CanJam London 2016 Report (13-14 August at Park Plaza)
The famous American audio shop and cable manufacturer, Moon Audio, introduced a lot of units in the event. Attendees were able to listen to Focal Utopia, HE1000, Audeze planars, Fostex and Sennheiser headphones as well as some amps, dacs, and digital audio players. We tested new Shure flagship IEM called KSE1500 ($2.999) and Astell&Kern AK380 ($3.499) during our stop at the Moon Audio booth. Basically, the KSE1500 sounds airier with clean and clear highs. Its resolution was nice and neutral spaces were noticeable around instruments. As for the AK380, it seemed to be a clear improvement over the previous flagship, AK240.Noble Audio: There is no doubt that Noble Audio is one of the most beautiful designers in custom monitor industry. During the London event, they displayed the full line-up in universal shape including the latest flagship monitor: Katana ($1850 USD). The latest flagship has nine balanced armature drivers, while K10 ($1650) has ten. We had an opportunity to test the Katana at the show. It sounded a little brighter compared to K10. In addition, transparency and resolution is very good. We also tested Django($999) and Dulce Bass($699). Django was more balanced regarding the quantities of frequencies, while Dulce Bass had a very good body in low-end. Audio Opus: Audio Opus, aka the Bit, did a great start to the industry. Their digital player Opus1 provides a big sound for its price and it is a real bargain. They have recently released an aluminum version of Opus1 and are preparing to launch a new flagship product: Opus2($1599). The Opus2 is a digital audio player that seems to be an upgrade over its little brother. We had a chance to test this new player at CanJam London. It sounded from a neutral perspective and it was more resolved than Opus1. We think that Audio Opus will launch a real contender. Jerry Harvey Audio: JH Audio can be considered as a pioneer in the in-ear monitoring industry and they have many fans around the world. The line up including Roxanne($1745), Angie( starting $1375), and Layla were exhibited at CanJam London. The Layla has a refined sound with smooth attacks and its custom version starts at $2750 USD. In addition, JH Audio has recently released a renovated version of 13v2 (starting at $1175) and brought a universal demo to London in order to give experiencing opportunity to visitors. It sounded detailed and transparent. MrSpeakers: MrSpeakers is located in located in San Diego, United States. Their line-up has already received positive feedback. At the event, MrSpeakers displayed their new models Ether C Flow and Ether Flow powered by a new planar technology. We tested Ether Flow ($1750) that was plugged into Cavalli’s prototype amplifier. The presentation was a little bit warm, but it was very natural as well as organic. To be honest, this combination was among my favorites at the event. Impressive! Labkable: Labkable is an audio shop located in Hong Hong. Apparently, it is a cable manufacturer, but its pro-shop is like a heaven for DIY’ers in audiophile community. Labkable displayed many cables in London, including the flagship Pandora cable, Takumi($620), Samurai($680) IEM cables and many different digital cables as well as a special unit for A&K players. The flagship Pandora($1250) sounds very impressive and it is a must to hear in terms of resolution. Lime Ears: Lime Ears was launched a few years ago in Poland. The company already has a good reputation among custom in-ear monitor users and stage performers. Lime Ears has recently released a flagship monitor called Aether ($1300 custom version) that has a switch to change the signature. We were able to test the Aether demo in London. It had a slight V-shape sound with extended treble notes and full low-end. Meze: Meze has been in the industry for a while and has already gotten good compliments about headphones’ sound and good-looking build quality. Indeed, Meze 99 Classics ($350) has a smooth signature and very easy to drive. Considering its price, it seems to be a real bargain. In addition, all Meze headphones are quite handsome! Final Audio: The Japanese manufacturer displayed attractive units from their line-up at CanJam London. Among them, there were beautifully crafted Sonorus headphone series such as Sonorus X, VIII, VI, and III. In addition, Final Audio exhibited several in ear monitors including dynamic and balanced armature driver units. Honestly, Final Audio produces terrific headphones and IEMs in terms of craftsmanship and look. Questyle: Questyle is a Chinese company that produces amps, dacs, and digital audio players. Questyle’s most impressive unit at the event was the golden reference combination consisted of CAS192D Golden dac, CMA800P Golden pre-amp, and dual CMA800R Golden balanced amps. This recent stack( the total is $14000) has been developed in accordance with Questyle’s Current Amplification technology. In addition, Questyle digital player called QP1R ($899) was displayed at the show. It was a neutral and quite detailed sounding player. Shanling: Shanling has been in the industry more than 28 years and now provides digital players and portable amps. They displayed the highly praised M5($500) player as well as the M2($200) and a prototype of their recently announced portable source, M1. We were able to test M5 and M1; M5 sounded warm, musical with a good background. On the other hand, M1 was such a small player and convenient for carrying in the pocket.
To be continued in the part three..