I attended my first CanJam this year (NYC edition) and it was a blast! These are my favorite headphones that I tried from the show.

Fostex TH-610

When I saw the TH-610 I immediately noticed the resemblance to the discontinued Denon AH-D2000. My pair of D-2000's is in shambles since one of the pins holding the cups in place fell out (which makes me sad). I asked the rep what the relationship is with the D-2000, and he said Fostex actually designed the D-2000 for Denon and when they discontinued it, Fostex took the basic design and made their own headphone with it.

They sound similar but not identical to the D-2000's: round, smooth bass, and a very good sound stage for a closed headphone. They sell for around $650 and in my opinion that is a fair price for a very listenable headphone. The instrument separation is quite unique on these: the bass feels like it's on its own plane.

Fostex TH-610 over-ear headphones
Fostex TH-610

Noble Khan

This earphone is absolutely incredible. It comes with a hefty pice tag ($2399) but it was the best headphone I heard all weekend.

Noble Khan custom IEM

Detailed, smooth, accurate. Basically any positive trait I can think of, these headphones have it. All the frequencies blend well together to create an immersive experience. If you're looking for a huge soundstage that might be the only thing these headphones can't do, but that goes for all IEMs. This is endgame IEM in my eyes.

After listening to the Khan it confirmed that I am IEM guy. For some reason the presentation and headspace that IEMs can create is just generally more pleasurable for me for some reason.

Focal Utopia & Stellia

Focal Stellia and Focal Utopia headphones
Focal Stellia (left), Focal Utopia (right)

I was not impressed by the Focal Clear which sounded relatively dull to me, but the Stellia and Utopia are on a whole 'nother level. I didn't listen extensively to these (or any headphones during the weekend), but my first impression was very overwhelmingly positive. They are the kind of headphones that are so balanced that they probably wouldn't wow the average person, but it's hard to find any flaws in these headphones.

You'd be paying a hefty hefty price for these (~$3000 and ~$4000 respectively) but they are very very good and I can understand the price.

AME Aura, Argent, & Radioso

AME custom purple/orange IEM

This was the trifecta of earphones that wow'ed me on Day 1. The Aura is brand new: it debuted at the event and isn't even added to the AME website yet. All three are priced at $1,200. The Radioso is the most dynamic/lively/bassy of the three IEMs with astounding detail, while the the Argent and the Aura were incredibly balanced and smooth. Especially the Aura: it's like it was pre-EQ'ed for my personal preference. I think that's in part due to the instrument separation. Usually more instrument separation and bigger soundstage are good things, but the Aura and Argent seemed to find a perfect middle ground of not trying to do too much. I'm probably not explaining that well, but I reallllly like the Aura. I will be saving up to buy a pair.

AME custom in-ear monitor
One of the AMEs (can't remember which one)


Last but not least, the DEVA also debuted at the event. It will be out in March and is priced at $300, which is cheap considering it goes head-to-head in my opinion with $1,000+ headphones. They sound fantastic for the price, are very comfortable and light, and come with a rechargeable bluetooth dongle for optional wireless listening. They don't have the incredible level of detail of some more expensive cans, but these draw a very clear line in the sand of where the law of diminishing returns starts to kick in. I would be happy to trade my beloved HD 700's for a pair of these (assuming my first impression is accurate).

That's all, folks

There were so many great headphones, but these stood above the rest for me.

If you're ever in the market for new headphones / gear and can make it to one of these events, I highly recommend it! It was awesome to able to talk to knowledgeable representatives from so many respected and quality brands.

Many of the owners of the smaller companies (e.g. Campfire Audio, Noble) were there which was cool.

Two thumbs up for CanJam 2020 NYC

I think the next show I'll be going to is NAMM in Nashville which is a little closer to where I live (Atlanta).

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