So this is your first CanJam – Here’s What To Expect

What to Look Forward to at Can Jam NYC 2024 by MajorHiFi

Ahh, spring time is approaching in New York City, which could only mean one thing: it’s time for CanJam. If you don’t know, CanJam is a headphone conference that makes its way through various cities and countries throughout the year. In 2024, there will be a CanJam in Singapore, Shanghai, London, Southern California, Dallas, and of course, New York City. Here, I’m going to run through some frequently asked questions and offer some tips and tricks to make your first CanJam the best it can be. 

What time is CanJam NYC and where is it?

CanJam takes place on Saturday March 9th and Sunday March 10th at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square. So if you’re around and have extra time on your hands, you’re in a central location to check out some of the City’s greatest sites. Just blocks away from Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, Broadway, and all of Times Square’s many attractions and restaurants, you’re sure to find plenty to do. But make sure to plan accordingly! There’s a lot to see both around the city and at CanJam itself. 

Who will be there?

Aside from other audiophiles, you can expect pretty much every major player in the audio world to be there. Some exciting companies that will be exhibiting are Final Audio, Audeze, Focal, Sennheiser, Hifiman, Meze, Audio-Technica, Abyss, Campfire Audio, Audio46, and many more. Be sure to take stock of all the brands that will be there so you can make sure you don’t miss anyone. A full list of exhibitors can be found here as well. 

How should I prepare?

In theory, there should be nothing for you to prepare, but alas, CanJam, like any event, has its quirks and it can be helpful to know a few things before arriving. For starters, lines can be very long at times, especially on Saturday, so having a plan for how you want to budget your time is important. Definitely scout out the brands that are going to be there and make a list of your priorities. You may have some very popular brands and some less popular brands, so you may want to get to the more popular brand earlier in the day so you can be sure you get to hear what you want to hear. 

Should I bring anything?

The first CanJam I went to, I got the advice, “all you need to bring is a set of ears and a positive attitude.” Now, while you definitely do want to bring those things, you will want to bring some stuff with you. For starters, you’ll want a bag of some sort. Whether that’s a backpack, a tote, or any other type of bag is up to you. But you’ll surelu want a bag. What will you be putting in this bag? Well for starters, you’ll want to put a nice big bottle of water in there. Yes, there are water coolers around the site but this will only get you a small cup at a time. Then, you’ll need a place to put all your free swag (we’re talking stickers, pins, patches, you name it). 

And then comes the real stuff. If you’re picky about source quality or want to bring your own music, you’ll need a DAP or your phone with the appropriate dongles, cables, and components. Many vendors will have sources with them that stream audio too, so this could be as simple as making a public playlist in your streaming app of choice. But do note that several vendors won’t have streaming hooked up and you’ll be limited to whatever selection of music they have on hand. Likewise, the vendors should have the necessary cables and converters you may need, but in my history, it’s always faster and more efficient to bring your own. 

Finally, you may want to bring your own ear tips, IEMs, and even headphones. Note that I say “you may want” and not “you need to.” The reasoning behind bringing your own ear tips is simply for sanitary reasons. But you also may know you like a certain tip and want to hear IEMs through them. That’s fine too. 

As for bringing your own IEM or headphone, this could be useful if you’re interested in trying DACs, sources, or amplifiers and want to demo them on a headset you already know very well. That said, bringing your own gear is optional, so bring what you like, or leave it all for the convention floor. 

When is the best time to come?

Like I said earlier, lines can get pretty long at more popular booths so you may want to prepare to go to them at less popular times. In my experience, the best times to try more popular items are at the beginning and end of the day, and definitely during lunchtime. You’d be surprised at how much the place empties out for hungry audiophiles to get their grub. 

Are the seminars worth it?

CanJam always offers seminars that are worth checking out. These usually lean into more educational topics. Typically, speakers will talk about engineering their products, what goes behind the ones and zeros of digital audio, or how to run a headphone business. CanJam will have several like these this year, including a talk by Dr. Sean Olive from Harman International on target curves, or Zach and Bevin Mehrbach from ZMF talking about starting up and running their own headphone business. If you want to get into the nitty gritty of the headphone world, these seminars are definitely worth it. Just be prepared to bring an open mind and learn some stuff while you’re at it. 

Wrapping it up

So that was a lot of information. At the end of the day, what’s most important is that you come and have a good time. Listen to as much as you can and keep an open mind. This is your chance to try all the hot new items you’ve been hearing about, so take it all in and enjoy it. 

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