Link to Capital Audiofest 2012 website.
43 responses Add your response
I went two years ago Sunday only. Things were in full swing through 2-3 in the afternoon then things were winding down as I left. Got there too late for the morning "swap" event, which sounds neat. May try to make that this year.
There were a number of very good sounding systems there. The GOTO and Cathedral horn setups in particular come to mind and may be there this year as well. YG/Magico a/b demos by YG was interesting and both sounded pretty good. Manley amps were quite nice though under served perhaps in their setup. Jolida fx10 was the best buy I could spot. mbl setups were sub-par compared to same at the dealer and not indicative of what mbl can deliver set up properly.
Just got back. Spent 4 hours or so there earlier today.
My skinny, FWIW, in that I have never attended any other show to compare other than the initial CAF two years ago, is it was worthwhile and I would like to have had more time to soak it all in. Overall, the sound quality of the rigs on display in the various rooms was more consistent than two years ago. Probably due to more typical hotel venue rather than a 19th century mansion.
I heard a lot of good sound that I could possibly live with but not enough time to assess each well. Overall, most of the vendors did a good job tuning their systems into the rooms, most of which were not particularly large, so I found that to be a good thing.
I'm not quite sure I heard anything revolutionary or that stuck way out in the crowd, but lots of very solid finds nonetheless that would warrant further investigation.
So I heard some new good stuff that sounded like it had potential.
Attendance today did not seem large. There were people there but few crowds snd fairly low key overall. Not a bad thing for one trying to fit a lot of listening into a few hours.
More details soon when I have a chance.
I heard a few things on my to-hear list for the first time:
Daedelus: i was impressed and these lived up to my expectations in a
short limited audition with nice acoustic jazz recording.
Classic Audio Reproductions (with the field coil drivers + Atmasphere
amps: i was expecting benchmark level sound and tnis setup did not
disappoint. Would have liked to hear some good rock recordings but
acoustic jazz ruled here also as it seemed to in general at the show. The
sound was spot on and darn near perfect.
Zu - Missed the boat somewhat. Flea power amps used were nice but
seemingly could not get these hopping for more demanding rock cuts.
GT Audio Works - now here was a new discovery of note with meat on the
bones that sounded great and offered great value at 3k a pair including 2
subs. "There Will Be Changes Made" by Atkins+ Knopfler
packed the room and got my feet a tapping. Modest Bryston digital
source and amp showed they belonged in a high end audio show as well.
DIY Room: A pair of 10" full range drivers mounted in a large square open
back baffle sitting at floor level slightly angled up about 2/3 into a hotel
room run off a diy class a amp of low wattage was the shocker of the day.
How did what looked like a bean bag toss arcade game sound so full and
lifelike for $800 diy? Kinda made me feel sorry for all the megabuck
systems there competing. And they did everything extremely well from
Green Day to classical. Eye opener of the day!
Tidal: Both larger and smaller rigs sounded very good but size did matter
and did not come cheap. The DCS Dac in the one rig certainly helped
make that one shine as the DCS gear always seems to do. The smaller
Tidals sounded good but dynamics with those small drivers was noticably
Legacy Whispers in a larger salon room showed some chops but I need to
As an infrequent visitor to high end audio events, other than this site, these are may main takeaway observations from Capital Audiofest.
- events like this are perhaps not big enough in scale for the hardcore audiophile audience and much but not all that was there was out of reach financially for many so where does that leave an event like this? Hopefully in a good enough position to have at least a fourth annual event next year I would hope.
- the DIY guys in many ways made a statement about what it REALLY takes to make good sound, and stole the show for me in that regard.
- most of the setups sounded very good to quite excellent to the extent that the venue and rooms allowed. There was not a lot of room for products to differentiate themselves. The sound of most rooms was still very good though. Does it really make any sense to demonstrate megagear like gigantic horns in that kind of environment? Cool looking, yes, but in this case the performance was laughable for the scale of the sound solution attempted.
- Its not so hard to find good sounding gear these days. Its a lot harder to get it to sound good at home.
- Digital fared very well at this show. There was both very good digital and vinyl and very mediocre digital and vinyl demos. This might be the first event I could say that the good sounding digital was more apparent than the good sounding vinyl.
- these shows are worth it just to go shooping for cheap vinyl and reasonable priced CDs. There were a lot of good software values even if the hardware values were harder to come by.
- Nothing says "high end audio" like a SOTA ultrasonic record cleaner for sale in the lobby for the special show price of still over $3000. YEs, people, cleaning all that cheap vinyl ain't cheap. And lets not forget about the audiophile Hifi Tuning fuses. FOr those wondering, no there were no fancy fuse demos at least when I was there.
- the guys there seemed to enjoy it and looked interested. The wives, girlfriends, daughters and others they dragged along with them mostly had that bored soap opera look in their eyes.
In teh end, there a few products I discovered at CA that practically got my interest.
1) A little flea watt Glow audio tube amp in one of the rooms with on eof the many hi efficiency speaker offerings present seemed to take things far beyond what I expected or had heard with similar amps in other rooms. Gotta look into Glow Audio some more.
2) The GT audio works hybrid speakers with subs sounded like giant killers at their $3000 price point in their 10 minute or so audition. Were I looking for a good pair of large full range speakers today I would have to look there. PLus, the rep in the room who I believe is the designer as well in this small upstart possibly 1 man company was very helpful and just seemed like a talented regular guy who just wants to make great speakers at affordable prices and knows how to. I noticed the bass was a little overwhelming at first during the demo and he did as well in that without any cue or prompting he made an adjustment in quick time that nailed it perfectly from there on. THe modest Bryston amp and CD player source used in this rig also got my attention for performance/value. This was the high value giant killer room of the day for me (in addition to the DIY room).
3) I could really use an automatic ultrasonic record cleaner but not for over $3000.
4) For a price is no object system, the Classic Audio Reproductions room left little or nothing to want sound wise during auditions (all vinyl, classical and acoustic jazz, no rock/pop auditioned, but I would expect good things there as well).
5) I also really liked the Daedalus speakers and these might have been my value pick of the day if not for the GT Audio room.
6) I auditioned Cathedral horn speakers again for the second time (first time two years at initial CAF) and these are another good value, excellent sounding product with plenty of aesthetic charm (to me) that should have a lot of appeal to horn lovers
I was at CAF for several hours on both Friday and Saturday, and I had a chance to visit rooms of interest on multiple occasions. My reactions were somewhat different than expressed above. In general I thought the overall sound quality this year was pretty mediocre and not nearly as good as last year. I have no idea why that would be. Certainly there were no standout rooms like last year's Wilson Sasha/D'Agostino demo using Peter McGrath's live recordings.
The rooms this year that had reasonably good sound, in my opinion, were:
1. Audio Note room with both vinyl and digital
2. Command AV room with Devore Orangatan speakers
3. Deja Vu Audio room with Western Electric drivers in Jensen Imperial type cabinets
4. Dave Slagle's room with Lowther field coils in big Azurahorns (interesting but not really my cup of tea)
5. DC Audio DIY Club room with homemade electrostatics (interesting again, but not really my tastes)
6. Volti Vittora speakers---too loud and I didn't think they sounded as good as they did last year, but still much potential here.
I find it very interesting that Mapman and I reached such different conclusions about the rooms he named. The GT Audio speakers would have given me a headache if I had stayed there much longer. I was not impressed with the Classic Audio Reproductions demo---much too loud but beyond that the bass was thick and lacking in tonal differentiation. The Cathedral speakers might have sounded better in a much larger room, but at a 10' or so distance they were seriously lacking in coherency (same could be said for the Sophia speakers as well). Lastly, the Daedalus Athena sounded much, much better in Denver last fall in several rooms where I heard them. Based on that experience, I was really looking forward to hearing them at CAF without all the distractions and noise of RMAF. Unfortunately, they sounded too thin and bright each time I visited. I know they can sound better than this.
I had not planned frankly on commenting at all on this year's CAF show, but I have because Mapman's comments show that two enthusiasts can hear the same sounds yet reach quite different conclusions. I am not saying that my feelings are any more valid than Mapman's. I just find it interesting that we have such diverse reactions. I guess that's what keeps more than one audio company in business.
Despite my negative tone, I actually had a great time especially meeting up with people I hadn't seen for a long while. I truly hope that the show is a success and will continue for the future.
Some of those you mentioned might have caught my ear more had i more time to absorb. Some rooms i was in and out of very fast if nothing caught m eye or ear uniquely.
The audio note room was one i was interested in and spent 20 minutes or so in. I liked them as a corner placement option and they sounded fine just nothing struck me as particularly outstanding for their size and price. I guess i had unrealistic expectations perhaps going in. Also short auditions do not tell you much about if you and the sound will get along over the long term. That can be tricky. I suspect the anotes might have endeared themselves to me better that way for some applications but again lack of dynamics for the cost was a concerrn.
Thank you for your impressions, Mapman.
It's good to see people's perspective, even if we don't hear the same thing. You're a lot more sanguine about the sound you described than I am. Again, I felt most rooms sounded poor.
In addition to RMAF, since you are on the East Coast, I would encourage you to visit the NYC show next spring. Maybe it's unfair to compare this to NYC or RMAF, but it didn't rank with VTV 2006 in NJ, either. I found the overall lack of energy at the show disconcerting. The lack of exhibitors and dearth of people disappointed many, none more so than those who had to shell out for the rooms. Given the East Coast locale, I have trouble believing the poor attendance of this show. My buddy who had a room couldn't get over how dead it was. And, like in NYC, this was another grey haired affair, there simply are no young people showing up at these events. A fifty year old guy seems on the lower end of the demographic.
Here are the rooms I liked (if a room isn't on this list, presume I didn't like it):
BEST OF SHOW - Highwater Sound! Along with Mike and Neli of Audio Federation and Bobby Palkovic of Merlin, I doubt there's anyone in high-end audio who does a better job at a show. The TW Acoustic, Tron, Horning sound was as close as one gets to real live music in these shows. Just wish Jeff would relent on the noise the AC would have contributed; man, was it hot in that room
Bogen amplifiers driving church organ pipe loudspeakers. The most creative system I can remember in high-end audio, bar none. This guy is an absolute, think outside the box genius. Not the best sound of the show, but definitely the most crazy and fun. I absolutely loved the concept, bravo!
Paolo Audio. A boutique tube amplifier manufacturer in Virginia I'd not previously heard of, and did a surprisingly good job
Bob Carver Audio/Daedalus. Didn't come anywhere close to challenging for my Best of Show, but decent nonetheless. I was very happy to finally hear the Carver tube amps
Sophia Electric. Personally, I found the loudspeakers a bit bloated, but color me impressed hearing their 300B based SET amplifier drive them. Were I in the market for an SET amplifier, I'd give some consideration to Sophia
Woo Audio. The non-headphone based system in the second room was incredibly musical
Deja Vu. Sorry not to hear the PP 300B or 2A3 Vu produces. I found the room with the much overlooked Synthesis stuff from Italy, which is one of the biggest bargains in this hobby distinctly better than the other
Cathedral Speakers. As Mapman mentioned, the very nice sound coming from these was quite unexpected
Joseph Audio/Bel Canto/VPI. It looks like I forgot to add Jeff Joseph to my list of folks who normally hit the ball out of the park at these shows. Excellent sound. Though the floorstanders weren't playing, my wife was impressed enough with the sound of the monitors and the overall aesthetic that she actually asked if I could buy a pair for the main system. How's that for an endorsement?
DeVore Fidelity/Leben. Truthfully, I've never been all that thrilled with DeVore loudspeakers. That all changed Saturday when I heard the Orangutang. What a wonderful pair of speakers they are
I'm not sure our assessments are all that different. I was very pressed for time and attempted to hit all the rooms. Other than the ones I mentioned, which for various reasons I spent more time with, I was mostly just assessing pass/fail. If the sound was OK and had promise, it passed. THere were only three rooms I heard that I would say failed. Most of the rest had potential. I only had 4 hours so there was more than enough to keep me interested and engaged especially since I do not normally frequent these shows. It was a special treat for me!
Is it possible that some vendors had their sound tweaked better by Sunday? What days were you there?
I did get the impression that the vendors were disappointed with the turnout.
My main critique with this show was there was no apparent entry path for the uninitiated. In this economy, high end audio should do a better job of providing clear stepping stones rather than presenting the image that you have to spend $10s of thousands to really be in the club. Few young people have the money or desire with all the decent options out there today to join that club. It's exclusiveness is its main defining characteristic and probably it s biggest barrier to growth.
One thing I look for in these shows is value in addition to reference level sound. That is a big factor in my assessment.
I notice in the comments by Mr. Atkinson from Stereophile a focus also on what sounded good or right to him. That is normal for most, but for a representative of a publication that seeks a somewhat broad audience, I would have liked to gotten a sense that he was more open to new or different things than I did.
I did not see or notice the pipe speakers on SUnday. Not sure if they were still there? That would have been cool!
I guess its a matter of perspective. THe more hardcore full time audiophile that attends many shows might be unimpressed. How many of those are there really? If you can't get their interest, whose interest can you get?
The answer might be everyone else maybe, but you have to make something like this digestible to the uninitiated somehow.
THe DIY demo of the simple full range driver on large open baffles running of the small Class A amp was the show stealer for me. What these guys did with a little knowledge, creativity and just a few dollars really put almost everything else to shame. It also happened to be the most crowded small room I saw at the show on Sunday (GT was second, at least with the right music playing).
One other observation I had in regards to attracting young people was the music selection. Can you say old codger music? At least mostly. I love most of it but the music that most people listen to these days was totally absent. What's up with that?
The DIY room really livened up for a few minutes when the exhibitor cued up some Green Day and I suspect most listening heard something of interest then that they had never heard before! Like when I heard Fleetwood Mac years ago on a pair of Klipschorns and Tympanis for the first time and officially became an "audiophile". Except no audiophile will say Green Day sounds good except once heard on a good "high end" system. Then it sounds like it should, not like a bunch of random noise. After Green Day, they then switched to a classical concerto with similarly excellent results. That's the way to do it IMHO.
I attended Saturday afternoon. I thought that the number of exhibitors was about right for the number of attendees that, admittedly, was rather disappointing. As others have noted and as I had expected, most of the attendees were middle aged men (and older) with very few women; however, I was also pleasantly surprised by the number of younger guys. To be fair and using speakers to illustrate my point, the median price of a pair of speakers was about 10k and many of the speakers were huge or required a lot of space to breath; I do not know many men in their 20s and 30s who have that amount of disposable income and the necessary space - I certainly did not at that age.
Also and maybe it is just me, I find it almost impossible to judge equipment in the environment of an audio show. The rooms are small and bear no resemblance to the space where I live either aesthetically or acoustically, and systems are often too loud for my taste. After a while, most rooms tended to become one giant acoustical blur.
To me, CAF (and other shows) was an opportunity to say hello to friends and individuals in the industry and, perhaps, to target one or two products that I wanted to hear. In that regard CAF was a success; and I hope it will continue next year.
I agree with your second paragraph in particular. Too much information to process in too little time under less than ideal circumstances. That is why I try to not be too judgmental at that point. Even the three rooms whose sound was below par to me probably had some things in tehm that might work well in a different setup for someone. FOr me its mostly a chance to experience a lot of new things of interest in a short period of time. A lot of follow-up is needed to draw final conclusions. The very expensive stuff was mostly of interest to me for reference potential. I heard some of that potential perhaps but the show format and venue is almost always a bottleneck.
I cannot imagine how any true audiophile that does not get to these things on a regular basis would not have enjoyed the show. Again, the software available alone made it worthwhile for me.
I go to similar events in other industries as part of my work. I know these can sometimes become tedious and old hat quickly when one is subject to constant exposure.
The most interesting aspect of the show was how many exhibitors used some form of full range/extended range driver (Lowther, Feastrix, Tangband) in either single driver or multiple driver systems. The sound of MANY of these systems was quite good.
In one room Oasis Audio, showed various systems using Tangband drivers (single-driver, full-range). I particularly liked the system with a 5" driver and a round, clear, acrylic enclosure. The enclosure supported bass while allowing much of the midrange from the backwave to still be emitted into the room. The sound had the liveliness characteristic of full range drivers, but was not as peaky and tizzy sounding as such systems sounded in the past.
One of the Volti rooms used a 5" Feastrix driver in a beautifully made boat-tail cabinet. That was a terrific sounding use of a single driver--full and rich sounding and dynamic. The low-powered electronics from Deja Vu Audio probably had a lot to do with the great sound too. The other Volti room had a more traditional three-way horn system that, to me, was too polite and lacking in dynamics in the midrange to be my choice for a horn-based system, though it was, overall, a nice sounding system.
The big room where VPI exhibited their new low end table had another system using Tangband drivers. This implementation used a stack of woofers underneath the full range driver in a two-way system. The sound was very dynamic and exciting and showed off the VPI/Grado frontend in the best possible light (great sound from a low priced analogue source).
David Slagle's room with the huge round plastic horn surrounding a field coil Lowther driver, and two 15" woofers was a whole lot of fun to listen to, although the sound was a bit peaked in the upper midrange and more "colored" than the other full/extended range driver systems that I heard at the show. As hosts for an exhibit, those working the room could not have been nicer (it certainly was a big plus that they had kegs of Black Doc and Yellow Dog brew).
The Highwater room delivered perhaps the best sound I heard at the show--plenty of dynamics, great clarity, full and rich harmonic structure, and large and realistic soundstage. The frequency balanced wa tipped up a bit in the upper midrange and treble, but, in a way that was thrilling to hear (bright, but amazingly free of sibilance or harshness). The Horning speakers use a modified full-range Lowther driver as a midrange in a three way system. My only minor reservation would be the slight "plastic" coloration in the midrange, but, it was really only a minor quibble with what was a fantastic sounding system. The vinyl sources had to be impeccably set up to deliver the kind of high frequency energy without harshness that I heard. I was amazed at how well mono cartridges performed--the sound with well recorded mono records made a lack of a stereo soundstage a truly minor issue.
I liked the sound of several other systems that did not use full/extended range drivers. The system using the Soundfield speaker system sounded very good. I believe this used a coaxial 12" BMS driver firing forward, and a different driver on the back providing a dipole midrange/treble dispersion pattern, coupled two two bass drivers in a separate enclosure also providing dipole dispersion. This was another very lively sounding system.
Robert Lighton Audio had another lively and engaging system that coupled his two-way speaker to Audionote (uk) electronics. The sound was a touch bright and forward, but, this can be accounted for by the small room. There is something special, to me, about the sound of well implemented high efficiency systems, and this was a very good example of such systems.
The monster sized Classic Audio system using field coil woofers and midrange was one of the best sounding systems at the show--another example of how good high efficiency systems can sound. This system delivered weight and richness without sacrificing speed and dynamics. Like a lot of other high efficiency systems, it really sounded good at LOWER volumes as well as when playing loudly.
The Deja Vu Audio room with the big horn system sounded very good, though I actually have heard that system at Deja Vu's shop sounding much better. This system, built around old Western Electric drivers in a newly built cabinet, is something special. The electronics was also interesting--recently built amp and preamp that uses a lot of vintage parts (e.g., Western Electric transformers) and vintge circuits. The preamp and amp are meant to work together--the preamp has transformer outputs and the amp has transformer inputs.
For more conventional, modern speakers, I thought the DeVore Orangutans sounded very good in the Command Audio room. That was a reasonably affordable setup (Line Magnetics amp) that delivered much of the liveliness and special musical qualities of good high efficiency systems and was free of the colorations that detract from some such systems.
The best bargain sound at the show, to me, was the Tyler Acoutic speaker system. I was amazed at how good a system can sound that costs only $2400 (including delivery--it is a direct sales item). The main downside is that the system is somewhat large in size and the cabinet finish was not that great (the side panels were finished with two pieces of veneer that did not match seamlessly). Still, one of the most pleasing surprises at the show.
I liked the way Woo Audio set up their room for demonstrating their headphone amplifiers. They had plenty of different computer music servers and a huge range of high end headphones so a lot of people could just try out things on their own, including selecting the music for the audition. I got to hear the new 009 Stax phone this way. I heard a bunch of young guys enthusiastically defending their preference between the 009 and 007 model. Two of the three preferred the 007 (the 009 sounded a touch too bright) while one preferred the larger soundstage of the 009. I only listened to the 009 myself and found it promising (I own an older 007 and a Blue Hawaii SE headphone amp).
Overall, I found the show very entertaining and worthwhile. The overall sound quality of all of the exhibitors was quite high (no really bad rooms). I was a bit dismayed by the small turnout; I hope this does not preclude a show next year.
I was there 2 days and I also thought it was worthwile. I was particuarly impressed by the Command Performance room with Devores Orangatan driven by Leben integrated amp, Auditorium 23 cabling and VPI table with Ortofon cart.
I thought it was easily best sound at the show. The tonality of that set-up, esp the speakers was very nice.
mapman....the orangatans were simply marvolous. They had the most pleasing and natural tone and were scary transparent. They are the reason I went back on Saturday. If I knew you I would have made you stay! :-) If I was serious I would have played some vinyl rock....my go to.
mr tennis, I did not see any panels....lots of horns though.
The only commercial panel speaker I saw at the show was the GT Audio planar magnetic/ribbon speaker. It sounded decent, particularly with price factored in, but, it was not that memorable. The other panel speaker I heard was a DIY full range electrostatic that DID sound quite good, even with somewhat limited bass response, but this was not a commercially available product.
Another interesting thing on display was the QOL processor. I was expecting to hear the kind of "special effects" of other processors that inject phase shifted signals to boost the size of the soundfield, but, what I did get to hear was much more subtle. It added just a touch of additional soundstage width, but mainly, it added a bit more feeling of being immersed in a complete sonic environment (less of the feeling of sound only coming from the speakers and front of the room). It did not significantly alter the tonal balance, not something that can be said about some other processors/ambience recovery devices. I did not hear it long enough to detect any major problems (nor was I really listening for such). In short, it is something I found worth seriously auditioning.
I was there with my wife for about an hour on Saturday morning--it was the first truly audiophile event I've ever been to. We only had a chance to duck into about a dozen rooms.
I will concur with the comments that there really is very little help for the uninitiated. Very little direction or clarity, especially when, for me, I had hardly heard of any of the vendors who were presenting. So our wondering around was mostly hit or miss as to what stood out.
At come, we've got Focal and Mirage speakers hooked up to Arcam gear (their entry-level stuff) and Harmon Kardon. I've got a DIY reconstruction project underway on a pair of old B&W Matrix speakers and I've used midrange Klipsch and Bose speakers in the past, along with a few DIY speakers.
Growing up, my Dad built speakers as a hobby and always had a mix of mid-range, all vintage, audio equipment around. As a point of reference, his favorite speakers of all time are Klipschorns.
My wife and I are in our early 30s, so I think we're part of the audience that events like the CAF need to expand in order to help sustain a high-end audio community into the future.
Once we finish paying off college loans in a few years, we'll have a little more disposable income, and may eventually be in the market for some of the mid-range gear shown at an event like CAF.
But for everyone I've ever encountered in audio, becoming an audiophile is seldom a short walk off a cliff; it's usually an iterative process, with each upgrade a small step inspired by a restless desire for audio perfection.
I missed the DIY electrostat but heard a lot of buzz about them when a DIY guy stopped by the Classic Audio room. The $800 in parts DIY full ranges were one of my favorite sounds I heard. I have the sheet at home that was handed out about how to build. I will have to try that someday. No crossover + looked VERY easy for anyone with very basic woodworking ability.
The GT hybrids + 2 dedicated subs were A LOT of speaker for the money. A am not a hybrid fan aka Martin Logan in general but I know these can sound very good in a certain way and the GTs did once the subs were adjusted better for the material playing. At first, the bass levels/mix was a tad off. The sound was definitely more modern and in line with what I remember these types of hybrids to sound like in general. I was impressed though not sure these are exactly my cup of tea, but again, A LOT of speaker for the money and lots of potential. The fullness and impact and overall presentation including detail most resembled the Classic Audio room of the rooms I heard. Not saying they sounded the same, but definite similarities in regards to weight and meat on the bones. That's no small achievement for a $3000 speaker system with entry level high end electronics (smaller less expensive Bryston amp and CD player) running them. The double subs clearly were a part of that once tuned in well.
One other thing i took notice of at caf that may be of interest to me was the new vpi traveller turntables. I have not heard the cost but the build quaiity looked good and the design fairly clean and straightforward. If my trusty linn ever dies, maybe this could be a worthy heir to run my dl103r cart with.
Mapman, I didn't even give the tonearm a look. But, I would say what you saw, is what you get.
I spoke to Matthew and Harry Weisfeld up in NYC in April. This TT is Matthew's first release in the position he's taken on, and in his words, the level of quality built into it caused the pricing to come in higher than their initial $995 target. Personally, I felt a made in the USA TT at $995 would present the most attractive package possible. But their demand for doing things in the best possible manner took the product here, and I do believe they have a winner on their hands. Beyond all of that, you're dealing with such a wonderful family in the Weisfelds.
I hope anyone who likes this site considers supporting any local audiophile events in their area when they occur. What more could an audiophile ask for than dozens of different nice sounding rooms playing music filled with people who appreciate these things? I went home with 3 Mapleshade CDs and two good condition used RCA Living Stereo records from the 50's and early 60's (including a Chet Atkins title) for $32. Not bad! Oh, and a DIY recipe that almost anyone could follow for $800 worth of speakers with the ability to claim giant killer status.
Mapman, "a DIY recipe that almost anyone could follow for $800 worth of speakers with the ability to claim giant killer status."
I think that's about as true a statement one could make in audio. $800 worth of parts should allow one to put together a fantastic sounding pair of loudspeakers.
One of the main reasons today's high-end loudspeakers cost way more than they ought is their overbuilt cabinets, book matched veneers, laborious finishes, etc. My 1995 vintage imitation black ash Fried A/6 loudspeakers compete with most anything made today up to $5000. Factoring in the inflation of the past few years, perhaps much more than that.
Your point on supporting local high-end audio get togethers such as this meets the mark as well. For me, the drive down from Philadelphia was something I welcomed to attend such an event.
Please note that the DIY open-baffle speakers AND amplifier were built for $850. The speakers (drivers) cost about $135 each from Parts Express. Just add wood, glue, and screws. There was a passive "crossover" that tuned the response a bit to smooth it out. If they are not in the plans, post something here and I'll work to get a schematic.
Really interesting for me to read people's impressions. I was there for the three days but spent most of my time running one of the DIY rooms. I did get around to listening to most of the rooms on Sat (took my 17 yo son around as well, he's a musician and has good ears). Overall I was very disappointed in the sound. Most of the rooms had boomy, cluttered bass that could have been improved with room treatment. Why didn't they bother? Highwater Sound was a big letdown for me. I'm a big fan of Jeff's for his passionate commitment to music but those speakers were impossibly colored as were the electrostats in our room. Just shows that everybody hears in a different way. People loved the DIY electrostats, but as Salectric said, not my cup of tea.
I really hope the show will survive and prosper though, hard to hear a variety of equipment short of traveling to Denver.
Thanks for that.
I have the sheet that was handed out for the DIY open baffle speakers but have not had a chance to read yet.
$850 sounded high for the speaker parts alone. That's a very impressive price point for amp and speakers.
I noticed what appeared to be crossover components hanging off the backs but the guy there early Sunday afternoon indicated they were not in use when I asked about it.
"the problem with audio "shows" is the many variables which to create poor sound."
Audiophiles focus too much on what's not right or perceived to be less than perfect.
"My name is Nomad...you are not perfect...you will be sterilized....."
I have not heard more good sound in one place anywhere ever than at CAF 2012.
Was it all perfect? No.
Was it mostly way above average? No doubt.
Was there a lot of promise there? Also no doubt.
Audiophiles can be a jaded bunch no doubt.
Mapman, "Was it mostly way above average? No doubt."
I'm sorry, but I couldn't disagree with your opinion of the show any more starkly. I felt it was mostly way below average.
Again, I'd encourage you to visit the show in NYC next spring. Not that the show up there is perfect, either. But you will encounter significantly more exhibitors, attendees, and based on this (Axpona in June 2011 was way below average) year, far superior sound.