If you've never been to a CanJam, the experience is really, really fun. I got to go to my first this past weekend in Chicago - and I brought along a couple of pairs of Lithium Alkalis for my fellow headphone aficionados to try out!
Lots of folks sat down for a listen, and I was blown away by their responses. Nearly everyone who heard the Alkali raved about the sound! "Natural," "big soundstage," "how is this only $599?" were some of the things I heard.
The show itself was fantastic. ZMF had a room full of gorgeous works of audiophile art. Anyone who knows me knows I'm an unabashed ZMF fanboy, and I got reminded why - not only were the headphones beautiful looking and sounding, I was able to meet Zach and Bevin, the company's founders. You will not meet nicer people in your life.
I had the chance to hear the Sennheiser HE-1 as well. $60,000 worth of elegance. Sounded amazing - they excel at everything, but the biggest thing that caught my ear was the tonality, hearing the metallic sheen of the guitar strings on the intro to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)".
But more than the actual headphones and chains I was lucky enough to hear, the best part of CanJam by far was the people. Everyone was extremely nice, open-minded, honest, and up for talking about anything head-fi related.
Feedback from CanJam
Check out the impressions thread on Head-Fi - there's a lot of great pictures, your buddy @DeweyCH (that's me!) with some more of his own impressions, and some great feedback on the Alkalis. A few samples:
"The Lithium Alkali is a great headphone with excellent timbre. Instruments, particularly acoustic strings sound phenomenal. You can easily hear the plucks of the string without critically listening. The clarity is also nice and a good balance of bass. He informed me that he is selling his headphones for $600 with warranty, so if anyone is interested, make sure to message @DeweyCH to support our fellow headfier on his headphone creation journey." - @Saberpunch
"Was an absolute honor to meet @DeweyCH in person for the first time after emailing and seeing you around for years. What an amazing headphone you've made and I look forward to hearing it more! Disclaimer - I'm grabbing one from him and it's sound is right up my alley of what I love with a big open and punchy yet musical sound. Congrats man!" - @zach915m (told you, nicest people you'll meet, him and Bevin!)
"I just wanted to include some of my noob-ish impressions here from the few minutes I had with the Alkali. The TLDR is that I thought they sounded excellent and after getting home and checking them out on the Lithium Headphones website, I was shocked that they were $600 and not $1000+. I only heard a few minutes of Us and Them on them, but they struck me as very natural sounding with a satisfying amount of openness and air. Also, I was listening to these right after listening to the HE-1, and I still thoroughly enjoyed those few minutes with them! The tuning also seemed a good fit for my preferences. I'm pretty sensitive to upper mids and lower treble and didn't experience any sort of fatiguing qualities. If I were in the market for an open back dynamic under $1000, I would feel confident picking these just from that short experience. I hope these get the attention I think they deserve, and it seems like there's been a lot of positive feedback from those who tried them at the show, so that's promising!" - @dbull12
"Last but not least, I wanted to mention @DeweyCH. It was a pleasure to get to talk to him and he was kind enough to let me spend a little time with his Lithium Alkali headphones. I have to say they were one of my top new headphones at the show. They just had a naturalness to them that was impressive. These need to be on everybody's radar." - @HeavyCn
Man, this has been a great weekend. The headphones community is brilliant. I will DEFINITELY be going back to as many CanJams as I can swing - and if one is near you, I can't recommend the experience highly enough.