This is the second of four illustrated descriptions of the new and exciting products seen at CanJam NYC 2018.
Campfire Audio has earned a reputation for manufacturing some of the most finely crafted and sonically accomplished high performance earphones presently available (watch for the upcoming Hi-Fi+ review of Campfires Polaris and Andromeda earphones for more details). However, for CanJam NYC the firm broke new ground with its first-ever full-size headphone, called the Cascade ($799).
The Cascade is a closed-back, dynamic driver-equipped headphone fitted with 42mm dynamic drivers sporting Beryllium-PVD diaphragms. Other key construction details include and all-metal frame and metal ear cups, with a clever magnetic ear pad attachment system. The sound of the headphone (in terms of voicing) plainly shows the influence of Campfire’s excellent earphones, which are known for their uncanny smoothness and spaciousness, with generous amounts of resolution.
The new firm Caprice Audio showed its impressive new Mosaic Wave Stream Hybrid Technology passive noise filter ($1,499), which made for one of the more eye-opening demonstrations I heard at CanJam. Looking back over that last sentence it occurs to me that a more apt descriptor would be to call the Mosaic a “passive noise floor reducer.”
Caprice’s demonstration featured a Questyle CM600i reference amp/DAC driving two sets of high-end headphones, with a pair of Mosaic devices waiting in the wings to be connected to the system. Caprice played sets of highly three-dimensional test tracks through the system, first with no Mosaic device in use (to establish a baseline) and then through a Mosaic connected via a copper conductor-based Caprice connection cable and then through a Mosaic connected via a silver conductor-based cable. I found that in both cases the Mosaic device helped lower the system noise floor, with concomitant increases in low-level detail, perceived transient acuity, and overall three-dimensionality.
The question of whether the copper- or silver-based connection cable was better is open to interpretation, depending on which headphone(s) were in use. Either way, the Mosaic device offered plainly audible benefits. I think it would also be interesting to hear what the Mosaic device could do in a conventional loudspeaker-based system.
The justly famous Oregon-based audio cable manufacturer Cardas showed its new top-of-the-range headphone cable, called—logically enough—the Clear headphone cable, which is patterned after the firm’s very successful Clear family of high performance cables for traditional loudspeaker-based systems. Typical pricing for a set of Clear headphone cables would be ~$600/1.5m set. Cardas can build the cables with a wide range of terminations to suit specific headphones and/or amplifier configurations.
Also on display at the Cardas stand was the new 30th Anniversary edition of the firm’s elegant little A8 earphones, as reviewed in the upcoming Hi-Fi+ issue 157.