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Sound Days #3: highlights

Sound Days #3 took place at The Carreau du Temple on May 13th and 14th. This exceptional event and its historic venue welcomed nearly 3,000 people over the course of the weekend. With over 80 brands sharing almost 1800 m² (6000 ft²) of space, Sound Days #3 is the biggest event dedicated to music playback in France.

Salon Sound Days

Sound Days is the perfect occasion to listen to some of the world’s best portable audio devices, headphones and turntables.

Sound Days #3: what was new

The third edition of Sound Days unveiled a few new features, including a vinyl record convention with over 30 vendors, retro arcade games, a Yamaha Disklavier player piano compatible with MusicCast, and two luxury vehicles equipped with high-end Focal and Bowers & Wilkins audio systems. The music streaming services Qobuz and B&W’s Society of Sound were also privileged partners of this digital and analog music convention.

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This McLaren 5705 is equipped with an integrated audio system designed and manufactured by Bowers & Wilkins.

Sound Days #3: the latest generation of headphones and in-ear monitors

New features aside, Sound Days was above all an opportunity for visitors to test the best two pairs of headphones in the world. First up, and just next to the entrance of The Carreau du Temple, Sennheiser’s stand displayed the brand’s flagship models, including the wireless RS range, the Momentum range, and the illustrious HD-800. In a soundproof booth, the HE-1 system proudly presented its dedicated tube amplifier housed in a solid block of Carrara marble. The HE-1 boasts a frequency range extending from 8 Hz to over 100 kHz, as well as the lowest distortion rate ever attained by an audio playback system: 0,01% at 1 kHz for 100 dB SPL. Not far from this acoustic marvel, the HiFiMAN Shangri-La aimed to give the HE-1 a run for its money. This system, comprised of a pair of headphones and a tube headphone amplifier, announces a frequency range of 7 Hz to 120 kHz and aims to create an exceptionally mesmerizing listening experience from the very first second.

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The HiFiMAN Shangri-La audio system is an ultra high-end electrostatic model priced at 50,000€.

Within a more moderate price range, the Romanian brand Meze presented the Neo, a lighter version of its 99 Classics featuring plastic ear cups and a slightly bright sound signature. The French manufacturer Earsonics illustrated its commitment to craftsmanship with the ES2/ES3, SM6 v2 and S-EM9 models, the latter of which is available for 1490€ and widely considered to be the Rolls Royce of in-ear headphone models. Aëdle, another French brand, revealed its latest model, the VK-2, alongside the ODS-1 which combines leather and metal for a flawless finish.

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The Aëdle VK-2 Legacy is a marvel of the design world.

Stax presented its full range of headphone amplifiers and electrostatic headphones, including the Stax SR-L700 and the sublime Stax SR-009. Ultra-light, comfortable and clinically precise, these Japanese headphones rarely fail to impress. Meanwhile, Final Audio, another Japanese brand, displayed its full range of headphones, including the Final F3100 as well as the Final Audio Heaven VIII and the ultra high-end Final LAB II, which both boast a jewel-like finish. Final also demonstrated its expertise with the Sonorous range, with models including the highly lauded Final Sonorous VI and Final Audio Sonorous X (among others).

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An immediate smile of approval for a pair of Stax electrostatic headphones.

The French brand Focal greeted visitors at a large stand in the main corridor. The Saint-Etienne based manufacturer graced Sound Days with the presence of the world’s most expensive headphones, the Focal Utopia by Tournaire, a jewel-like version of the widely acclaimed Focal Utopia. Some of the brand’s other models were also present, including the Listen, Spirit Professional, Elear ranges and the recently launched Sphear range.

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The Focal Utopia by Tournaire: the world’s most expensive headphones, priced at 100,000€.

One of the most surprising products was the Glyph Avegant, an all-in-one “screen-glasses-headphones” headset allowing users to watch films conveniently in all circumstances.

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The Glyph Avegant personal theater headset allows the user to both listen to and view content.

Lastly, we’d like to mention Sony and its superb MDR-Z1R, McIntosh and its MHP1000, a very well renowned pair of closed-back headphones, and Earin and its wireless and cable-free models. Fostex, Pioneer, Audio-Technica, Grado, Audeze, Beyerdynamics, AKG, Kennerton also presented their complete offer of hi-fi headphones at Sound Days #3.

This post is also available in: French

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Sebastien Cassar

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