CanJam London 2019 Coverage Sponsored by Underwood Hifi Part 1

Walter Liederman from Underwood HiFi made it possible for us to cover this show by sponsoring all the coverage for  CanJam. Walter is one of the best online retailers worldwide who offers premium and affordable products as well as advice on what products will work best for your personal application. Check out his website https://www.underwoodhifi.com/  and give Walter a call for your audio needs. CanJam London 2019, now in its fifth year, was an experience for me as this was my first trip to Europe and to England.   Jude Mansilla and Ethan Opolion continue to produce shows that are creative and offer the personal enthusiast a chance to hear and see the best in personal audio. The attendance for the London show this year set a new attendance record for CanJam London. The Park Plaza Westminster location, located in central London, is convenient for taking tours and seeing the best of London. Restaurants and pubs are all within walking distance and a short walk to the London Eye make this a fantastic location. CanJam London 2019 was another show loaded with new products and designs that continue to inspire and make music listening a new experience and showcases new products as well as new prototypes. The future for personal audio listening continues to explode and the future is bright with amazing products coming that will blow away music lovers.  My first stop for Thursday night was the press event sponsored by dCS and CanJam Global. The Bartok event, at a London restaurant near Royal Hall, was a chance for me to spend some time with the folks at dCS and CanJam Global to listen and enjoy the English hospitality. The dCS Bartok is an upsampling network DAC that incorporates a high quality headphone amplifier employing dCS proprietary Ring DAC technology. The Bartok also is a music streaming DAC that offers the best in digital conversion and will drive all headphone easily.  Coverage on the Bartok will be in our report coming from the dCS room at CanJam London. This amazing instrument is an end game solution with fully upgradeable firmware to protect your investment and make it easily upgradeable. Superb sound and build quality and engineered for a lifetime the $15000 Bartok makes headphone listening a total musical journey into what is now a possibility. Freddie, better known to the Headfi.org community as SleepyOne, is writing his first UK show coverage for Headphone.Guru and admiring the listening experience with the Bartok for the first time. Ethan Opolion show producer of CanJam Global London completely focused on the musical bliss from the mighty Bartok. Martin Roberts Managing Director of Warwick Acoustic, the UK’s leading manufacturer of electrostatic design, had a soundproof custom made glass listening room with both the Sonoma and flagship Aperio systems. The room was silent and the entire enclosure’s walls were made of glass providing a sitting area set up inside for auditioning. Once in the booth, I could hear not a whisper as it was silent and the listening became a total experience that had my complete attention. The Aperio is a total system designed for the enthusiast who wants the most transparency for music. The inner detail retrieval from recordings is exceptional and allows the listener to hear everything in the recording.  Aperio has a wide range of inputs for balanced and unbalanced analogue, AES, SPDIF, coaxial, ethernet and USB. The digital section of Aerio does up to DSD256 via Native or DoP and will upsample PCM to 384 kHz as well as accept 32/384 kHz PCM signals. The signal path is pure and unadulterated never passing through internal cables, panel switches or potentiometers. The line stage outputs allow for other high-end audio components to be added to the system to drive outboard amplifiers and loudspeakers. The unit is also designed to be used in pro applications as well as home systems. The $24000 US price includes the electronics and headphone along with a portable carrying case for the complete system. Using a new variant transducer derived from the Sonoma, the balanced drive BD_HPEL is a high precision electrostatic driver that moves the diaphragm, offering lower distortion and better linearity than their first-generation driver. The sound was magical with excellent clarity in the mids with outstanding high-frequency extension, making large scale orchestral and quality jazz recordings come alive. The bass was textured with exceptional quality and during my listening session I heard inner detail with outstanding musicality and the tonality of instruments was accurate and precise. The sound of the Aperio is a significant upgrade over the Sonoma. Warwick nailed the performance and created a magical listening experience. The Aperion a must-hear for the enthusiast who wants inner detail retrieval coupled with the best in musicality. Exceptional Experience and a show stopper!!!! HiFiMan UK’s distributor was showing Fang Bian’s creations. The Susvara $6000 planar magnetic flagship headphones were being driven by the dCS Bartok and making serious music. The Bartok the Susvara were synergistic and let me hear everything the headphone was capable of producing. The $6000 Susvara and the $15K Bartok shown on the left. The  Shangri La Jr  $8000 US  system features much of the Shangri La flagship 50K system’s sound at a much more affordable price. The electrostatic transducer is paired with a 4 sn67 tube hybrid amplifier and the sound was transparent with exceptional transparency. The $3500 HE1000 SE planar, one my reference headphones, is exceptional and offers outstanding transparency and the soundstage is one the best in headphone design. Meze Audio Empyrean is a serious flagship headphone that offers exceptional sound and the Isodynamic hybrid design makes music come alive and is one of the best headphones released in 2019 and a serious contender for Headphone of the Year. The Rinaro Isodynamic driver engineered in the Ukraine makes music sound exciting and the design is comfortable for long listening sessions. The $2999 flagship is an exceptional effort and worthy of the flagship status. Meze is on a roll with their best bang for the buck designs. Josh Thomas was showing the personal headphone products from Rupert Neve Design. The Rupert Neve Designs Precision Digital to Analog Converter making its debut in London was a USB compatible design for Mac, or IOS and Android sources. The reference headphone amplifier drove Alex Rosson’s new planar design the RAD-O effortlessly. The amplifier sounded dynamic had excellent power to drive the RAD-O.  The DAC is balanced in and out and does DSD 512 and upsamples to 384kHz/24 bit PCM. A price is not yet announced but I predict this will be a hit for Rupert Neve Designs as the pro audio giant makes its way into personal audio listening rooms. oBravo known worldwide for high-end air transformer designs was present showcasing their newest creation the  Cupid. The Cupid is a two-way planar hybrid design, incorporating a planar magnetic with a dynamic driver. Priced at  $299 US the sound was open and dynamic. The mids were transparent and the sound of the highs was engaging but a little bright sounding. Designed for the music lover who likes a less warm sound with a more lively high end and offered at an attractive price. Beyerdynamic had a full lineup of designs. The German-based manufacturer has been releasing new designs in wireless and updating many of their flagship designs. The Amiron Home design is priced at $499 US and the Amiron Wireless $599 with exceptional sound and the wireless has bluetooth connectivity eliminating the cable. The design is comfortable and the sound is exceptional. The mids are engaging and the bass is textured and deep and grunting. The sound is musical and one of the best design from the German Giant. Whether you are home or on the go, the Amiron is an outstanding product that will make your listening a complete experience.
The DT 1990 Pro is priced at $549 US and is one of the best closed-end designs in the Beyerdynamic lineup. The sound is exceptionally transparent and accurate. Designed for musical accuracy with exceptional bass the DT 1990 is a giant killer and an affordable closed design.

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Frank Iacone

Frank started his journey in high-end audio in 1978 and was quickly hooked. Frank’s passion for music and great sound reproduction is stronger than ever. His main focus is with high-end headphones and portable related gear. He is a regular Head-Fi.org contributor and is a co-founder of Headphone.Guru.

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