Reviewers View, The Capital Audiofest
Reviewers View, The Capital Audiofest
Reviewers View, The Capital Audiofest
Capital Audiofest Gold Show Winners
By Terry Eringi
Brian Zolner is consistent at delivering a superior sound. A sound that is clear and fast without sacrificing musical involvement. In the system was the Bricasti M12 Source Controller, the gold M1 and the M5 streamer and the M28 monoblocks. The loudspeakers were Tidal Contriva G2’s. We listened to a Beethoven piano sonata, delivered with exceptionally good tonal quality and detail.
Beautiful and full, yet delicate and detailed sound was coming from the T-1’s this year at the Cap-fest. There is a big presentation achieved with these horns developed and created by John Wolff of Classic Audio. Proof that with years of dedication and consistency, Classic Audio loudspeakers can compete with any loudspeaker in its category. The organic, enveloping sound of the cello in a track from the album “Pure Cello” recorded by Audio Note Music was captivating. As always, the room was wired by Purist Audio Design. The turntable was a Kuzma with the 12” Tri-Planar tonearm and the electronics in the room were by Atma-Sphere.
No surprise that the gamuT RS3i, two-way standmount loudspeakers earned another AVShowrooms’ Gold Show Award for sound. I love a two-way speaker and the gamuT’s are the best I’ve heard in my many years of listening both at shows and in a living environment. The bass is so natural and perfectly integrated with the mids and highs. Spinning a cut from the album “Pure Cello” recorded by Audio Note Music proved that my memory of these bad boys was spot-on accurate. The sound was unabashedly bold and powerful; it touched me emotionally on several levels.
GTT Audio & Video:
Bill parish was exhibiting with the Audionet Planck CD player and the Watt integrated amplifier. Loudspeakers were the YG Acoustics Carmel 2 and all wiring was Kubala Sosna. The Audionet amplifier had a tight grip on the Carmel 2’s and the sound was transparent and detailed. Switching to the Mola Mola amplifier tightened the bass a notch but traded off a little “organicness” to the (Audionet) presentation. Both amplifiers were simply stunning on the YG Carmel 2’s. Playing “Here but I’m Gone”, Vanessa Fernandez’s voice punched through without effort and the attack was lightning-fast making this listening session an emotionally satisfying experience.
High Fidelity Cables:
Rick Schultz’s exhibit rooms are like nothing else at an audio show in regard to both sonic superiority and experiential education but it seems as if only the initiated along with HFC’s fans report on the outstanding sound that is consistently delivered by Rick and his brand. Inside, the room is partially wrapped in black curtains that gave the space a contained look and feel. A bit like a chamber. A chamber that included the most unusual loudspeakers and system components I’ve seen at any audio show. In the upcoming AVShowrooms’ video, you’ll see these giant missile shaped cables that, along with the dark interior of the room, create an environment with a rather ominous vibe. You’ll get a good look and listen.
Rick described the cables as “…extremely good at lowering distortion in a big way.” The cable is the Pro Elite power cable for pro use only, High Fidelity Cables’ flagship product. All of Rick’s continual efforts in the pursuit of the best sound are proven by the end result. We played the track “Terre” by artist, Michel Jonasz and the sound was layered, big and believable, with brilliant tonal quality. The vocals and the instruments all took their proper place in this blackened exhibit room and a clean, bold and extremely emotionally engaging sound enveloped this listener.
Okay, this is the best sounding ModWright, Daedalus, WyWire room yet. The sound was three dimensional and totally realistic. The Daedalus speakers were beautiful to behold. These are solid wood cabinets that work with the music like a fine cello or violin. ModWright’s foray into the world of tubes and SET amplifiers is astonishing. Dan Wright shows his design chops have no limits. Hats off to a great room! Cabling by WyWires.
Klaus Bunge’s Odyssey Audio exhibit rooms are a must-visit. Klaus’ loudspeakers and electronics are an enormous value for the consistently good sound that is delivered. This year at CAF, he showed the Kismet loudspeaker, the Candela pre-amp and the Kartago monoblocks priced, in total, at $6900. Get yourself a decent front end and you are set. The sound in the room was dynamic with pinpoint imaging. People were dancing in the room and there were many return visits. Klaus not only gives you “best bang for the buck”, but he will educate as to how to set up a listening environment. Vanessa Fernandez’s “Whole Lotta Love” punched through the room and Santana’s Abraxas imaged instruments in their proper places.
Once again Robin Wyatt, proprietor of Robyatt Audio seduces us with impeccably restored Quad loudspeakers and a Garrard 401 turntable, so utterly beautiful, that Peter B. wanted to take it home. The two tonearms are made by Frank Shroeder and the cartridge we use in the video was the stereo Miyajima Snakewood Limited Edition. Records and equipment were arranged on the stunning Wax Racks customized record rack and stand. I’d love to have one in my office! We close the video with a listen to the LP “Dynamic Resolution” produced by Robin Wyatt, himself. Such gorgeous music. The sound was coherent and musical with impressive spatiality. Wonderful.
The Synergistic Research room was an imaging tone machine. The Magico S5s and Soulution amps combined with the FET technology produced one of best sounds at the show. The demonstration of removing the devices and then turning them back on was believable and repeatable. Ted Denny is a very gifted designer and his rooms are always in the top quartile. A stunning room!
The Audio Company featuring VAC/Von Schweikert:
Together, this team assembled a price-no-object system that literally took my breath away. The music delivered by the VAC/Valve Amplification Company’s majestic bi-amped 450 IQ monoblocks driving the Von Schweikert Ultra II loudspeakers was so utterly involving, organic and detailed it still boggles my mind as to how the end result was achieved.
This is by far, the best sound I’ve heard at an audio show far exceeding any runners up. And, this includes the VAC/Von Schweikert room at AXPONA, 2017! Never in my wildest dreams did I think the music could be reproduced like this in an oversized room with a wall of glass at a hotel. No matter what genre of music or what the levels were, these gentle giants, the Ultra 11’s, delivered a piano sonata with lace-curtain delicacy, and a concert hall enveloping sound on Beethoven’s 9th Symphony that was so close to the live event I cannot stop talking about it. A celestial ejaculation!
The system performed with zero restraint and dominated the room with abandon. The strings on the guitar at the end of Roger Waters’ “Amused to Death” “It’s a miracle” were holographic and dimensional lacking any artificial noise in the reverberation.
The experience in this exhibit room further solidifies my belief that in order to optimize a listening environment with top-tier components, the space must be analyzed and set-up by experts, in this case, The Audio Company. Included in the room were VAC’s Statement series line stage and phone stage, each with their own separate power supply and MasterBuilt cabling. Esoteric’s network audio player, transport and monoblock DAC, a Transrotor turntable and tonearm with an Air Tight cartridge. The beautiful racks were from Critical Mass and you’ll learn more about them when you watch the upcoming video.