Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2012 • Best of Show

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CanJam is to headphones what RMAF is to speakers and amps, and it provides just as many sonic highlights. The best personal-listening systems we heard paired Audeze LCD-3 headphones ($1945) connected balanced to an Apex Audio Pinnacle amp ($10,000). We've reviewed the former on The Audio Beat, and a review of the latter is in the works. The source was another product we're in the process of covering: Esoteric's K-01 CD/SACD player ($19,500).

What made this system so special was its seductive combination of unbounded resolving power and naturalness -- the ability to hear into each recording without electronic awkwardness spoiling the powerful illusion. The LCD-3s have midrange liquidity to go with their deep bass, and with the K-01 as source, the music's power was always front and center.

While a headphone-based system this expensive may cause some to question its value, a speaker-based hi-fi system of commensurate abilities would cost many times more -- if it could be assembled at all.

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