The CanJam NYC 2020.
Making its debut at CanJam NYC was Moondrop, a popular Chinese manufacturer represented at the show by their distributor from California. I was looking forward meeting the actual team behind Moondrop, especially since they have been generating a lot of buzz lately with their new releases, but not this year; hopefully next year if they come back to NYC. We actually already featured their latest S8 and KXXS reviews on Tw6, but this was the first time I got the chance to hear some of it myself. Here are some of my quick impressions.
S8 is their latest 8BA flagship with a balanced signature and more revealing tonality, wide soundstage expansion (almost on a holographic level), good punchy bass with a nice sub bass rumble, leaner yet still very detailed and layered mids, and crisp airy non fatigue treble.
Blessing 2 is their new hybrid offering with 2xDD and 4BA drivers, where I hear a more V-shaped sound signature, with a more neutral bass, thinner lower mids, bright crisp, though not harsh treble, and a noticeably wide soundstage expansion.
Another hybrid flagship was Solis with 4BA and dual EST drivers, where I hear a mid-centric performance with a brighter crisper tuning, neutral bass, neutral lower mids, more forward upper mids, and crisp treble, especially great for vocal tracks. Soundstage was very wide.
Also, making their debut at CanJam NYC was a well-known chi-fi manufacturer, BGVP. They were represented by the same distributor as Moondrop, even sharing the same room at the show. This is another brand I’m not personally familiar with, while Tw6 contributor Animagus covered a lot of their IEMs, including ArtMagic V12, EST12 and EST8, and DM7.
Unfortunately, many of these IEMs didn’t make it to the show due to delayed shipping, but they had another new product which caught my attention, Q2 TWS earphones. What made it standout was a dual functionality of true-wireless (TWS) and wired design. In a wireless mode, I hear a wide stage, balanced revealing signature with a more mid centric sound flavor, where bass goes deep, lower mids are neutral, and treble is quite crisp and airy, maybe a little peaky around lower treble area. Mids/vocals sounded very good. But in additional to a true-wireless functionality, they also equipped with a removable cable socket to convert into wired IEMs. In wired mode, the sound was similar but with more upper mids emphasis and harsher treble. For me personally, I preferred TWS wireless mode.
This year Dunu generated a lot of buzz with introduction of their pure beryllium driver Luna IEM. Spread across 2 tables, they were also showcasing their new colorful hybrid DK-201 IEMs with a single DD (dual sided beryllium coated diaphragm) and 3 Knowles BAs (1x mid-high and 2 ultra-high). And you could find their budget DM-480 IEMs with a dual 8mm titanium coated push-driver config dynamic drivers.
But the spotlight of the table was their new flagship Luna. Dressed in a titanium alloy compact shell with a very comfortable fit, Luna features a rare 10mm pure beryllium diaphragm driver. Also, the premium design was accompanied by a fancy multi-tier packaging box with impressive selection of eartips, including Spinfits (by the look of it), two different leather cases (a small and a bigger one), a premium quick switch modular plug cable to accommodate popular SE and BAL terminations, and even USB DAC dongle to use with smartphones without headphone jack.
The table was busy, and I had to wait to hear Luna since they only had a few samples available. It was a short audition session, so take it with a grain of salt. Using my own eartips, with Symbio the tuning was more balanced, and I heard more body in mids, while with Final Type E the sound was more V-shaped with leaner mids. I actually enjoyed listening to Luna at lower volume. Soundstage expansion was very wide, having more width then depth. The bass had a good balance between sub- and mid-bass, not exaggerated, very natural, very articulate. To my ears while using Type E eartips, lower mids sounded a little south of neutral, while gained more body with Symbio W tips. Upper mids/vocals were very realistic, layered, micro detailed. Treble was crisp and airy, didn’t sound fatigue to me.
Of course, it’s hard to form a final opinion during a short audition, and due to high demand and longer time to manufacturer beryllium drivers, Dunu is focusing now on fulfilling the customer orders as their higher priority, and only allocating a few samples for a time limited tour. Hopefully, in a near future there will be an opportunity to spend more time Luna.
After their 2019 CanJam debut, MusicTeck was back attending 2020 show, spreading across 5 tables! This East Coast retailer is growing and expanding their catalog of products with more IEMs, full size headphones, DAPs, desktop DACs/amps, and cables. Everything from SendyAudio, Hiby, Shanling, Lotoo, Cayin, Luxury & Precision, UM, Effect Audio, PWA, QDC, JOMO, DITA, Oriolus, and many more popular brands. While a number of audio manufacturers from Asia were not able to attend the CanJam NYC this year, I felt like MusicTeck saved the day by featuring a ton of portable audio gear at their tables. The following with cover some of the new products I found at MusicTeck tables.
The first product that caught my attention at MusicTeck tables was a big R8 sign pointing to Hiby’s NEW upcoming flagship DAP release. There has been a lot of recent chat about this DAP as the first one to feature a separate 4G SIM card slot, in addition to micro SD card. SIM card presence generated a lot of speculation: is this a smartphone with a DAP functionality? or is this a DAP with a smartphone functionality? Actually, it’s a DAP with a capability to stream data using SIM card when you are outside of WiFi coverage.
I was told that you can’t use R8 as a smartphone for voice calls since there is no speaker or microphone, though it makes me wonder what would happen when you pair it up with TWS earphones and use some VoIP apps. The DAP was on a bigger and heavier side. I didn’t have a chance to get more details about physical dimensions and forgot to take a picture next to other DAPs. Obviously, including extra circuit to support 4G service required extra room. I would still consider it portable, not transportable. The fw/sw was still in beta, but I was able to take a quick listen and found it to be tuned more toward a neutral reference tonality, reminding me of LPGT. Oh, and it was quite fast, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625.
The table also featured their other DAPs, from R3 Pro, to R5 and R6 Pro. Especially after the recent price drop down to $299, R5 has been getting a lot of attention lately. But, without a doubt, R8 was the star of that table.
Page 2 – Moondrop, BGVP, DUNU, MusicTeck, Hiby.
Page 3 – Unique Melody, Luxury & Precision, Cayin Audio, Effect Audio.
Page 4 – Westone, Eletech, MMR, Campfire Audio, Audio 46, Final Audio.
Page 5 – 64 Audio, Audio-Technica, E-Pro, JH Audio, Meze Audio.
Page 6 – Beyerdynamic, Soundcore, Noble Audio, Sony, Empire Ears, Astell & Kern.