I always look forward to CanJam SoCal as it is my local event and it gives me the opportunity to hang out with Ethan, Jude, Brian, Warren, and the rest of the CanJam gang along with all of my Personal audio buddies both on the manufacturing and consumer end of things, as well as getting to experience for the first time new product launches by the very best in the business and attend seminars by those that make it all happen. This year’s show was exceptional for a couple of reasons, not only was there a host of groundbreaking products being premiered at the show including the Dan Clark Audio EXPANSE Headphone, the Noble Viking Ragnar IEM, an all-new version of the Focal Utopia Headphone, the ZMF Headphones Caldera Headphone, the Meze 109 PRO Headphone, and many others, there was also a record number of vendors in attendance, and a record number of attendees. We would like to extend special 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.
My first stop was RAAL|Requisite who were demonstrating their spectacular True Ribbon driver headphones and exquisite tube amplifiers. Of especial interest was their new over-ear model the RAAL|Requisite CA-1a ($2,500 with XFMR interface, $2,000 “naked” for use with an existing interface or one of their special designed amplifiers) which comes with two different earpads to provide two separate sound signatures. Also for your listening pleasure was the original RAAL|Requisite SR1b ($3,500 with XFMR interface, $3,000 “naked”), the RAAL|Requisite VM-1a Ribbon Headphone Tube Amplifier ($6,900), the RAAL|Requisite HSA-1b Solid-State Ribbon Headphone Amplifier ($4,500), the RAAL|Requisite PDT-1a Planar/Dynamic Headphone Tube Amplifier ($2,000), and the RAAL|Requisite PDA-1a Planar/Dynamic Headphone Solid-State Amplifier ($3,500).
It’s always a pleasure to see Jeff Wells and find out what he is up to. The big reveal was his new Dual Mono-Block Wells Audio Headtrip III Headphone Amplifier ($30,000) which was being fronted by the Wells Audio Commander Level III Tube Preamplifier ($18,000) and the Wells Audio Cipher Level II Tube Output Stage DAC ($13,000) as a price no object ultimate system. What’s probably more exciting for those looking to achieve epic sound at home are the new soon-to-be-released Wells Audio DAC prototype, which will be receiving a metal treatment similar to the Headtrip III and selling for $800 with a possible tube output upgrade on the horizon, as well as the updated Wells Audio Milo Headphone Amplifier now available with an outboard power supply for only $2,300, making what was one of the quietest amplifiers out there even quieter. And let’s not forget the deal of the century Wells Audio Dragon Level I tube hybrid Amplifier for only $1,500.
Southern California based Dealer/Distributor Upscale Audio had a lavish display of headphones, headphone amplifiers, and DACs including the gorgeous HiFi Rose RS150B Reference Network Streamer ($4,995) and the amazing Feliks-Audio Envy Headphone Amplifier ($7,799), which gave me my first listen to the new Focal Utopia 2022 Headphones ($4,999) with the brand new Cardas Clear Beyond Headphone Cable, the best sound I have ever heard from Focal.
Roon had a table demonstrating their universal player/network server software and file management system.
Benchmark Media Systems
Benchmark was showing their highly rated Benchmark HPA4 Reference Headphone Amplifier ($2,999) featuring THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (AAA™) technology in their THX-888 amplifier design, and their Benchmark DAC3 B Digital to Analog Converter ($1,699). True to their Pro-Audio origins, Benchmark is not a flavor-of-the-month manufacturer and only offers new models when there are justified advancements in technology.
HiFiMan were proudly demonstrating their extensive line of planar magnetic (and occasional dynamic) headphones including the exciting new HiFiMan Sundara Closed-back Planar Magnetic Headphone($399) and the magical HiFiMan Deva Pro Planar Magnetic Headphone($199) using their HiFiMan EF400 Balanced DAC/Headphone Amplifier ($599). Also on display was the fabulous dCS Lina System ($29,150) which you could use to listen to their HiFiMan SUSVARA Planar Magnetic Reference Headphone ($6,000) or any other of their headphones.
That’s all for now, stay tuned for part 2 of our extensive in-depth coverage of CanJam SoCal 2022 provided to you 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.