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CanJam London 2017 show – part four

CanJam London 2017 show – part four

In the penultimate section of our definitive multi-part round-up of the best personal audio products on show at CanJam London, 2017, Chris Martens and Alan Sircom run from Noble to Sony!

Noble Audio

Who? Brannan Mason, co-founder, Noble Audio

What? Noble Sage universal-fit earphone

When available? Now

How much? £549 or $599

Description: The Sage earphone is directly descended from one of Noble Audio’s most popular design: the critically acclaimed but now discontinued Savant earphone. The Sage is, as was the Savant, a two-driver design that improves upon the Savant design formula in two important ways. First, the Sage uses purpose-built and Noble-specified balanced armature drivers sourced from Knowles, and second the low-end driver of the age incorporates a revised vented port said to increase low-end extension, provide a slight lift in overall bass response, and to improve rendition of low frequency textures. The result sounds like a fundamentally better Savant, yet with no increase in price. Welcome detail touches include precision CNC-machined aluminium earpiece faceplates anodised in – what else? – an attractive shade of sage green. The Sage is hand assembled and precision matched.

What are you listening to? A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Buggin Out’, from Anthology

RHA Audio

Who? Calum Gracie, Community Officer, RHA Audio

What? RHA MA750 Wireless Bluetooth earphone

When available? Now

How much? £149.9 or $169.95

Description: Leveraging the design of RHA’s very popular and critically acclaimed MA750 earphone, the MA750 Wireless is in essence an MA750 that has been fitted with an elegant, necklace-type Bluetooth amp/DAC. As always, the earpieces of the MA750 wireless are made of stainless steel, while the earphones are supported by an extensive set of various types of ear tips. The necklace-type amp/DAC incorporates Bluetooth, aptX, and AAC technologies and is very easy to use. The amp/DAC affords 12 hours of playback time per charge. A built-in universal multi-function remote is incorporated into the signal cable leads running from the necklace-like amp DAC to the earphones.

What are you listening to? Muse’s Absolution

Rupert Neve Designs

Who? Josh Thomas, Rupert Neve Designs

What? Rupert Neve Designs RNHP studio-quality headphone amplifier

When available? Now

How much? £469 or $549

Description: The Rupert Neve Design RNHP is a no-nonsense, minimalist, studio quality headphone amplifier that offers the wonderfully well-rounded analogue audio sound for which Rupert Neve products—including some of the greatest studio recording consoles ever made—are famous. The RNHP provides three analogue inputs: balanced, single-ended, and 3.5mm analogue. Neve describes the RNHP as a ‘high power, high headroom’ design and it certainly sounds the part.

What are you listening to: Etta James’ At Last! And Dave Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’ from Time Out



Who: Geoff Loveday, Pioneer UK product executive

What: SE-Monitor 5 closed back headphone

When available: Now

How much: £999

Description: Pioneer’s flagship, hand-made, Air Studios tuned SE-Master 1 open backed headphone is one of the true stars of recent headphone releases, but they are hard to get, expensive, and their open-backed nature means everyone can hear them. The SE-Monitor 5 is from the same stable and uses many common components, but eschews the Air Studios tuning and hand-built status, for a more affordable design, and its closed-back status means not everyone has to listen to your music. It’s also provided with three sets of cables for home, portable and balanced use.

What are you listening to: Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’ from Random Access Memories


Who: Dina Guth and Andrew James Lee, (not pictured)

What: Roller MK01 closed back on ear headphones

When available: By application to waiting list

Price: $3,000

Description: Roller is different to other headphones. Swiss made, using Swiss parts developed for the Swiss watch industry, and designed by an English luxury design expert, this unique hand-crafted headphone uses a clever 22-spring mechanism to roll up when not in use (hence the name), takes three days to build and just 100 pairs of this aluminium design, featuring a single 30mm drive unit. Engraving is an option, and magnesium and titanium versions are in the pipeline.

What are you listening to: Mozart Clarinet Quintet


Who: Linda Irvin, Sennheiser UK

What: HDV 820 headphone amplifier/DAC

When available: October

How Much: £2,099

Description: The HDV 820 is Sennheiser’s first digital headphone amplifier, as previous models lacked the digital conversion component. This 32-bit, 384kHz, DSD 12.3MHz supporting DAC/amp combination. The HDV 820 also features an unbalanced output through a combined Neutrik three-pin XLR/6.3mm socket for unbalanced output and a both a four-pin XLR and two 4.4mm Pentaconn connectors for balanced use. The amp is also supplied with a custom CH 800 P cable that connects a HD 800/800S to the HDV 820 using this new Pentaconn connection.

What are you listening to: Hans Zimmer, ‘Cornfield Chase’ Inception soundtrack


Sonoma Acoustics

Who? Andrew ‘Dem’ Demory, John Garrison, and David Walstra, Sonoma Acoustics

What? The Sonoma Acoustics Model One electostatic headphone system

When available? Now

How much? £4995 or $4995

Description: Sonoma Acoustics’ Model One electrostatic headphone system consists of a set Model One magnesium-framed and HPEL (High Precision Electrostatic Laminate) driver-equipped headphones, plus a companion Model One energiser/DAC/ADC/DSP engine. The DAC section can handle 32/384 PCM files and DSD64/DSD128 files, while incoming analogue signals are digitised through a 32-bit/384kHz AKM multi-channel ADC device. Finally, a 64-bit fixed-point processing engine provides DSP functions that gently shape the frequency response curve of the Model One headphones.  The system represents a technical tour de force and one that offers remarkable sound quality for its price (to get better performance, you’ll need to spend a lot more).

What are you listening to?

·      Andrew ‘Dem’ Demory: Håkan Hardenberger/Simon Preston ‘Non Morietur in Aeternum’

·      John Garrison: Any 1960’s and 1970’s Rolling Stones

·      David Walstra Iván Fischer, Dvorák Symphonies


Who: Tomoaki Sato, Project Leader & Senior Electrical Engineer, Sony Hi-Res Audio

What: NW-WM1Z Digital Music Player, TA-ZH1ES headphone amplifier, MDR-Z1R headphones

When Available: Now

How much? £3,000 (WM1Z), £1,640 (ZH1ES), £2,000 (Z1R)

Description: A lot has been said about Sony’s return to high-end audio with its three-component high-resolution personal audio system, but in fact it has rarely been shown in its full capacity to the public, and certainly not at a UK headphone show. The trio of fine products combine to make an outstanding sound, with all the detailing and precision we have come to expect from high-resolution audio. Most inspiring of all, perhaps, is that Sato-san and his colleagues are true enthusiasts, keenly listening to a number of other devices at the show.

What are you listening to: Dire Straits Brothers in Arms


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