CanJam finished up with a flurry of new and updated products, all on display at the JW Marriott downtown Los Angeles. The venue was fairly large, and several manufacturers even opted to take their demos to more private, reserved listening quarters on the second floor away from the noise of the main hall.
One of the dedicated rooms was lovingly sectioned off for a rare appearance of the mighty Sennheiser Orpheus ($55k) electrostatic flagship system. Listening sessions were reserved ahead of time and booked solid all weekend long. You can catch up with our coverage of the system from the press release and also from our coverage of the Sennheiser booth from CES this year.
HiFiMan also had the most recent version of their new planar magnetic flagship on show at their table. The new $6k creation is firming up for launch and underwent a slight name change from the Edition 6 to the single phrase “Susvara”. Expect shipping to start around late spring. You can hear more on the details for this headphone from Fang Bian in person in our CES coverage:
HifiMAN was also showing their new Shangri-La electrostatic system at CanJam, which is priced to contend with the Sennheiser Orpheus system ($50k).
More info: http://www.hifiman.com/
Also making waves on the electrostatic front is the Sonoma headphone system. We first got a listen of these headphones way back at NAMM 2015, when their were still very much just in a prototype form. The newest demo is a much more flushed out endeavor, with quiet a bit of hardware going on in the digital end of things.
The system utilizes a different voltage and connector type than the current electrostatic leader Stax. It is not intended to be used with any other amplifier other than the one that it ships with but is connector rich and compatible with DSD and all manner of high resolution file formats (no MQA just yet). The $4,995 system is shipping to dealers next week (4/24).
1More had the follow up to their successful $99 Triple Driver IEM on full display. The Quad is, of course, 4 drivers this time around, and retails for $199. Perhaps even more intriguing was a refined, more polished version of the new Triple Driver Over-Ear, which utilizes a piezo ceramic tweeter and multiple drivers in a rare configuration for a full-sized headphone. You can see our coverage of the new lineup from our time with the team at PepCom this year. You can also check out our full review of the Triple driver here.
V-Moda had both the new Crossfade 2 Wireless and bluetooth speaker Remix up and running for attendees to experience first hand. The new wireless headphone sounds extremely well through-out, wireless or in a wired mode (it does both). You can find more impressions of the product in our full review here, and the latest updates from V-Moda from PepCom, including more details about the recently released wireless Forza IEMs (shipping 4/19, starting at $179).
A few members from the RHA team based out of Glasgow, Scotland made the long trek across the pond to join us for the celebration of all things headphone. The crew is always a delightful bunch and the new lineup of ceramic-driver IEMs and DACAMP L1 has done very well for the company. RHA is one of the few companies have Apple distribution as an endorsement for their brand, the IEM manufacturer has unusually far-reaching accessibility for the relatively small pond of personal audiophile companies. More fun is no doubt on the horizon for the UK company, but for now you can check out all the current products from our coverage at RMAF.
More info: https://www.rha-audio.com/
Blue Microphones had a finalized version of their self-powered, dual-driver, noise-cancelling Satellite headphone that we first saw at CES in prototype form. Also in tow were the amp-included Sadie ($399) and Ella ($699) headphones, helping rounding out a very fun booth to stop by at the show. The company even brought along a high-end large diaphragm Bottle microphone ($4k), the product category they are most well known for, and let attendees hear the playthrough from mic to self-amped headphone. The effect is well… effective. The straight line feed was a very interesting experience, and one that differs quite a bit from sound that has gone onto tape and back off again.
Sam from Echobox is prepping for the launch of the company’s portable player, the Explorer DAP ($599). The wood-covered player is in the final stages of updates and almost ready for shipping. In the meantime, consumers can still enjoy with Echobox’s IEMs including the original Finder Titanium ($229), the Traveler ($99, available next month) and the new flagship Nomad ($399, available June 19th). Click on the video above to hear more of the details straight from Sam, official ship date for the Explorer player is also June 19th.
We caught up with all the new announcements from Beyerdynamic at RMAF and NAMM this year, but finalized packaging and flushed out presentations were still in flux. The new Xelento IEM ($1k) from Beyer is the newest edition to the lineup and hopes to put a dent in the growing population of premium universal-fit IEMs feeding the market. The build and finish of the tesla-driver earphone looked pretty good at NAMM, the company’s tagline is “an audible piece of jewellry” fits the part on the aesthetic front. Also new to the fold this year is the mid priced over-ear headphones Amrion Home and 1990 Pro ($599 each) and a video gaming variant of the Custom One headphone called the Custom Game ($209).
On Amazon: Xelento
Campfire Audio brought out its entire line of new IEMs and ALO branded portable amplifiers. We were completely blown away by the sound of the Andromeda in our review, and since then Campfire has released a new flagship called the Vega ($1,299). Instead of the balanced armature drivers like the rest of the lineup, the Vega employs a single diamond-coated dynamic driver “on the business end”. Ken Ball of ALO takes us through the rest of the details in the video embed above.
More info: https://www.campfireaudio.com/shop/vega/
Dan Clark from Mr.Speakers was showcasing his new, more portable AEON closed back headphone ($799). We got a chance to review the planar and writer Dan Browdy’s response was very positive, saying the AEON is “arguably better than anything else he’s created before”. Paired with ampsandsound tube amplifier and a Schiit Yggdrasil DAC, the show floor table was consistently filled to capacity for listens to the flagship closed back Ether C Flow ($1,799) and open back variant.
Dan himself having some fun at the Atomic Floyd table. The mid-tier priced IEM-maker has universal fit earphones that range from $400 for their SuperDartsTitianum line to the more budget PowerJax at $149.
Overall the show was a good little stop for a weekend trip in the Los Angeles area. The new venue was much more centrally located for the bulk of the Southern California population and the LA Live setting allowed for an excellent choice of mid day eateries with plenty of California sun. The set of private listening rooms was also a nice touch for those serious about buying, although demand often outpaced supply for listening slots. Sandwiched up close to AXPONA and Munich, the show season has officially begun for audio, and things are looking good all around the board for high fidelity. Stay tuned to the site for even more updates as things get hot in April and May.