Jump to content
  • Sajid Amit
    Sajid Amit

    Looking Back at Singapore Canjam 2024: Part 1

     

     

        

        Audio: Listen to this article.

     

     

     

    Looking Back at Singapore Canjam 2024: Part 1

    By Sajid Amit

     

    Singapore Canjam is special to me for several reasons. Being a modern history buff, I have always been fascinated by Singapore’s meteoric rise from its humble beginnings to its current status as one of the wealthiest countries on the planet with progressive policies towards the environment while being doggedly business-friendly. I also love my Singaporean friends because how erudite, worldly, and invariably, polite, they are. The education system in Singapore is one of the best in the developed world. Last but not least, I adore Singaporean food, the unrelenting cleanliness on the streets, a burgeoning luxury watch market, Singaporean architecture, and of course, the plethora of stores selling high-end audio. 

     

    However, before diving into audio impressions, first, a few photos of the cityscape in all its glory. 

     

    image1.jpg image2.jpg

     

    image3.jpg

     

     

    So, I reached Singapore a day before Canjam Day 1, which is what I tend to do. I took the time on day zero to roam around Singapore, trade watches, meet some watch resellers, and also connect with some audiophile friends who were already there. It was a fun day and, in the evening, right before heading up to my room at the Pan Pacific, I stopped by the show floor where Raal Requisite had booked a listening room. I wanted to spend some quiet and quality listening time with the Raal Requisite 1995 Immanis, which according to early reports from listeners, was a contender for the best headphone on the planet. 

     

    image4.jpg

     

     

    Pictures don’t do this headphone justice as it is really striking beautiful and oozes luxury. I have a YouTube short below showing how the metal yoke is somehow impervious to permanent scratches. 

     

     

     

    Aleksander, the brains behind Raal, was a superb host as he explained the technology and the philosophy behind the Immanis. I must say I got quite absorbed in the listening and over the course of the hour, I realized that the experience was as emotional as the first time I had tried the Susvara. Worth mentioning that before the Susvara, I had not tried many high-end headphones so that for that experience to be emotional and memorable is easily understandable. However, with the Immanis, my experience with it came after years in this hobby, having tried hundreds of high-end headphones, speakers, IEMs, DACs, amps, and cables, so to have a “wow moment” of the same magnitude was completely unexpected. I wrote the following on HeadFi to explain my experience with the Immanis. 


    While they are unmistakably Raal in their speed, texture, resolution, and airiness; these babies have a very realistic bass impact, a tonally rich midrange, and a certain spookiness to how images just materialize from an inky black void. Everything just seems to just flow, with vivid lifelike imaging, and certain cohesiveness that for the first time in 2 years made me miss full-size headphones. The Immanis, ladies and gentlemen, are probably the best headphones on the market at present.

     

    After trying the Immanis, I went to bed, excited and full of anticipation for the day ahead. 


    The next day started with classic Pan Pacific breakfast which is always, always excellent. 

     

    image5.jpg

     


    Although that photo probably shows an odd smorgasboard, the sandwich in the front is an Indian street snack called a Vada Pao, and I was impressed with how well-made it was in Singapore, more delectable the versions I have had in Bombay!  

     

    

After a bit of Kaya toast and Singapore Kopi, I finished breakfast and promptly headed down to the event floors and my day started with a re-listen of the Subtonic Storm with the rather smooth sounding Sovereign Symphony cable.

     

    image6.jpg

     

     

    This IEM is as impressive as always, but I still find it ever-so-slightly dry and clinical.


    The new faceplates look much better in person although I do much prefer the original faceplates. This is an impressive IEM with great texture, speed, airiness, spaciousness, resolution, and coherence. But I find the tonality ever-so-slightly bright-leaning, lean, and lacking richness. I understand and appreciate the hype but it is not for me, especially because I like myself a dynamic driver (or two) for bass. Balanced armature bass just does not do it for me. 


    Right next to the Storm was the Nightjar Duality. The Duality was more up my alley with its richer overtones and midrange, and while the bass was noticeable, I wouldn’t exactly call it a basshead IEM, which is what the fans are calling it. My Campfire supermoon hits harder and better. But the Nightjar guys supply you with an impedance adapter, and with it, the bass gets bigger and better, and overall, the imaging seems to benefit. 

     

    image7.jpg

     

     

    
Also, at the same table, was the Symphonium Titan, the new sub-$1000 release from Symphonium Audio, famous for their IEM known as the Helios. The Titan is uncharacteristically warm, but again, the bass did not strike me as particularly hard hitting. I do have a lot of bassy IEMs at home such as the Campfire Trifecta, so it is entirely possible that my frame of reference has been skewed. However, the Titan has nearly an opposite sound profile to the Helios. Now, I absolutely loved the Helios for its brazen yet beautiful treble. The treble divided audiophiles. So now the Titan plays way too safe in the treble. 

     

    image8.jpg

     

     

    
I came across a new cable brand called Verus audio, and I liked the sound of their cables a lot paired with my Jewel. They are Indonesian, I understand. 


     

    image9.jpg

     

     

    
Next I spent quite a bit of time at the Zeppelin booth. They had everything but jam packed into a tiny room which made movement difficult. In this photo, you see me testing the iBasso Osprey PB5 and the D16. Both devices are quite stellar. 

     

    image10.jpg

     

     

    
The iBasso Osprey PB5 blew me away, bi-amping with my trusty Sony WM1ZM2. This is what I hoped the Cayin N30LE would sound like: big, bold, lush, and timbrally flawless.


     

    image11.jpg

     

     

    
I also love green. It is the season for green in luxury. Along with the Raal 1995 Immanis, the PB5 are the most impressive pieces of kit I came across that day, among those I listened to for the first time. Fair warning: I am a reviewer and I had listened to a lot of the good stuff already, prior to the show.


     

    image12.jpg

     

     

    
Meanwhile, I finally got to spend some time with Cayin’s $5000 limited edition DAP, the N30LE. I have to say while it improves significantly on the N8ii in terms of bass and thickness of notes, the treble still has the brittleness and dryness of its predecessors. Maybe it is a house sound thing, and I am sure there are those who love it.


     

    image13.jpg

     

     

    

At the Zeppelin table, there was also gilded Raven. And I adored it. Not sure what Jack Vang did with this one, but it sounded bassy yet well-balanced. Its bass is as beautiful and ballsy as bass should be, but the best part is that midrange and treble timbre also sound natural. Le Chef’s kiss.


     

    image14.jpg

     

     

    
Moving on, I also tried the Dunu Glacier, which, to me, was underwhelming at best. It did not quite perform up to its price point of $1350, but it looks really cool though. 

     

    image15.jpg

     

     

    

On the other hand, this new IEM called Alter Ego from a hitherto unknown brand, Melodic Artification, really impressed. It had some of the most beautiful treble known to man, and some decent bass with the bass switch turned on. I would love a re-listen.


     

    image16.jpg

     

     

    
I spent a bit of time with the Mass Kobo 465, the amp every summit-fier worth her salt is now talking about. It does have great synergy with the also-Japanese Final D8000 Pro but oh man with the Susvara, it is near perfect. The bass!! No speaker amp I have tried has delivered me this level of realism with bass on the Susvara.


     

    image17.jpg

     

     

    
It was nice to also finally meet the Flipears creator Aries, and what a gentleman he is. I also met his wife, and they are a truly lovely couple, and I would like to see them do well, not just because of how kind they are, but also because how amazing every Flipears product I have tried, has turned out to be. I even included their Artha in my top 10 IEMs for 2023, below. 

     

     

     

     

    image18.jpg

     

     

    
After spending some time catching up with Aries, I tried his absolute flagship Aurora XXIV in its gold-plated version. It is incredibly beautiful, and photos do not do it justice. 

     

    image19.jpg

     

     

    
Also beautiful were the new Unique Melody Mason Soleil (red) and Nuit (blue).


     

    image20.jpg

     

    image21.jpg

     


    

I do not want to get into too much detail with my impressions on these $9000 IEMs because owners are likely to feel possessive about such expensive products, but I would not buy either at far lower prices. They both sound solid in midrange, but for $9000, I would rather buy an Immanis, or several excellent IEMs at a fraction of the cost. 


    Also, on display at Canjam was a new boutique leather case manufacturer called “ALT-R” that has some picturesque textures and prints, unlike anything I have seen before in the portable section of the hobby. I believe they were being represented by Jaben during the show, and pictured below is HeadFier, Pulkit, standing behind these leather goods. The person behind these creations is an audiophile named @Visveswaran Umashankar.
     

    image22.jpg

     

     

    
It was also nice to spend some time with the cool young people at the Fatfreq booth. Fatfreq loves their bass and they love to chat and I always have a good time at their booth. They are arguably Singapore’s finest, along with my other favorite, Dita Audio.



    image23.jpg

     

    image24.jpg

     

     

    
After Fatfreq I was tired, and I needed food and I wanted to spend some quiet time near the Singapore harbor so I took a Grab to one of the nearby malls and had a dinner of bbq ribs near the water. 

     

    image25.jpg

     


    Thus ended my day 1.


    It was a day of great discovery, listening to new products and trying products I have long meant to, as well as a day of conversations and camaraderie. Canjams in all their excitement do take a lot out of you and I can’t tell you readers how well I spelt that night. 😊


    In any case, that is it for this part. Stay tuned for the second and final part where I take you through my experiences on day 2 of Canjam Singapore 2024. 

     

     

    About the Author:
    
Sajid Amit is an academic and practitioner in international development by day, and audiophile night and day. His YouTube channel is called the Amplify Audiophile Show and is available here. His HeadFi handle is here.

     

     


     




    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Thank you so much @Sajid Amit! I love your articles and reports from across the globe. Mixing in the food and people is icing on the cake!

     

    I'm so happy and jealous to read your impression of the Raal 1995 Immanis. What this company does is astonishing, in my listening experience. I can't wait to hear the 1995 Immanis! 

     

    And, I love that you share the bling IEMs. I really enjoying looking at them, to see how far designers are taking the look and feel of the hobby. That's really important to me, just like sound quality. 

     

    Thanks again!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Love the street photos!  (Love The Fullerton.)

     

    Hope you get a chance to forage for food along Boat Quay.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now




×
×
  • Create New...