CanJam SoCal 2022 Show Report
I'm chuckling as I write this. I honestly thought two days of headphones would be plenty. Ha! CanJam SoCal proved me otherwise. I arrived bright and early at the Marriott in Irvine, CA on Saturday, September 17th (day one of two) to a vibe! CanJam SoCal 2022 was bubbling with energy, smiles, laughter, and yes, audible music. Previous CanJams I had attended were somewhat more mellow and quiet but for whatever reason, this one was sprinkled with some serious magic. Now, full disclosure, I know what it is to put on an audio show. I'm Senior VP of T.H.E. Show. So my kudos and congratulations to the CanJam SoCal crew are heartfelt.
With that, we present to you, Enjoy the Music.com's CanJam SoCal 2022 Show Report!
CanJam SoCal 2022 Headphone And
Personal Audio Delights!
Manley Labs, as usual, did not disappoint. Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical to run their gorgeous tube headphone amp into my iPhone (they suggested I do so), but I had a really beautiful listening experience. And my time at their exhibit just went to show that when components are well built and well rounded, they play well with just about everything.
Pro-Ject Audio Systems was an eye and ear-opening experience for me. I got to listen to records (yes, vinyl) on their X2B balanced turntable with a Sumiko Starling moving coil cartridge, that went into a DS3B balanced phono pre and then into their DS2B balanced headlamp. I put on the pair of Sennheisers they provided to me and strapped in to listen to a 30-year-old recording of Sting's "The Soul Cages." I was blown away by the warmth and how well the music all translated.
HiFiMAN I narrowly managed to get a seat at their table and was immediately greeted by Adam Sohmer, who handed me a pair of their new closed-back Sundra headphones (retail $499). I enjoyed the HE400se headphones (retail $329) and the new version of the HE-1000se (retail $3500). I was completely impressed by every pair I auditioned, plain and simple. Between comfort and quality, HiFiMAN continues to deliver consistently excellent headphones that allow for long wear without listening fatigue. They are always a win in my book.
T+A was an experience I couldn't wait to write about and even now as I look at my notes, I'm getting goosebumps. They were featuring their Solitaire P (retail $6900), Solitaire P-se ($3900), and their Solitaire T ($1600) Bluetooth and noise-canceling headphones which went through an HA200 headphone amp, which has a built-in DAC (with two converters, one for PCM and one for DSD). I rocked out to Dire Straits on all the headphones and the one thing I promised myself I'd write in this show report was that when I listened to the T's, they immediately made me feel like I was flying on a private jet. Everything about T+A's headphones are stunning.
Shure welcomed me warmly and put out their Aonic ANC 40 and 50 IEMs to audition. With a price point of $199 and $249 respectively, I had a chance to listen to both pairs wired and wirelessly. I was pleased with how vocal forward they were and speaking from my years of studio experience, the 40s gave off more of a studio headphone vibe when listening. I felt this was worth noting in case some find it helpful.
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