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CanJam New York 2019: The Show in Review

By | February 19th, 2019|Categories: Innerfidelity|

Unlike stodgy audio fests, with their musty carpets and dim hotel rooms, CanJams have this open-air, brightly-lit marketplace ham-fest swap-meet flea-market vibe that draws me in and makes me feel happy.

My favorite thing about CanJams in New York is the anticipation and the feeling of riding the 7-train; first above ground – surveying a bleak February cityscape in Queens; then into a tunnel; emerging finally onto the post-apocalyptic maelstrom of Times Square. I get stoked for new products and old friends simply walking from the Marriot Marquis’ elevators and spying the crowd inside under those strange purple-lit crystal cloud chandeliers.… Read the full article

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CanJam New York 2019

By | February 16th, 2019|Categories: Innerfidelity|

Besides major new-product introductions, must-do auditioning, and big-time meet-n-greet, CanJam New York 2019 appears to have a theme, which just so happens to be one of my favorite topics: headphone measurements.

New York CanJam is always extra-exciting because not only does it put visitors in the center of today’s headphone universe; it puts visitors in the epi-center of the New York City experience. Think walking distance to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park.

Doors open at 10:00 am, Saturday, February 16th.… Read the full article

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Focal Announces New Closed-Back Stellia Headphone, Arche DAC/AMP 

By | February 15th, 2019|Categories: Innerfidelity|

Focal’s newest member to the family fits right under the tentpole of the flagship $4,000 USD Utopia. The new Stellia ($3,000 USD) incorporates some of the same beryllium driver material as the Utopia, but in a closed-back design. On top of a similar yoke and headband framework, Focal applied revamped full-grain leather ear pads and learnings from the more recently released Elegia closed-back.

Some of the same surround, “M”–shaped dome and voice coil can be found within the innards of the “cognac and mocha color scheme” but new magnets and some internal bracing have been adjusted for an entirely new approach to fit alongside the France-based company’s Clear and Elear options. … Read the full article

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InnerFidelity Podcast No.8 with Jerry Harvey of JH Audio

By | February 13th, 2019|Categories: Innerfidelity|

Jerry Harvey has been leading the charge for custom IEM technologies for nearly as long as the product category has been around. His company JH Audio services the stage performance market, but the resulting evolution of earphone development has graced the personal audio consumer in equal parts. Harvey shares his stories working as a stage tech with Van Halen, his view on the cutting edge of balanced-armature drivers and what’s next for the growing cityscape of custom in-ear monitors. – Brian Hunter and Rafe Arnott The InnerFidelity Podcast features one-on-one interviews with everyone from high-fidelity headphone manufacturing heavyweights, musicians, artists, audio engineers and record and tape collectors, to long-time industry legends, audio technical experts and young up-and-coming headphone designers, host Brian Hunter takes listeners on an exciting aural journey every month with intelligence, wit and humour.… Read the full article

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Where Did All the Good Music Go? It’s Right Here

By | February 11th, 2019|Categories: Innerfidelity|

With the 2019 Grammy’s just passed and a recent New York Times op-ed bemoaning the loudness wars and poor sound quality of today’s top artists, I figured it was the perfect time to put together a list of music recommendations.

I’ve put together this list not in the interest of refuting claims that the Billboard Top 40 hits aren’t poorly recorded and mastered (they are) nor am I actually all that interested in rebelling against the Grammy’s – I work as a musician and engineer and pay pretty much no attention to them in the first place.… Read the full article

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iFi Audio xDSD and xCAN Review

By | February 8th, 2019|Categories: Innerfidelity|

At risk of seeming like a bit of an overzealous fan of iFi, I’ve got yet another product review. What can I say – they make fairly priced gear and they’re always eager to send new toys for review. In any case, I’ve been both intrigued and puzzled by these two little units for the past couple months, partially why I’ve not posted much content recently.

The units I’m talking about are the xDSD ($399 USD) and xCAN ($299 USD), which are essentially two flavors of portable Bluetooth DAC/AMP.… Read the full article

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Astell & Kern launch SP1000M player in Gold

By | February 1st, 2019|Categories: Innerfidelity|

Goldfinger is the third James Bond film starring Sean Connery and the 1964 spy thriller is one of my favourite films of all time, not the least of the reasons being the movie’s iconic antagonist Auric Goldfinger played by Gert Fröbe.

His obsession with all things gold and his diabolic plan to rob Fort Knox instantly sprang to mind when I saw that digital-audio player manufacturer Astell & Kern had launched their new SP1000M flagship handheld for pre-order recently and that it features a brass frame with 99.7 per cent purity gold plating.… Read the full article

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NAMM 2019 Headphone Highlights

By | January 30th, 2019|Categories: Innerfidelity|

If you have never heard of the SoCal event called NAMM 2019, fret not. The annual show-and-tell from the National Association of Musician Merchants in Anaheim California lays on the far fringes of audiophiledom. It is fairly big however, occupying more than one of the massive convention halls on site in Orange County with 115,000 attendees and 7,000 brands represented. That kind of size bodes well for the outskirts of personal audio, where the line starts to blur from the bifurcated pro & consumer manufacturers.… Read the full article

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Focal Elegia Review

By | January 29th, 2019|Categories: Innerfidelity|

French hi-fi manufacturing powerhouse Focal has been focused on delivering powerful, transparent drivers for both their two-channel loudspeaker designs and their highly-competitive headphones for many years.

They took the headphone world by storm in 2016 with the release of their flagship beryllium-driver equipped Utopia, which despite its $4,000 USD price tag won the hearts and minds of the hi-fi press and consumers alike for its speed, tonal/timbral balance, comfort and build quality.

Move ahead to late 2018 and Focal decided to eschew the Utopia’s open-back design for its entry-level home listening model and instead opt for a closed-back one with 40mm “M”-shaped magnesium and aluminum dome, 5Hz~23kHz full-range drivers.… Read the full article

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InnerFidelity Podcast No.7 with Helmuts Bēms of Sonarworks

By | January 23rd, 2019|Categories: Innerfidelity|

What’s it like to test 6,000 headphones?

Helmuts Bēms takes audio playback very seriously, he should, he’s probably logged more hours testing more headphones than almost anyone on the planet.

His company Sonarworks has been delivering a unique “flat” reference playback product to recording studios for years, which allows recording engineers a more consistent monitor experience – regardless of the playback system.

Now with the company’s True-Fi product, headphones are able to start with a truly flat response. Over the course of the development process Helmuts has acquired quite the data cache of measurements, calculated observations and an overall unique perspective on personal audio that few others can match.… Read the full article

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