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CanJam SoCal 2017 Show Report By Dave Hanson
CanJam SoCal 2017 Show Report
The high-end strikes back!
CanJam SoCal Show Report By Dave Hanson


Acoustic Research A10
Speaking of compelling values, Acoustic Research was on hand with their lineup of DAPs, the latest prototype of their debut planar magnetic headphone and a nearly-finished version of their upcoming IEM, the A10 ($199). For $199, the level of clarity and detail on the A10 is downright shocking. A hybrid design, it features one balanced armature and a single 8mm beryllium dynamic driver, per side. I found the sound to be crisp and engaging. I feel like this IEM is going to be a real steal. They also had the upcoming AR-M200 ($399) on hand, their new budget-friendly DAP with integrated Bluetooth transmitters and receivers. It uses the AKM AK4490EQ DAC chip and integrates a class-A 1V headphone output with balanced and unbalanced connection options. It should be interesting to see how the M200 shakes out at the competitive $399 price point.




Audeze LCD Pro
Audeze had a big presence at the show, debuting a special limited-edition open-back version of the popular Sine and an all-new headphone in the LCD Pro ($1,199, estimated MSRP). The LCD Pro is the first Audeze made specifically for the pro audio market. It features about 1/3 less weight and soft new memory foam ear pads to prevent fatigue in long mixing sessions. This is a new driver design that represents a departure from the Fazor models. The sound is punchy and spacious with good air and detail. It is the most neutral Audeze headphone, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. They may be targeting the pro audio community, but I think there are more than a few audiophiles who would love to pick this one up.



Beyond the new product launches, CanJam SoCal is always a great opportunity to see what people are listening to. So what was popular this year?




ZMF Eikon and Atticus
It appears Zach Mehrbach's first top-to-bottom original designs are a hit, because it seemed like they were at nearly every amplifier or DAP booth at the show. The Eikon and Atticus (starting at $1,299 and $999, respectively, reviewed here) both scaled-up beautifully with high-end systems, sounding absolutely out-of-this-world on the $28K Wells Headtrip Reference / Chord DAVE setup and the $33K Woo Audio WA33 / EMM Labs DA2 setup. I knew these two dynamic-driver headphones had a good amount of scalability, but I was genuinely shocked by how they rose to the occasion on these two monster setups. No wonder they were at so many booths!





Focal Utopia and Elear
The venerable Focal shook up the headphone world last summer with the release of their new flagship Utopia headphones ($3,999) and their not-so-little brother, the Elear ($999). While there were several of the Elears floating around, there was a Utopia at nearly every high-end amplifier booth at the show. What Focal has achieved with this headphone is truly remarkable: the crystal clarity, the dynamics, the detail, the frequency balance – this is truly one of the best headphones on earth.



The long-anticipated Echobox Explorer DAP $599 is finally making the rounds outside of the Echobox booth, and it cropped up at several tables throughout the show. The Explorer is a handsome looking and sounding player, with its flask-shaped design and attractive feature set, including streaming, PCM 24-bit/192kHz and DSD playback, expandable storage, Bluetooth 3.0, and DLNA.



Periodic Audio
Periodic was nearly impossible to miss, being positioned right inside the main entrance to the show, and their booth was highly trafficked every time I stopped by. Listening to their new lineup of IEMs, it's easy to see why. They've just launched three new models with identical designs, but different driver materials: Beryllium ($299), Titanium ($199) and Magnesium ($99). The flagship Beryllium driver really steals the show, and I spoke to several people at t he show that felt the same way. Look for my review of the Periodic Beryllium Driver IEM later this month.




Campfire Audio
Campfire brought their robust lineup of IEMs, including their dueling flagships, the extremely popular balanced armature based Andromeda ($1,099, reviewed here) and the newer dynamic driver based Vega ($1,299). The Vega uses a single 8.5mm non-crystalline diamond dynamic driver and a liquid metal earphone housing – both first-of-its-kind designs. The sound was warm, smooth and relaxing with a nice dynamic punch, putting it on par with wonderfully intoxicating sound of the Andromeda. You really can't go wrong with either.



---> Next Page.




Previous CanJam Show Reports
CanJam NYC 2017, CanJam Denver 2016, CanJam London 2016, CanJam Denver 2015, CanJam Denver 2014




































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