London CanJam 2019 (27 – 28 July 2019) at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel. This year at London CanJam there was a strong showing of IEMs, new headphones with interesting technology, new DAC/amps, and headphone amps.
Focal of France has added a new member to their growing line of headphones. Their latest member is the Stellia which is a high-end closed-back headphone with 40mm Beryllium ‘M’-shape dome driver (5Hz – 40kHz), similar to their top of the line Utopia, but easier to drive at 35 ohms and sensitivity of 106db SPL/1mW @ 1kHz. It comes with both a 1.2m unbalanced cable terminates in 3.5mm jack and comes with a 1/4” jack adapter, and a 3m balanced cable terminates in a 4-pin XLR connector. Stellia’s pads and headband are made from grain leather and priced at £2799. Matching this lovely headphone is Focal Arche DAC/amp which process PCM signal up to 384kHz as well as DSD 256, priced at £2499. With this DAC/amp, one can set it to optimize to specific Focal headphones as well as allowing the user to set their favourite tonal balance.
Apart from the Stellia, on Focal’s stand there were also on display the Elegia, a closed-back headphone with 40mm ‘M’-shape Aluminium/Magnesium dome driver (5Hz – 23kHz), Impedance: 35 ohms and Sensitivity: 105db priced at £799, the Utopia, a high-end open-back headphone with 40mm ‘M’-shape Beryllium dome driver (5Hz – 50kHz), Impedance: 80 ohms and Sensitivity: 104db priced at £3499, the Clear, an open-back headphone with 40mm ‘M’-shape Aluminium/Magnesium dome driver (5Hz – 28kHz), Impedance: 55ohms and Sensitivity: 104db priced at £1299, and the Elear, an open-back headphone with 40mm ‘M’-shape Aluminium/Magnesium dome driver (5Hz – 23kHz), Impedance: 80 ohms and Sensitivity: 104db priced at £899.
dCS, from Cambridge, United Kingdom, is showcasing their new network streaming DAC and headphone amp the Bartók. It can also be used to drive a power amp directly avoiding the need for a separate preamp. With its network interface it runs at up to 24-bit, 384kS/s and DSD128, supporting all major lossless codecs, plus DSD in DoP format and native DSD. Sound-wise it does not disappoint and has excellent detail, spatial separation, and presence. Priced at £11,999, the very well built Bartók could present an all-in-one end game head-fi/HiFi solution for the lucky owner.
Noble is presenting their new flagship IEM, the Khan, at the show. Khan is a 6 drivers hybrid IEM (4 Balanced armature drivers, 1 dynamic driver, and 1 piezoelectric driver) with a stainless steel nozzle. You have a choice of universal-fit or custom-fit, priced at $2399 and $2999 respectively. From a brief listening, it sounded great, a little bit like a livelier K10, good stuff!
Noble also has a new universal-fit hybrid IEM on show called the M3. This IEM has a 10mm dynamic driver and an active balanced driver and comes with an OCC copper headphone cable, priced at $680.
Also on show is the Noble Kaiser Encore, a 10 balanced armature drivers IEM which has a choice of either universal-fit or custom-fit, priced at $1850 or $2099 respectively.
qobuz from France is both a music streaming subscription services as well as seller of music download. Their app allows downloading of files into a device so that streaming on the go is not required. Music file quality is dependent on the subscription package – £19.99/month for streaming FLAC 16-bit/44.1, £24.99 for streaming FLAC 24-bit up to 192 kHz, and £299.99/year for streaming 24-bit up to 192 kHz plus a discount on Hi-Res purchases. However, what distinguishes qobuz from other music streaming subscription services is that they have good coverage on all music genres includes classical and jazz. They also have interactive articles on artists, genres, labels, HiFi products, and CD booklets.
Raal | requisite
The Raal | requisite SR1a is a ribbon drive headphone and comes with a ribbon/amp interface which allows for a manageable load for speaker amps (from an original 0.2 ohms up to 6 ohms). To use the Raal | requisite SR1a, you will need to connect your speaker amp to the ribbon/amp interface. It is recommended that your speaker amp should have between 100w and 1000w output. One of the benefits of the interface is that it allows the user to try different speakers amps with Raal. If you are after a headphone that sounds like speakers with good density and an out-of-ear feel, this may be your ticket. The Raal | requisite SR1a response range is 30Hz – 30kHz and it is priced at $3499.
HeadAmp this year has a new Mini GS-X, a discrete, symmetric class-A circuit amp that can drive balanced headphones from single-ended RCA input! Mini GS-X has a lot of drive and sounds pretty decent in a user-friendly footprint. The Mini GS-X could also be used as a preamp as well, priced at $1795 or $1995 with DACT CT-24 stepped attenuator upgrade.
The HeadAmp Gilmore Lite mk2 is a small, discrete class-A circuit amp. It has a switchable Pre-Amp Output. Priced at $499.
One of the most beautiful looking and sounding amps must be the HeadAmp Blue Hawaii driving Stax 009 electrostatic headphones. Being a balanced class-A circuit with direct-coupled EL34 output tubes, it can drive 2 electrostatic headphones. This flagship amp can easily be someone’s end game amp. Priced at $5999 or with optional ALPS RK50 volume control upgrade at $6799.
acoustune from Japan has two new IEMs for CanJam, they are the HS1695TI (see above) and HS1665CU (see below). HS1695TI has a single 10mm driver made from medical grade MYRINX with a frequency response of 10Hz – 25kHz. Its chamber is made from CNCed Titanium and the housing is made from CNCed Aluminium. Its cable is silver coated OFC, 16 cores, fitted with a Pentaconn Ear connector. From brief listening, this IEM has good clarity, spatiality, and coherence. Priced at €1049.
HS1655CU has a CNCed Brass chamber and CNCed Aluminium housing. The driver is the same as acoustune’s previous models (HS1650CU & HS1670SS) which is a 10mm single dynamic driver with a frequency range of 10Hz – 25kHz. Its cable is silver coated OFC, 16 cores, fitted with a Pentaconn Ear connector. Priced still to be confirmed but should be around €750.
HS1670SS has CNCed stainless steel chamber and CNCed aluminium housing with 10mm single dynamic driver. The frequency range is 10Hz – 25kHz and the cable is silver coated OFC, 8 cores, fitted with MMCX connectors. Priced at €799.
HS1650CU has CNCed brass chamber and a CNCed aluminium housing with 10mm single dynamic driver. The frequency range is 10Hz – 25kHzand the cable is silver coated OFC, 8 cores, fitted with MMCX connectors. Priced at around €700.
Brise Audio from Japan makes a range of high quality audio cables for IEMs, headphones and portable devices. Each of their cables is hand-built and thoroughly inspected by certified cable specialists to ensure the best possible product.
Walter Liederman from Underwood HiFi made it possible for us to cover this show by sponsoring all the coverage for CanJam. Walter is one of the best online retailers worldwide who offers premium and affordable products as well as advice on what products will work best for your personal application. Check out his website https://www.underwoodhifi.com/ and give Walter a call for your audio needs.
Continued in London CanJam 2019 Coverage Sponsored by Underwood HiFi – Part 4 with gear from Chord Electronics, Innuos, InEar, Jomo Audio, Empire, Effect Audio and Vision Ears yet to come.