CanJam NYC 2019 Report

MusicTeck.

Making its debut at CanJam NYC was MusicTeck store, spanning across 3 long tables to cover many products they sell.  I was joking with Andrew, the store owner, 3 tables was definitely not enough to showcase all the Cayin, Shanling, theBit Opus, Hiby, UM, Effect Audio, Lotoo, AAW, Ultrasone, qdc, FLC, Earsonics, Simgot, Oriolus, and other brands they carry in the store.  I didn’t realize that MusicTeck is an exclusive US distributor for many of these brands, offering both sales and in-warranty support.

Head-fi is an international community with members from all over the world.  And in the past, whenever a new product from Asia or EU was being announced and discussed, the only option was either ordering directly overseas or going on eBay, Aliexpess, Taobao, or maybe looking for sellers on Amazon at marked up price while paying a premium shipping, and obviously getting a limited or no warranty coverage.  Dealing with a local US seller/distributor is more convenient and cost efficient.

While I’m quite familiar with most of the products MusicTeck carries, one did catch me by surprise since I never heard of SendyAudio brand before.  These are a luxurious looking Planar Magnetic full size headphones, 97x76mm drivers in a zebra wood premium earcup housing, very comfortable to wear, with a nice hard leather case, premium cable, and a very reasonable pricing.  I was told these will be sold with 4.4mm balanced terminated cable and 4.4mm to 3.5mm pigtail adapter with matching wires.  Definitely, it was a nice discovery.

Unique Melody.

Since Unique Melody is distributed in US by MusicTeck, they had their own separate listening section at MusicTeck table.  It’s always a pleasure to see and chat with Lawrance, a veteran head-fier and audio enthusiast.  He is very knowledgeable not only in how the product sounds, but also the technology behind it.

Two new models were showcased at UM table.  One is the latest UM Maven flagship with 11x BA drivers, configured with 4-way crossover and 4x low, 2x mid range, 4x high, and 1 custom semi-open BA tuning unit.  This design uses both Knowles and Sonion drivers, and their semi-open tuning unit features a new Targeting Frequency Adjustment Technology to produce frequencies which are anti-phases to erase the unwanted peaks, thus fine-tuning the FR without a need for extra filters.

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Next to Maven was their UM Mirage model with 3x BA design in a 3D-printed ultra-thin titanium shell, also featuring a unique customized open driver for its mid range.  Both Maven and Mirage use the latest manufacturing 3D-printed technology to construct their thin titanium shells and to sculpt the faceplate design.  I didn’t even notice until Lawrance brought to my attention to take a closer look at the details of Mirage faceplate, definitely a work of art.

Astell & Kern.

Of course, Astell & Kern doesn’t need any introduction, and it was another table with a heavy traffic throughout a day.  Many people were stopping by to listen and to compare their latest SP1000M and SP1000M Gold, in addition to SP1000 SS, SP1000 CU, SE100, and SR15.  Jason, who many are familiar with from his daily support of every A&K thread on Head-fi, was there at the table to answer any question about A&K DAPs and their interface, including the capability to run various streaming services by means of side-loading the apps.

I know many are skeptical about different materials, such as stainless steel and copper, used in housing chassis of A&K DAPs.  I have seen many heated discussions about this topic, but at the end of the day it all comes down to what you hear with your own ears, using your own preferred headphones/earphones and your favorite music.  Every A&K DAP at the show was pre-loaded with a variety of lossless high res tracks covering every single genre under the sun, allowing people to do a true A/B comparison while playing the same song across different DAPs.

Also, at the table there was a selection of special edition A&K branded headphones and earphones from JH and Beyerdynamic.

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Audio46.

At CanJam NYC you will find not only manufacturers, but also retailers, with Audio46 and their VP Tony being one of them at the show.  I think the retailer tables are even more fun because they usually showcase variety of products from different manufacturers.  Tony’s store is located right in the heart of Manhattan, at 29 West 46th Street, and a lot of products he carries in the store are available for audition, one of its biggest attractions.  But it’s always a good idea to call ahead of time to find about demos availability if you are interested to hear the latest offerings from A&K, Sony, Focal, Grado, Final Audio, 64 Audio, Westone, Campfire Audio, Audio-Technica, and many more.

A few things that caught my attention at their table was the latest DUNE DK-4001 hybrid IEM with 13mm beryllium diaphragm DD and 4x Knowles BA drivers, including a unique single crystal copper and pure silver hybrid cable with interchangeable connector system which accommodates 2.5mm, 3.5mm, 4.4mm, and even 3.5mm Pro terminations.  This latest DK-4001 shell design was quite comfortable to wear.

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I also learned that audio46 is now one of the distributors of AAW IEMs, including the latest Mockingbird, a successor to W900 hybrid, features 9mm DD and 8BA drivers, 4way TruXross crossover, a premium Symphonym Tiburon cable, and a wooden carry case.

Another exotic IEM at audio46 table which caught my attention was AAW latest hybrid flagship Canary, featuring Dual diaphragm isobaric woofer, 4 precision BA driver, and 2 Electrostatic Super Tweeters, along with a 4 way crossover design, and a premium high grade Symphonym Hakone UPOCC Silver/Copper Cable.

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qdc.

Straight from China making its CanJam NYC debut was qdc.  Lately, this company has been getting a lot of attention, and it’s another brand sold under MusicTeck distribution umbrella.  Qdc had their own exclusive area with multiple tables to showcase their latest releases.

From their HiFi series, they had Gemini 8BA driver model with a switch to flip between two different sound sigs, and 8SH model with a fine-tuned 8BA drivers (no switch here).  They were also showcasing a wireless version of their single BA driver Neptune, called Bluetooth BTX Neptune, featuring BT5,0, aptX codec, and 3 tuning DSP EQ modes, all at a very attractive pricing.

qdc-01

Another model getting attention was V6 from their Anole series, featuring 6x BA drivers and 2 separate switches to select your sound signature.  But the star of the show was their Anole series VX – 10x BA drivers design, with 3 switches corresponding to adjustment of low, mid, and high frequencies, allowing you to flip between 8 different sound signatures.  What I found the most impressive here was the precision of tuning with every switch like a parametric EQ band without bleeding into adjacent frequencies.

FiiO.

FiiO table is always a hot spot for audio enthusiast on a budget, showcasing their latest M6 and M9 DAPs, K3 USB DAC/amp, and BTR3 Bluetooth wireless receiver.  In there, I also spotted their good-old X7ii DAP and Q5 Bluetooth DAC/amp.  I did mention at the show that FiiO is overdue for a new flagship.  Their rep kept a poker face, though a week later we’re hearing rumors about upcoming M11 DAP.  I guess will have to wait and see when it’s announced officially, to find out if this is a replacement for X7ii.

To be honest, I haven’t been keeping up with all the latest FiiO releases, and to my surprise discovered they have been quite busy with a design of their own IEMs, including the latest quad driver hybrid FH5 with a single DD and 3x BAs and quad driver FA7 with 4x BA drivers.  The workmanship of the shells was quite impressive, and DLP 3D-printed FA7 I tested had a mature tuning.

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Beyerdynamic.

Every year I stop by Beyerdynamic table to talk to Pete in hope to discover the follow up to Xelento and T5p 2nd gen, but end up seeing more consumer oriented products.  Even the new Xelento version is the same flagship IEM with a new Bluetooth wireless cable.  I hope Beyer is not resting on their laurels and maybe will surprise us in a near future with something new from their German labs.

But one new “consumer” product did catch my attention, their latest Lagoon ANC around the ear headphone with digital active noise canceling hybrid technology.  With an option to enable/disable ANC (active noise canceling), it features a unique Light guide system inside the earcup and touchpad controls on outside.  The idea here is that instead of a single blinking LED on outside, you have a color-coded light guide system to show L/R channels, Bluetooth pairing status, battery life, and other functionality.  Along with a 24hr battery life and MOSAYC sound personalization app, Beyer definitely trying to stand out with this new design.

Focal.

Prior to this CanJam, Focal generated a lot of buzz with their announcement of the latest Stellia release.  Not exactly the flagship to over take the Utopia, these full size closed back, 40mm M-shaped pure beryllium dome headphones generated so much attention that I had to come back 3 times to their table and still waited in line to hear it.  Without a doubt, Stellia has a unique look, and a very comfortable fit.

One thing I do regret, after finally getting to Focal tables, I didn’t get a chance to hear the Utopia or their other lower end full size headphones so I can get a better point for comparison reference.  Focal had multiple Stellia listening stations, each one using Questyle DAC/amp stack as their source.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to listen to the music I’m more familiar with, but luckily Andy/Cayin was near by with his 4pin XLR to 4.4mm adaptor which allowed me to hear Stellia from Cayin N8 and my LPGT DAP.

Domo Audio.

Almost on my way out of the door, after doing the quick walk to say goodbye to various manufacturers, I had a pleasant surprise of bumping into Mike Dias, the former marketing director and later the director of sales at Ultimate Ears/Logitech from 2004-2019.  Mike is an audio industry veteran, and just all round great person with whom you can talk about anything and everything.  I had many email chats with him in the past, and it was great to finally meet him in person.

Mike surprised many when he recently announced about leaving Ultimate Ears to start his own Domo (Do More) Audio company, a concierge service which connects audio enthusiasts with their favorite audio brands by providing a personal assistance in product selection, as well as helping to find the best deals on headphones, amps, DACs, speakers, in-ear monitors, and portable players.

After that, it was time to drive back home!

Conclusion.

While it was my 3rd CanJam NYC show, this is my first CanJam Report.  I wasn’t even sure if I’m going to do one because I usually write Reviews and Impressions based on product analysis, while here I had to Analyze the show.  Also, writing a report leads to more questions afterwards because people want to know your impressions, and I don’t want to mislead others based on brief listening sessions with every product.

But at the same time, I realized that I was fortunate to attend this show, the opportunity many of my readers don’t get.  Thus, even just a report could help others by raising their awareness of products they never heard of or were not sure about current availability.  And maybe some will realize the next time you’re having doubts about attending CanJam, think about what you are missing.  No matter how many reviews and impressions you are going to read, if you have the opportunity to attend the show, that’s where you can decide with your own ears.

And last, but not least, Big Thank You to Jude, Ethan, Joe, and Brian for bringing CanJam shows to us and giving the opportunity to enjoy this hobby to its full potential!

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Page 1 – Intro, Cayin, Meze, Dita, Woo Audio, ABYSS, Audio-Technica, Sony, oBravo.

Page 2 – HiFiMAN, Westone, Effect Audio, Jomo, Empire Ears, 64 Audio, Noble, Campfire Audio.

Page 3 – MusicTeck, Unique Melody, Astell & Kern, audio46, qdc, FiiO, Beyerdynamic, Focal, Domo Audio, and Conclusion.

 

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9 thoughts on “CanJam NYC 2019 Report

    1. Often impressions are based on a personal biased sound preference when you’re there for 5-10min at the table, and it either hits the sweet spot or doesn’t. You know what I mean. In the past, some of my early impressions were taken out of content, with people quoting me “twister6 didn’t like this or that”. So, I learned my lesson 😉

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  1. In a few words…and without compromising future reviews…
    How is the coherence of the new electrostatic hybrid race (jomo, noble, aaw)?
    I think this maybe is the first problem everyone may fear

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    1. you are right, coherence is compromised with too many different drivers and tech behind it. Khan was more coherent, but I wasn’t too crazy about its bass, more laid back and not as articulate as I expected.

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  2. im interested at the z1r, these earbuds have been complemented by many pp. i havent try them on yet, it seems that audio46 doesnt have a demo of it at the moment, so i guess ill have to save my bet when i pass by japan this summer

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    1. I assume you are in NYC or somewhere close by? Why not stop by and take a listen to them with your own ears? Based on what I heard paired up with LPGT, they sounded very close to Fourte, the upper mids/treble were on a thinner, brighter, more revealing/harsher side. Bass is fantastic, soundstage is holographic/huge, but upper frequencies sounds fatigue to my ears (and I did try it with my own eartips). But then some say z1r are very picky when it comes to pair up with different sources, maybe it would sound better with WM1Z. But either way, I would suggest trying them first, and bringing your current DAP/source to the store.

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      1. yeah, u r right, if u r buying a can at this price, u wouldnt want to buy it without trying. its unfortunate that i missed out on the canjam cuz i was out for a trip. i think z1r is pretty picky interms of sources, usaully headphones with dynamic drives are more picky than ba drivers. z1r has 2 dd drivers. ill definitely try them out with my own ears. thanks a lot twister.

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