Here’s my second installment from the 2022 Southern California CanJam headphone show, which filled a large ballroom and a couple of hallways at the Irvine Marriott in Irvine, California, south of Los Angeles. Our first installment focused on earphones; this one will focus on headphones, and I’ll follow up soon with a second one on headphones. Companies are listed in alphabetical order, and all prices are in USD.
Though they were less numerous than today, a plethora of hi-fi companies in the postwar era developed and sold the products that laid the groundwork for stereo both as a hobby and as ubiquitous home entertainment. Some of their names are recognizable to us still: loudspeakers by Klipsch and Tannoy; electronics from McIntosh Laboratory and Harman/Kardon; turntables by Thorens and, later on, Technics. Today, these companies are regarded as hi-fi royalty, with reputations built on their accomplishments more than half a century ago. However, off-the-shelf speakers and electronics weren’t an early hi-fi enthusiast’s only option: in the days of stereo’s infancy, it was not uncommon for one to assemble or even fabricate the components of the system oneself.
The annual Southern California CanJam show took place September 17 and 18 at the Irvine Marriott in Irvine, California, south of Los Angeles. The show seemed to be fully in post-pandemic mode. The large ballroom at the Marriott that held most of the displays was packed, and some of the companies—Audeze, Focal, and ZMF, to name a few—were so swamped with visitors that it was difficult to get a listen.
It’s rare for something that would normally be of interest to a few audiophiles—a small slice of an already small pie—to get attention from the outside world. I was among the many vinyl lovers who were following what became known as the Mobile Fidelity scandal for a few weeks when the Washington Post published a story about it on August 5th. Two days earlier, SoundStage! Global had posted a piece by Matt Bonaccio that gave an overview of how the story unfolded, so I’ll direct you to those links for the details.
Quick! What’s the second-largest hi-fi speaker manufacturer in the world? I’d say that you’ll never guess, but since this article is gonna tell you about my recent tour of the DALI factory in Nørager, Denmark, I think I may have given it away.
“On your left you can see the Queen of Denmark’s residence, and if you look over to the right, you can see shipping containers converted into university students’ residences,” said our guide as we putted through Copenhagen’s harbor on a tour boat.
I have this recurring dream that hits me about once every six months. I’m back in university, it’s getting close to the end of the year, and I realize that I haven’t attended a single class for one particular course. I’m now silently dream-freaking. I realize I can’t complete the course, I can’t drop it, and it’s all my own fault.
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL), the record label known for its audiophile-grade remasters of hundreds of classic albums, has recently become a cause célèbre among collectors and audiophiles on YouTube and social media. In July, it was revealed that the label’s supposedly all-analog vinyl mastering process actually involves converting the source tapes to DSD files before cutting the master disc, flying in the face of their previous claims.
Can you call the Paradigm Monitor SE 8000F ($1699.98 per pair, all prices in USD) a legend if it is the first iteration of this new model? I do, because it’s based on the highly regarded and long-running Monitor 11, the largest model in Paradigm’s previous Monitor line. The model names for the Monitor SE line are mostly new, but the 8000F clearly owes much of its heritage to the beloved Monitor 11. In fact, Zoltan Balla and Blake Alty from Paradigm said as much in their recent interview with Dennis Burger on our SoundStage! Access website.
It feels great to finally say it. We’re moving. We’ve been in our current house on the wrong coast for eight years (plus another year in an apartment), the longest we’ve ever stayed in one place. It’s a lovely little mid-century modern at the top of a cul-de-sac in a great spot—near trails, good schools, and community comforts that we value.
Back in 2015, I reviewed the Cyrus Audio Stereo 200, an excellent-sounding power amplifier based on the British audio manufacturer’s proprietary class-D amplification topology. Our own Hans Wetzel heard a prototype Stereo 200 during a previous Cyrus factory tour and was also impressed. I have not seen or heard much about Cyrus in the past few years, although I saw its products at High End 2018 in Munich, where it was displaying the One HD integrated amplifier-DAC, which also utilizes the brand’s class-D amplifier circuitry.
It seems acceptable to be fashionably late. But can you say the same about being fashionably early?
I’ve been listening to MartinLogan Masterpiece Classic ESL 9 loudspeakers in my reference system for five years now, and when SoundStage! Network editor-in-chief Jeff Fritz recently asked me if I was still happy with them, I answered with an emphatic yes. And when asked why, I realized that, although they have their limitations, I have yet to hear other speakers near their price that outperform them in the areas that I find most critical for my own musical enjoyment.
I wrote the first High End 2022 product-coverage article we published, and then I turned my attention to taking most and editing all of the photos. But during that time with the photos, I came across a number of products I knew that the others on the team didn’t get, and I wanted to make sure they got published—so that’s how I ended up writing this final product-coverage article. All prices are in US dollars or euros.
Anyone who loves sports and watches ESPN—the United States’ most influential sports-related cable network—and, specifically, commentator Stephen A. Smith, knows what the term hot take means. Merriam-Webster defines the hot take as “a quickly produced, strongly worded, and often deliberately provocative or sensational opinion or reaction.” As I traversed the halls of High End 2022, ate in the restaurants of Munich, or worked in various places on my computer, I muttered myriad opinions both to myself and folks I know in the industry. A thought occurred to me: why should the sports reporters have all the fun?
The final day of High End 2022 was much like the first few: lots of new products, some of them very cool. In fact, I came to the realization that we would only cover a fraction of what was on display in Germany—I regret that we’ll definitely miss some relevant products. One thing is for sure, though: customers have some wonderful stereo components to choose from when shopping for a new audio system. Prices below in US dollars or euros.
Approximate system cost: €600,000.
Page 6 of 26
SoundStage! Global is part of
All contents available on this website are copyrighted by SoundStage!® and Schneider Publishing Inc., unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.
This site was designed by JoomlaShack, Karen Fanas, and The SoundStage! Network.
To contact us, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org