I’d expressed interest in potentially adding the Canary as my custom IEM (along side my universal-only tia Fourté) almost as soon as they were announced, but due to the cutting-edge nature of the tri-brid design, I very much wanted to audition them properly.
Headphones.com and “The HEADPHONE Community” were kind enough to indulge me with the loan of the newly-released universal version of the Canary, which showed up earlier today (excuse the quick-and-dirty cellphone picture, I’ll post better shots later):
I have only gotten to spend a couple of hours listening with them so far, so sound impressions are going to be limited to me saying that I’m really enjoying them, they have a surprising signature (in a good way) that is not what I was expecting, and any fears about coherence issues have already been washed away.
Their overall tuning yields a perceptual response that fits my preferences for IEMs rather well (a little extra sub/bass, and a less excitable, but extended and present treble, without going so far on either as to leave the mid-range feeling recessed). The balance is really nice - with everything very well integrated and coherent.
With the trend towards larger dynamic drivers in other IEMs, and multiple of them at that (dual 9mm drivers in the Empire Ears Legend X for example), and even with the AAW W900 having a 9mm dynamic driver, I was a bit surprised to see AWW go for dual 6mm drivers.
In hindsight I think that is paying some dividends here, as I found the Legend X to exhibit too much bass, without enough control, for my tastes, where bass with the Canary is crisp, taught, fast, punchy and very well controlled. The isobaric (push-pull) design (something I remember from an earlier set of Linn Keltik speakers, and prior to that on their “Isobaric” model) helps with bass control, phase while still delivering the equivalent surface area of a 9mm driver.
Anyway, they’re very engaging musically and impressive technically, so far.
I usually have to fuss with IEMs initially to get the right tips in place both to effect a proper seal and to be comfortable (I have boxes of most of the interesting tip options, in every bore and ear size imaginable, just for this purpose). With the Canary, I haven’t even swapped out the tips that were pre-installed (medium-sized silicone tips) … they popped right in, sealed perfectly first time, and have given me no comfort issues at all so far. I will, of course, still play with other tips … but it’s nice not to have to for once!
Isolation is EXCELLENT.
Sometimes IEMs with dynamic drivers lack a bit here, due to having vents to let the dynamic drivers “breathe” (and I understand there’s a vent on these too) and that lets some sound in … but these are isolating as well as the best pure BA-driver IEMs I’ve owned.
Oh, and the presentation and packaging is excellent too. The storage case is a beautifully finished suede/leather affair, includes repositionable dividers to use in different ways, and houses a gorgeous African Blackwood box to house the cable and IEMs when on the go.
Very much more what one would expect for a $2,000 IEM, than the rather utilitarian plastic and cardboard you find with some IEMs at nearly double this price.
The supplied Null Audio Symphonym Hakone cable is a nice piece as well … high-quality UPOCC silver/copper wiring, no issues with flexibility or microphonics, well built and aesthetically compelling, with carbon fiber inserts, silver/copper finish and extremely solid 2-pin connectors.
Anyway, more listening and some burn-in time to do before saying more about sound, but I am highly encouraged so far.