Last weekend (13th-14th August) I was lucky enough to be invited to CanJam as part of the press team. CanJam is a two-day conference all about headphones and audio hi-fi with events all over the world.

After I collected my press pass and scavenger hunt sheet on the Saturday morning (more on that later) it was time to head to the first press conference which came from French brand Focal, who presented two sets of new over-ear headphones – the Elear and Utopia.

The Head of Engineering and Advertising headed up the talk and explained all about their unique design and how they aim to “offer the listening experience of a hi-end pair of speakers through 2 sets of headphones”. I had a chance to sample some and they were great, but not quite in my price range. They’re coming to Europe in September though and I’ve linked their Twitter above so do feel free to see them for yourself and whether they’d be your kind of thing.

Press conference over, I went to the Westminster Ballroom (the main conference space) to sample all the headphones on offer. Lots of brands that I’d never heard of were there, as well as some ones I had like Sennheiser. I completed one half of the room on the Saturday and the other on Sunday (trust me when I say, this place was HUGE). As part of the scavenger hunt I mentioned earlier, everyone who wanted to take part had to go to each stall, have a demo of their products and get their sheet signed.

There were so many tables and companies that I can’t possibly write about them all but I’m going to post some photos below and show the different headphones on offer, with my favourite brands and products being highlighted. So here they are.

Fiio (pictured below) specialise in headphone and portable amps as well as the latest technology DACs (Digital-To-Analogue Converters) and media players. I was really impressed by their products, specifically the E17K Alpen 2 USB DAC amp, which I will be purchasing as soon as I have the funds to. Apart from that, they have really cute writing on their tablecloth and their salesmen (shoutout to Oscar for being so nice and helpful) are just awesome people.

All the photos above sum up my experience on Saturday, which was a very successful day. Also on Saturday I had the opportunity to get a demo with the most expensive piece of amplification kit in the world, called the MSB Select DAC II that ranges from between €7,000 €50,000. The sound was just incredible and no wonder for that price. If you want to take a look, here’s their website. I’ve put a few pictures below if you’re interested in what it looks like.
I came back on the Sunday and straight away had a demo of something called the Realiser A16, which is just mind-blowing. You put headphones and put microphones in your ears (weird, right?) but it calibrates to your ears and then you’re ready to use the system. A tone gets played through the headphones and it literally sounds as if it’s coming from the speakers – it’s literally so bizarre. Trust me when I say that if you get the chance to try this or something similar, please do it. They’ve got a Kickstarter to fund their products, so I’d encourage you to check it out or donate money here if you can, I know I will be.
The rest of Sunday simply entailed getting the rest of my scavenger hunt sheet filled in. I checked out all of the other brands over the right side of the room, of which included Sennheiser, JBL and Mitchell & Johnson – three headphone providers that really stood out for me and I will definitely be checking out their products. Expect a review from me very soon.
After collecting my signatures it was time to retreat to the Press Suite, where there was a selection of snacks and drinks on offer. Then it was time to head back down to the Westminster Ballroom for the prize drawing, where all the people who’d filled in their sheet got picked out of a hat to receive a prize from one of the exhibitors at the conference. It’s a pretty cool idea and a great way to get people engaged.
I didn’t win anything sadly, but I had a great two days so thanks CanJam for inviting me, as well as putting on the snacks in the press suite. Check out where CanJam is going to be next by checking their website, as well as their Twitter and Facebook pages. Each of the brands I mentioned in the post are highlighted where there name first appears, so you can check them out too.
Happy Listening!
A K Jones

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