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CanJam 2015 Show Report
CanJam 2015 Show Report
CanJam & Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2015
Report By Rick LaFaver

 

Fostex
Fostex debuted the new T50RP MK3 headphone ($160) and it is one of the more significant budget/modder releases at this year's show. Although the driver hasn't changed from MK1/2/3, the dampening, input filter, ear pads, and head band have been upgraded to make this a more comfortable and less fatiguing set of headphones right out of the box. I am sure we will still see people tear the orthodynamic driver out of there for mods, but at least it is a good listen out of the box. Fostex also had the TH500RP (which I reviewed earlier this year) and TH900 dynamic flagship headphone.

 

 

Audeze
Here it was the next iteration of probably the most anticipated can at CanJam 2015. The Audeze LCD 4 ($3,995) is a beautifully made phone with lovely wooden cups and a carbon fiber band. The ear pad leather is of the highest quality and the clamping force is perfect. The adjustment mechanism isn't quite as smooth as I would like it to be, but let's face it, set it and forget it. The cord and connectors provided are hearty and seemingly durable (I accidentally tried standing up while the cord was caught behind my knee with no adverse reactions... shhhh). Musically, it was tonally balanced, maybe ever so slightly towards the warmer side with incredibly extended highs. These were a very easy set of 'phones to listen to. I really need more time with them on a different amp to make a final opinion, but I would bet this thing is better than presented at the show. I think the prototype Audeze The King amp ($3,995) may have been letting the cans down a bit. Judging by the sticker branding on the stock aluminum case, it may not have been ready for the big show. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to borrow it to hear it on another amp so am keeping the door open on these.

 

 

Other Devices Of Note

Unique Melody
The five-driver Unique Melody Merlin ($849.99) and 12 Driver Maestro ($1,599.99) are 3D printed plastic IEMs rather than hand cast epoxy in the similar offerings from other manufacturers, which seems to have made the price significantly lower. The drivers are also said to be arranged in a four-way crossover design rather than three-way like the JH Audio Layla IEMs. This seems to have affected the sensitivity of the IEM but it didn't seem to have any glaring issues. It was balanced and not the least bit fatiguing directly off the Astell&Kern flagship AK380 player, but didn't have the oomph or the volume capability of the Layla off the same player. I would love to hear them in a controlled environment as can imagine with a decent amp they would knock your socks off.

 

 

Echobox
The Explorer X1 prototype ($499) media player from Echobox running on open Android and tweaked to the max was a feature-packed and very promising media player. It comes with and integrated DAC and amp capable of 300mW into 15 Ohms. There is an Indiegogo campaign that will give you $50 off the player when it is released, but the design is still in its infancy. The Exploer X1 will retail for $499 or $449 on the Indiegogo campaign and the titanium headphones The Finder X1 seemed to be more of a finished product than the player and will go for $199. The player is capable of streaming Spotify, Pandora, TIDAL and potentially many more services with its very flexible Android platform. I look forward to seeing what the finished product looks like, but the prototype had a great real CNC milled walnut case.

 

 

Soekris
Soekris is going to be offering a chipless DAC that supports up to 384kHz PCM and up to double DSD. The kicker, this little guy will only cost $650! Wait, you mean there will be a $650 chipless DSD capable headphone DAC? This was pushing the boundaries and although it was rock solid stable and sounded fantastic, it was not the finished product. If this thing comes out at the $649 price point it will likely be giant killer. The release date is targeted for November 2015. If you can't tell by now, I am very excited about this one!

 

 

Final
Final brought so many headphones on display and there was no way I was going to able to listen to them all. I did get a chance to listen to the Sonorous 6, 8, and 10. The headphones are either gaudy, or beautiful, depending on your aesthetic preference yet the 8 and 10 are no joke sonically. Final makes their own 50mm dynamic driver in-house. In fact they OEM a version of this driver to many other Japanese and other brands so they must be doing something right. The 8 ($3,000) and 10 ($5,000) produce varying degrees of tonality and expansive soundscape. On one recording with the 10 I actually turned my head to see if something was happening behind me, but it was the recording. Give them a listen if you get a chance as they stand stiff competition in the price range but I think they can hang with the best there.

 

There was so much more that I wasn't able to get a lot of time with, but the show was chock full of innovation. I will be sending out a best innovations, and best of show conclusions article so be on the lookout. More to come within my RMAF 2015 and CanJam 2015 show coverage!

 

---> Back To Main CanJam2015 show report page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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