Capital Audiofest 2021 Awards and Show Report

Reviewers View, The Capital Audiofest 2021

Acora Acoustics and Anne Bisson:
Anne Bisson singing live and Anne Bisson’s voice on the recording. Either way the Acora SRC 2 loudspeakers filled the room with emotionally involving sound. The recording was musical and detailed with great tonal quality; very close to the live Anne performance.

Associated equipment: Audio Research Ref 750 monoblocks, AudioResearch Ref10 phono and linestage, Esoteric CD player and DAC, Transrotor turntable, Aurender Streamer.

Audio Note UK/Déjà vu Audio:
Déjà vu exhibited with an entire Audio Note System. Spinning up Carmen from the album “Espana” put the mezzo soprano’s voice in the middle of the room. I always find the Audio Note exhibit rooms to be a profound and emotional experience and this was no exception. Equipment: Silver Audio Note Meishu integrated amplifier (it came home with us for review), TT3 turntable, CD 5.1X CD player and the super efficient ANE SPE HE loudspeakers.

Bending Wave USA:
Elliot Goldman premiered the Goebel Divin Marquis loudspeaker. Partnered up with the Wadax DAC, server and the new Atlantis X transport, the sound was nothing short of magical. We played a track from Leonard Cohen’s “Ten New Songs”. Warm without sacrificing detail with outstanding tonal richness. A music lover’s sexy dream.

Black Ice Audio:
Jerred Dunkerson CEO of Black Ice Audio featured the Black Ice Fusion 360 preamplifier, the Fusion F100 Monoblocks and the Vienna Acoustics Beethoven loudspeakers. Leonard Cohen’s voice filled the entire room and the sound was natural with detail and spatiality that could rival any room at the show.

Dr. Vinyl:
Jose Ramirez of Dr. Vinyl introduced the Reed Muse C3 turntable with the Integrity Tru-Glider Pendulum floating tonearm and the Beam Dual DS Audio cartridge. After dropping the needle on Mike Valentine’s recording, Carmen from the album, Espana, we were amazed at the purity of tone and the imaging. Quiet, precise and emotionally involving. A stand-out at CAF 2021. The rest of the room: QLN Prestige 1’s powered by the McGary Audio Amplifier, A CEC,2 chassis, CD player and Kleinbeck engineered, bespoke cabling.

High End by Oz and United Home Audio:
The sound was explosive when playing the “Chasing the Dragon”s, Espana master tape. The synergy of the UHA Super Deck with an outboard power supply and the Borresen 05 Silver Supreme Edition, floorstanding loudspeakers, the Thrax Maximinus DAC, the Thrax Dionysus preamplifier and the Thrax Teres Hybrid monoblocks was spot-on, delivering a holographic soundstage with unparalled dynamic range and rich detail. It was as close to being at a live event as I’ve ever heard at a show. My choice for best sound at the CAF 2021.

The room also included a Vitus SCD player with a DAC and the United States debut of the Hifi Stay Racks, imported by Ozan Turan of High End by Oz. Cabling was the Anzuz D.TC Supreme with a Mainz8 power distributor.

House of Stereo/Wolf Audio Systems:
A very large room with some of the best sound at the show. We played Anette Askvik’s “Liberty” and Leonard Cohen’s “Boogie Street”. The system delivered a huge soundstage, tight bass, spot-on tone and lots of heart.

System: TAD CR1 loudspeakers, T+A 40th anniversary M40 high voltage monoblocks, T+A SDV3100 Reference streaming DAC and preamplifier, Wolf Audio server and Synergistic Research’s UEF technology, cabling.

Refined Audio:
The new Cube Nenuphar BASiS was introduced to AVShowrooms by Refined Audio’s proprietor, Jon Ver Halen. The loudspeaker is a small cabinet with a 10” driver placed above a separate powered 12” woofer.

We played Leonard Cohen’s “Boogie Street” and this little loudspeaker filled the room with music. The sound was organic with holographic imaging and excellent dynamic range. Also in the room: Pass Labs XP32 preamplifier, Lampizator’s Pacific DAC. All cabling was by Silversmith Audio.

Tenacious Sound:
Shayne Tenace, proprietor, walked us through his system and introduced the very impressive PerListen S7T towers and subs. Combined with excellent electronics, we were treated to a listen of Leonard Cohen’s “Boogie Street”. The sound was layered, detailed and enveloping with perfectly integrated bass. Of the rooms I visited, I can easily say it was the most dynamic system at the CAF 2021.

Associated Equipment: Innuos Phoenix USB Clocker, AVM TA 5.2 preamplifier/DAC/Phonostage, AVM SA 6.3 amplifier and Audience cables.

VAC/Von Schweikert/The Audio Company:
The AVShowrooms’ video will feature Valve Amplification Company’s(VAC) Chief Engineer and founder, Kevin Hayes, premiering the very impressive Master 300 amplifiers. The Master 300’s employ VAC’s iq circuitry and Kevin explains in detail, in our video, the story behind the magic. It is a must watch!

First we played the LP of Bizet’s “Carmen” recorded by Mike Valentine of the “Chasing the Dragon” recording studio in London. The soundstage was enormous, the layering, detail and emotional impact of the presentation, profound. Next, we chose the track “By the River’s Dark” from Leonard Cohen’s album “Ten New Songs”, a song we played repeatedly at the show.

This system revealed information never before heard by either Peter B. or me. Mind-blowing. The room included: The Von Schweikert ULTRA 11 loudspeakers, the Kronos turntable with the SCPS, Critical Mass Olympus and Maxxum racks, MasterBuilt’s ULTRA cabling, Esoteric electronics and Aurender.

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