This is Part 2 of Hi-Fi+’s three-part photo-essay covering the recent CanJam NYC event.
Dekoni is a firm I met for the first time at CanJam NYC and whose mission is to offer extremely high quality, memory foam-based ear tips for small universal-fit earphones and custom memory foam-based ear pads (clad either in protein leather or sheepskin leather) for full size headphones. Dekoni’s Bulletz memory foam tips for universal-fit earphones sell for $15, which the firm’s Elite-series ear pads for full-size headphones sell for $49.99 (in protein leather) or $69.99 (in sheepskin leather). I found the full-size pads very comfortable indeed.
Echobox Audio & Snugs
At a CanJam NYC press event Echobox Audio discussed recent changes to its ever-evolving product line, including a price drop for the firm’s Finder X1 earphones (from $199 to $149 for the standard model, and from $229 to $159 for the Android and/or Apple-specific models with in line remote/mic modules). Also new from Echobox were the new entry-level Traveller Ti (for Titanium) earphones ($99) and the firm’s new flagship model called the Nomad ($399).
The Nomad could, in a sense, be considered a Finder X1 ‘on steroids’, but with welcome new features such as higher quality, user replaceable MMCX-type signal cables and set of both standard and Comply-type ear-tips.
The firm also announced its collaboration with the British company Snugs, which produces custom-moulded ear-tips made of flexible medical-grade silicone that can be fitted to Echobox’ various earphones—in essence giving the earphones many of the benefits of custom-fit in-ear monitors, but for a fraction of the price. Although Snugs ear tips can be built from traditional earmould impressions, the company recommends use of it less invasive and more comfortable 3D scanning process, which—based on my personal experience—yields excellent results (the entire scanning process is about as simple a having a doctor take a look inside your ear canals with an otoscope, and it typically take only about 5 minutes per ear).
Watch for an upcoming review of the Echobox Nomad as fitted with Snugs tips.
On one final note, Echobox indicated it is very close to production release of its long-awaited Explorer streaming DAP (digital audio player), which will sell for $599 and should be released around the time this blog appears.
Effect Audio is a maker of specialised, very high-performance signal cables for headphones and earphones.
The firm’s headphone range features two levels of silver-conductor cables: the Thor Silver II+ 4-wire (starting at $899) and the Silver II+ 8-wire (starting at $1,499).
Then Effect offers similar ranges of copper-conductor cables: the Ares II+ 4-wire models (starting at $349) and the Ares II+ 8-wire version (starting at $549).
Finally, Effect offers specialty IEM cables ranging from the Ares II models (starting at $149) and ranging all the way up to the Mars Gold-Plated OCC Silver cables (starting at $999).
Empire is a CIEM specialist that is now teaming with Stephen Ambrose, whose ADEL (Ambrose Diaphonic Ear Lens) technology is said to relieve excess pneumatic pressure within the ear canals of CIEM wearers, thus promoting hearing health while also improving sound quality. I got a brief chance to hear Empire’s flagship Zeus XR earphone ($2,729), which in essence is two earphones in one, thanks to external voicing control switches that allow users to select the voicing of either of Empire’s best regarded top-tier models. The dual-voicing feature seems to me to be a very good idea in that it gives listeners freedom of choice in selecting the voicing profiles they prefer or that may work best with a given recording.
The Zeus XR was fitted with the ADEL system, but I really wasn’t able to reach any definitive conclusion regarding the possible merits of the ADEL technology.
For many years the original FI-BA-SS universal fit earphone has stood as a prime example of the Japanese firm Final’s highest level of craftsmanship and sonic accomplishment in a compact universal-fit design. For CanJam NYC, though, Final revealed the successors to its earlier flagship model with the new FI-BA-SS-T25 ($1,279) and the FI-BA-SS-T35 ($1,249). Both models, in keeping with longstanding Final practice, are based on single balanced armature design and place a great emphasis on exquisite timbral purity.