This is Part 3 of a four-part report.
HeadRoom did not announce any brand new models at CanJam-RMAF, but instead displayed a broad array of its current desktop audio products, ranging from comparatively affordably priced models on up to considerably mores costly top-tier models.
I asked HeadRoom’s Product Development Manager Jamey Warren which of his firm’s extensive product offerings he felt Playback readers most needed to know about, and he singled out three of HeadRoom’s most value-oriented offering: the Micro Amp ($349), the Desktop Amp ($799), and the Ultra Desktop Amp ($1599).
The Micro Amp is a small class A headphone amp with two switch selectable line-level inputs, a gain switch, a variable-level (preamp) output, and a switch for selecting or bypassing HeadRoom's signature "Crossfeed" circuit, which is said to improve headphone imaging.
The Desktop Amp is a particularly versatile and cost-effective product that provides a class A headphone amplifier with two analog line-level inputs, one analog line out and a built-in DAC, which provides 24/96 capable optical and coaxial inputs, and 16/44 capable USB inputs. The Desktop Amp provides a rear output enable switch, a brightness control switch, a "Crossfeed" circuit on/off switch, and a three-position gain switch.
The Ultra Desktop Amp is essentially a hot-rodded version of the Desktop Amp.
Warren acknowledged that the three models he cited sometimes stand in shadow of HeadRoom’s more ambitious (but much more expensive) top-tier products. Even so, he rightly points out that the Micro Amp, Desktop Amp, and Ultra Desktop Amp offer terrific bang for the buck and therefore stand as the “unsung heroes” of his lineup—they’re the models that do the most sonic good for the broadest audience possible, and for the least amount of money.
JH Audio did not announce brand new products at CanJam-RMAF, but instead focused on demonstrating its popular flagship JH16 Pro in-ear monitor (click here to read the Playback review of the JH16 Pro). However, I spoke with JH Audio founder Jerry Harvey and he indicated that it should not be too long before his firm will be able to deliver its eagerly anticipated DSP-controlled, portable tri-amplification system for use with appropriately modified JH16 Pros (the amp can also be configured for use with the 3-way JH13 Pro model). An early prototype version of the DSP/tri-amp system had been shown earlier this year at CanJam-Chicago.
Those who presently own passive JH16 Pro earphones, and who want to take the step up into tri-amplification, will be able to pay a special bundled price that covers both the cost of the new DSP/tri-amp module and of reworking their present in-ear monitors to prepare them for use with the new amp.
According to Harvey, the DSP/tri-amp system allows him to achieve near-perfect phase and frequency response across the entire audio spectrum, while also giving options for making very precise adjustments in low bass response. The DSP/Tri-amp version of the JH16 Pro was prominently displayed in the marketing flyers JH Audio was distributing at CanJam, and should enter the market soon.