I usually start my CanJam NYC reports with “I waited the whole year to attend the show…”, though, this year the wait was twice as long. Who could have imagined that while attending the last CanJam NYC in the midst of Feb ‘20, we were days away from a Global pandemic which affected all of our lives in such an unforgettable way? Ironically, CanJam NYC 2022 was days after another tragic Global event that united many across the world, even with people gathering right outside the Marriott Hotel in Times Square the night before the show, carrying yellow/blue flags in their support and solidarity with people of Ukraine. Our lives are filled with tragedy and joy that go side by side, bringing us together. Today, I want to talk about the latter, the joy of the audiophile community coming together, united under the banner of CanJam shows.
This was my 5th CanJam NYC, the annual event produced by Head-fi.org which became a global phenomenon, spanning across NYC, SoCal, Chicago, London, Singapore, Shenzhen, and Shanghai. By now you have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of CanJam where multiple dozens of audio gear manufacturers and retailers present latest products to hundreds of audio enthusiasts. Tbh, I didn’t know what to expect this year because the surge of Omicron variant cases after the Xmas affected near term plans of many people. Then, before the show, covid cases went down drastically, lifting many restrictions here in US, something that was clearly visible during the show with at least a quarter of attendees not wearing masks, though it was required to bring a proof of vaccination and to sign a consent form.
Being held on the weekend, CanJam is a two-day event, and you do need both Saturday and Sunday if you are serious about trying most of the products, though even 2 full days is probably not enough. As usual, I was only able to attend on Saturday, even so I am well aware that one day is insufficient. And regardless of my preparation with a list of products I was planning to test at the show, at the end of the day on my way back home while driving, I knew that I only covered a small fraction. For me, CanJam is a social event to catch up with manufacturers and retailers, to meet my readers (I’m hard to miss wearing Tw6 t-shirt), and of course, to hear as much audio gear as I get a chance to. The turnout of audio enthusiasts this year was so BIG that I simply ran out of time and patience waiting in lines to audition some of the products.
Every year, CanJam NYC is held at the Broadway Ballroom of Marriott Marquis Hotel located in Times Square of Manhattan. I don’t mind driving to Manhattan and usually reserve a parking spot on-line ahead of time. Reservation saves time and usually cost half the price versus just showing up at the garage. On the way to the show, while walking to the hotel in a freezing cold, every year I run into cosplay performers, soliciting tourist for pictures. So, I’m no longer surprised and actually look forward to see Elmos, Mickey Mouse, and other Disney and Marvel characters, and this year I even approached them first to take my own picture. Since it was after 10am, I rushed to the hotel, to get to the 6th floor where CanJam NYC 2022 was already in progress, just making a quick stop at the 3rd floor to register my vaccination card.
As a side note, in the past I have written CanJam reports simply to report what I saw at the show, to help people discover new products or to mention about products they were not even aware of. The last show report had more details, including impressions. This year, my report will feature a mix of both. It is impossible to do an accurate sound analysis in a noisy environment while being surrounded by dozens of people in such a short period of time. And I wasn’t as thrilled in the past when some people were quoting my CanJam short impressions as the actual review, while I had a chance later to spend more time and to write more accurate review. Furthermore, I picked up my new phone (Galaxy S22) the day before the show and was still figuring out some of the settings, thus not all the pictures came out as expected. Now, with all these disclaimers out of the way, let’s proceed to find out what I came across at CanJam NYC 2022 show!
Page 1 – Intro.
Page 2 – Grell Audio, Dunu, Meze Audio, Empire Ears, 64 Audio.
Page 3 – MMR/JOMO, Eletech, Bloom Audio, Lunch break.
Page 4 – SoundCore, InEar, Linsoul/ThieAudio, FAudio.
Page 5 – CEntrance, HiFiMan, Chord, JH Audio.
Page 6 – Musicteck (Cayin, FirAudio, EA, VE, Oriolus, UM, Aroma, SoftEars, Lotoo, and more).
Page 7 – Final thoughts.