CanJam Questions

{Moderators: I am putting my question here because I am thinking of purchasing tickets for CanJam NYC 2022. If I did not post in the correct forum, please feel free to move.}


I am fairly new to the hobby and have been enjoying the heck out of my Hifiman Sundara and Topping E50/L50 setup. I am eager to hear and learn more about audiophile gear. I am contemplating going to CanJam NYC 2022 in February.

For those of you who have been:

  1. Do you get to try out new headphones or do you only get to hear the presenters talk about them?

  2. If you are able to listen to the headphones, is it too noisy to evaluate open backed cans?

  3. Can/should you bring your own headphones to test out on various DACs and amps?

4.Are there lectures to attend or is this simply a show floor with vendors?

  1. Do the vendors typically offer a show discount?

Thanks in advance for your help!


Just a suggestion, but if you rename this topic to something more generic like “CanJam Questions”, this could be used on an ongoing basis for anyone who wants to go to any CanJam in the future.

Given that quite a few headphone users (like me) started this hobby in the Covid era, when there were no CanJams, I think a generic topic would be useful. I like your questions by the way.

  1. Yes you are able to try the new headphones.
  2. Some think its not a good place to try, I think it’s okay but def not as good as a quiet environment.
  3. You can bring your own headphones to try on various dacs and amps.
  4. Usually there are lectures, you can check what is being talked about before hand.
  5. Dealers offer discounts occasionally, but most discounts I have seen are for floor models that are being demoed. Your mileage may vary though.

Good suggestion. Title updated

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Echoing what @dncnexus said, the show floor is great for getting a general idea of what a headphone is going to sound like. However, the systems aren’t going to match what you have at home and it is a much noisier environment (I’m assuming) than home.

You can bring your own headphones but always double check with the vendors when you are swapping cables / amps. I’ve seen many hot swaps go wrong along with people just ruining whatever setup the vendors have set specifically for the show.

Lectures are generally announced both in the Head-Fi thread as well as on the CanJam website. With the latest wave happening, the exhibitor list will most likely change as the show gets closer. Quite a few vendors waited until the last or two for SoCal before they decided to pull out.

Local vendors will generally bring some extra stock units with them to sell on the show floor. Same with IEM manufacturers since the boxes are easy to transport. And show floor units can usually be had for great prices too.


I ask seriously, why don’t audio shows use “cone of silence” listening stations?

This is an old idea:


Eero Aarnio Ball Chair

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Here are a few additional thoughts for you. First of all, if you’re new to the hobby and are interested in getting to try out a bunch of gear, CanJam’s great. Outside of meets, you’ll seldom have a chance to check out so much stuff at once. This can also be something of a double-edged sword: it’s easy to lose track of what you’ve heard and what your impressions of the headphones are like, and it’s easy to get fatigued from listening to music critically for hours on end, especially when you’re having to adjust to a new experience with each new audition.

To help mitigate this, I recommend:

  • checking out the list of exhibitors before going. You can come up with a game-plan for checking out the items you really want to hear
  • prioritize the items you want to hear the most; you might want to go back on different occasions to revisit them
  • remember that you’ll probably have serendipitous discoveries, often with those exhibitors who have brands or models that aren’t on the vendor list. ZMF, for instance, isn’t on the list of exhibitors. But Woo Audio or other exhibitors may well have ZMF Headphones to demo with their amps
  • I take a notebook with me. After each audition, I’ll go and sit in a quiet space and take a few minutes to jot down my impressions and to make a note of the entire chain I listened to; often, it’s the synergy of the combination of DAC, amp, and headphones that matters the most. Taking these breaks helps to keep me feeling fresh, avoid fatigue, keep track of all my impressions, and reset between auditions.
  • remember that later in the day, as you get more tired, you may find that you like headphones that are more relaxing and mellow; conversely, a brighter headphone might seem far brighter at 4 p.m. than it would have at 10 a.m.
  • beware of auditioning a pair of affordable headphones that you’re really interested in right after auditioning a super fancy pair of high-end headphones.

Some more random thoughts:

  • The main exhibition space is quite noisy; it’s quieter in the side rooms
  • check out headphones even if you’ve heard they’re terrible or if they’ve been described in such a way that might put you off them. I tried the Sennheiser HD 800 a few years ago. From all the comments I’d read about the treble peak, I fully expected them to be entirely too bright for me. Only by giving them a proper shot did I find that I loved them.
  • always remember to check the volume’s turned down before you try a piece of gear; you don’t want to blow out your eardrums; also, be sure to turn the volume down and stop the music when you’re done with your impressions

But more than all this, have fun!


Did anyone else notice the second guy over is Frankenstein? Wonder if he’s listening to Edger Winter? :joy: :rofl: :rofl:


Yep. I’m guessing it was a joke in a 1960s magazine…square wall cut-outs, square record players, and a square head too. It’s possibly a later photoshop job too.

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He uses the Abyss 1266 minus the suspension strap.


That’s funny.

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@dncnexus Thanks for the reply. Helpful input

Great advice. As a noob with only 1 SE cable I wouldn’t have thought about this. Thanks.

@Tchoupitoulas All great advice. I like the idea of going in with a game plan and recording my thoughts!


Not to be pedantic but It’s actually Frankenstein’s Monster. :sunglasses:

That’s the Oxford Street HMV store in London 1954. And yes, Frankenstein was photoshopped in sometime later.

[It’s from Going For A Song by Garth Cartwright


It’s pronounced “FRAHN-ken-steen” :phone:

:phone: Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein