CanJam NYC 2024 Part 1

First of all, I want to congratulate Jude and his crew for an outstanding show. This was the largest CanJam NYC I’ve attended, from both the number of vendors to the number of attendees. Every chair at every booth was 2 and often 3 deep with people waiting to listen. 


My first stop was to visit Oz Turan of High End by Oz, the US distributor for Viva Audio. He and Chris Moore, co-owner of Chicago-based retailer Mimic Audio, were showing 3 amps and a DAC from Viva Audio. 

On the electrostatic side of the room, assorted Stax and the HiFiMan Shangri-La headphones were playing through the Viva Egoista STX amp ($23,750)  which was being fed by an Aurender streamer and an EMM DAC, 

On the dynamic side of the room, the easily identifiable Viva Egoista 845 ($22,000) was being fed by the Viva Numerico DAC ($26,000) and in turn was driving a bevy of the hottest headphones including the HifiMan Susvara, ModHouse Tungsten, Dan Clark E3, and Abyss Diana MR (with JPS Labs cable). 

Also on the dynamic side was the world premiere of the new Viva Egoista 2A3 amp ($15,550) being fed by an EMM DAC.  

I listened to the new 2A3 amp with the Diana’s and was very impressed.  My notes include ‘WOW!’ And ‘So Musical!’ 


Next stop was to German headphone maker, HEDD Audio

Dr. Freddie Knop was showing his HEDD 2 ($2,000)…the 2nd generation headphone that uses the same driver as Gen 1 (which is good, since I loved the sound of that headphone) but focused on weight reduction and comfort. This iteration is 25% lighter while maintaining the build quality and sonics of Gen 1.  He also reworked the headband for greater comfort during long listening sessions. 

I listened to the HEDD2 through the outstanding Benchmark HPA4 headphone amp and can confirm that they managed to keep all of the sonic goodness while making a headphone I could wear for hours. In a world of $5,000+ headphones, the HEDD2 represent a real value. 


Next, I moved on to listen to a Chinese manufacturer that has been disrupting the industry the last few years with DACs and amps that measure spectacularly well for a very fair price. Hailin Huang guided me through the three systems they were showing. 

First up was their D90 III Discrete DAC ($TBD) feeding the A90 Discrete amp ($599). The DAC features what they call their DSM Technology. The D90 features a proprietary 16-element PSRM (Precision Stream Reconstruction Matrix) module while the more expensive D900 has a 32-element module. When I asked what made the 32 element better, I was told simply ‘more is better’. OK. The amp features 2 inputs (SE and Balanced) and has both SE and Balanced outputs in a small and attractive case. Power at the Balanced out is 9.8w/ch.

Speaking of the D900, it was featured in the 2nd system, driving an A900 Balanced amp. Both featured a larger case with a more advanced display.  The A900 gives you 10+ watts at the balanced out.

Lastly, the DXP all-in-one DAC Amp ($1,299) uses an AK4499 EQ DAC chip and the amp provides 10w of power. 

Linear Tube Audio

Across the aisle was the booth of Linear Tube Audio. Nicholas Tolson was on hand to demonstrate their new (as in the cases were overnighted so they could build them the day before the show!) DAC and Headphone Amp. 

The DAC is called the Aero and features a ZOTL tube output section using 2 x 12SN7 tubes. The D to A conversion is handled by a true R2R ladder DAC with no oversampling. The DAC will retail for $3,600.

The amp ($2,100) will bear the name Velo and will give you 1W/ch (into 8ohms) of ZOTL tube goodness using 2 x 6SN7 tubes. In my experience with this topography, 1w delivered an astonishing presence, even with hard-to-drive headphones.

I listened to the combination through the Dan Clark E3s and found the presentation to be warm and smooth with pronounced bass. No sign of ‘etch’ or brightness. 

Look for both units to begin shipping in late April or May. 


Next stop was to visit my friend Vinh Vu, owner of Dana Cables. He was showing off his latest cables, the Lazuli Voilà. These were specially designed for the HiFiMan Susvara headphones and will set you back a cool $5K ($4,494 until May) for a 2m set. I use his Lazuli Reference with my Audeze’s, but I’m going to need to set aside some time to properly audition these newest offerings in a quiet place. 


Focal had a large and well-staffed booth that was busy at all times. I spoke at length with a lovely woman named Megan who explained that the only thing they had that was new at the show was a special custom color of the Bathys Bluetooth over-ear headphones. This was an exclusive to 

What WAS new was the addition (through a firmware update) of a hearing test to the Bathys. Owners will be able to get a detailed hearing test AND the headphone will use that data to adjust the balance and tone of the headphones to compensate for any loss you have experienced. All for a free update!


Dave Nauber, CEO of T + A, was on hand in the booth to showcase two headphones and a killer DAC/Amp. 

First up was the $1,700 wireless over-ear headphones, the Solitaire T.  Despite being closed back, they had a very open sound

The 2nd headphone was the $6,900 Solitaire P. This represents the top of their line. They were being driven by the HA200 DAC/Amp ($9,650). The sound was reference grade. Extremely neutral.  If you don’t like coloration, these deserve a listen!


Empire was showcasing their new Raven IEMs. I say showcasing, but it was more teasing since the gorgeous gold LE version is sold out and never to be made again.  You can have them now in any color…as long as it’s black. Retailing for $3,500, they are among the pricier IEMs…but also among the best sounding! 

Inside, they have a 12-driver combination that includes dual W9+ subs, 5 Balanced Armature drivers, Quad Electrostatic tweeters, and a W10 bone conducting driver! The bass is FAST and deep while the treble is extended without being fatiguing. 

That concludes Part 1 of our CanJam NYC 2024 coverage, stay tuned for part 2.

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