The late-February-held CanJam NYC 2023 headphone exhibition marked its second year in a row as an in-person event at Times Square’s Marriott Marquis Hotel, attracting overflow crowds of gear lovers from both the consumer and trade sectors.
Attendance figures — by the accounts of exhibiting brands’ spokespeople managing the booths and listening areas dotting the floor — outpaced even those for 2022. This high-profile audio show, which also spotlights headphone-related audio, was bustling – and enthusiasts were rewarded with a mix of tryout opportunities and a well-paced seminar program, across both days of the weekend.
Here are just a few highlights from what was on demo:
Sennheiser’s new IE 200 in-ear monitors ($149.99) carry the company’s TrueResponse technology, featuring a 7mm extra-wide-band transducer. A dual-tuning feature gives listeners a choice of mounting the ear tips in either of two positions within the ear canal, providing them with the ability to tweak the resulting aural experience to their individual preference.
At the New York City-based headphone retailer Audio46’s stand was Yamaha’s new flagship over-ear open-back model YH-5000SE ($4,999.95). The company says its well-regarded ’70s Orthodynamic driver design has been reimagined in these headphones, using a thin, ultra-lightweight diaphragm for a dynamic contrast between stillness and motion. They weigh just 11.3 ounces, come with two sets of earpads (leather and velour), and are built in the same Japan-based factory that turns out Yamaha grand pianos and other premium audio offerings.
TEAC’s UD-701N USB DAC/network player ($4,299) was on view in its 17.4-inch full-size iteration. It incorporates a new company-developed and -manufactured TEAC Delta Sigma discrete DAC. The player also functions as a high-quality analog preamp and headphone amp.
HIFIMAN used CanJam NYC to showcase the North American debut of three products. Among them was the AUDIVINA closed-back planar headphone ($1,999), which employs the company’s Stealth Magnets, said to enable sound waves to pass through without generating interference and reflections that can mar their integrity. HIFIMAN says its acoustical architecture was inspired by the multi-stage attenuation characteristics of Germany’s Beyreuth Festival Theater.
Astell&Kern’s AK HC3 USB DAC/headphone amplifier ($229; March availability) enables 32-bit high-res audio playback from a computer or a smartphone. It features ES9219MQ dual DACs paired with an independent analog amp. It’s a problem-solver, too, the company points out; the Astell&Kern USB DAC cable, with its USB-C connection, allows users to compensate for smartphone design changes that remove headphone jacks.
PSB’s M4U 8 MKII wireless active noise-canceling over-ear headphones ($399), soon to be available in a color choice of Espresso Brown, were highlighted at CanJam just ahead of the new finish’s market release. They are endowed with PSB’s RoomFeel technology, said to provide a more natural sense of detail and imaging, and with Audiodo Personal Sound, a feature that, through the PSB headphones app, does a quick hearing assessment and calibration, and then delivers the customized results to the listener’s ears. An added convenience feature is that there are headphone jacks on both the left and right sides.
Nancy is a contributing editor for Dealerscope.