On the weekend before Easter, Hi-Fi+ Associate Publisher Pete Collingwood-Trewin and I took the opportunity to visit CanJam SoCal, which was held at the JW Marriott hotel in the middle of downtown Los Angeles.
The event was popular with manufacturers and with show-goers, it seemed, so that at times there were lines of enthusiasts queuing to hear the enticing products on demonstration.
What follows is the second part of what will ultimately be a four-part report on the event.
Our aim is to present Parts 1 and 2 shortly after Easter and then to add Parts 3 and 4 at a later date.
IMPORTANT: As always, we apologize to any manufacturers we were not able to visit. No slights of any kind are intended. Then again, please note that on more than a few occasions we visited manufacturers only to be turned back by the crowds of people surrounding their demonstration tables (which is, as the old saying goes, a ‘high quality problem to have’).
When it comes to the brave new world of wireless headphones, the Canadian firm Bluewave may well have come up with the proverbial ‘better built mousetrap’ in the form of its ingenious GET wireless hi-fi headphone amplifier. Offer in elegant casework that is about the size of a lipstick case, the GET is a Bluetooth 4.2-compatible, battery powered wireless headphone amplifier that can turn just about any conventional headphone or set of earphones or CIEMs into wireless Bluetooth models.
The little amp not only works, but also works deceptively well—especially in light of its ever-so-reasonable $129 price. Better still, if you pre-order a unit now, the price drops down to just $99. The GET is expected to begin shipping in late May or early June.
Brainwavz Audio is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong based firm GPGS; Brainwavz’ mission is to provide affordable and highly personalised products for earphone and headphone lovers worldwide. Accordingly, the firm offers an extensive range of passive and Bluetooth-enabled universal-fit earphones and headphones, plus related accessories (though it appears the earphones are a particular area of expertise for the company).
Within the firm’s earphone offerings, a group of three Balanced Armature Series earphones appear to reside at the top of Brainwavz’ sonic ‘food chain’. I took a brief opportunity to listen to the upcoming flagship Brainwavz BA-400 (price TBC, but projected at $350), which features quad balanced armature-type drivers and that I felt offered a goodly amount of sonic sophistication for the money.
Campfire Audio is the acclaimed sister company to ALO Audio and its sole point of focus involves building ultra-high performance universal-fit earphones. Campfire’s range is sub-divided into two product lines, one centred on earphones based on traditional balanced armature drivers and the other centred on earphones based on high-tech dynamic drivers (or hybrid driver combinations anchored by dynamic drivers).
At the pinnacle of the balanced armature range is the Andromeda ($1,099), which features five balanced armature-type drivers per earpiece and which uses a proprietary so-called Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber. If all goes according to plan, Hi-Fi+ will review the Andromeda in the not too distant future.
At the top of the dynamic driver range is Campfire’s Vega ($1,299), which features what is said to be the world’s first 8.5mm non-crystalline Diamond dynamic driver housed in the world’s first Liquid Alloy Metal Earphone Housing.