Welcome back for part 3 of our multi-part in-depth coverage of CanJam Chicago 2022 once again thanks to our good friend Walter Liederman of Underwood HiFi, https://www.underwoodhifi.com, the best place to find high-end audio at affordable prices, for his magnanimous support in sponsoring our show coverage.
CanJam Chicago 2022 was a blast and I’d like to thank Ethan and Jude and the gang for making it such a successful adventure. Almost all of my favorites and old friends were there as well as a lot of new faces.
I started the show with my favorite IEM manufacturer Noble Audio, who were really excited to unveil a few new amazing offerings, foremost being their new flagship IEM the Kublai Khan ($2,599) expanding on the design of the Khan the Kublai Khan features 4 different types of drivers, including a 10mm dynamic driver for superb bass and sub-bass, a bone conductor subwoofer, four Knowles BA drivers for mid-low and mid-highs, and a 10mm Piezo super tweeter. The sound was epic, one of the best sounding headphones, period. Also on display was the amazing $27,500 Gold Diamond Sultan created with the assistance of jeweler designer extraordinaire Chris Ploof this is a must-see one-of-a-kind item. Rounding out the wired IEMs were the new Jade ($1,199), Kadence (TBA), and DXII ($599). Of course, we can’t forget Noble’s fantastic True Wireless offering the Fokus Pro ($349), the best sounding and looking TW IEMs I have heard.
Dekoni Audio was on hand with their extensive ever-growing collection of custom earpads, IEM ear tips, headphone accessories, and of course the Dekoni Blue Headphone ($249.99). As I have found through experience (HERE and HERE) Dekoni earpads aren’t just a pretty face with a luxurious feel, they can make marked improvements in the sound quality of your headphone. New to the extensive list of headphones they service is the Abyss Diana. They also gave me a secret peek into the future and a new as yet undisclosed new product.
Pro-Audio company RME Audio is taking the consumer market by storm having had a presence at the last three hi-fi shows I have attended and CanJam Chicago 2022 is no exception. They were demonstrating their RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS Ultra-fidelity PCM/DSD 768 kHz DA Converter/Headphone Amplifier ($999) ADI-2 Pro FS R Black Edition Ultra-Fidelity PCM/DSD 768 kHz AD/DA Converter/Balanced Headphone Amplifier ($1,999) with Audeze LCD-2 Headphones ($995) and Abyss Diana TC Headphones ($4,495) to show their versatility and ability to drive demanding headphones.
Linear Tube Audio
Another brand I have been seeing a lot of is LTA (Linear Tube Audio) and for good reason, as they serve both the headphone community and the two-channel loudspeaker community with their luscious ZOTL tube amps. For your listening pleasure they were serving up their LTA microZOTL MZ3 Headphone Amp/Preamp/Integrated Amp ($3,700) and their LTA Z10e Electrostatic Headphone Amp/Integrated Amp ($6,950) an exquisite match for the Audeze CRBN Electrostatic Headphone ($4,500).
RAAL|requisite was on board with their arresting Ribbon Driver Headphones. New for the show was their soon-to-be-released RAAL|requisite CA 1A Circumaural Ribbon Driver Headphones ($2,000 without the interface or $2,500 with) employing an open foam earpad to maintain that open sound. They are available without the Amplifier Interface for those who already have a pair of RAAL|requisite SR1a Earfield Monitors ($3,500) or wish to use their extraordinary RAAL|requisite VM-1a Tube Ribbon Headphone Amplifier ($6,500)
Etymotic was happy to demonstrate their newest products, along with their tried and true pro universal IEMs, in fact, they had on display what they say is the very first universal IEM along with the original sonic test report. Etymotic is extremely proud of their new Etymotic EVO Multi-Driver Earphone that comes in four different flavors ranging from $499.99 to $624.99. Westone Audio on the other hand are introducing two completely new lines of IEMs the MACH series and the Pro X series. The MACH series has eight offerings starting at $299.99 for the MACH 10 single driver going up to the MACH 80 eight-driver IEM for $1,599.99. The Pro X series is an updated version of their famous UM Series with one, two, three, and five Balanced Armature versions starting with the Pro X10 at $174.99 and ending at the Pro X50 at $649.99.
CEntrance was launching their new CEntrance DACmini 2 Balanced Desktop DAC/amp ($1,850) the first part of what originally was meant to be part of a three-piece music server system including an Apple MAC mini and a CEntrance Amp mini tube amp which I believe is still in development. They also had their CEntrance HiFi-M8 V2 Portable Reference USB DAC/Amp ($749.99) and CEntrance Ampersand Portable Balanced Headphone Amplifier ($749.99) on display for attendees to listen to.
Jerry Harvey Audio
JH Audio was showing their newest IEM the 16-driver Sharona (starting from $2,299) which features an all-new Knowles RAU Quad Supertweeter and a true 4-way crossover.
Ferrum Audio/Atlas Cables
Ferrum Audio premiered their new Ferrum Audio ERCO (pronounced ertso) DAC/Headphone Amplifier ($2,395) designed to work with their Ferrum Audio HYPSOS Power Supply ($1,195) to provide noise-free, stellar sound. Of course, their Ferrum Audio OOR Balanced Headphone Amplifier ($1,995) was also on show. Everything was wired using Atlas Cables cables, and what I found most intriguing was their Atlas Grun Coherent Earthing System which allowed the cable shield to be connected directly to a grounded outlet.
Stay tuned for part 4 of our CanJam Chicago 2022 coverage sponsored by Underwood HiFi.