, but it was also electrostatic-detailed and fast with precise soundstaging. The entire spectrum felt seamless with nothing drawing undue attention to itself—drums sounded impactful, but not boomy, voices were lifelike with not a hint of hardness and just the right amount of sibilance, etc. Meet conditions, noisy floor, crappy source (we even had it plugged into an iPhone for a while), and it was still amazing. This setup almost makes me reconsider electrostats again, except the size, the aggressive styling, and the exposed tubes all make it impossible for me to actually have something like this in my life right now. I haven’t tried their dynamic amp, but the electrostat setup was beyond compare.

    64audio U12 and U18 (both labeled “A” on the display, but obviously universals) were also great, if obviously not at the same level of visceral impact as the Viva setup. I had to really push them into my ears to get the proper seal and thus the lower frequencies, and this gave me a quick appreciation of the Apex technology—if I were to do this with the iSines, I would then have to do my best fish impression for a while to get the pressure equalized, but here it just happened on its own. Fit with the Spiral Dots was great. The sound was seamless and slightly sweet. The presentation was less forward than the Utopia, but definitely not laid-back either. The soundstage is a bit smaller than with the iSine, but more precise. I preferred both U12 and U18 to the Tia Forte, which I felt had some hardness in the midrange, which made the vocals sound a bit shouty. In any case, if I ever feel like spending $3k on an IEM, this might be my kind of ticket.

    I stopped by the Audeze table, not really to listen to anything but just to be a fanboy for a minute. I tried the LCD-MX4 out of curiosity, and these really do have the LCD-4 sound with more comfort and for 3/4 of the cost. I felt they were just a little more forward out of the Deckard than the LCD-4, but that’s not a bad thing. Anyway, I think they’re pretty great.

    Chord occupied several tables next to Audeze, so I did get to hear the DAVE with LCD-MX4. However, DACs and amps at this level are all about the finer points, and I cannot possibly judge these finer points at the meet. I could, however, tell that getting the DAVE would not be a life-changing experience, so I think I can happily forget about it now. The user interface on that thing is also typical Chord nonsense, except without the glowing balls.

    Hifiman table was busy-busy-busy. The Shangri-La amp was broken, so everyone would plug the headphones into the Shangri-La Jr. amp (which itself was connected to DAVE) and drive them that way. The combination sounded like a decent electrostat setup and reminded me of the old Orpheus in its lightweight precision. Great soundstaging, detail, accurate bass, but something is missing in the midbass, just like with the Abyss. The Shangri-La Jr. headphones with the same amp were very similar, but had a bit of hardness/shoutiness in the mids. I would not pay $8k for this. Both Shangri-La amps were butt-ugly in person in the trying too hard to be cool way—lots of sharp lines and reflective surfaces that people manning the desk had to polish twice in the 15 minutes that I spent at that table. I gotta say that I also found the attitude at this table completely off-putting. People were polite, but in an English aristocrat talking to less fortunates kind of way—think Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Nothing to do with sound, obviously, but left me feeling eh.

    What else…I got to meet Jeff Wells. He’s really tall. I fanboyed for a bit by mentioning that I loved my Headtrip with LCD-4, but found it hissy with the Utopia; his response was “good, good” (it’s been a long day, and for what it’s worth, I really did not expect him to give a hoot). He said that all Headtrips are going to look like the Reference—taller and with rounded corners—in a couple of weeks and gossiped that the only regular Headtrip in attendance today actually belonged to Netflix, who are going to feature it in some upcoming production. He also explained how his amps handle balanced inputs, and they really are convenience inputs only, with the negative leg attached to neutral through a resistor. I guess this limits my Yggy's potential since this makes it run effectively single-ended, but it also makes me more interested in seeing what the Analog 2 upgrade does.

    The Wells room also had the Headtrip Reference monoblocks powering the Abyss in a setup that looked like it was competing for the title of the most impractical setup possible. I was not impressed by its sound despite people making the “mind? blown!” gestures in its vicinity, but I blame this squarely on the Abyss because I know Headtrip to be a great amp with the LCD-4.

    Finally, I chatted with Focal and Stax guys about their upcoming products, and didn’t learn anything interesting except for a wink-wink nod-nod from the Stax guy. Apparently/allegedly, it’s wait-and-see on the 009 follow-up.

    (And then I ran out of time.)
  9. GarageBoy
    Where was stax and Mr speakers?
  10. zzz
    Rooms off the main floor.
  11. miceblue
    The SonarWorks demo at the Platinum Sound Recording studio was pretty fun to listen to!
    Sennheiser and NaiveSound like this.
  12. GarageBoy
    What speakers are those? Which horn drivers and woofers?
  13. m8o
    Fyiw... this ... THIS, 40 year old rig kicked ass!!! haha HA!!!

    20180217_125815.jpg 20180217_130436.jpg

    Explanation... Thank you Scott (first photo, The Audio Traveler?) for taking the time and effort sitting down with me and letting me have a listen. We never met. I just saw him standing with this around his neck in the middle of the show room floor a minute after I walked in. I made a positive comment and next thing I knew he was setting it up and I was setting up my source. What a nice guy! It handled everything I threw at it with pure luscious sound. What a legendary piece of equipment that deserves a lot more accolades today than I ever hear mention.

    I got to and listened to FAR less than I'd hoped. My likes? ...

    FOCAL Clear ... aptly named. Period. Hahaha. And could have been helped by the Queuestyle amp driving. Used my Opus #1 optical out as source. What a nice engaging system. On my "would be happy to buy & own" list.

    ABYSS Diana. Yes please. I want. Voicing had a lot more presence than the big Frankenstein brother, yet still superb but not over the top bass.

    I DID NOT get sybillance cited earlier from its bigger frankenstine brother. Not at all. Bass was as huge as can be expected from headphones without it being 10" Tannoy Coax Monitor Drivers bolted 3" from my ears. Definitely a U shaped voicing. Yet the nuances in the midrange jumped out. An Extraordinary headphone.

    After a few songs I queue up the newest Maroon 5 album from what they used, Tidal [?]. I've had it on repeat since getting it for free after buying tickets to their upcoming concert. My friend and I swapped the two abyss headphones twice listening to about 1/2 the album and we were dualy impressed. Maybe we're not critical enough. Lol. I just loved both of them.

    But my 'best in show' goes to the Final Audio D8000. Wow. The greatest balance between dynamism and nuance i heard today, driven right from my Opus #1.... granted, it was at max output. It was minutes before closing at 7pm so i didnt want to be an a-hole and pull out my Mojo and keep the guys there after hours. I'll be back there Sunday.

    I listened to about twice as many things. So again, I listened to a lot less than planned. Don't take it to the bank these ARE the best ... just best to me of what I heard.

    Worth noting if you like the Senn 800 you should like the closed 820. A lot of similarities in their voicing to me. But both were a bit dry; could be the source/dac/amp. It was the only booth where we didn't have control of music choice and only one source for many stations. It's possible they needed a good buffer to distribute the signal; seemed 'drawn down' to me.

    Dislikes? No Queustyle. And NO A&K ... were they (the latter) never on the show page? I thought they were listed as an exhibitor, but not there when I just looked :frowning2: My number one desire was to hear and spend a lot of time with the Kann. What a disappointment. (Heard at the end, the guy that ran their attendance at shows resigned. So maybe that's why. Dunno. Still bummed/annoyed)

    And No Smyth ... But there, I know why. ... Waiting eagerly for my A16.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
  14. Darkestred
    Really liked the 1964 tia 12s and i enjoyed Advanced m5 dynamic i believe (if not m4 furtherest right) which was as close as you can get to the 1964 tia t12 for a fraction of the price.

    Did enjoy the Campfire cans and the higher focal forget the name.

    Thanks Giuseppe for the free headphones.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
  15. Ali-Pacha
    Sigma are flipped over on the second picture...and hell it's important with Sigma :D
    @zzz any picture of the Viva STX ? I've listened to a hidden prototype last october in France, paint me curious then :wink:

    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
    ToroFiestaSol likes this.
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