CanJam SoCal 2019 Impressions thread
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CreditingKarma

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Noble, historically, has never offered that type of service.
I knew that it was a long shot but one can hope. If there is a custom Khan I guess there might be a few universals for sale on the forum. A custom Khan would be a great thing. I can imagine that it would only sound even better with a custom fit.
 
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imackler

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Can someone please give more information about parking
After you self park, bring in your ticket. You can get it validated when you check-in. The CanJam attendant will put a bar code sticker on it. On the way out, you insert the ticket and pay $10.
 
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Devodonaldson

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The great:
  • Grado HF-3 blew me away. Sounded like a souped up rs2e, with more extension and better soundstage, and for only $350. Came back multiple times during the day and was always impressed by it. Highly recommend giving them a listen. Talked to the Grado guys, looks like they're planning to start building them right after can jam and have them shipped out sometime July. Insanely good value, just sounds good, regardless of any comparison. I bought one.
  • Raal Audio's headphone I thought looked pretty jank at first - no ear pads, powered by speaker amps??? But no, insanely comfortable because it kinda hangs off your head, so it barely makes contact. It actually felt like listening to speakers, because you felt very little pressure around your ears. Piano sounded amazing. Just wished we could play our own music.
  • Khan - one of the best things I've ever heard, bar none. The highs sounded so crisp, extremely transparent. La Mar from Debussy sounded extremely lifelike, just like I heard it at the SF Symphony a few weeks ago, which I haven't heard another headphone emulate it before. Jim from Noble was super nice and friendly. Had a good time at this table.
  • 64 Audio's new IEM sounds great (unnamed, details released in July). Sounds much better than the forte IMO, with more body to notes and excellent treble detail and imaging. My friend liked the A12T of all IEMs there best, but I didn't get to hear it.
  • LCD-4/LCD-4Z was super banging. It's intense, but has some of the best bass I've heard, and really just sucks you into the music.
  • Voce + Dave + Blue Hawaii pairing at the Mr Speaker's booth, holy ****. That's an emotional experience. I remember checking something on my phone, but kept on forgetting what I was trying to check because I kept getting carried away with the music. You really just have to go try it out yourself haha.
  • The new Ragnarok 2 sounds great! Especially with the ether 2 :wink:
  • Got to meet Bevin and Zach from ZMF in person, Bevin is so sweet! Zach talked about the new "closed-verite" he's working on, going to be available by RMAF probably? Said he's aiming for it to be a more neutral offering, somewhere between the Eikon and Atticus. Super hyped about that.
  • Zircone verite sounded really clear/immediate (more than I remember my pheasant wood sounding). Auteur on Hugo TT 2 + M-Scaler was mmmm <3
The good:
  • Grado ps2000e sounded excellent, female vocals sounded great, and soundstage was good. But $2700... not the greatest value for me :/
  • CA IO had impressive soundstage and imaging, but for me clarity/resolution lagged behind CA's higher end offerings (like the Andromeda and Solaris). A pretty decent value at $299
  • Comet was surprising with its forward sound. Again, lacked clarity/resolution of higher end offerings. Weight of the chassis causes it to press against your lower ear a little, making it a little uncomfortable. A great deal at its price point.
  • Solaris sounded remarkably good, with great vocal clarity and impressive soundstage. It is a bit big/bulky though. IMO the Noble khan/64 audio options were on another level, but were also more expensive. Good value for the money at $1499.
  • Stellia had a remarkably clear midrange and good treble detail, but the subbass/bass was often a little too overpowering for me, don't think it was worth $3000.
The okay:
  • The subbass/bass of the Polaris was a bit too much for me, overwhelming the mids/impacting clarity
  • Elegia was a bit too bright/harsh to my ears
  • Hifiman's offerings didn't impress me too much, especially given the price point. I was surprised to find I preferred Drop's HeXX ($599) to the he1000 (~$3,000).
  • Periodic Audio's offerings weren't particularly impressive to me, but their switch-board to quickly A/B their in-ears was a lot of fun.
  • Abyss offerings sounded good, but had a really weird fit (one simply "hanged" from your head, you couldn't adjust it and it stuck-out instead of hugging your ears). Not worth the high prices in my opinion.
The bad:
  • The interface/music selection at the hifiman booth was a complete disaster for me. Whatever app the hifiman booth was using was absolute garbage to navigate, and had the most limited selection of music at the whole Can Jam. If you're looking to try their stuff, go visit other booths where they have the he1000 - the hifiman booth itself is not worth visiting.
  • Can jam people lied: self-parking was $32, not $10. RIP.
  • Sorry Periodic Audio, but the titanium option was treble murder >_O
Things I wish I tried:
  • ZMF pendant and the tube amps next to the ZMF booth (my mom said the Eikon + one of the TOTL tube amps there was the best thing she heard)
  • Ampandsound's stuff
  • A/B-ing the M-Scaler vs passthrough
  • A12T (my friend's favorite of 64 audio's offerings)

I was surprised how many things sounded great at can jam, and it was a great experience overall! Please go check out the HF-3. The Khan, the new 64 audio IEM, LCD-4, Raal Audio's headphone, Ragnarok 2, Voce + Blue Hawaii are must-listens.

Those are my impressions from the top of my head. Was there the entire day. Feel free to ask me questions if you'd like me to expand on anything! :D
Sorry to read you paid $32. They validated parking at the table where you buy Canajam ticket. That validation sticker makes the payment you give $10., The sticker is for $22. It showed on the machine as I was paying for my parking
 
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DecentLevi

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Brief impressions after day one (haven't finished trying /comparing everything), based solely on my own preferences / ear shape, etc.
THE SO-SO
Most all of the IEMs including 64 and Noble Audio. Most were too large for my ear canal size and painful to get a good seal regardless of tips. Not many truly-universal sizes. The few that did fit were a price I would never pay for an IEM, me being more of a full-size headphone guy. Campfire Audio had a better fit but I found the Andromeda way too bright.

THE GOOD

Campfire Solaris IEM
Extended, clear, dynamic, detailed but maybe lacking some lower rumble

Westone W60 IEM
Very polished clear / transparent, punchy sound, good although with slight lower roll-off

Focal Utopia and Stellia. Both open/closed are fantastic performers and have their place with the right chain but a little more on the bright side for my tastes

Audeze LCD 4: Great, but not quite on par with below
Mr. Speakers Ether C Flow and Ether 2 " "
ZMF full line of (all 5-6) headphones " "

Raal SR1a
This one totally deserves to be under "fantastic", but for me it lacks a bit of body / weight. However it's technical prowess is world class, rivaling perhaps the Stax SR-009 and even the Orpheus according to some. Super realistic reproduction putting you closer to the truth than perhaps ever possible with absolutely uncanny instrument separation and spacial rendering like you are really there. Perhaps some EQ'ing and a quieter listening environment would completely change my mind. Also I was underwhelmed by the dynamics / 'slam' or impact of drums, though these certainly have their own wonderful place in headphone or nearfield speaker land.

Kaldas Research Conquest electrostat $500 headphones
Fantastic sounding e-stats for such a good price. I would need more time with them to gauge the soundstage and dynamics, but for me it seemed to need a bit of tuning on the frequency response.

YMMV on all the above (and below)

THE FANTASTIC

Rosson Audio Rad-0
DSCF1366.jpg
New planar headphone from a former member of Audeze, and somewhat rare.
Humongous sooundstage, visceral feeling, intimacy / vibrancy... it's lush and you just can't even blush!!! Wonderfully balanced and very modestly dark leaning yet still wonderfully detailed and non-fatiguing, with fantastic transient response and overall coherence. Perfect 10/10 in my books!!!

Meze Empyrean
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Also a new planar. Much bigger soundstage than Utopia, more neutral with better voicing, less fatiguing (if at all) and better and low end response. This speaks volumes: Incredible reproduction at it's finest, perhaps without any fault at all. Sensational refinement and large as life! Not to mention the build quality / aesthetics itself is a work of art

Sennheiser HD-600 (with silver cable) and HD-800
What can I say, I'm a 'retro' guy LOL. Still have their own wonderful place depending on synergy with amps, and scale well as few do

Stax SRM D50 electrostatic DAC + amp
Len_Wallis_Audio_Stax_SRM_D50.jpg
paired with
Stax L300 (limited edition version) electrostatic headphones
SR-L300Limited-1.png
The vendor at HeadAmp told me they still have a few more of these headphones available.
Sound is so incredible mostly emotional adjectives came to mind: Romantic, transfixing, masterpiece. Absolutely one of the best sounds I've ever heard over the years, and for me more preferable to the Stax SR-009 due to having better low-end response and slightly tame treble. In fact the guy at the HeadAmp booth told me these are a (limited edition) update of the old Lambda series based on the Stax SR-009 drivers! Snappy, sweet, clear, super extended and smooth / not fatiguing. Hard to stop listening!

Quad PA One+ tube amp + DAC combo unit
Quad_PA_One_Plus_Headphone_Amp_03_Angle_High_Right.jpg
THIS is something special! Newer upgraded "+" version of fairly new tube amp from a British amp company Quad which has experience making fine tube amps since the 1940's. Balanced and SE outputs, high / low gain modes with bypass-able internal DAC that has exceptional performance.
Having owned the Euforia amp for almost 2 years of a similar form factor, I was blown away by the punch this baby packs!! Sensational fidelity that immerses you deep into the music. Transparent / neutral sound with absolutely sensational realism and impact in droves. Although I was more impressed with this than the Euforia, further comparison would be needed to confirm the differences.
This amp (paired with the right headphones) is hypnotic. It has the effect of being so resolving that you can be satisfied listening to it even if you know bigger amps are out there.
Note: this is the new "+" version which is highly improved on the former. This amp pairs well with many mid-fi to summit-fi dynamic and planars; tested with the HD-600, Meze Empyrean, Rosson Audio Rad-0 and HEDDphone from Hedd Audio.

Feliks Audio Euforia tube amp
euf1_1024x1024.jpg
Notable mention. Superb audiophile grade refinement immersing you deep into the vast sonic possibilities of the tube amp sound, pairing well with a huge range of dynamic and planars and customizeable sound with literally hundreds of tube combinations. I have owened this one for 2 years and it's a sure stable of sonic delight with major tuning capabilities.

Also on this list is the (+/-) $10,000 Woo Audio WA33 but it's in a whole higher league, which I've confirmed after trying it several times at various points

Only enough time for brief impressions. Here's what I have so far, with a breakthrough to report this weekend.
brief comments part two
brief comments part three
brief comments part four
Rosson Audio Rad-0 Review
most important last two parts here
 
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bacon333

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One of the best and busiest CanJams I've ever been too. It was tough to actually get a seat at the popular booths throughout the day. So I'll be going back for day 2. :)

Booths to check out:
- RAAL Requisite SR1a headphones - not only are they one of the very best headphones I've ever heard - it was one of my best listening experiences...period. You HAVE to hear them. I had a chance to listen to a prototype last year and regret not taking them up on that offer. One of the most natural sounding headphones in existence today.
- Periodic Audio Carbon was very impressive. Crazy amount of bass for tiny IEMs.
- Synergistic Research foundation cables with the Headamp mini GSX and Mr. Speakers Ether 2 was an amazing combo.
- Enjoyed the look and sound of the Grado Wireless headphone and the overall sound of the GS3000e
- HyperX Cloud Orbit has great performance for the money - great for both movies and music
- 64Audio mystery IEM has a little bit of hype and plenty of clarity. Quiet, nice sub-bass definition, decent texture. I prefer a warmer tone, however.

Photos here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/audiobacon/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2487843494785821
 
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elira

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Quick impressions:
  • Grado exhibit was nice, they had all the regular line and a couple of special editions to try. The new HF3 are really nice.
  • Hifiman had some of their lineup powered by R2R2000 portable players. I was not impressed at all. Didn’t try the electrostatic because they allegedly shock people.
  • The new Gaming headphone from Audeze is nice. I liked how it sounded.
  • Hyper X headset with Audeze drivers is basically a mobius without Bluetooth and battery.
  • The Kaldas Research electrostatic headphone sounded really good paired with the Mjölnir amp, not so good paired with the koss amp.
  • MrSpeakers had the Ether 2 and the 3 different pads available for audition.
  • ZMF people are very nice and helpful, I liked Atticus and Eikon, but it’s hard to A/B them, and different woods produce different results, too many subtle variations.
  • Raal booth could be improved, they have 3 pairs of headphones but all of them connected to the same dac/preamp, so everyone listens to the same at the same volume. Also they control what is played, so hard to truly evaluate performance.
  • Schiit needs to get a Tidal subscription. In the last couple of years they have had the same set of music that is unknown to me. Hard to make comparisons.
  • The new ANC beyerdynamics are good, but I don’t think they are better than the Sonys.
And I think that’s the most relevant stuff.
 
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been resisting buying the FiiO M11 and was hoping it wasn't hyped.

Turns out it's an awesome DAP for $449.
I gave the M11 a brief listen too as well, and was quite impressed with its UI speed. More importantly it sounded very good with either my EE Phantoms or my CA Solaris, and no hiss with the Solaris, at least what I could detect at the show.
 
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Sorry to read you paid $32. They validated parking at the table where you buy Canajam ticket. That validation sticker makes the payment you give $10., The sticker is for $22. It showed on the machine as I was paying for my parking
Hey thanks for the info! Damn, I should have asked when I was there, guess it's a good heads up for anyone who's planning to go tomorrow :p
 
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Wow! I have read (not heard) that the A12t was already pretty warm. Maybe what I read was not correct.
The A12t has bass north of neutral but the rest of the frequency response is well represented, so I wouldn’t call it warm per say. Hope that makes sense.
 
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singleended5863

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Wish I could be there for this one. Maybe i will see you at axpona.next year. The Khan is still my iem king and Solaris is the queen:thinking:.
After having chances to listen to Solaris and Andromeda vs Noble Khan and Katana I think to my taste the most impressive IEMs are Solaris and Katana.
 
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Must hear/surprised me: HE1(first time for me), Raal SR1a, Empyrean, Rad-0, Ether 2, Diana phi, Lyr 3.

There is so much ground to cover and more tomorrow!
 
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Who are interested in purchasing the A&K SP2000? It looks super nice and fit into big hands. The UI is very fast and the SQ is neutral clean, clear, liquid smooth in all spectrum but the bass is tight but not strong enough to my taste (maybe my musics don’t have enough bass?). It makes me remember the SR15 I own. It also costs $3499 and available in August 2019 if you are ordering in July. Picture is a copper one. It is available in SS too.
Listened to Eagle Hotel California track the bass is not punchier than the combination SR15 and CDM I have tried before (with CIEM Phantoms). Again this is based on my ears and taste.


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