After a lengthy absence due to COVID-19 pandemic, CanJam is back in Singapore in 2022, April 2-3, at the same venue, Pan Pacific Singapore Hotel. The crowd was expected to be thin, but when I was there on the second day, every booth is occupied with people testing the products on display.
I like the new layout, as the large ballroom is partitioned into 5 zones. Before the event, I shortlisted a dozen headphones to test. With only less than 2 hours remaining before the convention ended, I reached out for headphones that were not occupied. Strong disclaimer: these are audio impressions in a noisy environment, so
Available at Zeppelin & Co. in Singapore at S$1,699, I was at the Focal booth and waited for a while before the Radiance was available for audition. While listening, I waited for the Utopia and Stellia but they were continually hoarded.
For the Radiance, I find them sounding neutral-flat. Highs are not overly sparkly, sound staging is close, instruments are not distinctively separated compared to other critical headphones. The audio source is provided by the exhibitor.
This consumer-grade ANC wireless headphones retail at S$499 with limited availability due to production challenges in this pandemic situation. These are the over-ear headphones equivalent of the Technics AZ60 which I reviewed positively. Before starting me audition, I connected the A800 to my Technics smartphone app and disabled the EQ to ensure I do not give an incorrect assessment.
I was pleasantly surprised at how lightweight the A800 feels. Sound-wise, these are very enjoyable and tuned for consumers indeed. ANC works pretty well, and although I cannot compare directly with Sony, I can safely say the A800 is still not at that level, but I have no issues using it at CanJam. The sub-bass is boomy, slightly overpowering the sparkly treble, though I think consumers won’t mind. When ANC is off, the bass is better controlled and I can get more midrange. Technics informed me that I will be receiving a review unit next month, so I will review more.
Meze Audio Liric
Distributed in Singapore by AV One at S$2,899, I tested the Liric with the Sony ZX300. The Liric strikes me as a headphones with prominent midrange compared to bass and treble. Details are not forthcoming, sound staging is wide around the ears, vocals and lead instruments are spatial, percussions are snappy but not forward.
Meze Audio Advar
The Advar made its debut at CanJam Singapore, and will be available for purchase soon. It offers a roomy sound stage, controlled bass without sounding too boomy, midrange is warm and tight, while treble is edging towards being almost overcooked. The ear tips are fat, keeps slipping out of my ear canals.
Dan Clark Audio (DCA) Aeon 2 Noire
I used to own the Aeon Flow so it feels nostalgic to try out the Aeon 2 Noire. The first thing that strikes me is that they are not very noise isolating. The tuning focuses on midrange, the bass is not powerful, the treble is not crispy, so overall it sounds neutral. Its strength is on offering spatial listening comfort. I’m sure it’s better than first-gen Aeon, I just need more time and space to go into detail.
They are available in Singapore from AV One at S$1,329.
Dan Clark Audio Stealth
The last headphones I tested is the most expensive headphones I managed to listen to at CanJam Singapore 2022, the Stealth retails at S$5,699 from AV One. It impresses me with its life-like midrange delivery, which are very well-presented without being obscured by other parts. Good instrumental separation, spatial, and sizzling vocals. The bass is clean, not prominent, and almost weak. Instrumental genres sounds beautiful.
While it is always fun to attend conventions, any die-hard audiophiles would realise that most of the audio products on exhibition are also available at the retail shops for audition. What CanJam offers is the opportunity to meet up with people – the product owners, the creators, to hear them share passionately about their ideas and vision of the headphones. Hopefully, next year the exhibitors from more countries can attend.