So far, Unique Melody has been showcasing new IEM models at every CanJam NYC show, including something very unique they promised this year. But before I get to that, they also had 2 new refresh models of Mentor V3+ and Mason V3+. Both still feature 4pin cable socket with dual tone cable you can switch by re-aligning the connector 180deg, dB-Go Bass enhancement module, 5-bore design with 4 sound tubes and 1 bore for dB-Go tuning module (acoustic dampening to attenuate the pressure for real-time low frequency adjustment). From a quick listening, Mentor V3+ (12BA design) has a powerful bass, thinner lower mids, more natural layered upper mids, and very crisp treble. Mason V3+ (16BA design) sounded more v-shaped, reminding me of Mentor with more upper frequencies energy which I was able to tame down using Symbio W eartips.
The big surprise was their new MEST IEM model with an exotic mix of different drivers. MEST comes with a single DD, 4BA, 2EST, and a new bone-conduction driver. In today’s super competitive IEM market having just a good tuning is not enough, you have to stand out from the crowd with something more original. Thus, UM decided to try something outside of the box, a bone-conduction driver made with metal vibration pieces that are covered by piezoelectric ceramics. In MEST, faceplate was designed specifically to accommodate bone conduction driver which delivers a signal by vibrating the faceplate. Then, faceplate conducts its signal to carbon fiber shell and inner ear. I had to wait in line to hear it, and from a short listening found the tuning to be more toward v-shaped sound sig, with a deep sub-bass rumble and punch mid-bass slam, more neutral thinner lower mids, clear detailed layered upper mids, and elevated lower treble. If I understood correctly, the bone conduction driver was for upper frequencies, not the lower ones, and it was contributing to an extra treble energy.
L&P has been around for a while, and I have reviewed a number of their DAPs, but they are not easy to purchase outside of China. This year, L&P will be added to MusicTeck catalog, and were showcased at CanJam on one of their tables. Actually, I only saw their latest flagship model, LP6ti which got my undivided attention due to its 4 customized R2R DACs, Intel based industrial grade FPGA, and 3 separate power supply circuits. The model was designed to cover both, sensitive IEMs (in low gain), and hard to drive demanding headphones.
With its multiple gain options, I was able to test LP6ti headphone output in low gain using Andromeda without detecting any hissing, and according to the spec its 4.4mm BAL output goes up to 800mW with enough power to drive even high impedance demanding Senns cans. Interestingly enough, while BAL output was 4.4mm, the single ended output featured 6.35mm jack, probably to appeal more to full size headphone cables. This DAP also had 64GB internal storage and micro SD card expansion. This is audio playback only DAP, no Android or wireless pair up for streaming. From a brief listening, the sound was on a reference level, more revealing, and super micro detailed.
While not available for demo yet, the rep at MusicTeck table told me about 2 other upcoming L&P DAP models, a small pocket friendly P6 with R2R DAC and all button navigation interface, and their first Android L4 Pro DAP. Will be interesting to check it out when these DAPs become available.
Cayin space at MusicTeck tables was quite busy as well. I came back a few times to listen to their latest HA-6A tube amp, and every time it was occupied. This new dual operation mode tube amp generated a healthy buzz since it was designed with triode and ultra-linear modes of operation, allowing you to change the output and the actual sound sig. I’m not an expert when it comes to desktop equipment, especially tube amps, but noticed how others were talking about HA-6A amplifier being setup for different vacuum tubes, with Genalex Gold Lion KT88 and Electro-Harmonix EL34 tubes included. Also, it sounded impressive to hear about HA-6A impedance matched headphone output and multi-stage independent power supply.
The amplifier looked really cool. As I was going through the pictures I’ve taken during the show, I realized that I forgot to take one of HA-6A, so I borrowed it from someone else to use in my report (not taking a credit for this great picture).
Also, next to HA-6A, there was a collection of Cayin DAPs, including their dual mode (tube and solid-state) N8 flagship, and their versatile N6ii with interchangeable DAC/amp T01 and E01 cards. Plus, they had Cayin’s quad BA YB04 IEM with its neutral signature and natural detailed tonality.
While the Effect Audio team wasn’t able to attend the show, they were well represented at MusicTeck table with a complete collection of cables in various price brackets. One thing about EA that I bring up in all of my reviews, they don’t preach about benefits of the cables and instead let the show visitors hear it and determine for themselves if they do or don’t hear a difference.
I’m familiar with most of their cables already, thus didn’t spent too much time at the table (and also forgot to take a picture). But if I remember correctly, they had everything, from a budget Vogue series to Cleopatra, Leonidas II, and even their latest flagship Code 51. I know many are skeptical about the effect of cables on a sound or don’t want to accept the idea of diminishing returns when investing into premium wires. But having the opportunity to hear and to compare it yourself, using your own IEMs and DAPs, is one of the best ways to answer a burning question if cables do or don’t make a difference to your ears.
It is turning into an annual CanJam NYC tradition for me to go for buffet at food court of Marriot Marquis Hotel on the 8th floor. Some might think I’m nuts, being in NYC, right in the middle of Times Square with so many great restaurants and still going for a buffet in a hotel. But when you attend the show for one day, and it is freezing cold outside, and you don’t want to waste hours of your time looking and waiting for a food, Marquis Hotel $21 all-you-can-eat buffet is a very convenient alternative with a delicious selection of soups, salads, meat and side dishes, vegetarian dishes, and impressive deserts menu. Not to mention the whole thing will cost you as much as you would spend on just a burger and fries. Just remember, when you are waiting to be seated at the food court, you will have to ask for buffet since they don’t like to advertise it, thus many people are not even aware about it.
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.