CanJam London 2018 impressions

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by m17xr2b, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    A very nice canjam overall and had a great time, too bad senn didn't attend and no one had the HD820. Took with me my modded HD650 with the wywires platinum cable, the WM1A with adaptors and the andros to compare. Had a few test tracks ready and got familiar with then on the Stellaris/Teton.
    Summary impressions in order
    Hifonix
    - Audeze LCD4z, beautiful cups, I really like the rounded shape and the paint looks and feels like quality. For a large head they have quite a bit of clamp just like the LCD-4.
    With 430HA, unknown source, sounded bloated, bass has boomy and lacked control
    - MrSpeakers Aeon, looks to small, like it would be on ear but quite comfortable, much better than average.
    With the same 430HA the same boomy sound, closed in. I tried my HD650 and boooooom. My guess they had some sort of issue with the source or I just don't like the 430HA but it couldn't be that bad
    -Meze Empyrean, I like the looks of these, one of the best headband systems, the most comfortable pads I've tried ever, they felt like a blanket for your ears.
    With Benchmark HPA4 and dac3 hgc, unfamiliar but quality recordings these sounded great, bass stands out a controlled extended and good weight, similar to the HD650, maybe a bit more extension, midrange is clear, nice tonality and similar to the HD650 smoothness, high end is sparkly but doesn't pick up as much detail as the HD650. Sounded surprisingly open, not sure if they're closed or not. We don't need another 3K headphone.
    [​IMG]
    With the HD650 I was really surprised how good the HPA4 is, sounded very similar to my daily amp the Peak/Volcano with my reference tube but not as extended in the bass. Great detail and glorious midrange, I wouldn't have said it's solid state since natural and clean is rarely found there.

    JPS Labs
    -Diana, looks funky, I don't like it but feels solid like it's big brother. No way I can have a proper fit. My big head means there is a gap at the bottom of the pads. Forced them a bit to have a good seal and used my WM1A. Sounded very balanced, surprised it had good detail a good midrange but lacked warmth.
    -1266 Phi CC, the new pads are far superior to the old ones. These are thicker and I have an improved seal. For abyss owners seal is everything so a nice upgrade.
    With xi audio formula s I was surprised these have detail, and quite good but can't dig out the plankton like a dynamic. Still my Abyss was single note mostly so looks like the Phi would have been a worthy upgrade. Midrange seems clearer and had no brightness whatsoever. They only had a couple of tracks and mostly instrumental slow stuff. Really wanted some thundering bass. I get it JPS, it sounds like a flagship, but it's still THE bass headphone, show it off.

    Hifiman
    My third CanJam with hifiman and every year they bring great stuff.
    -HEK V2, had the original of a while, V2 somehow does feel better and has better pads.
    With Auris Nirvana, god they were bright, not harsh but brighter than I'm used to. I don't know where the sovtek el34 stands but there must be better tubes for the job. They still had the 5-6K bump in the FR that made me sell them in the first place but sounded great, for some I know it's end game.
    -Susvara, my first encounter, looks like a bit better build quality than HEK but below all the other flagships. Airier than HEK, slightly better detail/voices/bass. Does sound more natural but I wouldn't take it over my HD650 and big amps.
    At this point I realised they had a dave behind the laptop, this was my main reason for canjam, dave and HD650 with my music.
    -Dave
    Sad to say the Dave doesn't drive the senns to their full potentintial. Still sounded great, great imaging and localisation. Plankton was all there with both sparkle and refinement, I would have likeed the midrange a bit warmer, voices didn't have the same presence as the Stellaris/Teton/Pavane and low end was a bit lacking. I slightly preferred the benchmark presentation over Dave's, more meat on the bones with better bass control even if it didn't resolve detail as well.
    -Dave HEK was up there, better than with the dedicated amp, and better than my setup at the time with GSX/Stratus/Yggdrasil. I preferred the technicalities over the HD650 with Dave.
    -Sundara, I didn't know what these were, cups don't swivel and I could fee a slight pressure at the front because of this. Finally a sturdy hifiman product and no wood.
    With WM1A, these sounded better than I expected, close to elear quality from memory, nothing obviously wrong, extended well and balanced top to bottom,good body,a bit coarse but I would expect it at this price point, well except the HD650, there's that.
    -Ananda, looked like a HEX V3 but sounded great of my DAP, closer to the HEK than Sundara.
    -Shangri-La
    It was just the headphone with the Jr amp. Looked nice a better HEK but that cable will be the death of it. It has a tendency to kink and it's just a matter of time.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    They were running it from a random dap so I used my own, not ideal to show off this system.
    The amp when pushing the volume to 70% would cut off one channel, it has a stepped pot and there was a specific click.

    I liked it, smother than I remember the 007/009, neutral, HD800/Stellaris level of detail, a bit of brightness but that's the sony. More body than the 009/BHSE. Wouldn't take if over HD650/Stellaris.

    -Shangri-La Jr. similar sound to it's big brother. Something like a HEK/Susvara situation.

    Labkable
    -TITAN AU
    My andros are a bit bright and lack bottom end so I had to try out a 2500$ cable. Single ended only with my WM1A. High end became much smoother but better detail, mid range was a bit rich and low end had extra body but lacked control. Quite a noticeable difference on how much it changes the sound.
    -Black Carbon 8
    They had a balanced cable, sounded in between the stock andromeda cable and the titan but with better control. I've noticed the balanced output of the WM1A has on average better control and is a bit clearer. A balanced Titan would be nice if I were stupid.

    Campfire
    -Reference 8 andro cable, similar to the stock one, better detail but the tonality/balance doesn't change a bit.
    -Gold 16, definitely warmer, I prefer the smoother top end but is not as clear as I want. In this case the expensive cable is actually better but not by much. I have to appreciate how light and flexible the campfire cable are, way better than the labkable in this regard.
    -Continental dual mono, a surprise, using it as dac from phone with HD650, a very well balanced sound with definitive tube bloom, relaxed sound, great detail and low end. You can even tube roll it so I'm drooling. Should be good for 7 hours.
    -Continental V5, same sort of sound as a GO V2 but better body, I greatly prefer the dual mono.

    Schiit
    Wanted to hear the Lyr 3 but it was in a busy suite. Got to hear the multibit byfrost with jotunheim on unfamiliar music. Seems a very good match with HD650, punchy dynamic great extension. For the price seems pretty good.
    With HD800 and dekoni pads. WTF, these are something else, not HD800, way too messed up high end.
    With HD700 and dekoni pads...


    Chord
    Dave +Blue
    Holy grail for some, unfamiliar music but there was something off. It sounded like the Stellaris with a bad transport like motherboard coax. The pain Dave from Hifiman didn't have a slightly screwy top end. Just before me there was a family that pressed all the buttons on Dave. From what I heard there wasn't anything mind blowing.
    [​IMG]
    Audeze
    I'm still surprised they're pushing AK daps on every show
    LCD-4Z with AK Ultima , I missed the LCD-4 midrange, poor detail retrieval and imaging, impressive thunderous bass, my sony wasn't even close and overall the Ultima is better.
    LCD-MX4, a worse 4Z in every way. Easy to drive.
    LCD-I4, had trouble getting a good seal, even then it's weird to have a seal and hear stuff. Bass wasn't the best, similar to the MX4, audeze lcd-3 mid but best high end of the Audeze family. Clean clear notes.
    Hugo2/HD650 on Tidal. It does a very good job, better than the Hugo1, plenty of volume, bass was punchy, clean voices and sounded neutral, relaxed high end, sound like a baby Dave. This for me was superior to the 4Z overall even with it having better low end on the Hugo.
    LCD-2C closed back, sounds like an LCD-2C with LCD-XC bass and less stage. The HD250s wipe the floor with these.

    Sonoma
    Heard good things about this. Headphones feel solid but simple, the amp dac is quite compact. Unfamiliar music unfortunately and nothing with a solid low end.
    This is a standout, it has a liquidity similar to the Apex Teton, transitions are exceptional so the music flows easily. HD800/Stratus high end though a bit lighter,airier and not as resolving. This seems a dac problem. Every time I mess with DSP I hear artifacts, and this sound that way. Without the Stellaris I wouldn't have known this was a problem. It's tiny but it's there. Low end was impressive on songs that called for it, had a very nice sustain. Even on higher than normal volume I didn't hear any sort of distortion. Different voicing than HifiMan stats. Too bad you can't bypass the DSP, I wouldn't mind having this one box estat solution. And too bad I couldn't test it on my own tracks.

    Sonarworks
    I actually wanted more time on the HPA4 and they had Tidal. I still don't see it more than an EQ.
    With my own tracks and HD650 and HPA4 is still impressive, there is 0 harshness in both the mid range and high end. The low end was a bit lean but I think it's the DAC3 then the amp. With the HD650 preset the imaging was screwed up but it have it a huge bass boost that didn't sound distorted. Fun but no.
    HD800S/HPA4
    The HPA4 does a beautiful job on the HD800S, high end is tamed nicely, similar detail to my modded HD800, low end had lean but very well controlled impact, typical well driven HD800. Sonaworks again messed the tonality and made it sound like something else, a no go for me.

    64 Audio
    I read the innerfidelity post on these so I was curious.
    Tia Trio, small things, similar to the K10 universal first gen, cable felt kinda cheap.
    My andros are in trouble, from the sony these sounded better to me, the high end was denser and fine detail was easier to hear. Andro might have better midrange but the trio is not far behind. It has a thicker sound but I prefer the andro mids. Low end was better controlled and more body. Very well balanced and better than K10 and katana I've heard at other canjams.
    Tia Fourte, shit, these don't really sound like IEM, they sound like TOTL headphones. I agree with the innerfidelity review here. I hope something more affordable comes along.

    Overall the HD650/Stellaris/Pavane is better and by a large margin than anything I've heard. 200£ headphones.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
    Doina, Maxx134, starence and 17 others like this.
  2. SPAZ

    SPAZ Rando

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    Just heard about the HPA4 today and glad to hear the positive review on it. What device is that directly to the left of the hpa4?
     
  3. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    That's the transport for the DAC. A stupid setup, you had to load the music with a tablet from a HDD to it but whenever I tried to do so I would get invalid path.
     

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