CanJam 2016 OC Meet Impressions

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by purr1n, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    CanJam 2016 OC Meet Impressions. Please post them here. I don't think I am going, but I would love to hear show reports for you guys.
     
  2. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Let's get some different ears on the Ether electrostats. Also the Shangri-la if it's there
     
  3. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I heard the Mr Speakers electrostat. I had just come down from the Stax room and thought their headphones had a delicate sound. I understood why people say it feels like the music hangs in the air with electrostats, but I doubt I would own a Stax.

    So coming off of that, the Mr. Speakers electrostat was much more forceful. The "music hanging in the air" quality was diminished (although still there), but the low end was much more present. The odd thing is I had to turn the Cavalli electrostat amp up almost to max to get reasonable volume from them. I didn't get to hear the Shangri-La for comparison, I'll try tomorrow.

    I'm here both days but honestly if I ever came in the future, I'd just make it a day trip. I could have hit every booth today if I wanted to.

    I spoke to Jason a bit at the Schiit booth and finally got to hear a Yggdrasil and Raggy. That's a serious combo but at the same time it makes me feel better about going the Bifrost Multibit/Val2 route. I realized euphonics are more important to me than absolute resolution, and that revealed itself in the products I most gravitated towards: The Noble Savanna (which I ordered), the Ayre Codex, the Cardas A8, and the Cavalli Liquid Carbon.

    The Ayre Codex feels like the big brother of the Pono player, which I mean as a compliment, because I love my Pono and actually got a lot of positive responses from vendors when I would use the Pono as a source at the booths. The Codex is a pretty darned great DAC/amp combo that could be endgame for many people.

    Looking forward to the SBAF dinner tonight.
     
  4. burnspbesq

    burnspbesq Friend

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    Agree with Merrick re the Savanna. I don't have enough time with the old N4 to say whether it's a clear upgrade, but if you're looking for a universal IEM with good extension at both ends, relatively flat FR, and unusually good soundstage, give it a listen. Listening to "Monkey Man," I was really surprised at how far out to the right Keith's guitar was when it first came in. Excellent transient response; mandolins, high-hats, etc., are crisp without excess sizzle. IPhone drives them well enough to get LOUD. Definitely getting these, despite my misgivings about the color. Not ruling out going for customs.
     
  5. burnspbesq

    burnspbesq Friend

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    If the Onkyo player was $200 less, I would be all over it. Good interface. Dual slots. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Nothing obviously wrong with the sound (hard to say more than that, since the demo unit had almost no music with which I was familiar). Built like an old Volvo.

    But $900? Not feeling the value proposition.
     
  6. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    I resemble that remark.
     
  7. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

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    Any chance if they said when it would be available in the US or if USB DAC functionality is coming? Also, you can import it from Japan for under $700 shipped, that's what I did and am enjoying it.
     
  8. insidious meme

    insidious meme Ambivalent Kumquat

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    Here's to the few SBAF folks that I have seen for Friday night dinner and Saturday craziness. I enjoyed being with you folk, and all know that it's all in fun when we have conversations.

    That said a couple of notes:

    1. There were visibly less people at the Can Jam today than what I saw last year. Not sure why, but there wasn't alot of the bustle of last year. Of course, that meant more openings at tables for people to check out vendor wares.

    2. The member showcase is done. I've been told that Can Jam is a trade show. Period. People can go ahead and schedule their own meets on their own times. If people want to bellyache about it, go do it on Head Fi where those that run Can Jam can see it, and possibly do something about it. (I understand that this will be unlikely, but you never know.)

    No, a certain someone didn't quit audio. :p
     
  9. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    This show is dangerous to my wallet.

    I bought the ampsandsound Mogwai.

    What a glorious tube amp!

    I heard someone here bought a Kenzie from them as well.
     
  10. TooPoor

    TooPoor New

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    Any impressions of the Wells Audio Milo?
     
  11. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    I was very impressed with Empire Audio iem's... And love the 64 audio A6's. A little underwhelmed with jh audio Angie and jh13 v2. Darker sounding than I thought they'd be, and less detailed. Ended up buying the U6's with Adel and a Ampsandsound Kenzie.
     
  12. elwappo99

    elwappo99 Friend

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    This is why I stopped going to those big head-fi meets. My first few meets were really about meeting other people in the hobby and seeing what combinations worked well together. It was a great way to hear lots of new gear and learn more about the hobby that isn't easily expressed on forums (or not allowed to be expressed on the forums ;)). As time went on they gradually started feeling like trade shows. So much more emphasis on vendors trying to get you to buy something on the spot and less about the hobby.


    Also, why should drive to you and pay $20 for you to sell me something?
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    One of the most fantastic headphone systems I've heard at any price was at the LAX meet a few years ago. This kid (maccat?), maybe not even in high school yet, put together a turntable sourced system which included a Jolida phonostage, Crack, and HD650. Absolutely stunning sound with synergy as the tubes chosen were spot on for the components.

    Or at the Doubletree at the Bay Area when @n3rdling brought a Millet tube amp and Blue Hawaii with STAX Omega, 007, Sony R10, etc. and Frank Cooter brought his glowie blue tube mercury vapor SET stat amp with custom Electraprint transformers.

    The ever increasing insano prices at the tradeshows cannot be sustained because at those prices, we are entering old-fart audiophile territory. Old farts like me aren't stupid. We would rather get gear which has been established through time as being awesome if the gear is going to go at old-fart audiophile prices.

    So many people last year I heard at CanJam saying "Is there something we can afford?"
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  14. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    There's still plenty of affordable good quality stuff available to check out. I just mostly ignore the flagship stuff knowing that not only can I not afford it, but it's also not really worth it. The tech usually trickles down anyway
     
  15. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    I was enraptured by the Amps & Sound amplifiers. When I made the fateful decision to ask how much they cost, I puckered up my butt cheeks and awaited the "$3000 for the little brother, $4000 for the one with speaker taps" reply.

    When he said the Mogwai was $1700 I was like... wait, what? That actually sounds reasonable!

    Then we he said he was doing 30% off at CanJam, I was like... oh, okay, so normally they're a little over $2400? That isn't so bad, but it's a bit more than I could afford. Wait... no, the normal price is $1700 and you're giving me 30% off that? GIMME GIMME.

    He dropped the Mogwai off at my house after the meet and I'm a bit poorer, but really happy to have such a nice tube amp.

    I went upstairs and listened to the Woo WA5. If you were to offer me the Woo for free vs. the Mogwai for free, I'd take the Mogwai. No question. Unless I was allowed to sell the Woo, then I'd just sell it and get a Mogwai.
     
  16. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Hey everyone, here's my brief thoughts on what I heard at CanJam.


    [​IMG]

    Ether Electrostat + Cavalli LL2T
    : Almost the same Ether sound in stat form. Very precise sound, very clean. Good resolution. Bass is there but is disconnected from the rest of the spectrum and not quite as explosive as the best stuff. Overall thin and airy coloration over the whole spectrum. What'd you expect, it's an estat. Hearing all this estat etheral sound lately, this is sums up my feeling on them in meme form

    ESTATS.png


    [​IMG]

    Stock HD800 + Airst Audio Heron 5 + prototype ladder DAC: Great sound. Softer and inviting for solid-state. great synergy with HD800

    [​IMG]

    Hifiman ShangriLa electrostat system: Uninspired boring chi-fi sound. not necessarily gooey, but overall muted. For someone who wants an even softer and more sleepy estat sound.

    [​IMG]

    Abyss + Woo WA5 w/ EML 300B's: Warmer, but not gooey. Great staging and imaging. Used with stock Abyss, slightly bright. Woo can't really to bring thunderous bass dynamics to be expected with beefier solid-state output stages like below.

    [​IMG]

    LCD4 + Liquid Gold: @MikeMercer told me to give his LCD4 at the Cavalli booth another shot. This LCD4 either sounds a lot different from what I heard a while back, or the Gold is just kicking things into gear and tightening grip on that ortho driver. This is an awesome system, and one of the better ones I heard today. Audezes best headphone.

    [​IMG]

    Stax L300 + SRM 252S:
    Unrefined, lo-fi sound. Skip this.

    [​IMG]

    Stax L500 + SRM 353: Wow pretty good. More clear and present than L300. Closer to L700 really. Note amplifiers were not isolated in critical detail, but the L300 did sound better on this amp.

    [​IMG]

    Stax L700 + SRM 006tS: See my review. Still pretty awesome. Couldn't play my own music, but they had some binaural tracks going and they had that spooky real imaging.

    Other stuff w/o pictures...........................................................

    Noble Audio:

    I'd skip the Trident and Savanna completely. Neither was particularly impressive to me, both are mid-fi. Supposedly they're both retuned (?) Noble 3's and 4's so you might like them but I never liked those originals anyway. Savant was impressive to my ear although I found it poor previously. I think the new aluminum body must make a difference sonically but I'll leave that comparison to someone who will AB directly. Savant was very well balanced and not as compressed/funky as the lower-end options. I didn't bother with the "Dulce Bass". The rep told me that the Django was the closest tuning to the Savant, but t was just more congested and nebulous to my ear. I can safely say the Savant is the best performer.

    Campfire Audio:

    Upon revisit, I still find the Lyra to be the best option amoung the trio. I actually REALLY like the Lyra with whatever AK DAP they had handy. One of the better IEM sound's I've heard period, so it's officially on my "end-game" menu. I didn't hear the Lyra as having excessive bass although Ken tells me it's supposed to have the most of the line-up. While the Jupiter is certainly great sounding, I found it had a congestion (similar to Django above) in the mids. I believe this might just a multi-way BA thing. Gotta keep it simple with these things 2-way is good, 3-way max, beyond that I don't like the results usually. Lyra does lose points for not being the smoothest in the treble, but it's just so much more effortless and fluid to my ear throughout the whole spectrum. Hearing a lot of other mediocre IEMs makes you appreciate the good stuff Campfire is bringing to the table.

    UERR:

    Very much a win in my book. For reference, while I loved the UERM's dynamics and transparency, it was just too gritty and bright up top. The UERR locks things in tonally just right. While I never would have considered UERM because of listenability issues, the UERR has to be on my list now. I really don't think we're giving up any transparency here.

    Cardas EM5813:

    Had to listen to these again. Like I told someone, they should sell them at Sea World as some sort of underwater simulator.

    Warwick Estat:

    Boy if you thought Stax were compressed and boring you're in for a treat laddy! This sound is clearly still in prototype phase, but I'm worried back lack of excursion and overall technical ability of their acoustics. The rep told me that it was in fact the estat being over driven and not the amplifier. Told me max SPL was 110dB but it seemed closer to 100dB to my ear. We shall see how this develops and who decides to pick up this technology, but as it stands expectations are low.
     
  17. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    @OJneg -have you tried the 64audio iems? From the 6 on up, I love the airy sound of the ADEL equipped models.
     
  18. n3rdling

    n3rdling Friend

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    Planned to go Sat but I've been sick. I was able to go today for like 2-3 hours. I only listened to the following, in order:

    Audeze LCD-4: At the end of the day when Jason and I went over the HPs I heard, I named them all but knew there had to be one I was forgetting. It didn't come to a surprise to me on the way home that it was the LCD-4 because the sound is forgettable in a nutshell. Really uninvolving and compressed sounding, I'm guessing there's a dip in the presence region ala HEK. 3 blob headstage. Just lifeless, not a fan at all. I'd take a LCD2 or LCD3 over this.

    Shangri La: Actually not too bad. Pretty bass light and delicate sounding in general, but FR seemed pretty neutral to me. I think one unit sounded a little more lively than the other, some difference in the upper mids. I expected the soundstage to be bigger and more layered though. A good HP but that price is a bad joke.

    Jason's modded HE-6: easily the best HE-6 I've heard and a definite step up from the last time I heard his HE-6 (last CJ). I'm usually annoyed by the treble on the HE-6 but Jason has tamed that a lot here. I remember telling him last year I thought the mids were too scooped, but this time they seemed more even. If you're into a HP with lots of slam, give serious consideration to the HE-6 with Jason's mods.

    Ether stat: they sounded OK. Nothing amazing, nothing horrible here. I think there was something up with the upper mids being shouty, vocals sounded a little off. One set was distorting a little during high volume, kind of a tizzy sound. Suffered from 3 blob headstage like the LCD-4. These are just an early prototype though and for that I can't hate too much.

    Warwick stat: well I planned to listen to these but @ohhgourami decided to break them first. :p He unplugged them and they stopped working for whatever reason. I'm pretty sure they sound really bad, but interesting idea nonetheless.

    Stax L700: Easily better than Etherstat/LCD4, probably better than ShangriLa. I wanted to hear these for the first time, even more so today just to hear something that I could trust would sound somewhat accurate so I could look back at the other HPs more fairly. I liked these quite a bit. Think 009 tonality with the soundstage presentation of the Lambdas (ie. tall, large images). The better Stax still have much more precise imaging and a more layered headstage. Observing these up close, I was reminded of what build quality should look like at this price level. Just a nice way to wrap up the whole thing, seeing a product from a non price gouging manufacturer. Refreshing. The biggest deal here: they changed the pads, these Lambdas actually seal!


    I brought my HE90 clones in my backpack and we took them over to the HeadAmp table. Some people ended up listening to them and from what I could gather impressions were very positive but I was busy talking to Jason so I didn't get full impressions.

    Good to see the handful of you I talked to. See ya next time!
     
  19. ohhgourami

    ohhgourami Friend

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    Time to post my impressions!

    Milos' Clones: Nice to hear these again but out a BHSE. Easily the best thing I heard today as they did everything right. Great job with them Milos!

    Shangrila: I was listening primarily to the "black" pair they had. They had a nice bright open sound that I love. Their tracks were mostly unfamiliar and everything sounds good with Dire Straits. I couldn't test the bass quality and spatial characteristics though it doesn't seem 2D. The "wood" pair were less open and warmer sounding than the "black" pair. @No_One411 and @velvetx didn't think it was that significant but I felt it was very obvious. Overall, I really liked these though not when I see the price.

    Dan's E-stat Ethers
    : HAHAHA what a joke. The pair with the angled pads had noticeable distortion at peak passages. Both were ridiculously piercing with listening to Fleetwood Mac. The sound was completely left-right and 2D. Someone told me these were a game changer in terms of bass for an e-stat, but I didn't notice that. I hope these are very early prototypes. Try harder Dan.

    Stax L700: Their music selection on the macbook was crap but luckily @n3rdling brought CDs with him. I listening with the SRM-727 and thought this was a fantastic headphone. Nothing stuck out as wrong. This was the only thing that made sense at it's price!

    Warwick Estat: I only got to listen to it for 10 secs but it sounded super compressed. I'd say it compares to a $50 headphone. I saw it had a LEMO plug and pulled it while listening. The whole system ended up shutting off and by the time everything was powered up again, it was crazy distorted. Yes I broke it. The booth guys told me they got high praise about them as in comparable or better than Stax 009. Guy must have been lying or deaf.

    Amps&Sound Mogwai: Used my HE-6 as reference and these were not bad at all. Had decent spatial characteristics and a warm pleasing tone. Good mainstream sound that pleases everyone. Had borderline enough power too. I'd recommend the bigger brother amp for the HE-6 guys if they like the sound. It's not too expensive either at $1700 and $1800.

    Wells Audio Milo: Using my HE-6 as reference, it sounds like I'm listening to music underneath a tarpit. I was in pure disgust. This is the amp version of the Nighthawk!

    Questyle monoblocks: Very meh overall. Overall neutral sound but performs under a Rag.

    MicroZOTL 2
    : Belongs somewhere between not bad and good. Don't bother trying to drive an HE-6 or you have to crank it to max.

    HFM EF1000
    : SUPER bright! Go buy a used Krell for 1/4 the price that will eat it any day. Supposedly pairs well with the HEK which I've given up on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  20. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    No, I brushed over a lot of stuff in the tent. So many booths. Was only there for Saturday.

    It's like @insidious meme said, these things really have become tradeshows. A lot of MOTs exchanging business cards and talking about moving production to China and procuring stuff for their boutique audio shops to sell 4-figure crap to idiots.
     

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