CanJam Chicago 2023 Exceptional Time!

Justin Wilson chief inventor and creator at HeadAmp was present both on the main floor with a booth and in the shared room with Dan Clark Audio.

The HeadAmp Grand Cayman was making music with the new STAX SR-X9000 $6,200 electrostatic design. Price is still to be determined and based on Justin Wilson’s design. The new tube design sounds exceptionally dynamic with great power and air. Preorders are available with a $500 refundable deposit this is a step up from the legendary Blue Hawaii.

Justin was also showing the HeadAmp CFA 3 dynamic amplifier putting out 15. Watts of Class A power. The clear top showcased Justin’s immaculate and perfect construction all handmade and designed by Justin himself and made in the USA. Listening to the Dan Clark expanse the sound was wide and effortless. Priced at around $4,000 (also TBD at this time, though available for preorder with a $200 refundable deposit from the HeadAmp site HERE) this balanced design is sure to be a huge success and the sound on another level from any other amplifier in the HeadAmp stable.

dCS had their specially designed Lina room showcasing the magical $31,150 dCS Lina stack, which included the Lina DAC, Lina Master Clock, and Lina Headphone Amplifier. The system is breathtaking to listen to and will drive any dynamic or exotic planar design effortlessly. Massive soundstage and performance are all uncolored with exceptional transparency and lifelike imaging. This system has pinpoint imaging and streaming of the highest standards. Read my full review and specifications HERE. This is an end-game system designed by a master craftsman at dCS in Cambridge, England.

The dCS Bartók APEX is a DAC and Headphone Amplifier in a single box. The unit was a detail retrieval monster. Listening to the $22,950 design which incorporates an APEX Ring DAC making it much more transparent than the previous Bartók. The exceptional design had exceptional layering with a fantastic midrange, while the upper level region was crystal clear with horns and drum cymbals sounding alive and real. The Bartók APEX is an exceptionally engineered piece that will drive all headphones effortlessly. Listening with the Meze Audio Empyrean ($2,999) I was hearing exceptional detail missing from my current system, Listening to Bad Guy from Billie Eilish’s debut album, I was able to hear background vocals better than ever before, and all in a musical and effortless soundstage.

The dCS Rossini APEX DAC ($32,800), with the Lina Master Clock and Headphone Amp, drove the HIFIMAN $6,000 SUSVARA reference planar to unbelievable reference levels of sound quality.

Georgia Dolan Director of social media for dCS was on hand shooting pictures and posting on the event. She also helped the team in the room showcasing dCS products.

Andy Reagan and his wife Sue were manning and showcasing the Dan Clark Audio products. Andy is the President of the company and was answering questions on the new Dan Clark Audio CORINA electrostatic design. Designed by the team at Dan Clark Audio it was being driven by the legendary HeadAmp Blue Hawaii SE Tube Hybrid Electrostatic Headphone Amp Reviewed HERE. I was astonished at the clarity and soundstage of the combination as well as the liquidity. Full specifications are also in my review. Simply put one of the best headphones on the planet in current production. If you want to hear realistic colorless music at the highest level, you need to audition for the magnificent CORINA priced at $4,500.

Andy was also showing the Dan Clark Audio STEALTH ($3,999.99) and Dan Clark Audio EXPANSE ($3,999.99) popular designs. The STEALTH was our Closed-Back Product of the Year for 2021 located HERE and the EXPANSE Open-Back Product of the Year for 2022 located HERE. Whether you are in the mood for either open or closed the STEALTH and EXPANSE will deliver exceptional music and liquidity. Read full reviews; located HERE, HERE, and HERE. And a serious contender for Product of the Year for 2023 is the CORINA design.

Stay tuned for my conclusion of CanJam Chicago 2023 with my pictorial. Meeting old friends and making new ones is always a staple of attending CanJams. Ethan Opolian and Jude Mansilla produce some of the finest headphone shows in the world. Meeting old friends like Warren Chi, Brian Murphy, and Joe Cwik with our many spins was eventful and lots of fun.

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Frank Iacone

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 contributor and is a co-founder of Headphone.Guru.


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