Making its debut at CanJam NYC, straight from Germany, was Vision Ears. It was great to finally meet in person Marcel and Oliver, though I was sad that Amin couldn’t make it to the show due to delays in obtaining the traveling visa to US. VE has been around for a long time, but I personally discovered them back in 2020 when I got a chance to review universal Elysium and then a year later, VE7. Their IEMs offer a unique design and sound tuning, and as equally impressive custom packaging and accessories. While you can’t purchase anymore their flagship Erlkonig IEMs after they were discontinued, later it was re-incarnated in a form of Phoenix, including a recent finetuned limited edition Phoenix LE version which I had a pleasure to cover in my review.
Again, with me being quite familiar with their latest line-up of IEMs, including Elysium, VE7, Phoenix/SE, and EXT, I went straight for something new, prototypes VE has been teasing about in their pre-show announcements. Like in that movie, Marcel offered me the red pill and the blue pill in a form of redish/pinkish pair of iems and another one with a blue color shell, each one with a different tuning. The red pair had a deep elevated bass, natural detailed mids, pretty good airy extended treble, and a huge soundstage. The overall tuning was a bit “hotter” in sound, aligning with its red color. The blue pair had a fuller body sound with a natural detailed tonality and a smoother natural treble. It also had a big soundstage, but the overall tuning was cooler and smoother, aligned more with cool blue rather than hot red. For me personally, blue IEMs tuning was my favorite, so good that I didn’t want to take them out of my ears.
I would be curious to find out how much feedback VE team collected over 2 days of the show and which prototype received more votes. I even asked Marcel if there is a chance to implement both tunings in one shell. Without going into details of the config, he explained to me that a difference in the design was so drastic that implementing a switch wasn’t feasible. I guess we have to wait and see for the next brand-new VE release, hopefully this year!
Unfortunately, close up pictures I took around the table were a bit blurry; one with a picture of both prototypes turned out to be ok.
Sennheiser has been on my list of iems I wanted to hear ever since IE900 introduction. The last time I reviewed Senns IEMs was back in IE800 and IE800S days, almost 5 years ago. Every time I’m at CanJam NYC, trying to get closer to Senns table, you have to fight through a crowd of full-size headphone fanatics. This year, Eric, one of the Sennheiser reps at the show, had a separate side-table setup just for IE200, IE600, and IE900 listening and comparison. It gave me the opportunity to spent more time with all three IEMs.
Still, despite a separate iems table, the only available one was IE600, my first auditioning stop. From the moment you put these tiny shells in your ears, you hear a big soundstage expansion with holographic 3D-like imaging, and this was common across IE200 and IE900 as well. With IE600, I heard a balanced W-tuning with more emphasis on big rounded bass with a very deep sub-bass extension. Mids sounded natural yet still revealing, and treble was crisp detailed yet not too fatigue. Using IE600 tuning as my baseline, I moved on to IE200 since it was the next available iem. IE200 tuning is also very balanced, but mids have a fuller body and smoother treble in comparison to IE600. The sound is still quite detailed but in a more natural way, with smoother and a more natural tonality, great for extended listening sessions without getting ear-fatigue. After IE200 and some waiting, IE900 became available for audition, a big contrast in sound after hearing IE200. IE900 bass is big, deep, blooming. But in contrast, you have a thinner lower mids and a brighter more revealing upper mids going into a sizzling crisp treble to give the sound max resolution and higher level of detail retrieval.
I probably should have started my auditioning with IE200 and then worked my way up to IE900 through IE600. The contract between IE200 and IE900 was quite noticeable. If you are craving a more analytical sound tuning with more weight and impact in low end, go for IE900. If you want a smooth, natural, detailed sound with all-rounder tuning, IE200 is a perfect fit for that. IE600 will have a tuning of somewhere in the middle, perhaps the best of both worlds if that’s what you are looking for. And with either of these IEMs, you are getting a very small and comfortable shell that literally disappears in your ears.
Personally, I’m not too familiar with Letshuoer iems, though heard others praising their entry and mid-fi level models. Represented at CanJam by Awedyo, their US distributor on West Coast, they had a full line up of iems at the show, though the buzz around the table was about their latest flagship Cadenza 12 iems. With a price tag outside of a typical chi-fi range, even for flagships, I was curious about the tuning, and to my surprise found it to be quite mature, on a flagship level and comparable to other higher end iems. The build quality was also premium.
As the model’s name suggests, Cadenza 12 is a hybrid design with a total of 12 drivers, including 10mm DD and the rest covered by Knowles and Sonion BAs. The shells are carved out of Titanium alloy, the cable is a hybrid design with pure copper/silver wires and a modular plug for single ended and balanced source connection. The tuning had a big soundstage expansion, while the imaging was a little different, keeping vocals closer to the center. The sound signature is balanced with a natural clear detailed tonality. Bass had a deep extension with elevated sub-bass and strong mid-bass punch. Mids have a fuller natural body, still very detailed and with a forward presentation of vocals thanks to a proper pinna-gain. Treble was also clear, detailed, extended.
After their debut at ’22 NYC show, ThieAudio were back at this year CanJam NYC. I’m still a bit confused about the company since I was under impression of it being the exclusive Linsoul Audio brand, even their main banner at the table had both Linsoul/ThieAudio printed at the top. But I do see other retailers selling these iems, so perhaps it is no longer exclusive.
Last year I had a chance to hear Monarch MKII, their popular W-shaped balanced signature iems with a more natural revealing tonality and a deeper bass tuning, close to neutral detailed mids, and crisp energetic treble. Also, last year I heard Divinity 16 that was more resolving in comparison to Monarch MKII, and had a more neutral flatter bass. This year, two new IEMs at the table were Oracle MK2 and Prestige. I’m not familiar with Oracle OG, but I found MK2 version to be closer to basshead level with V-shaped tuning that had more elevated bass, smoother recessed mids with vocals pushed a bit back, and smooth natural treble. Oracle MK2 had lower sensitivity and I had to push my DAP volume higher. Prestige model had a decent size/width soundstage, and also V-shaped tuning with a deep bass extension, quite strong mid-bass impact, natural lower mids, more forward upper mids which help emphasize the energy in vocals, and also a crisp airy treble.
As a general comment, not necessarily directed at ThieAudio, I think chi-fi IEMs came a long way in terms of more polished tuning, better build quality, and more premium accessories (cables). But they also going up in prices which starting to get closer to some more established brands they are trying to catch up to and to compete with. Many of these premium chi-fi iems sound good which also makes it harder to differentiate them. And that can affect the decision of buyers who are still on the fence and might consider higher resale value of other better-known brands if the sale price is close enough. Again, just my personal opinion based on many recent discussions with my readers.
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.
12 thoughts on “CanJam NYC 2023”
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??
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??
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 😦
Got you. From a reviews I found out that u4s is not so slightly changed version of a4s. Thank you for the reply
Isn’t u4s interesting? New release in these range
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
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.
No, unfortunately didn’t have a chance to try it. Wasn’t T version similar to SP2000T? Need to research more.
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.
Can you compare ronin and alpha Ti? I’m interested in both
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.
Thanks for your reply, I will choose between it and Elysian Anni