Blog: Head-Fi CanJam London 2023

Part 2 – Berkhan

It was fantastic to be in London once again. I’ve been in the city for 5 days and what would be better than spending 1,5 days at the Canjam London 2023? Look, the city is nice and all, but excellent audio gear always comes first!

On the other hand, the show was more crowded than ever and the attendance was the highest I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, that meant waiting in lines to listen to good gear, so I couldn’t listen to as much as I wanted. But, Canjam is always worth it regardless. Many thanks to the Head-Fi team for organizing such a big event.

My report doesn’t go down in alphabetical order, but it just contains the gear that I wanted/could be able to listen to, and my overall impressions of them. Enjoy!

Final Audio

Final had the D8000 headphone at the show, and I finally got my ZE8000 TWS sample from Kyri. We worked really hard for that one. 

The D8000 is a nice headphone. The extension and definition in the treble are nice, which to me is the strongest part of the headphone. It’s a bit bright but has good resolution. The bass texture is good. The stage is a bit narrow for my taste though. Headband is not very comfortable. The resolution in particular is excellent. Overall a nice performer. Do note that it was the pro edition.

HEDD Audio

As expected, they brought the newest HEDDphone to the show. This headphone to me is a mid-range specialist. The stage is not very deep but the width is good. The timbre is very very good, very impressive. The tonality is excellent. It plays very lively and realistic. There’s a great balance, PRaT and dynamism. It has a nicely controlled presentation but the star of the show is the mid-range.


Lotoo’s mighty Mjölnr was present at the show, and by even looking at it you’re impressed from the start. Classic Lotoo design. For sound, it is top-notch in resolution. The transparency level is off the charts. The background is incredibly quiet and black. The definition is also excellent. But interestingly, the stage didn’t feel wide enough. For a product at this price, it should have been a bigger stage. The device follows in the footsteps of the original Lotoo Paw Gold in my opinion. Resolution, transparency, separation and clarity are impeccable, the main stage is somewhat focused and gives a boxy impression. However, it is still an amazing unit.


The new Cayin N30LE was there for us audiophiles to have a try. It is a huge unit with a hefty weight, giving a similar impression as the HIBY RS8. It has a good UI and seamless software experience. Build quality, software and volume pot are very premium. It’s a dream portable system with Viking Ragnar to me. Very comfortable, smooth, spacious and highly resolving, HiFi sound experience. Especially the stage width is very impressive. The bass felt a bit meaty and slightly heavy, probably due to the tube system. It might be the best portable (?) DAP you can get if you have the huge cash though!

Meze Audio

It was nice to meet Alexandra in person at the Meze Audio booth. Thanks for the T-shirts for me and my wife, very kind of them. 

I listened to Elite and Liric. For the Elite, comfort is very good. Headbands and pads are legendary. The staging is very good, it plays wide and airy. The resolution is excellent. The highs are slightly bright but not aggressive. Mids sound airy. The highs are nicely extended, detailed and spacious. The bass part is slightly recessed. The mids aren’t very full-bodied, but the body is adequate. Its prominent feature is that it plays airy and makes the music feel very spacious.

The Liric? Well, anyone looking for musicality should get this. Liric’s stage is a little narrower, its bass is stronger and it’s like the closed version of Eltie with warmer sound. I liked both headphones as they’re great units.

Astell & Kern

It wouldn’t be a Canjam show without A&K being present. I’ve checked out the copper version of the SP3000 for the first time. The bass part is very slightly fatter than I expected, and the treble is also distinct and bright. The music has a nice body and fullness. The soundstage is excellent. It can also be said that it sounds slightly coloured, with a musical touch. The detail level, layering and separation are king once again, as these are proper A&K flagship traits for a long time. Their SE300 will be reviewed here soon.

Vision Ears

Marcel was in charge of the VE booth, so we had a good conversation with him. As I’m familiar with the VE lineup, I just tried the Phönix and the new VE10, which is a fantastic IEM. 

In the VE10, the separation level is very high. Again, it’s a mid-bass-focused IEM, but more controlled than the rest of the lineup.  The stage is very wide. The treble is very detailed and the extension is very good. Mid-tonality to me is reference quality. They have captured a very detailed but at the same time a smooth sound. At the moment, making the custom one in terms of tuning and placement is the challenge they want to overcome. Custom will be released next year. And for the first time in the VE series, there is a dynamic driver, and due to acoustics, the case is metal this time, not acrylic. Separation and staging are the most impressive qualities. In that respect, it is at the highest level in my opinion.


The Sennheiser booth was very crowded from start to finish and they’ve done some nice giveaways there. For me though, the biggest thing was the HE-1 system which was at the Sennheiser room upstairs. Finally, I’ve got the chance to listen to this mighty system. And yes, it’s simply extraordinary. A fantastic all-around headphone with no weakness at all. It would take me a much longer article to describe its performance, and I wish I’d had more time to listen to it.

ZMF Headphones

Zach and his wife were present at Canjam London, but this time they had a separate room upstairs so it was a quiet environment. It was very nice to see them again and we had a great chat as well. For the headphones, I listened to the new Caldera and also the Atrium Closed.

The Caldera is very impressive. It has a very organic and natural sound. It’s also very well-balanced with a very comfortable presentation. The staging performance is very good, and the tonality is quite special. If you’re a ZMF fan, don’t miss that one.

The Atrium Closed is more romantic and warm. The treble is a bit rolled off compared to the Caldera, and the bass has more body and heft. It’s not as spacious as the Caldera in terms of overall presentation, but it costs less so it’s not all that fair to it. And considering this is a closed headphone, it’s still very impressive with its staging and layering performance.

Empire Ears

The new super flagship Raven was there, and although I’m impressed by some of its qualities, the bass was a bit too much for my taste. It’s also a huge IEM size-wise. 

Noble Audio

The Noble family and I had a good time, although it was short due to show conditions. I checked out the Ronin, which reminded me of the original Kaiser 10 in many ways. It’s a much warmer and fuller presentation than Ragnar, the mids are very musical, the treble is soft but it is well-defined, and it has a sound reminiscent of the old K10. I think Ragnar is more impressive in technicalities, but this combines a full presentation with a beautiful soundstage. I also checked out their new IEM which is going to be released soon. It’s really fun and engaging!

Elysian Acoustic Labs

We finally met with Lee in person, and I personally like the tuning of Elysian monitors. You’ll see the review of the DIVA 2023 very, very soon on the site. Apart from that, we checked out the Annihilator 2023, and it’s on a high level for sure. The resolution is very high. The highs are bright but controlled. The staging and positioning are beautiful. Bass emphasis is on point but not much. Mids are pretty transparent. Although it is very slightly analytic, it manages to satisfy in terms of presentation in general. Resolution is the strongest aspect of this IEM. Thanks to Lee for letting me take the show sample for the upcoming review.


The new flagship Loki was one of my targets for the show. However, I found it to be a bit incoherent overall, even though it’s very impressive for the rest of its qualities, especially in technical performance. 

iFi Audio

iFi Audio booth was one of the busy ones in the show, and I simply fell in love with their Phantom system with Hifiman Shangri-La junior. An effortless, fantastic audio experience. 

Subtonic Audio

Everyone’s been talking about the Storm IEM, so I wanted to give it a go. It has a strange presentation. The bass is very good, very tight and controlled, the resolution of the mids is very high, and the treble is very detailed and spacious. Mids are particularly good in toning and transparency. But the earphone has a weird echo effect. It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on, but it’s like some frequencies are echoing. Very interesting.

Separation and layering are also very good, but it somehow mutes some sounds by kicking them to the back, while making others stand out. Although this increases the sense of layering and depth, it does not feel natural to me. Maybe there was an issue with the show sample. 


FIIO guys had a big booth there, showcasing their entire range. After working with them for quite some time, I finally met the team of Sunny and Yellow.

I listened to the M17 just for fun, and it’s still a very impressive DAP. The new M15S is also a good one, with a musical and warm presentation.

Unfortunately, their Q15 DAC/Amp was an engineering sample so no sound impressions. It was just for showcasing. 

The new FT5 headphone has still time to be fully ready. But it’s a great-sounding unit for the asking price which they’re planning to sell for. However, the bass could’ve been just a bit tighter and treble could be smoother. But I’m impressed for sure.


Hifiman’s booth was incredibly crowded and I only got a chance to sit down on the 2nd day of the show, and I actually had to ask some exceptions for myself! It was nice to meet Tom as well.

My favourite was the HE1000 Stealth model. It is articulated, detailed, wide and open. The bass is quite controlled and is of very good quality, although not much in quantity. The mids are not in the front, they are generally balanced. The treble is bright but controlled. I think the most impressive part is that it plays very wide and spacious. It can give even the finest details in very good positioning and width/depth. Also, the PRaT is amazing. Very tight and technical sound. 

I also tried the Svanar Wireless, and I’m impressed by the soundstage and separation. Although the bass should’ve been a bit lighter.,

Fir Audio

The RN6 was there for giving it a go, and after some waiting time, I finally had the time to test it. The bass is a bit fat, not neutral, just slightly above neutral. The midsection is slightly dry, but the resolution and definition are great. The treble part is very nice, very detailed and smooth. It’s a very relaxing and smooth IEM and you can listen to it for hours. The stage is beautiful. I think the bass is a bit too much, but other than that, I found it to be very impressive. It is very successful, especially in terms of balance and coherency. It even sounds like a single driver to me, in a good way. In addition, its timbre is realistic and natural.


DCS had a separate quiet room and I simply couldn’t miss this notorious DCS Stack. Especially with the Audeze LCD-5, the experience is sublime. Apart from the Sennheiser HE-1, this was the happiest time of the entire show for me. I even put my notes aside and just listened to the musicality, technical performance and exquisite presentation of this system.

Click here to go to the last page and discover who won our Best Of Show Award.

4.7/5 - (20 votes)

Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

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