Shown is the all-new JH Audio molded-customly in-ear phones with JH-3A amplifiers (source: JH Audio)
At the Denver Marriett Tech Center Hotel, was not only showcasing a variety of high-end audio designs, but at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest for 2011 that was the event, brought forward some headphone-fanatics some interesting products. In a show called CanJam there was an awesome opportunity to try out the globes best headphones and headphone amplifiers (didn’t know these existed).
The CanJam event room was “palpable”. There’s an obvious prediction that the headphones market is going to keep booming rapidly. Any person who wants to spend some time listening to music will want the best sound quality possible, if it is at all possible to spend lots of money to get the best bang for their buck. Anyone who got to try these headphones on walked away with a memory, to remember, of trying out some freaking awesome headphones.
It’s been talked about before, JH’s Audio custom ear-molded in-ear earphones. Though the company is now going to introduce the globes first “tri-amplified” earphone system. The model of these earphones is JH-3A. The CEO of the company Jerry Harvey began building headphones for bands in rock in 1995. Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Aerosmith, Foreigner, and Linkin Park were the customers buying these like hot cakes. The design of the amp was best to be partnered with Harvey’s JH16 Pro headphones which look alot like the one’s this author has been using for years. The JH-3A comes with a seperate amplifier channel to power the earphones in low-frequency, midrange and also high-frequency drivers.
The digital and analog inputs for the JH-3A go up to 24-bit resolution and also with 192-kHz sampling rates. The amp included comes with a digitally controlled variable bass output, giving you flat or boosted bass responses from the earphones. The earphones for production uses are molded in a custom-fashion to your ears to provide the best fit possible. But in the show, the system was auditioned with a universal fit pair of headphones. The sound was apparently alot more dynamic than “open” that anyone has ever heard in earphones ever before. This editor will be receiving his custom-molded headphones including the amp very soon apparently. A more detailed look at the sound quality will be shown in this full review of the earphones. The JH16 and JH-3A Amp are both available for $1,748.
V-Moda’s Val Kolton who showed the CNET editor the prototype earphones, that would be arriving to the market sometime early next year. He seriously loved them, which was a first for him. He’s always admired V-Moda’s own style, though the sound left him cold. These new ones had punchy, rock-solid bass and seriously really clear sound effects. Kolton being a super intense guy, put alot of thought into the sound and how it treats people, and affects them internally. There was another prototype that Kolton had but did not play for the editor, but the style was really awesome as said by the editor. V-Moda is now an even bigger deal.
A number of planar magnetic earphones have been reviewed on this blog, although most of them are really pricey. It’s been something that Fostex has been making for a very long time, and this editor got his own chance to hear these earphones at CanJam. The $150 headphones are priced so expensive, and have open and low distortion sound which associates them with more pricey planar models.
Ray Samuels apparently had the earphones that are considered to be the best ever made which is the Sennheiser HE90 electrostatic. They were discontinued years ago by Sennheiser, and they are quite rare, and used ones are sold for around $10,000. Those kinds of earphones shown in the beginning of this article that are Samuels (A10 amp) are $6,500 and were remarkable for what they did not do in terms of sound performance. They did not sound like hi-fi apparently, but the music just sounded magical in betwen the editors own ears. They sounded very real, and another Samuels amp, the Dark Star goes for $2,995 which make a notoriously difficult-to-drive pair of earphones, the Hifiman HE-6, that really come out of the grave. Samuels additionally offers some affordable models in his selection for around $295, that are for the Tomahawk portable amp.
Audeze goes way more advanced with state-of-the-art planar megnetic headphones that designs with the LCD-3 go for $1,945. Their recently redesigned LCD-2 was to the editors opinion the best-sounding full-sized earphone on the globe, but the LCD-3 is even better apparently. It looks like the LCD-2 but the newest models have a different driver. The leather pads feel good on the ears, and the earphones are faster that carry sound more clearly and cleaner. The LCD-3 will be reviewed in the months to come at Cnet.
Woo Audio revelead their own ultimate headphone amplifier, which is the 235 Mono, being the globes best mono-block headphone amplifier (which it uses separate amps for the right and left channels). The 120 lb amp was supposed to work with a variety of different tube types, givng the owner a fine-tune for the sound to be adjusted to their own taste. The 234 was included with a set of Sennheiser HD 800 headphones, making the most detailed sound ever heard from that coming model. The $10,000 amp was an art, a masterpiece of design in audio, and it’s hand-made in New York City.
ALO Audio demonstrated their super nice portable headphone amps, and the editor fell in love with the RX Mk. 3 amp and Cypher Labs’s, AlgoRhythm Solo digital-to-analog converter that drove Audeze LCD-3 earphones. Hook up the amp and strap the DAC together, or to your iPod or iPhone and you will get some hypertransparent, audiophile lover sound quality in a very portable design package. The editor hopes to get an amp and DAC to review sometime soon, as mentioned before.
If you are looking for the best earphone gear yourself, plan to attend the CanJam 2012 Denver coming next October.
I personally like nice headphones, but have never spent the extra money on them. I like the ones that do not fall out of my ears while running. Apple’s earphones I always thought were the best out there, but I am wrong, I stand corrected because of this article. So I went to Wal-Mart and bought Panasonic earphones with ear-clips for $17 SO WHAT, they work great still and I run with them all the time. Guess I can live without even better sound. One day I will buy a better pair though, maybe. I’ve seen headphones back from 2001 that had some bracket that went around the back of the neck, that had some sort of vibrator built in to increase volume quality somehow. Never got to try them out though.