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CanJam SoCal 2022 Show Report  By Emiko

CanJam SoCal 2022 Show Report
Aural adventures and dynamic innovations!
CanJam SoCal 2022 Show Report By Emiko



Awedyo Audio bringer of cookies, snacks, and energy drinks, but most importantly, a bringer of the xDuoo TA-30 with a built-in DAC ($710) that got paired with the Audeze LCD 2C headphones. I went straight for Lady Gaga for this setup and do you know what, dear reader? It turned out to be a very mellow (think relaxing, not boring) and balanced experience that brought out real sweetness in the vocals. I then switched to a pair of Focals that went into the MU-605 (Bluetooth receiver for $179) and the 604 DAC ($169).



An interesting note to make about this is that it has separate left and right channels that are adjustable for people with hearing damage. This really was a perfect pairing.




Schiit Audio were paired with Sennheiser 558 headphones played Adele. Known for their budget-friendly quality pieces, Schiit continued their tradition by offering several compact components for audition (most of which I couldn't get to because the attendees at their booth were all elbowing each other and I didn't feel like getting into a brawl). Schiit is known to produce great audio gear, plus they've earned a Blue Note Award (or three) from Enjoy the Music.com.



Jerry Harvey Audio (in the pro audio world, known as JH Audio) was an interesting experience. I tried out their Sharona IEMs ($2300), which are packed with a 16-driver configuration and true four-way crossover. I also auditioned the Sheena ($1800) which is "little sister" to the Sharona but is "cut in half" according to their rep, so instead of 16, it has eight drivers. Full disclosure, I've used JH Audio before on stage but this was my first time hearing them sitting down in room specifically to listen to music and not for the purposes of performing. What a difference! I'm so used to hearing them as a workhorse that it was hard for me to be objective, but I will say this:



JH Audio is incredibly well respected in the pro-audio world. If you want to hear music straight from the stage - or rather, ON the stage, these are the IEMs for you!



HeadAmp's Blue Hawaii ($7000) paired with Stax SR-X9000 ($6200) delivered me to the front row of a Billy Joel concert. I chose "Movin' Out" as my first audition song for this pairing and I was not disappointed. This combo delivered warmth and punch in equal measure and I have to say, I was even happier to find out that the Blue Hawaii (which was green) comes in a variety of colors... including purple!



VZR Headphones ($349) went into a Monolith headamp and played The Weeknd. I was offered two choices, single-ended and balanced. I started with the single-ended headphones which were slightly darker than I had anticipated. They were darker but not muddy and it was remarkable to still hear such great detail through and through. I switched to the balanced headphones and POW! All of a sudden, I was in the recording studio. I could actually FEEL the drums. This was a dynamic experience and for the price, one definitely worth having.



ZMF Headphones well, I nearly cried from frustration on Saturday because no matter when I circled back, I simply could not get into the ZMF room. I finally gave up (or so I thought) and decided to call it a day and just as I was walking past their room, a seat opened up. I darted in, quick as a cat chasing a bird, and found myself face to face with the Atriums.




What can I say other than there's a moment in every audiophile's life that you meet the component you've only read about and you pray - PRAY - that it sounds like you hope it will. ZMF knocked this out of the park. The Atriums were balanced, sweet as could be, and everything was "just so." They say good things come to those who wait. I'm so glad I waited til the end of the day to walk past them again. Truly.



Warwick Acoustics Sound Booth as my feet were sore. My back was aching and my neck hurt from the camera that was hanging around it for eight plus hours at a time. Behold my one and only chance to enter the Warwick Acoustics Sound Booth that featured super comfy seats, their Bravura headphones and their Limited Edition Black APERIO Headphone system. My choice of song, go figure, was "Take the Long Way Home" by Supertramp and what an appropriate choice it was. Roger Hodgson's vocals were crystal clear, and for those who recall, he has a very unique quality to his voice. The performance and delivery were balanced and brought current in a way that words can't quite describe, so I'll do my best to explain through my feelings.



There was a sense of nostalgia and of being home. Being relaxed, and being free. And believe you me, this wasn't because I was exhausted after two non-stop days of CanJam. This was 100% Warwick Acoustics. If you ever see their sound booth around, drop what you're doing and get in line. I promise you it's worth it.



And That's A Wrap!
At the end of the show I was exhausted and aching, but very much inspired. Headphones and headphone culture are their own living, breathing ecosystem filled with aural adventures and all sorts of dynamic innovations. We come together for a brief moment in time to share our journeys and celebrate the common love we have for music. And thanks to the CanJam team, we can look forward to doing this again next time!




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