Snapshots from CanJam at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2014 -- Part 2

Earphones and in-ear monitors,
Headphone amps and amp/DACs
Snapshots from CanJam at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2014 -- Part 2

Important: This is Part 2 of a two-part Hi-Fi+ blog. 

To see Part 1 of the blog, click here.

As we mentioned in the introduction to this piece, this blog should not be contrued as exhaustive, "cover the earth" reportage from CanJam. Rather, it is -- as advertised -- a collection of "snapshots" drawn from a handful of products that, together, serve to illustrate some of the emerging trends we observed in the rapidly expanding universe of high-end headphone and earphone based systems. Enjoy!



Crystal Cables

We ran into Gabi van der Kley, head of Crystal Cables, and she informed us that high-performance headphone and earphone-based systems have really captured her imagination of late. Accordingly, Crystal has begun developing a series of single-end and balanced cables geared specifically for use with Astell & Kern high-res portable player/amp/DACs, as a well as a highly specialized cable developed specifically for use with JH Audio’s spectacular Roxanne custom-fit in-ear monitors (Gabi van der Kley’s personal CIEM of choice at the moment). These cables will be co-branded and co-marketed between Crystal Cable and Astell & Kern.


Musical Interface Technology began testing the waters for a new range of headphone cables collectively called the Vero series. Judging by the A/B comparisons made possible at MIT’s demo stand, we think the Vero cables sound very promising indeed and we await their arrival in the market place. It’s too soon to tell just yet, but expect prices for Vero headphone cables to fall in the range of $250 - $500 each.


Nordost, too, has bought in to the headphone universe in a meaningful way by creating a Heimdal-series of purpose built headphone cables. I had the opportunity to try a set of new Alpha Prime headphones from MrSpeaker that were fitted with Nordost’s Heimdal cables and I liked what I heard. Joe Reynolds, President of Nordost, is an enthusiastic headphone user himself and that extra bit of presidential enthusiasm shines through, I think, in the finished products.


WyWires principals Alex and Nina Sventitsky are no strangers to serious, ultra high-end cables of loudspeaker-based systems, but their firm’s most important thrust at RMAF/CAN JAM involved promotion of the firm’s new Red-series headphone cables, which WyWires regards as “a very important growth market.” WyWires’ distinctive bright red headphone cables seemed to be sprouting up all over the CAN JAM demonstration areas, with many listeners reporting that the WyWires cables offered meaningful gains in terms of perceived improvements in resolution, articulacy, and transient speeds.

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