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CanJam Denver 2016 Show Report
CanJam 2016 Show Report
CanJam & Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest 2016
CanJam 2016 Denver Report By Dave Hanson


In-Ear Monitors


Westone Audio was on hand, debuting their all-new flagship, the W80 ($1499). Compared to their previous flagship, the W60, the new models offer eight drivers instead of six, a wider soundstage and improved clarity. Like the W60, bass on the new model is deep and impactful, but with even crisper definition. The W80's new and improved cable was developed in partnership with ALO Audio and is a welcome upgrade from the stock cables included with Westone's previous flagship.




Another stalwart in the IEM industry, Noble Audio, came to showcase their excellent new flagship earphone, the Katana (custom starting at $1650, universal fit starting at $1850). Featuring nine drivers per side, the Katana is the neutral/reference counterpart to the wonderfully musical Kaiser 10 (K10). Comparing the two, the Katana had a bit less bass quantity and a bit more presence in the upper midrange. Detail on the Katana was a bit more forward and imaging was more precise, particularly in terms of depth. Overall, I still prefer the tuning of the K10, but those who are looking for absolute accuracy may prefer the slightly more neutral and detailed Katana instead. Enjoy the Music.com's Creative Director Steven R. Rochlin says, "The Noble K10 custom IEM are my fave and love the way they sound."



Noble Audio
Enjoy the Music.com's CanJam 2016 Denver Show Report Is Sponsored By Noble




Often flying under the radar, Minnesota-based Alclair debuted their soon-to-be-released Studio 4 ($949) at CanJam at RMAF. This impressive IEM features four balanced armatures and a beautiful, reference-quality 7N UPOCC copper cable from Forza Audio. The sound was smooth and well balanced, with impressive bass response and wonderful tone. Build quality was also fantastic, as I found the Studio 4 to be comfortable, robustly built and absolutely gorgeous to look at.



The Best Stuff You Might Have Missed


While Sony's new NW-WM1Z Walkman was generating the lion's share of buzz, Acoustic Research also launched two fantastic digital audio players in the AR-M2 ($1199) and AR-M20 ($699). I spent some time listening to the flagship M2 and came away quite impressed. Using an intuitive Android-based design, a Burr Brown PCM1794 DAC and a Class A amplification stage, the M2 delivered a spacious, three-dimensional soundscape. The body was thick, and a bit on the heavy side, but not quite as heavy as the new Walkman player. Though it's a step behind the top offerings from Sony and Astell & Kern sound-wise, I found the performance to be quite good overall. Given its lower price point, I would imagine this will be a very, very attractive alternative for those who don't want to spend a small fortune on a DAP.


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