For several years in a row, the Head-Fi organization has held its main CanJam event in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, and this year was no exception. What changed, though, and in a good way, is that theCanJam event became so popular that if overflowed the confines of the very large hotel ballroom it has traditionally occupied to take over the entire ground floor atrium space of the hotel as well! This change dramatised the rapid increase in interest in serious, high-end headphone-based music systems.
I actually overheard a snippet of conversation among showgoers that went something like this:
Participant 1: “Did you see the CanJam event in the atrium?”
Participant 2: “I did, but that’s not all there is to CanJam. In the rear of the hotel back behind the atrium area, there’s this great big ballroom that’s full of even more CanJam displays. Honestly, it was almost unbelievable.”
Participant 1: “How so?”
Participant 2: “Well, it was with people -- some young, some not so young -- and they all seemed really upbeat and enthusiastic. And what's more, it looked like many of them were actually buying or ordering new equipment right here at the show. I guess they’re really into their high-end headphone systems.”
Participant 1: "That’s very impressive.”
And indeed it was impressive, leaving no doubt (well, none except among the most hard-boiled of audio curmudgeons) that headphone-based systems are now an established, legitimate, vibrant, and thriving segment of the high-end audio universe.
Instead of our usual attempts at “cover the earth” reportage from CanJam events, we would like to try something different here in the form of a small series of snapshots designed to highlight a few of the trends we observed at CanJam /RMAF 2014. Our apologies to those manufacturers we do not cover here, but please note again that these are only fleeting snapshots of a handful products observed in passing.
Important: This is Part 1 of a two-part Hi-Fi+ blog.
To access Part 2 of this blog, click here.