This year's new venue for the Capital Audiofest was indeed a sonic surprise. The sound was exceptional, and folks, this was from day one. The Hilton Hotel in Rockville, MD was also aesthetically pleasing with its 1980's art deco-ish vibe and glass encased bullet shaped elevators with an atrium that surrounded the inner perimeter of the hotel. You were never isolated; instead, always a moving part of the CAF's inner circle of sound.
As usual, CAF is a great deal of fun. Not too many rooms to cover and interesting DIY updates. As a bonus, Mike was giving dancing lessons to a few ladies in the hallways to music emanating from his boom box. At some point toward the end of the last day of the show, the words, "gift", "surprise" and "payoff" came to mind- three words to summarize my CAF 2015 overall experience.
One of the standouts was the Audio Note room, tucked away in the corner with AN's David Cope at the helm. Bravely combining the live with the reproduced Dave managed to achieve sonic nirvana by showcasing an AN suite of audio equipment playing along with the world class, in the flesh, Cellist Vincent Belanger. Results: A+
However, it is to nobody's surprise that VPI Industries can take over any show with their turntables filling so many rooms and venues. And, by now, anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes with the company's president, Mat Weisfeld is aware that VPI is a 24/7 living breathing organism.
The company is not just its products, but the dynamics of the team who along with Harry Weisfeld, himself, attended the show. The VPI room was a marketplace. Packed to the doors, all day long. People lined up with headphones, listening to the TT's positioned along two walls the length of the large room. Harry spoke, Mat spoke. Harry and Mat are a natural tag-team - this is not something you can become, but simply are. Lyn Stanley performed and entertained, singing along with cuts from her album.
The room, the amount of thought and work and product that VPI put into the show. It was the show's major act, perhaps the reason one would buy a ticket. A place that was open for music fun and camaraderie, day and night.
Okay, my payoff. I very much wanted to revisit the DSA room on the show's third and last day. I did, it paid off. The room wins a "Gold Show Award" for sound. For a natural and enveloping sound with very good detail.
The other second visit was to John Wolff's Classic Audio Room with Purist Audio Designs cabling, Kuzma TT and Tri-Planar arm. Audiophile chestnut or not, Stevie Ray Vaughn's Tin Pan Alley was as much like being at a live event as anything I've heard over the years. Another Gold Show Award for sound.
More outstanding rooms for sound were Gershman Acoustics with a very realistic sonic signature. The Volti audio room, this year, was the best we both ever experienced the Vittora loudspeakers. I could live with these beauties for the rest of my days. No kidding, no horny sound. Relaxing with layered imaging. Gorgeous.
What a great show and I hope to see you all there next year!