But a major element of the Glacier’s appeal is that it offers a very ambitious features set, yet seems almost impossibly compact, thin, and gem-like. Consider this: the Glacier is roughly the size of the skinny new iPhone 5, yet it manages to contain: a 24/96-capable USB DAC based on a Cirrus Logic DAC device, a separate USB charging port, a high-output and entirely DC-coupled headphone amplifier, adjustable master gain switches, a high-performance stepped attenuator volume control, a 12-to-15-hour/charge long-life battery, and the works is fitted with a super-slim (just 9mm thick!) stainless steel case.
For earphone and custom-fit in-ear monitor maker Ultimate Ears, this year’s most significant new Can-Jam product was the recently released UE 900 quad-driver universal-fit earphone ($399). From previous discussions with Philippe Depallens and Chuck Reynolds at UE, I know the UE 900 has been conceived to play two roles in the marketplace. First, it serves as the long-awaited replacement for one of UE’s best-loved and most commercially successful products: the three-driver Triple.fi 10 PRO. But perhaps more importantly, the UE 900 serve as a transitional or “bridge” model that straddles the gap between UE’s universal-fit earphone product family and the firm’s extensive range of custom-fit IEMs. As Depallens and Reynolds explained in a conversation with me several months ago, the UE 900 is aimed at customers who need or want sound quality close to that offered by custom-fit IEMs, but who prefer—either for reasons of price or convenience—to stick with a universal-fit model. Watch for our upcoming review of the UE 900 over the next several months.
Unique Melody is an extremely high-tech manufacturer of custom-fit in-ear monitors; the firm is based in China, has sales offices in Australia, and build its monitors using, in some cases, select components sourced from North America and Europe. But for Can-Jam Unique Melody was debuting a product bundle that transcends the concept of a custom-fit IEM, per se, and rather represents a complete, integrated custom-fit IEM playback system.
The product in question is called the Unique Melody PP6 (for “Pure Platform Six”, $2,280), which consists of the following:
According to Unique Melody the PP6 package surpasses even the performance of their previous flagship passive custom-fit in-ear monitor: the Unique Melody Miracle ($950). Benefits are said to include a cleaner, clearer, more accurate, more dynamic, and more spacious sound.
At Can-Jam V-MODA highlighted two key products: the brand new Crossfade M-100 headphone ($300) and the VAMP headphone amp/DAC/iPhone charger designed specifically for iPhone 4/4S ($600—a $50 drop from the price initially announced earlier this Summer).
The Crossfade M-100 is the newest of V-MODA’s accuracy minded M-series ‘phones, but one key distinction is that it may be the first headphone to benefit from a true, “crowdsourced” design approach where the firm sought input from literally hundreds of audiophiles, journalists, record producers and DJs before finalizing the M-100’s design. Not surprisingly, the effort yielded a very versatile design with unexpected features at every turn. For example, the M-100 features dual inputs that allow the headphone “to act as a virtual on-the-go mixer” and it also incorporates “V-CORK” seals that offer some measure of voicing control and that allow “the discerning listeners to perfectly balance the audio.” A SpeakEasy microphone cable enables the headphone to function as a headset, while and optional boom mic lets users adapt the M-100 for use as a gaming headphone.