CanJam NYC 2019 Part 1 Coverage Sponsored by Kimber Kable
CanJams are a time to meet old friends and make new ones. The NYC show is one of my favorite shows because I grew up in Brooklyn and for me, it also serves as a homecoming. The atmosphere of the Marriott Marquis is spectacular. Located in the heart of NYC and on Broadway it also offers the attendees an opportunity to go to a Broadway show or see other attractions in NY but for me, it is still my hometown and always exciting for me to visit home after being away for over 31 years. Ethan, Jude, Joe, Brian, and Warren are all great friends who I know for a long period of time who happen to organize one of the best personal audio shows in the world. The attendance once again was rocking the Marriott and our friends at Kimber Kable were kind enough to sponsor our coverage so without further chit chat we present the first part of our coverage of CanJam NYC 2019. We have an action-packed report with our masterful millennial Bowei Zhao and myself bringing you the best of the best. Over 60 companies all unique in their own way were showing new personal audio gear that was inspiring and exciting. The Marriott Marquis in NYC is one of the finest hotels in which to attend a show in the world. The first CanJam day went by so fast as I was covering the show it left me tired at the end of the day, but it was rewarding, talking with so many community friends and listening to the amazing new products and designs that were being offered. After the show, we headed to dinner at the hotel after freshening up and then walking across the street to see “The Lion King” with my wife Paula and daughter Michelle made our first day a memorable one we will not soon forget.
Caprice Audio founder Louis Alberto has been passionate about audio for over 30 years. He created Caprice Audio in 2012 with the idea that music would sound better if you isolated and eliminated noise. The Mosaic Hybrid filter was created to deal with noise, eliminate ground loops and improve transient response. The Mosaic also improves soundstage and imaging. The sound from music streaming with a computer can be noisy and for headphone enthusiast or people with high-end systems that noise can be a major distraction. Equipped with three plug-and-play connectors for three components the Mosaic will be sufficient to handle your amplifier and sources. The sound coming from the Mosaic was quiet and musical. There was no grunge or noise from the Macbook streaming using a Questyle CMA600i amplifier and the music had terrific spacing and air and was quiet and enjoyable. The Mosaic is a terrific solution to finish off your system to extract everything the system is capable of producing with a quiet and clear tonality. Impressive!
Caprice Audio Mosaic with Wave Stream Hybrid Technology The Mosaic is available in two models the Mosaic Black Reference($3,500 USD) and the Mosaic Silver Elite ($1,499 USD).
Paul Barton, PSB’s legendary designer and founder was on hand to participate in a panel discussion at one of the CanJam seminars. Paul is one speaker designer who understands personal audio and PSB was showcasing the M4U8 wireless active noise cancelling headphones. The M4U8 has a powered active amp/Dac built in the design and is both wired and wireless for outstanding personal listening. Whether you’re in your home or on a beach somewhere in paradise, the stunning design brings you the famous PSB sound wherever you are and priced at $399.
The Woo Audio WA33 is available in 2 colors, and the two-piece design starts at $8,000 for the base model and $15,000 for the tricked out special edition which has upgraded parts and tubes, the 2A3 design was sensational. Kimber Kable was in the room with Woo Audio showcasing their Axios design interconnects and headphone cables. Nate Allen’s Kimber Kable Axios at $798 in copper is pure Kimber quality. The braided design improved the transparency and soundstage of the Focal Utopias.
Jack Wu was showing his new $1,400 solid-state amplifier WA 11 Topaz. The footprint was small but the sound was big. The new design sounded promising with exceptional transparency and using the Sony DAP with all Kimber Illuminati cables the sound was excellent. According to Jack the Topaz DAC/amp weighs 413g and is a battery-powered, fully-balanced headphone amplifier using class A topology and is capable of driving the most demanding full-size headphones while maintaining an ultra-low noise floor for reference in-ear monitors. The DAC is an ESS Sabre capable of decoding PCM up to 24-bit/384kHz and up to DSD128. There is also a 4.4mm balanced input for use with balanced sources such as a modern digital-audio-player (DAP), home CD player or DAC. USB C is used and the battery rechargeable. The Topaz is portable and easy to carry and should be great for music lovers on the go. The WA 11 Topaz is an exciting product that will be sure to please people who want a small footprint with exceptional sound quality.
Miki Trosic CEO and brilliant inventor and tube amplifier designer for Auris was showing the new Euterpe amplifier that can do 1 Watt of tube magic. The Euterpe which has a low impedance switch to handle 32-80 ohm headphones as well as a high impedance switch, shown here driving the Sennheiser HD800 S, was making music with the built-in ESS Sabre DAC. The wood-clad single ended design tube amplifier uses 2 PL95 and 1 ECC 81 tubes, offering 1 USB and 1 RCA input along with a 6.3mm single ended output for headphones. Designed for the highest music quality it also serves as a headphone stand. The stunning design uses the highest quality parts and sounded wonderful while listening with the Sennheiser and the low impedance Meze headphone.
The Euterpe is one of the nine muses in Greek Mythology. The Goddess of Music is beautifully designed to keep listeners happy. Serbian craftsmanship is evident throughout the design and the listening experience memorable. Priced at $1,699 this is a high value and quality kit guaranteed to make you smile.
The Auris Nirvana is a truly remarkable design that can play any headphone on the planet. The Nirvana has achieved numerous awards for best sound in many worldwide shows and earned our Product of the Year award for 2018. The Nirvana delivers 4.5 watts of tube magic to your headphone. The Nirvana easily drives the Hifiman HE6se and creates a listening experience second to none. Anyone wanting the best in sound should audition the $5,800 masterpiece.
Romaine Vet has a big smile on his face and for good reason. Focal designs some of the best headphones in the world. The $4,000 flagship Utopia took the world by storm over the last couple of years. Focal came to NY with some nice new designs that are now available, including the new Stellia closed back design.
Premium leather packaging for the Stellia includes the copper traveling case and leather accessory case.
The Stellia priced at $3,000 is a stunning design. The 35 ohm circumaural closed back design includes leather on the headband and ear cups and features the full M shape Beryllium dome.
The sound was dynamic with incredible soundstage and transparency. Listening was an experience and continues Focal’s assault on the best sounding closed designs available today. Stepping up from the performance of their Focal Elegia model, an excellent design itself, yet if you can believe it, a step further in increased resolution with outstanding musicality and comfort. The Stellia is a masterpiece in design and offers an exciting listening experience.
Andrew Huang of MusicTeck was showing major products in personal audio from various manufacturers including Cayin, Bang & Olufsen and Effect Audio to name a few companies.
Schiit, one of the major success stories in personal audio, continues to design and redesign exciting products. The $2,399 Yggdrasil Multibit DAC and the $1,499 Ragnarok 60W speaker/headphone amp that will drive a set of speakers as well as all your headphones. The sound is powerful, dynamic and exciting. The affordable reference grade gear for Schiit offers good value with outstanding build and sound quality.
The Schiit SDL turntable sounded dynamic with a unipivot arm and an Audio Technica cartridge. Listening with headphones, the sound of the table is stellar with a quiet and liquid sound bringing the records to life and the SDL priced at $800 continues in the Schiit tradition of offering reference quality sound at value-based pricing. The SDL was one of my favorite sources at this year’s CanJam NYC.
The LYR 3 amp/Dac combo priced at $499 for the amplifier module only offers enough power to drive the Hifiman HE6 and adding the Multibit DAC module along with a 6SN7 tube makes it at $724 one of the best buys in personal audio. The sound is warm and dynamic with outstanding transparency, and the build quality is exceptional and built in the US at the Schiit California factory.
The $99 Magni and $99 Modi is built for sound and is one of the best, if not the best, buy in all of personal audio. The dynamic duo is made of high-quality parts at an entry-level price point. The sound is transparent and dynamic and offers exceptional value to price constrained music lovers, but does not skimp in delivering stellar sound and exceptional dynamics. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a headphone system that won’t dent the budget.
Jack Vang working the booth at Empire Ears, showing the X series starting at $599 for universal and custom in-ear monitors. With many different models to explore you’re bound to find one that best fits your musical preference whether you want a universal or one suited for your ears only.
Can Jam attendees listening to the $999 LCD 2 at the Audeze booth and enjoying the listening experience from the planar design.
Sankar with the $3,999 new look and more efficient LCD4Z with the new magnesium housing, features reduced weight from the LCD 4 and increased efficiency without compromising any of the sound quality of the LCD4. The sound of the Audio Valve $3,600 German amplifier was delivering 8 watts of power and making the LCD4Z sound exciting with spectacular dynamics.
Audeze’s smash new gaming headphone, the Mobius, priced at $399, is taking the gaming market by storm. The new gaming headphone provides you with a spectacular gaming experience with an unmatched live feel. The Mobius was designed to make you a part of the game. The Mobius Creators Edition comes bundled with the latest 3D audio plugins from Waves and is priced at $799 for the ultimate gaming experience available today.
Frank started his journey in high-end audio in 1978 and was quickly hooked. Frank’s passion for music and great sound reproduction is stronger than ever. His main focus is with high-end headphones and portable related gear. He is a regular Head-Fi.org contributor and is a co-founder of Headphone.Guru.