CanJam SoCal 2016 Impressions Thread (March 19-20, 2016)
Status
Not open for further replies.
Mar 20, 2016 at 10:35 PM Post #166 of 658

DimitriTrush

Member of the Trade: Musica Acoustics
Joined
Apr 15, 2012
Posts
219
Likes
23
Location
Japan Russia
Dimitri here from Japan
Just want to say hi to every one and sorry for not being there with my favorite gear.
(This year missed the CanJam Socal due to family business).
I am looking forward to the impressions and to the next meet in Colorado.
Also Fujiya Avic show is coming along soon. Come and joy the head-fi community of Japan.
Best wishes.
 
Mar 20, 2016 at 11:09 PM Post #168 of 658
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Posts
12,740
Likes
32,568
I was at CanJam yesterday and these are just some simple bullets:
+ Nice set up and easy to get to
+ Dangerous place to come, all the toys for me. But that big mall right next door for the wife
+ Focused on IEM's and Android DAP's . But the portable WOO amp, sweeeeeeeet
+ The Pavillion gave good space to accommodate all auditioning
+ I was hoping to see more Japanese firms. Only Pioneer,Onkyo and Radus
+ Great conversations, enjoyed talking with the guys at 64Audio,Empire Ears, Atomic and Canjyin
+ Radus is looking for US distributors. Their small micro USB and iOs connector DAC's are awesome. The micro USB has 60 milli watts but really increased the LG V10 substantially
+ Super Darts from Atomic really kicked, talk about having inline control for android DAP'S and phones
+Canyin I5 really sweet device, but they have layered their propietary UI versus what all other guys have done
+Empire Ears Zeus XIV that I crazy how well these things are tuned. I was not expecting as the whole driver thing does not really always result on a better experience. But they nailed it
+Noble, nice units no doubt from a construction perspective. Have mixed feelings based on my auditioning. But they seemed to be looking at Apple for marketing approach
+64Audio, extremely friendly and very focused on people auditioning with clarifications,etc. U12 really nice,made me doubt the whole driver conversation. U12 , EE Zeus XIV are very close
+JH I just cannot get "feel" their sound. I can't really put my finger on it. Also did not like the guy working the booth was with a vapor. They do not allow those on planes, starbucks,etc
+Alo audio, finally tried Layla, sweet units. I think they are very close to the Jupiter's. I really liked t ceramic housing
+On the DAP side the Android units will take over. Free software will be the big driver. X7 and I5 a very close. I liked the form factor of the I5 maybe the volume dial. Pioneer is the one that I believe hits th right value point. Onkyo will be challenged by I5 when both hit the market. Echobox is too simple, they need to add something else than just wood
+ Maybe I missed them but it would be awesome to have IEM cable vendors there to try out the different types. Only ALO was available for that

Great organization, great event
 

 
Did you by any chance take a picture of Cayin I5 DAP?
 
Mar 20, 2016 at 11:16 PM Post #169 of 658

chowmein83

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 3, 2014
Posts
705
Likes
1,423
Hey all, I had a great time at SoCal Canjam 2016 on Friday (March 20th). All the people there were awesome - at any of the many booths I went to, everybody was friendly and courteous, nobody tried to forcefully push any products on me, and was willing to answer the many questions I had about their products. For anybody that I don't mention specifically later, I want to first thank all of you for making the event as great as it turned out.
 
Just as a warning, since I visited a bunch of places this post is going to be extremely long. Sorry about that.
 
Some brief impressions follow for some of the booths I visited (I'm not sure if I remember all of the places I visited exactly):
 
Audeze - I'm not really a fan of their sound signature, but I had to listen to their LCD-4 (that $4000 price tag promises a lot). Do I like it better than previous Audeze headphones? Yes, because it definitely sounded more technically competent and somewhat brighter than their other headphones. It had wonderful bass too - lots of high-quality and textured bass that really made listening to music fun. However, I think that it sounds quite closed-in (small soundstage) compared to other flagships around its price. Plus the weight is killer on my weak neck. So nope, Audeze still hasn't converted me to their headphones quite yet. Didn't listen to the Sine because I was running around between a lot of tables.
 
Cavalli Audio - The Liquid Spark portable is really quite good. The AK/Spark combos they had there really sounded quite nice with Cavalli's signature sound (what I believe to be neutral with a slight hint of warmth), did an excellent job with IEMs (really gave my Etymotic ER4S some needed punch without sacrificing clarity) and were even able to power moderately power-hungry headphones. I'd say that at least with IEMs, the Spark is as good as the Liquid Carbon SE out. However, the HE1000/Spark combo they had there didn't quite do it for me - nice quantity of bass, but it sounded a bit bloated and the soundstage was a bit closed in. But I'm not sure how many people were expecting that tiny amp to comfortably power something like the HE1K. Still, it was impressive how something that small could even drive the HE1000 to that level.
 
I was also one of the lucky few to be able to listen to the Liquid Tungsten Prototype. The entire setup was an Audio-GD DAC-19 (kindly lent by @Stillhart) that fed the Tungsten Prototype. Headphones that I used were the Mr. Speakers Ether and the Hifiman HE-400i that I brought along with me. How was it? Honestly, with even only the Ether and the 400i, I think that was the best I've ever heard "Hotel California" in my life. Notes, vocals, and pretty much everything are presented so naturally, without a hint of sibilance at all yet still highly detailed. Imaging and layering are ridiculously good. And the bass kicks hard too. I would love to see how much further the Tungsten can go with even higher-end headphones. However, having said all that, I'm not sure if I would say that the Tungsten is better than the Liquid Gold (more like a bit different), because the LAu sounds ridiculously good as well.
 
Anyways, thanks to @mikemercer for facilitating the Tungsten listening sessions, and @Stillhart (and probably @conquerator2, though I wasn't exactly sure who you were) and the other Head-Fi'ers who were manning the Cavalli table. Nice to meet all of you!
 
Chord - I always thought that the Mojo was perhaps a bit overhyped on Head-Fi, so I headed over to the Chord table to listen (well, the Mojo is also probably the only thing I could reasonably afford without having to save up tons of money). But I got to say, after listening to it, the Mojo is the real deal. Seriously, it's amazing how something that small can provide some ok battery life but also power IEMs with great finesse while driving full-size headphones with relative ease. And it somehow manages to make lots of music sound non-fatiguing but without smoothing over all of the detail - a great accomplishment IMO. I thought I was going to get a DAP though I may now have to reconsider it since pairing the Mojo with my smartphone truly sounded awesome. For me, the Mojo was one of the standouts of the show. Thanks to John Franks for personally and patiently answering my questions!
 
Fiio/Soundmagic/TekFx - Took me a while to find Fiio at CanJam, since neither they nor TekFx (whom Jude said would be representing Fiio in his preview video) were directly listed in the official guidebook. However, once I found them, I found two friendly chaps there, Jack and Jason, willing to talk headphones. I mainly came here to try out Fiio's K5, which for only around $110 sounds really great especially considering the price. It's also quite useful too, with lots of different gains, being able to act as a dock for Fiio's modern DAPs, and just acting as a good-sounding standalone amp for any DAC. Also, there I was able to try out the Audio-Technica M50 (a wildly popular headphone that for some reason I had never listened to) and compared it to the Soundmagic HP150. Overall, I would say the HP150 sounds pretty decent for its price. While the two headphones retrieve a similar amount of detail, the HP150 is much less v-shaped (M50 has bloated bass, really sharp treble, and recessed vocals), has a bigger and more imaging-accurate soundstage, and is overall the better headphone than the M50 though the M50 may wow people more at first listen.
 
Hifiman - Got to chat with Dr. Fang Bian again after now having seen him at many shows (2 CES's, 2 CanJams, and once at the THE Show). It seems that he is working on improving the looks and build quality of the Shangri-La and its complement amp after people voiced their concerns about these aspects - it'll at least look more like what their planned prices are. And the EF1000 looks quite a bit different than the prototype I saw last year - it looks more modern to me. The Edition S was also a pleasant surprise, as it had some pretty decent detail retrieval, imaging, and decent-quality bass despite being a dynamic instead of a planar. However, it isn't going to dethrone any of HFM's planar headphones.
 
Mr. Speakers - So one of the big news for SoCal CanJam was the electrostatic Ether. To spoil the rest of the story, I thought the Ether estat sounded much better than the open Ether, quite noticeably. Definitely one of the standouts of the show.
 
I listened to the open Ether mostly on the Cavalli Audio Liquid Crimson, while the Ether estat was hooked up to the Cavalli Liquid Lightning (not sure if tube or SS version).  While the overall sound signature of the Ether open and the Ether estat is similar, I thought that the Ether estat had perhaps slightly more and deeper bass - quite the achievement for an electrostatic headphone. The estat also seemed to present a more open soundstage - both slightly wider and deeper than the Ether open. While the sound signatures are similar, the Ether estat amazingly enough seems to retrieve quite a bit more detail than the Ether open. When strings are pulled and notes are resonating, everything just seems to be noticeably clearer, more textured, and more realistic on the estat.
 
Having also listened to Stax at the same show, I would say that while the Ether seems to be highly detailed, the Stax headphones (at least the SR-009 and to a lesser extent the L700) still seem to be a tiny bit quicker. Also, and more importantly IMO, the Ether electrostat doesn't seem to have as big or open of a soundstage as the Stax headphones. To me at least, the Ether estat still sounds more like a headphone while the higher-end Stax headphones sound more like speakers. However, the Stax really don't seem to have as great of a bass punch as the Ether estat - so at this point, I would say the Stax is probably better for orchestral and jazz (they simply can't be beat here) while the Ether estat is probably better for everything else while not being that far behind for the aforementioned two genres.
 
Dan Clark and the rest of the Mr. Speakers staff were not commenting on pricing no matter how much I asked. I think they also said that the Ether estat was at the earliest going to come out by Q2 2016, though it's probably going to come out later.
 
Improving on the Ether open (itself a impressive headphone) by a noticeable amount is no small feat - kudos to Mr. Speakers for being able to pull this off!
 
Noble - While I initially tried out the Savannah (wanted to listen to something that is similar in sound signature to my ER4), I ended up preferring the Savant instead. The Savant seems to be as detailed as the Savannah, but with some nicely-done bass punch that doesn't affect the clarity. Unfortunately, Noble's universal IEMs seem to not really agree with the shape of my ears, as I found it hard to get a good seal and when I did, they really irritated my ears. So good sound, but not for me due to comfort issues.
 
Schiit - I went here mainly to listen to their multibit DAC offerings that everybody has been really positive about (I've listened to the Yggdrasil once, but I wanted to try again). I came out thinking that their multibit stuff is quite good (better than my impressions the with the Yggdrasil the first time), though I'm not sure if they truly impressed me. They still seem a bit harsh to my ears, though I'm not sure if that was because of their amps. Anyways, I came out with the impression that they offer quite good value, and understanding how some really would like the sound (though it's not quite for me). Also, I'm pretty sure that the Yggdrasil that was hooked up to the Ether estat setup was probably also a good reason why the Ether estat sounded so good.
 
Sennheiser - Mainly wanted to listen to their HD800 and HD800S, which they did have side by side (though not at the Sennheiser table itself, but rather at one of their dealer's booths). Having listened to both the HD800 and HD800S with the Moon Neo 430HA as the amp and the Questyle QP1R as the DAC, I can say that I prefer the HD800S. You do seem to give up a bit of airiness and soundstage with the HD800S without gaining any bass, but it's noticeably less sibilant and to me, less artificially "sharp" while still remaining great clarity. IMO the HD800S strikes a better balance between clarity/precision and being warm enough to enjoy the music.
 
Stax - This was probably the first time I could listen to Stax in relatively good conditions for a relatively long time (like 1.25 hours). Sure, I'd listened to the SR-009 before with some crazy setups, but this was the first time I really felt like I got to really get to know what Stax exactly makes.
 
And I was impressed. Very impressed, in fact. Of course, the SR-009 and the SR-007 were extremely impressive, but personally I really liked the new L700. To me, the L700 gets a good part of the way to the SR-009's performance while only being a fraction of the cost. Sure, on the same amps, the SR-009 always seemed to have that noticeably more refined presentation (better detail retreival, more textured notes, slightly more precise soundstage, better quality and deeper bass), but the L700 was never far behind. In fact, I think I even prefer the L700's soundstage over the SR-009 - the L700 sounds even more open and a bit wider to me than the SR-009, and it simply just sounded more like speakers. The L700 also scaled noticeably with Stax's higher-end amps, though not to the same extent as the SR-009.
 
After listening to the Stax headphones for quite a while, I began to understand why Stax is loved so much by its fans - you really can't get that ethereal and open quality anywhere else, even on other brands' electrostatic headphones.
 
Overall, Stax was another highlight of the show for me, and I'm seriously considering getting a Stax headphone now simply because it offers such a different, yet addicting presentation that you really can't find anywhere else with other headphones. Though I'm going to have to figure out how I'm going to also afford getting it a good amp too...
 
Thank you to Tats Yamanashi and the rest of the Yama's Enterprises staff for putting up with my many questions about the headphones, and letting us freely switch between headphones and amps.
 
Ultimate Ears - Listened to the Reference Remastered IEM. It's pretty dang good - is as detailed in the mids and treble as my Etymotic ER4S, while perhaps being slightly (and I mean very slightly) more refined in those areas. However, the Reference Remastered also has quite the nice bass that seems to sound like what would happen if you gave the ER4S a bit more bass - makes the UERRM more enjoyable without really sacrificing clarity. Plus, even the universal demo version felt very comfortable and sealed very well in my ears.
 
Also had a pleasant conversation with the UE staff about their philosophies for tuning the Reference Remastered. All in all, had a good time at the Ultimate Ears table.
 
Ok, I really got to end this post now. Once again, I want to thank all of the CanJam staff and everybody for making the event a huge success!
 
Some edits for typos (I can't spell), and for some factual corrections.
 
Mar 20, 2016 at 11:45 PM Post #170 of 658

gkatay

Member of the Trade: The Audiophile Zone
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Posts
4
Likes
15
Hi all, Gary at Affordable Audio here, I was at the Chord table. If you have purchased a Mojo to be delivered, we had 2 purchases that did not come back with shipping addresses. You will know if you have received a partial refund from me (for $1). PM me ASAP and we'll get those Mojos shipped to you when they arrive. Thanks to all the organizers for another great Can Jam!
 
Mar 21, 2016 at 12:24 AM Post #171 of 658

Yeskey

New Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 22, 2015
Posts
39
Likes
16
A lot of rigs were very impressive, from the Chord Dave to AmpandSound's mega system that took the entire table. But surprisingly, the folks at Warwick Audio and their prototype electrostat system really won the show for me. Thank you so much Martin Roberts for letting me demo your system and I look forward to Warwick Audio's bright future in headphone technologies. Looking forward to the next CanJam already!
 
Mar 21, 2016 at 12:25 AM Post #172 of 658

mithrandir38

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 16, 2013
Posts
288
Likes
155
 
Schiit - I went here mainly to listen to their multibit DAC offerings that everybody has been really positive about (I've listened to the Yggdrasil once, but I wanted to try again). I came out thinking that their multibit stuff is quite good (better than my impressions the with the Yggdrasil the first time), though I'm not sure if they truly impressed me. They still seem a bit harsh to my ears, though I'm not sure if that was because of their amps. Anyways, I came out with the impression that they offer quite good value, and understanding how some really would like the sound (though it's not quite for me). Also, I'm pretty sure that the Yggdrasil that was hooked up to the Ether estat setup was probably also a good reason why the Ether estat sounded so good.
 

If you were listening to any of their tube gear, whether it be the Lyr, Mjolnir2 or the Valhalla, they can sound a little harsh with the stock tubes-I don't think they're very good, regardless of type.  Throw in almost any NOS tube, and they transform.
 
Mar 21, 2016 at 12:26 AM Post #173 of 658

darveniza

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 19, 2016
Posts
804
Likes
402
Location
Bay area
Twister6, sorry my pictures did came out blurry due to lighting , on dimensions it seems a bit longer due to top volume dial, the back has carbon fiber below glass. Weight felt like the Pioneer. Single SD slot. Outputs matching Onkyo. Software felt close to finish
Tehy supposedly showing it at the Chicago show
 
Mar 21, 2016 at 12:29 AM Post #174 of 658

Hansotek

These waters flow with our liquid mids.
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Posts
4,440
Likes
2,885
Any more impressions of the Wells Audio Milo?


Monster dynamics. I mean big impact macro dynamics and delicately textured micro dynamics. It made the Dharma hit HARD, in a way I never knew it could. Basically, zero distortion at any volume. We cranked it way, way up and it was clean as a whistle. Great imaging and soundstage. Just huge on the Dharma. If I were to sum it up in one thought, I would say everything just feels incredibly alive through it. It's a steal at $1,500, I feel like it simply outclasses the other options in that price range... And it really ain't even close. IMHO, of course.
 
Mar 21, 2016 at 12:35 AM Post #175 of 658

TooPoor

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Posts
672
Likes
32
Monster dynamics. I mean big impact macro dynamics and delicately textured micro dynamics. It made the Dharma hit HARD, in a way I never knew it could. Basically, zero distortion at any volume. We cranked it way, way up and it was clean as a whistle. Great imaging and soundstage. Just huge on the Dharma. If I were to sum it up in one thought, I would say everything just feels incredibly alive through it. It's a steal at $1,500, I feel like it simply outclasses the other options in that price range... And it really ain't even close. IMHO, of course.


Any word on a release date? Curious about how it'd handle to HE-6...
 
Mar 21, 2016 at 1:14 AM Post #177 of 658

brianmurla

New Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 17, 2016
Posts
2
Likes
12

Talked with Jeff Wells for a while about it . . . didn't get a release date, as he said the next step was figuring out how to make assembly more reasonable in that form factor. He was really pleased with the positive feedback it received both sonically and aesthetically. Also, said it will probably be offered in gloss black and silver.
 
I enjoy the sound of the Wells Audio amps and think he absolutely nailed it at that price point. Looking forward to seeing / hearing the next stage (hopefully final production).
 
Mar 21, 2016 at 1:16 AM Post #178 of 658

Hansotek

These waters flow with our liquid mids.
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Posts
4,440
Likes
2,885
Monster dynamics. I mean big impact macro dynamics and delicately textured micro dynamics. It made the Dharma hit HARD, in a way I never knew it could. Basically, zero distortion at any volume. We cranked it way, way up and it was clean as a whistle. Great imaging and soundstage. Just huge on the Dharma. If I were to sum it up in one thought, I would say everything just feels incredibly alive through it. It's a steal at $1,500, I feel like it simply outclasses the other options in that price range... And it really ain't even close. IMHO, of course.


Any word on a release date? Curious about how it'd handle to HE-6...


It does 15W into 32 ohms (or about 9 or 10w into the HE-6) and it is super dynamic, spacious and resolving, so my guess would be very, very, very well.
 
Mar 21, 2016 at 2:52 AM Post #179 of 658

LoryWiv

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Posts
2,016
Likes
1,584
Location
Northern California
Just got back home from SoCal CanJam. A major shout out of thanks to the organizers and great people who attended. Great gear, great spirits, stimulating conversation and outstanding music well-presented.
 
Still processing my impressions. Initial standouts were the Questyle CMA 600i DAC/AMP with balanced output, refined sound for a very fair price. The Cavalli Liquid Glass blew me away too but out of my price range for now. Woo Audio WA22 was another star for me, what a joyful, warm yet detailed signature, maybe the sweetest tube sound I've heard yet, but of course at a price. Empire Ears IEM's were impressive, Apollo in particular but I think I'll stick with my 64Audio A6's. I enjoyed my demo of the inflatable "bubble tips" at 64Audio as well. For over ear cans the Audeze LCD-4 was stellar, and the MrSpeakers Ethers weren't too shabby either. I preferred the closed back somewhat to my surprise. I was also pleased to hear the Fostex Massdrop edition as I'd almost pulled the trigger on these before, and to my ears for $399 they are outstanding. Perhaps a bit bass centric....but a fun sound retaining detail and some refinement so I may give them a go next time they are on offer at Massdrop. Also interested in the DP-X1 Onkyo DAP and it was fun to play with it a bit, experiment with the different lock ranges and balance modes it offers, and it's very slick parametric EQ. If they implement USB DAC for PC by the time of it's global release next month I think I'm ready to shell out the $799 for it to replace my iBasso DX90. My biggest disappointment was the Chord Mojo (I know, mine is a minority opinion) and for similar price I'm staying with my iDSD micro. I also didn't appreciate the Meze99 Classic as much as others seem to, sounded rather bland although competent.
 
All in all, a great show. I'll sort through my photos in the next few days and post those that don't duplicate what others have shared. Thanks to all for a great weekend!
 
Mar 21, 2016 at 3:17 AM Post #180 of 658

mangus

Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Posts
60
Likes
27
Location
Southern California
I had the privilege to audition the Tungsten with my HD800's and I really couldn't agree more with @hansotek.

While I had just been blown away by the Liquid Gold, the Tungsten was on a different plane. For me too, the bass was revelatory. I never realized the HD800 was capable of bass this good.

And you know the treble harshness in the HD800 that gets debated ad nauseum? Fuhgeddaboutit! Not a hint. The treble is just beguiling.

And that soundstage! Huge!!

I'm going to have to start saving up! :joy:


I didn't hear the HD800 with the Cavalli, but I did hear them on the Woo 7 with power supply.  Best I've heard those babies sound (I've always found them more clinical or cold, but the Woo warmed them right up!  Well done Wu!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top