The second part of our definitive multi-part round-up of the best personal audio products on show at CanJam London, 2017. Here, Chris Martens and Alan Sircom cover everything from Cardas Audio to Flare Audio!
Who: Josh Meredith, Marketing Director, Cardas Audio
What: A8 30th Anniversary Edition Ear Speaker
When available: Now
Description: The A8 earphone had a small, but significant series of changes in light of the company’s 30th Anniversary. The distinctive bright blue design has given way to a more austere black finish, and the formerly removable cable is now fully captive (those wanting custom connectors now need to have the A8 made to order, instead of ordering a specific end cable). Otherwise, this popular single-driver design remains unchanged.
What are you listening to? Airborne, by Dean Peer
Chasing The Dragon
Who: Mike Valentine, owner, Chasing the Dragon records (centre)
What: Direct-to-disc and binaural direct-to-disc LPs, CDs, downloads
When available: Now
Price: £22 per recording
Description: Mike Valentine’s first cut on the Chasing the Dragon label a direct-to-disc recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Several more classical, jazz, and big band recordings have followed. Recently, Valentine has also offered dummy-head direct-cut recordings for binaural listening, including some of the first binaural recordings offered on LP in decades. The show gave Mike Valentine a perfect opportunity for listeners to hear both the conventional stereo and binaural mixes through a pair of Stax headphones (Symmetry – Stax UK distributor – sponsored the recording).
What are you listening to? Espania, 24/192 and Binaural
Correlated Magnetics Research
Who? Jason Morgan, VP of Engineering, Correlated Magnetic Research
What? Correlated Magnetics Research (CMR) 2625 headphone prototype
When available? End of 2017
How much? Price TBD. Estimated price ~ £400 or $500
Description: Correlated Magnetics Research is a world leader in the field of so-called ‘programmable magnetics’ and it has applied know-how in this field to create a headphone that features a very distinctive dual-diaphragm coaxial dynamic driver. The CM 2625, however, completely inverts what most enthusiasts might expect when hearing the terms ‘dual-diaphragm driver’ or ‘coaxial dynamic driver’.
For example, in the CMR headphone, the driver’s dual diaphragms face in opposite directions and are of differing diameters. The front-facing diaphragm is the smaller of the two and handles upper midrange and high frequencies, while the rear-facing diaphragm is the larger of the two and handles bass frequencies. A specially vented rear ear cup enclosure enables output from the rear diaphragm to achieve phase alignment with the output of the front diaphragm. The motors for both diaphragms use under-hung voice coils and share a common magnet structure. The 2625 prototype sounded very promising indeed, with an expressive, well-detailed, and notably full-bodied sound that seemed unusually good in light of the headphone’s target price.
What are you listening to? Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Child’, from Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix
Who: Tai Kocen, Marketing Manager, Dekoni Audio
What: Elite Platinum Pads
When available: within 60 days!
Price: Around $69/£60
Description: Dekoni’s replacement ear pads are gaining quite a following among the headphone cognoscenti. The company’s latest Elite Platinum pads are a hybrid of the best of the velour, sheepskin, and fenestrated (porus) designs elsewhere in the Dekoni range. Initially designed to fit the AKG K701 headphones, other designs for other models will be available soon after the initial launch.
What are you listening to? Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd
Who: Ashley ‘soon to be Mrs McKinney’ Smith, Echobox
What: Echobox Explorer digital audio player
When available: soon
Description: Echobox’s Explorer DAP has been a long time coming, but the intital Indiegogo orders have been fulfilled and the actual player will finally ship any day now. This distinctive, whisky-flask shaped player with its matching wood dock is hoped to be the subject of a review soon, and the Echobox team are travelling the world promoting the player and its range of earphones.
What are you listening to? How to be a Human Being, Glass Animals
Who: Eric Chong, Effect Audio (not pictured)
What: Lionheart cable
When available: now
Description: The market for add-on cables connecting between headphones or IEMs and the DAP or amplifier is expanding fast, and Effect Audio is one of the front runners in this field. Unlike many of the more traditional audio companies, Effect is one of the few that can include two-pin CF connectors for CIEMs. One of Effect’s most popular cables is the silver-plated copper Lionheart from the company’s Heritage Series. We listened to this and several other Effect cables through a pair of Noble K10 CIEMs and liked Lionheart on balance.
What are you listening to? Hounds of Love, Kate Bush
Who? Stephen Hopgood, Head of Digital Marketing & eCommerce, Tekzone, for Even
What? Even H1 self-powered headphone with proprietary ‘EarPrint’ technology
When Available? The Even H1 was released the day after the close of CanJam London 2017.
How much? £199
Descriptions: The Even H1 is a self-powered full-size headphone that sports 50mm Beryllium dynamic drivers, a solid frame with adjustable steel joints at pivot points, genuine walnut ear cups, and ear pads and a headband pad covered in faux (or so-called Vegan) leather. An in-line control/mic module provides volume, play, pause, and call control functions. The H1’s built-in Lithium Ion battery is good for 12 hours of continuous playing time. However, impressive as these features may be in a £199 headphone, the real pièce de résistance is Even’s signature EarPrint system, which in Even’s words allows the H1 to serve as ‘glasses for your ears’. In essence, the EarPrint system, which is run from the H1’s remote/mic module, allows users to test the sensitivity of their hearing in both ears at a series of eight key frequencies (125Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz, 1kHz, 2kkHz, 4kHz, 8kHz, and 14kHz). Then, the headphone automatically provides ear-specific EQ curves that set the headphone’s response curves to conform to the user’s sensitivity requirements. The result is a more accurate and well-balanced sound custom tailored to fit each user’s needs.
What are you listening to? The Eagles ‘Hotel California’ from Hell Freezes Over
Who? Mark Packham, Marketing Manager, KS Distribution for Final
What? Final D8000 planar magnetic headphone with air film damping system
When available? Late September 2017
How much? Price TBD. Estimated price ~ £1200 – £1500
Description: The Final D8000 (formerly announced as the Final AFD) is the Japanese firm’s first-ever planar magnetic headphone and one that is ‘reaching for the stars’ in terms of performance, thanks to a proprietary air film damping system (similar in concept to systems used in some microphones) that is said to control a number of the resonances and other colourations that have, in the past, limited the ultimate performance of some planar magnetic headphone designs. The model shown at CanJam featured the very latest iteration of Final’s AFD planar magnetic driver and sounded extremely refined, focused, and well controlled. We eagerly await the model’s full production release later this year.
What are you listening to? ACDC’s Hard As A Rock
Who? Craig Staler, Assembly Specialist, Flares
What? Flare Pro earphones
When available? Now
How much? £349
Description: The new Pro earphones from represent the culmination of everything the firm has learned about earphone design over the years. In fact, the Pro is now the only earphone model offered by Flare Audio. The Pro fairly bristles with technical innovations, including earpiece housings made of grade 5 titanium; 5.5mm Beryllium dynamic drivers equipped with built-in waveguides; the firm’s proprietary Anti-Resonance, Dual-Jet, and Acoustic Lens technologies; very high-quality polyaramid-reinforced signal cables with oxygen-free copper conductors; cables terminated with balanced connectivity gold-plated MMCX connectors; a balanced splitter with balanced MMCX terminals; and—get this—a Flares PRO wireless DAC offering 12 hours of playback time per charge and that offers Bluetooth 4.1 connective with HFP, HSP, A2DP, AVRCP, and Apt-X compatibility. Finally, the Flare Pro’s come with three type of Flare EarFoams ear tips. We came away thoroughly impressed by the sophistication of the Flares Pro earphones and by the very extensive range of accessories included at a comparatively modest price.
What are you listening to? Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, from Led Zeppelin IV
Read Next From ShowSee all
CanJam NYC 2018 Show Report from Ultimate Headphone Guide: Part Four
This is the last of four illustrated descriptions of the […]
- Chris Martens
- Mar 2018
CanJam NYC 2018 Show Report from Ultimate Headphone Guide: Part Three
This is the third of four illustrated descriptions of the […]
- Chris Martens
- Mar 2018
CanJam NYC 2018 Show Report from Ultimate Headphone Guide: Part Two
This is the second of four illustrated descriptions of the […]
- Chris Martens
- Mar 2018