Report: Canjam Europe / Essen 2016 Part 3 + Best of show winners

Best of HFN – Canjam Europe 2016 awards

Best inear monitor


RHA did bring the ceramic CL1 and Headsound the Fidue Sirius (A91) but for me the award goes to the German Inear with their new ProPhile-8, the 8-driver universal in matte black with the double bass and treble switch for finetuning.

Best desktop amplifier


There were lots of good amps at the show but the one that seduced me most was the Serbian Auris HA2-SE. Not only does it have the looks but the sound was simply breathtaking.

Best portable dac/amp combo


Even though it isn’t fully finished yet, the RHA DACAMP L1 takes the prize. It’s affordable, sounds great, easily connects to your sources over OTG and it can drive as good as anything on the market. The only downside might be that they used a mini XLR for their balanced output. I wished they had just used the 2.5 mm out.

Best DAP


It’s the Astell&Kern AK380 and it won’t be a surprise for many. No the AK380 isn’t “new” anymore but it simply is one of, if not the best for now.

Best Headphone


The Focal Utopia for the moment just might be the best affordable headphone in the world. While it certainly isn’t cheap – it goes for $3999 – it do is one of the best headphones I have ever heard. And it looks good.

To Follow




AudioQuest NightOwl


Meier Soul



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.


  • Reply October 2, 2016


    Nice report Lieven! Thank you for taking the time do to all those photos and the write up.

    • Reply October 2, 2016


      thank you. means alot. reading the report takes only a few minutes but making it takes hours and hours

  • Reply October 2, 2016

    Ritwik Anand

    I wonder is it a new gear thing or does Utopia really beats all the planars and electrostats and Hd800s.

    Enjoyed reading. Thanks you for the write up.

    • Reply October 2, 2016

      Ritwik Anand

      Darn…can’t correct the grammar.

      I can’t find the LP G100 amp for sale anywhere.

      • Reply October 2, 2016


        It’s brand new, it probably isn’t out yet.

    • Reply October 2, 2016

      dale thorn

      I’ve been lustfully following the Utopia, but I know it won’t match the bass of the best planars.

  • Reply October 2, 2016


    Ah Ah the bass on Elear and Utopia are even better than on my LCS2v2…Let’s try it and you will understand what I mean.

    • Reply October 2, 2016

      dale thorn

      I think I do understand, which is one reason I want the Utopia. But to hedge my bets, I was thinking what Innerfidelity said in their lengthy comments about the Utopia, so they must have been impressed by the greater (or firmer) low end weight of their favorite planars. We will find out what the deal is eventually. If I don’t end up making another deal I was thinking about in the next couple of months, I might get that Utopia.

  • Reply October 2, 2016


    This is Italy. Excellent job Lieven, like every year. I can’t believe that Audiolab wasn’t there…..
    I need a new DAC and after your review, I was thinking of Violectric V850 (my budget is 1300E
    and I’d like to get the best DAC for that amount) but before purchasing it, I want to see a serious
    review of the new M-DAC Plus. Can we hope to see here, on Headfonia, a review of yours of this
    new DAC and a direct comparison with V850 during next weeks?
    And in general, for you, which is the best DAC/PREAMP (I don’t care about headphones AMP) today for 1300E?
    Thank you so much for all your hard work, that means a lot for me. You have become my warranty.

  • Reply October 7, 2016

    Wonder Chiu

    How do you find the new SPL Phonitor e? seems to have a very good p/c ratio. what headphones are the SPL guys paring them with?

    also the rme adi-2, does it have enough power to drive fullsize headphones?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.