CanJam NYC 2020: HEDDphone and Final Audio

Heinz Electrodynamic Designs’ HEDDphone

I’m always telling floorspeaker people how headphones “eliminate the sound of the room,” but laughingly the big jabbering-people-filled room at CanJam NYC’s Marriot Marquis gets so loud by noon – it penetrated even the most perfect fitting IEMs.

For that reason, I was sitting listening to the radical new Heinz Electrodynamic Designs’ HEDDphone only 10 minutes after the show opened. I wanted to experience their potential in a quiet room. The new HEDDphone cost $1,899 USD and are radical because they are openback circumaural headphones that employ full-range Air Motion Transformer (AMT) drivers. Thirty years ago, their designer, Klaus Heinz, designed the first compact AMT tweeter; now, he developed a new folded diaphragm geometry that expands the AMT principle, making it into a linear full-range (10Hz-40kHz), moderately insensitive (87dB/mW), 42-Ohm impedance headphone that is built like a battleship and weighs a whopping 718g.

Fortunately, the room was quiet, and selections I played, which included Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa Fratres Symphony No.3, all sounded clear and clean and low-distortion – as I imagined they would. But! The AMT sound was different in ways I could not pin down in a short audition. Suffice to say, it sounded fast like an electrostatic, punchy like a dynamic dome driver, and transparent like the best planer-magnetics – but different in a way that brought the word ‘grain-less’ to mind.

Final A8000

I am attracted to the conceptual and material purity of Final Audio’s new $1,999 USD flagship IEM, the A8000. According to Final, the A8000 employs the first pure full-range beryllium-foil dynamic driver ever installed in an in-ear-monitor. Its polished, chambered stainless-steel body looks and feels luxurious as does its silver wiring.

The 16-Ohm, 102dB/mW A8000’s sound is extremely pure and revealing; in ways that seem unusually wide open, super-dynamic, and sunny bright. I forced two of my friends to listen, and they both agreed: the new Final flagship does not really sound like a headphone. “It’s just a view into a recording.”

Check back tomorrow for further experiences from the show floor.

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