Published on January 7th, 2018 | by Greg0
Shinola’s Canfield In-Ear Monitors: Motor City Meets Portland
We’re starting off 2018 the right way- catching up on all of the things we missed in 2017! Scanning through every best-of, year-end list of the best music revealed a whole lot of great albums we missed in the last twelve months, with great tracks from all over the world finally getting some of the attention they deserve. And while it’s always nice when we can focus on songs at home through a surround sound system, the truth is that we listen most of the time through headphones.
We’ve been enjoying our latest set since right before the holidays, and our New Year got off to a bright beginning thanks to the Shinola Canfield In-Ear Monitors. Part of their new lineup of audio gear, Shinola has gone from a company focused on watches and leather gear to a broader lifestyle group in just a few years- their bicycles have gotten some acclaim and they’ve opened up multiple flagship stores, including a sleek one here in NYC. The brand is still fairly new, dating from 2011, but boasts a management team that includes some of the folks behind Fossil. And we liked that they tend to team up with skilled partners- in this case, with Portland’s highly-regarded Campire Audio, who have gotten serious audiophile love (and offer earbuds that can range up to $1200; even the quad-drive Canfield Pros run under $500).
The body of these has an obviously distinctive aesthetic, with visible screws and a mix of well-machined matte and glossy metallic surfaces, as well as a fairly subtle logo. Inside of the package are several silicone tips in different sizes as well as our preferred memory foam ones for better isolation, and the Canfield IEMs have an in-line microphone and controls, plus nice, solid braided cables for durability. They aren’t ultra-lightweight nor built for exercise, but will definitely hold up to some knocks during travel- we stuck them into a bag and they didn’t tangle or show signs of wear even after several rough trips.
The obvious joke here, considering the company’s history, is that the sound signature was polished- but it’s true, the Canfields are clean, crisp, best with rock, electronic, and other music where warmth is less important than an upbeat precision and impressive low-end. There’s no audible distortion even at peak volumes, and they sounded better with a bit of a warm-up/burn-in period, which seemed to soften some of the edges. If earbuds aren’t your thing, Shinola offers on-ear and over-ear models, plus a turntable and paired bookshelf speakers. The clear aim is accessible luxury, with the price points to match- at $195 these are definitely built for those who can appreciate style, don’t want anything wireless, and are tired of the mainstream brands. The Canfield In-Ear Monitors are a great start for a new entrant to the audio world, and we’re certainly going to being paying attention in the future. Available in black, online direct and in their retail stores as well.