2022 Capital Audio Fest II
Capital Audio Fest – 2022, Part 2
Somewhat as a wrap-up to my visit at this year’s CAF, and in consideration of so many different exhibits, there will be a few exhibits in this Part 2 report that I could only check out very briefly. I would have enjoyed spending more time in each, and with the Saturday attendance creating a number of crowded exhibit rooms, I opted to capture a few photos and, apologetically, not much in the way of in-depth reporting on my part. So dear readers – bear with me this final coverage of a few rooms that I found interesting and worthy of mentioning.
HIGH END BY OZ – UNITED HOME AUDIO
Indeed a large system in every sense of the word and one that produced a big sound—loaded with impressive clarity and ambiance retrieval, with choral vocals rendered superbly, including an excellent open sound. Along with this was an impressive pipe organ that was effortless, clear, distinct, and beautiful. Powered by the mighty Thrax tube electronics – this system delivered the sonic goods.
- Lansche 7.2 Macassar ebony speakers (plasma tweeter) – $90,000 pr;
- Thrax Audio Libra 300B Tube Preamp – $67,500; Spartacus 300B 50 Watt Triode Class A – $97,500 pr; Maximinus Silver DAC – $38,500;
- UHA Super Deck – $89,900;
- Kalista Dreamplay X Transport – $68,800;
- Metronome AQWO – $20,000;
- HiFiStay Mythology equipment rack – $6,250 per shelf;
- Hemingway Z Core and Creation S Series cables – $3,400 – $3,9,000
NOLA BABY GRAND REFERENCE GOLD 3 LOUDSPEAKERS
Situated in a massive room with speakers way out from the back wall, this system played at some very high decibels (as in loudly). The sound was also very dynamic, and with classical music (piano) – the system produced a very open, spacious soundstage with impressive depth. Unfortunately, the room also created a noticeable boom at times and with various types of music. Vinyl was the primary playback medium. Electronics powering the speakers included VAC Master Preamp and VAC Master 300 monoblock amps, and turntables were the Sikora Reference with Tru-Glider tonearm and DS Audio Grandmaster moving coil cartridge. The cables were Nordost Odin 2 series.
Displaying alternatingly between a darkened room with numerous candlelights spread across the exhibit floor nearest to the display system and a fully lighted room, the sound produced by this system gave a glimpse into what is possible without breaking the bank. In particular, the Silverline speakers at $5,900/pr sounded quite good and provided full range impact driven by Odyssey electronics and connected with Magnan cables. Excellent value overall.
HIGH FIDELITY SERVICES – KERR ACOUSTIC SPEAKERS
Interesting full-range floor-standing Kerr Acoustic, model K320 MK3 speakers finished in a very nice black piano gloss ($11,850). Speakers are a 2-driver, 2-way w/front ported proprietary transmission line bass design including 6.5” scanspeak wood-fiber midrange driver and 60mm custom natural ribbon high frequency driver; Baltic birch ply cabinet. These were driven with Trilogy Audio Systems electronics consisting of model 903 line level preamplifier ($9,950), 993 Stereo Hybrid power amplifier – 125 watts pr/ch, zero feedback hybrid circuitry, triode super tube input stages plus combination of FET/Bipolar output devices ($9,950) and 907 MM/MC phono preamp (($3,495). Handling the input chores were TW Acustic Raven LS turntable ($15,500) with Raven 10.5” tonearm ($6,000) and Stein Aventurin 6 MC phono cartridge ($6,500). Cables used included Signal Projects ICs and speaker cables ($5,450) and Vibex/Signal Projects power cables ($3,780). Power conditioning was provided by a Vibex Platinum power filter ($3,850).
The sound was very musical and smooth, with excellent detail, especially while listening to Ben Webster’s saxophone played via vinyl. Very good value for this exhibit.
PURE AUDIO PROJECT
Unfortunately – only able to catch a quick peek inside this interesting-looking exhibit. The room was crowded, and I had to move on. Initially, the reaction was very positive.
Classic approach by Synergistic Research (SR) and Ted Denny, owner/lead guru at the helm, including real-time demos of various SR products to very positive effect. The small room included lots of equipment and wonderful speakers producing solid sound. The room was also well-attended. I couldn’t spend much time there. Nonetheless, it didn’t take much time for me to witness how SR can bring various products to high-end audio shows, including cables. These passive devices augment/enhance room acoustics, power conditioning, and more. Very interesting and always entertaining as well. Job well done.
So as I close my report for this year’s CAF – congratulations to event organizer Gary Gill for a welcome show. Again, this was my first high-end audio show since late 2019 (i.e., post-pandemic), and I thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with various manufacturers, dealers, colleagues, and long-time friends. Judging also from the general reaction of the attendees, I would say that there was a general upbeat feeling overall and positive interaction over the show’s three days. Signing off now and will catch you later in one of my current/upcoming product reviews.
Stereo Times Masthead
Frank Alles, Mike Girardi, Key Kim, Russell Lichter, Terry London, Moreno Mitchell, Paul Szabady, Bill Wells, Mike Wright, Stephen Yan, and Rob Dockery
David Abramson, Tim Barrall, Dave Allison, Ron Cook, Lewis Dardick, Dan Secula, Don Shaulis, Greg Simmons, Eric Teh, Greg Voth, Richard Willie, Ed Van Winkle, and Rob Dockery
Carlos Sanchez, John Jonczyk, John Sprung and Russell Lichter
Site Management Clement Perry
Ad Designer: Martin Perry