The year between CanJam London 2016 and the CanJam London 2017 passed so much faster than the space in time that separated CanJam 2015 and the last year’s show. I am sure that it is the growing volume of work that appears to speed things up… I have to say that today, on my third attendance of this important audio technology presentation/demonstration event, with my full two years’ involvement with portable high-quality audio replay game, everything felt familiar and even inviting.
I missed the opening day and had less than four hours to see for myself if anything new and exciting may be spotted and ‘found wanted’… And sure enough, I met several Russian gentlemen whose products were completely new to me: ‘Stereo Pravda’ from Moscow and ‘Kennerton Audio Equipment’ from St. Petersburg, the town of my birth. I did not plan to stop for a listening session, but I was very glad that I’ve accepted an offer to hear a pair of Stereo Pravda upmarket IEMs – SB-7 which use 7 balanced armature drivers per channel.
Check this article for yourself. You’ll find it rather enticing.
I have read it at home in the evening, but as I’ve heard the earphones driven by my own iFi Audio Micro Black Label DAC playing familiar DSD128 track – Tcha Limberger’s Chavo – at the show, I became certain there and then that it would be very sensible to recommend this special range of superb earphones. I didn’t know what to recommend to those who want the best sound on the move, the sound that would be quite similar to their main pair of headphones that are only practical and safe for use at home, but now I know. A ‘due diligence’ move is on the cards though as the clarity of the recommendation to music listeners is a must. I need to audition Audeze LCD-i4 in-ear headphone – a new and very highly praised unit that is on the market for the same price – USD 2,500 and write a post about ‘Audeze experience’ too.
And another find of the day – a Questyle SMA400i – a new entry level desktop DAC/Preamp/Headphone/Amplifier. Another stroke of luck, by the way. All I wanted on the Focal stand was to compare the sound of my own pair of Focal Elear which I began suspecting of having a slight damage to any fine unit available for a demo at the stand. Not only I’ve met a representative of Focal UK distributor – SCV, who happens to handle Questyle brand too, but as I listened to both Elear pairs back to back, I could not help noticing that the sound I was hearing from both headphones was very impressive indeed. My Elear pair was not damaged after all, but upon returning home I immediately found reviews of that specific Questyle unit. A reviewer says that… ‘I would not fall very short to call it state of the art.’ It surely is from what I have heard so far! The unit has three headphone outputs sockets of which one is a 4-pin balanced output. It can be used as an amp for a pair of speakers too. Priced at a very reasonable $799.
Review is here
The final mention is about Sonoma, whose stand I missed altogether. It was on another floor… 😉 Their new electrostatic cans (update of their first offering I briefly auditioned last year) were praised by Jude Mansilla – Head-Fi founder and the man behind CanJam events all over the world (Denver Oct. 6th – 8th CanJam is next). He also said that he does not agree that Focal Elear dominance of sub-one thousand dollar bracket is a foregone conclusion. Mr Speaker new Aeon ($800) – a planar-magnetic headphone does provide a viable alternative. I wish I’ve heard his opinion earlier and could audition Aeon on the day. Another session to arrange… My ‘first impression’ info will be published here soon.
One of the Aeon reviews: