CanJam NYC 2024 Recap

CanJam NYC 2024 Recap

Having attended 6 CanJams now, a certain expectation follows into each and every show. To say that CanJam NYC not only exceeded these expectations, but simply just raised the bar even higher for future shows would be an understatement. With so many great people that I got to meet, and so many new products to try, this impressions guide will only be a short synopsis of the incredible amount of fun and opportunity that is around every corner at CanJam. 

With these being impressions, it's important to remember that these listening demos are under noisy conditions and very short listening sessions. I’m sure my opinions can/would change with a more discerning listen, but for now, these are my full thoughts and opinions on what I was able to try on the showroom floor. 


SP3000T: Astell&Kern had a busy 2023, dropping a multitude of different sources and DAPs, and they don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. The much anticipated next addition to their popular tube based DAP of the past, SP2000T, is the SP3000T which looks to further refine the sound and hone in the overall usability with their Crimson UI. Well, did they succeed? My short impressions lead me to believe so. SP3000T takes a new approach to their analogue sound by using Dual RAYTHEON JAN6418 MIL-SPEC vintage vacuum tubes, and while I’d be lying if I said I knew the exact ins and outs of these tubes, I can say that my ears can hear the difference. SP2000T’s incredibly romantic and engaging sound signature could often be lagged by its somewhat overly warm presentation, perhaps getting a touch too mushy for my tastes. SP3000T does away from this by offering similar smoothness and warmth across the board, while intertwining a highly technical and resolving treble response that's simply superb. SP3000T of course offers the ability to cater the amount of tube involvement in the sound with hybrid mode, allowing you to tweak this analogue sound with their standard op amp tuning. Although the tubes will steal the spotlight, the standard op amp sound will be the much needed and trusty sidekick to complete the total package that SP3000T is shaping up to be. I’m certainly excited and eager to spend more time with SP3000T once it arrives in our office soon 

Astell&Kern x Empire Ears Novus with the SP3000T

Astell&Kern Novus: What's becoming a regular staple in Astell&Kern/s lineup is their collaboration IEMs, and by popular demand, another addition has found its way into the market. Novus is the Astell&Kern’s latest team-up with Empire Ears, allowing Odyssey to finally rest soundly. Novus comes in a huge shell, as to be expected anytime an IEM is housing a staggering 13 drivers. Now, of course, the shell is simply gorgeous in its presentation, and the chiseled outside edges scream luxury and impressive craftsmanship. But, with that aside, moving into the sound, Novus’s sound signature infiltrates your ears with clear presence in the bass right off the bat. It’s hard hitting and impactful, and even that characterization may come up short in what I’m trying to say. Seriously, this bass response is boisterous. I nearly flinched when a wave of lowend came over me in my rap test tracks, and to my surprise, followed me even into my folk and classic rock tracks. Guitar strums have incredible weight and body, and that impact and bass response often becomes the key highlight with the treble being rather dark. Well, up until I changed sources. I often use my phone as my audio source across CanJam for ease of use with my music library, WiFi issues, and battery life, but Novus really opened up in the treble region when paired with the SP3000T. The rather dark and sheltered treble became energetic and even slightly peaky in the top end, making for an extremely unique listening session across the board. While I can’t say Novus was love at first listen, I’m incredibly interested in getting more time dedicated to it to really soak in all that this IEM has to offer. 


Narukami: If this impressions guide didn’t descend in alphabetical order, Narukami would be my last entry to further dramatize the rather unequaled aura that surrounds this amp. Narukami finds itself in rare air, with its closest counterpart perhaps being the Sennheiser HE-1. And before I proceed further, no words nor descriptions will be able to fully display the lightning in the bottle that Audio-Technica managed to capture with Narukami. The fine wood that displays the rich heritage of the craftsmanship behind it, the large exposed tubes that glow in their enclosed residence, and of course the illustrious sound that will soon complete the entire experience that's been set up by Narukami’s gorgeous looks. Luckily, for everyone's sake, Narukami doesn’t manage to disappoint in that regard, or any for that matter. Instead, Narukami presents a vigorous sound profile that capitalizes off an incredibly fast and highly resolving sound. With so many components in this chain (including a SME Diamond Series turntable with a model 309 tonearm, Audio-Techncia ART-20 cartridge, and of course the headphones designed specifically in tandem with the Narukami amp) it's pretty hard to specifically say what exactly defining characteristics go to what component, however, this lineup of products was clearly designated to pair with this amp with defined intention and synergy. Narukami presented highs in all of their detail and extension, with cymbals having incredible texture and a sense of fullness upon every strike. Vocals surround you with a sense of intimacy and transparency that would only be beat out by the performer standing in front of you, and every last word is drawn out to their very last breath. The bass struck a chord of realism with a hint of exaggeration that satisfied the inner basshead in us all, making Narukami not only a technical marvel, but also a relatable listen that pairs well across any genre of music you enjoy. Narukami was an experience like no other, and I will forever remember my time spent with it. 

Audio-Technica Narukami tube amp

Dita Audio 

Project M: Easily my biggest underdog of the show, Dita Project M is what I like to call a giant slayer. In a show dominated by flagship products present at each and every booth, Project M hangs with these top dogs in both appearance and sound…and also at less than half the cost. At $325, Project M punches above its weight class in its technicalities and tonality, offering a quite pleasant sound signature that doesn’t skimp in total resolution. The treble is incredibly airy with  a touch of zing that gives some spice to an extremely pleasant and tonally balanced sound signature. Vocals are extremely rich and bold, offering an engaging and present upper midrange that somewhat steals the show. Bass isn’t huge or showstopping, but it's there, and it makes its presence known in its attack and impact. Referencing back to the impressive technicalities I mentioned before, I find all of this is capped off by a rather impressive sense of spacing and imaging that really makes Dita Project M a stellar all rounder that truly lacks apparently in any region of its sound signature. Finally, to not mention its aesthetic and looks would be doing a disservice to this IEM as well. The clear shell that gives you a look inside is visually captivating and just downright pretty. If I haven’t made it clear, I greatly enjoyed my time with Dita Audio’s Project M, and look forward to my next session with it. 

Dita Audio Project M


Maestro Series: It was never a matter of if, rather when I would listen to the Maestro series. CanJam NYC 2024 gave me that opportunity this time around, and while I came for the bass, I stayed for the rest. I often heard the Maestro series categorized by their terrific bass, and while I can attest that those claims are true, I do not want to simply leave it at that. Each entry in the Maestro series has so much to offer across the board, both in its treble and midrange response, that FATfrequency has created some impeccable all rounders across the board. In what I found to be incredibly inoffensive tunings, the Maestro family blends adequate fun with proper detail and precision that rarely lacks in anything from top to bottom. With their bold, thick bass response, accompanied by treble - that I noticed to be slightly peaky on the Maestro SE - really dialed in and became extremely focused in the Grand Maestro, offering distinct differences in a lineup that could’ve settled for slight variations of the same tuning. Grand Maestro’s vocal boost switches made some rather sheltered vocals on some of my reference tracks stand out and become alive. It wasn’t a usual A/B listening session with the switches that made me think something was changed in the mix, rather a clear and noticeable difference that excited me, with vocals now wrapping around me in a comfortable and lush presentation. While most listeners will leave captivated by FATfrequency’s remarkable ability to implement such large bass quantities in their sound signatures, make sure to stick around a little while longer to see the rest of what the Maestro series has to offer. 

FATfrequency Grand Maestro SE

Moondrop X Crinacle 

Blessing 3: Dusk: Funnily enough, and maybe I just didn’t get a close enough look, I did not see anything relating to the Blessing 3 on Dusks packaging, and that could be for very good reason. While yes, there are some familiar characteristics, Dusk takes on almost an entirely new persona both in looks and sound. Ditching the silver plated nature of the Blessing 3 and nearly becoming identical with Moondrops Dark Saber, Dusk goes for a rather energetic tuning that hits hard in the bass, and extends deep in the treble. I found the treble to have proper zing that I always thought Blessing 3 was so desperately missing. I wouldn’t be too surprised if this may come at the cost of some people finding it too bright, but to me, I thought it was a good balance of zest and detail. I also found Dusk to be incredibly fast across the board, with the bass improving on Blessing 3’s snappy and crisp lowend. With Dusk debuting with both the DSP cable and the 3.5mm cable (I heard both will be included in the package, but until this is officially announced/released, I will call it speculation) available to listen, I gave them both a shot, and found the DSP version to be much more bodied and full across the board. Most notably in the midrange, the 3.5mm sounded just a touch thin in that department. This could’ve been just a difference in tracks that I ran through, but just something I noticed that I found interesting. For the most part, Crinacle and Moondrop delivered yet another offering that will most likely perform above its designated price range, and should keep listeners hungry for more collaborations in the future. 

Crinacle x Moondrop Blessing 3: Dusk

NightJar Acoustics:  

Singularity: NightJar Acoustics has quickly become a must checkout booth everytime I see them at CanJam. Singularity has somehow escaped me in previous shows, even with single DDs probably being my favorite driver arrangement in IEMs. That assessment was only bolstered by Singularity’s total performance, with incredible thump in the bass, a midrange that was incredibly full, and a treble that was liquidity smooth with exquisite detail. The timbre that Singularity was able to produce could nearly be described, to my ears, as almost perfect. Its blend of detail and musicality was simply incredible, as some single DD IEMs I’ve heard in the past can lean too heavily into either or. Singularity was neither overly aggressive or relaxed, invoking something that’s incredibly thoughtful, and perhaps even best described as pure bliss. The midrange is set in the mix neither too forward, nor too recessed. With a bass of this caliber, I imagined a midrange that would be overshadowed by the thump and slam that Singularity presents, yet vocals and strings remain incredibly prominent and distinguished. Treble isn’t necessarily airy by any means, but it manages to present a great abundance of resolution that assures you’re not missing anything within the mix. The bass can be described in so many ways that it's nearly impossible to use just a few terms. Speed, impact, and slam all come to mind, but I’m sure there’s other words that can paint a better picture of what is presented in Singularity’s bass response. It’s incredibly lively, engaging, and downright fun. Singularity makes every track you listen to stand out, rather than being dictated by which song is played on them, and Nightjar Acoustics should be incredibly proud of that. 

Nightjar Acoustics Singularity

Duality (prototype): “Don’t need to take notes to remember that.” The first sentence I read as I reference back to what I had written down post listening session. The last phrase I heard before being transcended into what felt like having my head submerged directly into a sub woofer was “Oh, he’s gonna get you… he’s gonna get you!” He did, in fact, get me. Chang, founder of Subtonic audio, handed me the duality and his preferred chain of audio gear to get the most out of this prototype, and asked how much bass I’d like. Smirking, I said to give me what he thought was best. He then proceeds to give me the most of what Duality is capable of through its varying bass quantity cable attachments, and what followed was unlike anything I’ve heard in IEMs before. A monstrous level of bass consumed my very being, and nothing else in that moment had my attention but what just hit me in Duality’s bass presentation. After that, I continued to step down the ladder of bass amounts and truly got to hear what Duality was capable of, and as is par for the course, it was an incredible display of dynamics and versatility. While the bass was far and away Duality’s crowning achievement, the rest of what was presented in the midrange and treble was incredibly solid as well. While I wasn’t as captivated by this IEM as I was by Singularity in its total presentation, it certainly gave me something no other piece of audio equipment has to date. Simply describing this experience will not do it justice, and for anyone who is even slightly curious of what I just described needs to find Nightjar Acoustics at their next CanJam immediately. 

Nightjar Acoustics Duality (prototype)


As mentioned previously, the expectation of each CanJam one upping each other has only grown stronger and stronger with each show I attend. I have no doubt that this community will continue to find new ways to innovate and excite moving forward, and to see it first hand at these events is beyond thrilling. To everyone who stopped by Blooms booth to listen to some gear, enter our giveaways, or just simply say hi, thank you. We always look forward to furthering our relationships within the community, and that will always be the most important part of our involvement in these shows. To the many brands who gave me the time to sit down, ask questions, take pictures, and listen to their products, thank you. I greatly appreciate your accommodations and eagerness to make each listening experience special. And of course, to the HeadFi team, your commitment and undeniable impact on this community is nothing short of incredible. I thank you for your hard work and strong efforts to make each show better than the last one. I hope this impressions guide was able to capture the many impeccable moments CanJam has to offer, and I greatly look forward to the next one. 

Bloom Audio CanJam New York City 2024 Booth/Room