Represented at CanJam by reseller Moon Audio, King Sound showed its remarkable new value-priced electrostatic headphones, which typically are bundled either with a solid-state King Sound electrostatic amp ($1,000 for amp + ‘phones) or a valve-powered King Sound electrostatic amp ($2,000 for amp + ‘phones). Either way, the general consensus is that the King Sound electrostats represent one of the greatest values in today’s high-end headphone marketplace.
Many audiophiles know of the French firm Micromega through its award-winning MYDAC, which sells for $299 and is thought to be one of the best values around when it comes to cost-effective digital audio products. For CanJam, though, the MYDAC gets an identically styled sibling in the form of the MYZIC headphone amplifier ($299). We can’t wait to hear more from the MYZIC, if only to see if it can live up to the almost impossibly lofty performance standards established by the MYDAC.
At CanJam 2012, one of our most fortuitous discoveries was the Mad Dog headphone from MrSpeaker, which was (and is) a modified Fostex T50RP headphone.
For 2013, however, MrSpeaker founder Dan Clark has gone much further to create the new Alpha Dog headphone ($600), which is arguably the world’s first to use an elaborate ear-cup housing that, by design, is produced on a 3D printer. While the Alpha Dog, like the earlier Mad Dog, is still based on a Fostex planar magnetic headphone platform, it looks and sounds quite different from any current Fostex product. We think the Alpha Dog will be a strong contender at their price point.
According to Clark, the Alpha Dog ear-cup housing features an elaborate set of internal baffles and external vent, which would have been cost-prohibitive to produce using conventional injection molding techniques. But, thanks to the flexibility afforded by 3D printers, the Alpha Dog can be built and sold at sensible prices.
The Italian firm Pathos showed its new valve-equipped Aurium headphone amplifier ($1,495), which is a fully balanced amp that sports a sophisticated, digitally regulated BurrBrown volume control. Like all Pathos equipment, the Aurium is quite beautiful to look at (what else would one expect from the land of Alfa-Romeo, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati?).