CanJam NYC 2023

Bloom Audio / Campfire Audio

Last year Bloom Audio made their debut at CanJam NYC, this year they came prepared and even booked their own private side room to allow a quiet audition of all the portable and desktop gear they brought with them.  It was great to finally be able to chat in person with Andrew and Stephen.  With popularity of “Andrew” names, today many on Head-fi have to be more specific when talking about Andrew/Bloom or Andrew/Musicteck.  Also, just as I mentioned last year, it was great to see Bloom growing, expanding, and bringing to the show some of the products from manufacturers who were not able to attend this CanJam, like iBasso and Campfire.  It was nice to see the lineup of iBasso DAPs, including their latest modular flagship DX320 with different amps that people could try during the show.  With Campfire, Andrew actually saved the day because Ken and Caleb were booked to attend the CanJam NYC and were on their way to the show, but due to a snowstorm condition and cancelation of the flights, Campfire Audio wasn’t able to make it.  Thus, I was able to appreciate Bloom having the latest CFA releases on display in their room available for audition outside the main hall noise.

I’m already familiar with Campfire Supermoon IEMs which I recently covered in my review.  That model elevated itself to one of my favorite Campfire IEMs, and I was curious about their just announced Andromeda and Solaris editions which received their own names, Andromeda Emerald Sea and Solaris Stellar Horizon instead of just 2023 versions.  Both were revamped in the design and the tuning, with more premium looks and all new packaging and accessories.  CFA always stands out with original packaging, but here they took it to a whole different level with a display presentation of handmade wooden crates and detachable “hand” as a hook to showcase their new iems.  Plus, included with each iems were 3 cables, the same wire cables with non-microphonic ribbon structure of wires side-by-side and 3.5mm, 2.5mm and 4.4mm termination.  I was surprised they decided not to have a modular plug system, and instead included 3 separate cables with the same wires and different terminations; I guess a bonus to use it with other CFA iems or just other mmcx iems.

I found new Andromeda to have a deep sub bass, with more sub-bass presence than mid-bass, neutral lower mids and more revealing clear transparent upper mids, and crisp treble with lots of air and sparkle.  The soundstage was huge.  Overall, I hear a very clean and transparent sound, deeper sub-bass and improved layering and separation of sounds in comparison to 2020 Andro.  Tbh, it felt like a new IEM rather than 2023 version, perhaps the reason it wasn’t called “2023” model.  And the sound was quite eartips depend, as well as dependent on the genre of music you pick, sounding better with natural timbre instruments rather than synthesized electronic EDM tracks.  Solaris also had a huge soundstage, and more mid forward presentation of the sound. I still hear a deep bass and crisp extended treble, but mids were more forward which lowered the perception of the bass impact, making low end to sound more neutral.  New Solaris also has a better layering and separation of the sound with a higher resolution in comparison to 2020 version, again, like a brand-new IEM instead of an updated version.  I will be doing a full detailed review of both, so looking forward to spend more time with these.

Another IEM I was looking forward to hearing was Trifecta, a triple DD design which gathered quite a polarizing opinion on Head-fi, with some people either loving it or hating it.  I’m glad Bloom had it on their display as well.  While listening to Campfire Audio Trifecta, I can hear a huge soundstage (and by “huge”, I’m not exaggerating), elevated blooming bass, and sparkly treble, making it sound more V-shaped with some of my test tracks.  I did switch between different eartips and tried different music genre test tracks, and came to the same conclusion as I did while listening to the new Andro and Solaris.  To my ears, which of course is subjective, these work great with more natural timbre instruments, but not so much with synthesized instruments I find in EDM tracks I usually listen to.  Perhaps, that is the reason why the opinion about this IEM is polarizing, and I enjoyed them quite a lot after switching from my electronic test tracks to Bob Marley, Counting Crows, Dua Lipa, and some other rock and pop songs.

Also, while in Bloom Audio room, I had a chance to audition the latest 64 Audio Blanc iems which are based on their Fourte Noir tuning, just updated.  It is hard to go by memory when you are at the show and can’t do a true a/b comparison.  I did find Blanc to have a deep analog bass, more recessed mids, and more forward treble, along with a huge expanded soundstage.  And, just like with Trifecta, I also noticed Blanc to work better with rock, classical, jazzy, or any other music with natural timbre instruments, while not so much with electronic music where some of the details in mid frequencies were lost and mid-range sounded more recessed.

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And last, but not least, another big surprise I found in Bloom’s room was a collab project with Eletech Audio, making their own exclusive cable Bloom x Eletech Perseus with high purity (7N) monocrystal OCC copper and OCC pure silver.  I tested this cable with a number of IEMs and found it to add more bass texture, and to finetune mids to have warmer and smoother tonality.  Also, I heard the improvement in imaging and the positioning of sounds in space, spreading them wider.  As I always say, cable is not EQ, so don’t expect drastic changes, but closer listening can reveal a finetuning.

For next year, I’m going to allocate more time to spend in Bloom’s room and take a listen to full-size headphones and desktop DACs/amps.  Especially when it comes to full size open back headphones, the main hall area of the showroom is too loud for a more meaningful private audition, and the privacy of a side room where Bloom was located made it perfect to take your time and to dive into the music without distractions.

JOMO

Wasn’t sure if we are going to see MMR or JOMO logo at Joseph’s table, and it looks like we are treated with more releases from JOMO (Joseph Mou) this time.  Side-by-side with Eric’s Eletech table, JOMO and Eletech always have one of the most colorful displays at CanJam NYC.  At the table, you can still find JOMO’s 300-series models, automotive themed by name and with a special lacquer-based paint:  304 Boxster (BA low, 2BA mids, BA high), 306 Supra (2BA lows, 2BA mids, 2BA highs), and flagship 308 Spyder (2BA lows, 2BA mids, 4BA highs).  All 3 were introduced last year, but what caught my attention was 2 other new models.

GT600, a hybrid with 2DDs, 6BAs, and 4ESTs, made its debut later in 2022 at CanJam SoCal, and I had a brief listening to those IEMs when I borrowed them from Musicteck.  Thus, I already knew what to expect when I put them in my ears, but to my surprise the tuning was slightly different.  In this 2023 version, though not sure if it is referred to as ’23 version, the sound was updated with more focus on upper mids and treble, more transparency in lower mids which sound closer to neutral now, and also a bit less sub-bass rumble.  The original tuning was smoother and warmer, while the new tuning is less colored, more revealing, with greater resolution and more sparkle.

Another addition was a brand-new model, Alpha Ti, a limited-edition release.  First of all, as one can guess, it has a Titanium shell, lightweight 3D printed, and hybrid driver design with 2DDs, 6BAs, and one Piezo electric high frequency driver.  After GT600, I thought to myself, Alpha Ti will be similarly tuned with an even brighter treble, replacing 4ESTs with Piezo driver which usually is brighter and more piercing.  Well, as soon as I started listening to this new IEM, I found a well executed W-shaped tuning with a deep textured sub-bass extension, tight well controlled mid-bass, natural resolving mids that bring vocals a bit more forward, and a clear energetic treble without an ounce of harshness.  I was very surprised considering this is a piezo driver.  Oh, and the soundstage expansion was pretty big.  I actually really enjoyed this new Alpha Ti iem.

Eletech

Where there is JOMO table, you know the Eletech table will be right next to it, and the same applies the other way around!  You can’t miss it, its display presentation always draws the attention of many people walking by, regardless if they are cable believers or not.  And, it is always a pleasure to talk to Eric, to catch up with the latest audiophile gossip from SGP and around the world.  I’m quite familiar with most of their cables, many which I have covered in the past.  Plus, they also offer high-quality leather goods, IEM and storage cases.  And while their product portfolio features a number of higher end cables, Eletech tries to balance it out with entry level models.  But those are just an entry level by price (relative to flagships), not by workmanship quality or the sound quality.  Cable discussions are always controversial because many assume “snake oil” without even trying it, thus shows like CanJam give you a perfect opportunity to bring your own DAP with your favorite test tracks, and your own IEMs, and just try and compare your stock cable to whatever you find at the table.

What I found at the table was 2 new entry level cables, Azrael Copper and Cassiel SPC, both featuring the updated hardware design of the plug and the splitter.  Copper and SPC cables are surrounded by stereotypes of “warm copper with bright treble” and “bright silver-plated copper with grainy treble harshness”.  But stereotypes are just that, and I would suggest people to try it if they get a chance.  Doesn’t mean they will hear the same difference as I do, but at least you are making a judgement with your own ears.  And in this case while testing Azrael Copper with Jewel, I do hear a warmth of copper wires but without any exaggerated treble sparkle, making it a smoother tonality cable.  With Cassiel SPC cable and Jewel, I found a big soundstage expansion, bigger than Jewel’s own stock cable, more open upper mids, and more details and sparkle in treble.  It is a brighter cable, but it doesn’t have that graininess in treble which is typical of many other cheaper SPC wires.

Last, but not least, as I was leaving the table, one of the Head-fiers helping Eric at Eletech stand, asked me to check out “blue” Eletech Victoria, a special HK edition cable which can’t be purchased anywhere else outside.  I heard about this hybrid cable before, a blend of Gold-Plated OCC copper and Monocrystal Copper, but wasn’t sure why there was a hype around it, with some ordering it directly from HK.  My question was answered when I paired it up with Jewel which I often use as my reference IEM.  The cable opened up the soundstage perception with more holographic imaging, and the sound itself became smoother, more natural, not as reference anymore, yet, still with an excellent retrieval of details and the same high level of resolution.  Too bad this is HK only exclusive release.

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Lunch break.

I’m still continuing my tradition of talking about the lunch break during CanJam NYC show.  While downtown Manhattan offers many fantastic food choices, during my first CanJam back in 2017 I discovered a buffet on the 8th floor of Marriott Marquis Hotel.  It was convenient and time saving, and I didn’t have to go outside into the freezing cold.  Plus, the food selection was really good, reminding me of going on a cruise.  Unfortunately, after the pandemic Marriott dining services decided to cancel the buffet.  I still enjoyed my half an hour lunch break and the food on the menu wasn’t too bad and not too expensive.  It is still convenient to have a quick lunch break upstairs without going outside.  But I’m keeping my hope alive that buffet lunch returns one of these days.

Page 1 – Intro and Overview of the showroom.
Page 2 – Empire Ears, Effect Audio, Elysian Audio, FiR Audio, Final Audio.
Page 3 – Bloom Audio, Campfire, JOMO, Eletech, Lunch break.
Page 4 – Vision Ears, Sennheiser, Letshuoer, ThieAudio.
Page 5 – Musicteck (UM, Noble, Nostalgia, FatFreq, Cayin, Lotoo, and more).
Page 6 – Final thoughts.

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12 thoughts on “CanJam NYC 2023

  1. I’ve read a lot of reviews you’ve written and I’m getting help.
    I want to see a comparison of the 64audio Fourte series. By any chance can you do that??

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  2. I received a lot of help from your reviews. I want to see a comparison of the 64audio fourte series. By any chance can you do that??

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    1. Not really sure what you mean by that comparison? I covered original Fourte and later Noir in the past. No plans to review Blanc, 64audio didn’t send out review samples. And, unfortunately, 64audio hasn’t released anything truly new since 2017 😦

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      1. Got you. From a reviews I found out that u4s is not so slightly changed version of a4s. Thank you for the reply

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      2. U4S is uni version of A4S they released before. Just like Nio was uni version of custom N8t they released on the past. I would have loved to hear U4S, but they didn’t introduce it until 3wks later at CanJam SGP

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  3. The show looks really great! Btw, have you got a chance to try the AK ACRO CA1000T? Seems that it is available at the AK boot. I would like to hear your opinion about it, especially when compared with the AK SP3000. Thank you.

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      1. Yeah, the model is an improved version of the previous AK ACRO CA1000 model (Similar to SP2000 -> SP2000T). Furthermore, it has 8 selectable choices for OP Amp and Tube Amp sound blending modes. You can blend between very precise, and sharp with warm and smooth sounds from both Amps’ outputs almost freely.

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    1. Two different iems. Alpha Ti has a healthy bass slam and lift in upper frequencies, fun-tuned sound sig. Ronin is a smooth and warmish, more neutral bass and tamed down treble.

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