Saturday, February 20, 2016

CanJam Singapore 2016

Here are some pictures and brief reports on CanJam Singapore 2016. 

I went in on early Saturday morning, while the crowd was still quite thin. By the time I left, the crowd had began to build up.

My very first stop of the day was Audiosound. I was greeted with a warm welcome by William Whey, who introduced me to David Teng of oBravo Audio of Taiwan. I had a listen to the HAMT-1 headphone and EAMT-4A IEMs. Nice products. The HAMT-1 in particular had really powerful bass. David spoke to me passionately about the design choices by oBravo, and his belief in the superiority of hybrid, multi-driver designs. 

A tray of goodies from oBravo Audio of Taiwan.

The very delicious HAMT-1. 

EAMT-4A IEMS - 10 mm dynamic and 8 mm square AMT drivers.

oBravo's incredibly small 10 mm dynamic driver and 8 mm square AMT driver used in their IEMs.

Next stop was Sennheiser's booth. You could see that everyone was headed straight for the HD-800 and the all new HD-800 S. I really liked the HD-800 S. I found the original HD-800 bright, but you could really warm-up (pun unintended) to the HD-800 S.

The HD 630VB was no slouch either, and really easy to drive - no issues driven by my iPhone 5.

Sennheiser's HD 630VB. Easy to drive and variable bass boost to tune things just the way you like it.

The HD 800 S was hot stuff. This is a great improvement over the HD 800, gaining more meat to balance out the very extended highs on the original model.

DITA The Answer IEM

MrSpeakers' Ether Headphones

The Ether C Headphones. 

My favourite pair of cans for the day had to be MrSpeakers' Ether and Ether C (Can I vote both for joint favourite ?). Whether paired with the Astell & Kern DAP and Cavalli Audio headamp, or the Schitt Ragnarok and Yggdrasil, both cans were absolutely sublime. Beautiful bass, a refined midrange, nicely extended and natural highs - what more could you ask for ? 

A portable headamp from Cavalli Audio and Astell & Kern DAP.

Ye Gods ! Its ...... good Schiit in the form of the Ragnarok Universal Amplifier and Yggdrasil DAC. The custom balanced cable is from WyWires.

Over to Sound Affairs. James Soh showed me his new range of DC power supplies and balanced AC conditioners. The nice compact footprint makes it perfect for desktop and head-fi setups. 

Melco N1A High Resolution Digital Music Library, Linnenberg Maestra DAC and Benchmark DAC2 DX DAC.

Sound Affair's new line of DC power supplies and balanced AC conditioners.

Ivan Cheng of Norman Audio happened to be in the booth next to Sound Affairs and it was nice to catch-up. Norman Audio were demonstrating the Ayre Codex DAC / headamp. According to market talk, it has really good DAC performance, DSD compatibility and balanced drive capability. Thrown in a compact package and very competitive pricing while Ayre was at it. 

The Ayre Codex was on show at a very special price. Sounded really impressive with the Sennheiser HD600 headphones.

These babies from Kimber Cable must rate as the most beautiful and nicely made headphone cables I've ever seen. There is no splitter box, and the braiding holds everything nicely in place.

Headphone cables from MIT.

I love the look of the Woo Audio Headamps.

The biggest surprise of the day had to be the Meze Headphones booth. Antonio Meze was there personally and I had a very nice conversation with him. In the value-for-money stakes, both the Meze 99 Classics and the soon to be launched IEMs were really winners. 

The Meze 99 Classics were very comfortable to wear, had a beautifully open soundstage, and performance that defy their modest price tag. 

The Meze 99 Classics really hit it out of the park with these. Excellent value for money, beautifully finished and supremely comfortable. The changing lights directly overhead ruined this photo and gave Antonio Meze a bit of headaches too with his photo taking attempts.

Mezze's soon to be launched IEMs. They will come with a shockingly (pleasant) price tag.
I also spent all too brief times at the Audio Technica and Beyerdynamic booths. The Audio Technica ATH-A2000X caught my eye with their metal ear cups. Really easy to listen too and love. In fact, I think they are a lot easier to love than my ATH-W5000 headphones. Over at the Beyerdynamic booth, I had a listen to the T5p. Good sound, with more impact and a better balanced low and mid end compared to my trusty DT880 (250 ohm version). BTW, the Gummies they handed out were a nice touch !

A big thanks goes to the organisers of CanJam and all exhibitors. Lastly, a special "thank you" goes to James Soh of Sound Affairs for inviting me as his guest.