Westone table was hard to miss; the bold sign with a bright orange logo really stood out from a distance, drawing you in to check out the catalog of their 2nd gen W-series IEMs, AM Pro and 2nd gen UM Pro series, the latest B-series, as well as their Custom ES-series. I liked the setup of the table with IEMs hanging down from the headphone stands, ready for auditioning, and the original product boxes next to them, drawing the attention of CanJam traffic with a bold print of the packaging.
Being intimately familiar with all of their latest releases, I didn’t find any new surprises at the table, except ES series was updated with new ES40 and ES70 models. Westone didn’t have universal demos of new ES models, but I was told that 4-driver ES40 features new dual low frequency drivers and 7-driver ES70 borrowed its large low frequency driver from ES50 while its mid-range and high frequency drivers from flagship ES80. Seems that both of these new Elite Series CIEMs were designed with enhanced low-end performance.
Though I did mention that EA team wasn’t able to attend the show, for a second, I almost forgot about that when I saw Eric Chong at Eletech table. Eric was a big part of EA team, attending every CanJam show around the world, and now coming to CanJam NYC with a debut of his own cable brand – Element Technology (Eletech). Perhaps it’s a new company, but the product itself had a very mature presentation.
Inspired by Vatican names, Eletech was showcasing their flagship Lliad cable (part of Parnassus series) with monocrystal silver, palladium plated silver, and gold-silver alloy. Plato cable (part of Athens series) was featuring monocrystal bespoke silver wires. And their “budget” Virtues series was featuring Fortitude copper cable and Prudence silver-plated copper cable.
Having EA Code 51 cable with me at the show, I was curious to do a quick comparison of Lliad vs C51. From a brief audition using U18t and quickly switching between the cables, I found a very distinct difference in mids between these wires. C51 was more neutral, more transparent in mids, while Lliad mids were fuller, with more body and more musical performance.
Next to Eletech table I saw another familiar face with Joseph Mou (of JOMO Audio) showcasing his new line up of IEMs under Metal Magic Research (MMR) brand name. I assume he is still running both JOMO and MMR in parallel now, though it seems like he is very focused on his new MMR line up.
Two models were presented at the show, Homunculus tri-hybrid with DD, BA, and dual EST, and Thummim tri-hybrid with DD, 4 BAs, and quad EST. I only got a chance to hear the latter one which had a wide soundstage and out-of-your-head presentation, powerful elevated deep bass impact, natural detailed mids, and elevated bright treble. Perhaps a new popular tuning trend, maybe driven by a demand from the customers, where lately I have been hearing a lot of new IEMs with elevated lower treble energy.
Always a pleasure to talk to Ken and Caleb, the team behind Campfire Audio, at CanJam Shows. They were both very proud of CIEM addition to Campfire Audio family: Equinox and Solstice custom in-ear monitors. The design of their universal IEMs is always unique, stands out from the crowd, and even ends up being shamelessly copied by some other manufacturers. But there are some audiophiles and performing musicians who still prefer a custom shell design. For those who are fans of their Atlas IEM, the answer is probably Equinox CIEM with 10mm DD driver design, and for the fans of Andromeda, they got Solstice CIEM with 5BA driver design.
Another IEM that caught my attention was special edition Solaris SE. It was hard to miss their new shell design featuring funky swirls of a natural abalone inlay lids instead of all golden original shell. SE version of Solaris features the same driver configuration with 10mm ADLC DD low/mid driver and 3BA mid/high drivers, though the internal design was updated with a new ceramic 3D printed acoustic chambers. In comparison to original Solaris, which is still one of my favorite IEMs, the Solaris SE sounds a little brighter, with a more forward mids tuning.
Unfortunately, pictures of Campfire Audio table were all out of focus, thus I decided not to share them in my report.
There is a number of on-line audio stores in US, but not as many with the actual physical location where you can audition the gear. Audio 46 store is located right in the heart of Manhattan, on 29 West 46th Street, where you can find a huge selection of well-known audio brands like A&K, Sony, Focal, Grado, Final Audio, 64 Audio, Westone, Campfire Audio, Audio-Technica, and many more.
Audio 46 had their own table at CanJam, showcasing a number of the products from the store. Furthermore, representatives of Audio 46 were also helping some other manufacturers at their corresponding tables, like Final Audio, 64 Audio, and DUNU. I didn’t spend too much time at Audio 46 table since my attention quickly shifted to the adjacent Final Audio table where a crowd was gathering around their latest A8000 flagship.
Pure Beryllium driver IEMs were definitely a buzz word of CanJam NYC show! We often don’t realize that some manufacturers use beryllium coated diaphragm with more emphasis on “beryllium” than “coated”, and people forget those are not pure beryllium drivers. After my recent review of Final Audio B-series IEMs, I was curious to hear their new A-series A8000 flagship and how the ultra-thin Pure Beryllium driver was implemented in their design. Plus, I had a number of people asking me about this IEM even before the show. And while a brief auditioning is never enough, I will also have the opportunity to spend more time with A8000 while working on a full review of this IEM in a very near future.
But even based on my early impressions from the show, I found A8000 tuning to be impressive. Even before putting these in my ears, I was pleased to see a stainless-steel finish with a similar shape as B-series which I find to be quite original and still very comfortable. I also found the same silver-plated copper cable as B1 and B3 models, and a similar silicone case as B-series but this one was reinforced with aluminum plate. One unique accessory that caught my attention was MMCX assist “tweezers” to remove the cable – a very useful tool for those who like to switch between cables. And of course, Type E silicone eartips were included.
The sound was super-fast (the transient on/off of the notes was among the fastest and cleanest I heard from any IEM, reminding me of planar magnetic drivers), very transparent (absolutely zero coloring), and quite resolving, down to a micro-detailed level. The soundstage was huge, like open back full-size headphones. The signature was tilted more toward being mid-forward where I hear a deep, articulate, layered, closer to neutral bass, neutral lower mids, revealing micro-detailed colder upper mids, and crisp airy treble. I was using LPGT at the show as my source, and quickly came to a conclusion that A8000 are not very forgiving IEMs, they will pick up every bit of imperfection in poorly recorded tracks. So, when I get a chance to work on the review, the analysis of pair up with different sources will be very important since I believe neutral or warmer DAPs will have a more natural synergy with A8000.
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.