What follows is Part 4 in a four-part series of snapshot-style reports on new (or at least new-ish) personal audio products seen at CanJam RMAF 2017.
For the sake of clarity, we have broken out coverage into four segments:
· Part 1 - Full-size Headphones
· Part 2 - Earphones & CIEMs
· Part 3 - Personal Audio Electronics
· Part 4 – Personal Audio Cables & Accessories, Best of Show
o Best Cost-no-object System
o Best Value-minded System
o Coolest Innovation
Personal Audio Cables & Accessories
Astell&Kern CD ripper
Astell & Kern showed a new CD ripper that is compatible with Ethernet-enabled and recording-capable Astell&Kern personal digital audio players. The CD ripper rips CDs directly to the players, which gathers and stores metadata for ripped content via Gracenote. The ripper is priced at $399.
Audeze Cipher cable for LCD-i4
Readers familiar with Audeze’s excellent iSINE10 and iSINE20 planar magnetic earphones will likely know that one of the best ways to hear those models is through their optional, Lightning-compatible Audeze Cipher cables, which provide an inline headphone amp/DAC/DSP module complete with pre-programmed DSP-driven EQ corrections that significantly improve the frequency response of the iSINE models, giving them audibly more neutral voicing.
Audeze recognized that some though not all LCD-i4 owners might welcome the convenience of having an LCD-i4-specific Cipher cable and so the firm has developed one. However, Audeze’s flagship LCD-i4 planar magnetic earphones have much more neutral voicing than the iSINE models do and therefore need little if any DSP-driven EQ correction, so the LCD-i4 CIPHER cable is designed accordingly (that is, with minimal built-in EQ as contrasted to the iSINE Cipher cable, which has considerably more EQ dialed-in). Interestingly, the LCD-i4 Cipher cable isn’t something Audeze will sell, but rather is a gift the company will make available to LCD-i4 owners upon request and free of charge. Because the LCD-i4 is considerably less sensitive than the iSINE models, the LCD-i4 CIPHER cable is a balanced output design with about 6dB more output than the iSINE-version CIPHER cable.
Dana Cable Lazuli and Lazuli Reference headphone cables
Dana Cables are marketed worldwide by Gingko Audio and two of the firm’s specialties are its very high performance Lazuli and Lazuli Reference headphone cable sets. The Lazuli cable is a 500-strand design targeted toward upper-tier headphones such as the HiFiMAN HE 1000 v2, while the Lazuli Reference cables is a 1200-strand design geared for use with cost-no-object headphones such as the Abyss AB-1266 Phi edition. Lazuli cable sets start at $549, while Lazuli Reference cable sets start at $1199. Both cable sets offer more expansive soundstages with an increase in resolution for ambient information in the music—benefits that are particularly noticeable with the Lazuli Reference cables used on appropriately high quality headphones.
Dekoni ear pads for Sennheiser HD 6xx and HD 800 headphones
Dekoni offers luxury-grade alternative ear pads for many popular headphones and two offerings that were drawing a lot of attention at CanJam were the firm’s beautiful ear pads for the Sennheiser HD 800 ($99.99) and pads purposely developed for Sennheiser’s HD 600-family headphones (e.g., the HD 580, HD 600, HD 650, and the new Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6xx; priced at $59.99). The HD 800 pads sets will become available in 6-8 weeks, while the HD 6xx pads should appear on the market within a month.
Note: There is real synergy between Dekoni’s ear pad offerings and Sennheiser’s Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6xx headphone, which a Massdrop spokesperson indicated was one of Massdrop’s post popular headphone ‘Drops’ to date. Apparently, many enthusiasts feel an optimal combination will be the HD 6xx headphone fitted with a set of Dekoni pads.