Capital Audio Fest 2016


Just got back.   Did not see a thread for this yet so here it is.  

For me  lots of very good sound this year.    The best as a whole I have heard.   Very few disappointments.   Some old favorites enjoyed once again and a few new finds.   Will report more when I get a chance to digest it all a bit.  

I'm of course very interested to hear about what others thought and may have discovered?




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I agree with the quality of the sound. One of the things I found interesting was the relatively inexpensive speakers matched with relatively expensive electronics and how good the combination sounded.
I would love to hear anyone's experience with ARC LS28 and DAC9. 

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/audio-research-introduces-foundation-series/

Welch my guess is that most of the rooms were not large and most people look for smaller more compact speakers anyway.   So that somewhat means speakers might not be as large or expensive as they can be.  

Whereas there is no practical limit to what might go into an amp quality wise and less space issues with amps versus large expensive speakers.  


These are the rooms I heard with sound I would like to hear more of.  

Kef
classic audio/Atmasphere 
martin logan
care audio
daedelus
Odyssey
rogue/Joseph audio/now listen here
benchmark
vac/gershman
berning/voxitive custom horns
Star sound
Audio note




There were many very nice sounding rooms at this year's CAF.  That makes 2 for 2 at the new venue, and considering that the sound quality for the several years previous was not as so uniformly good I have to conclude that the new quarters must have something to do with this.

For me there were 2 truly excellent experiences at the show.  The first was listening to cellist Vincent Belanger accompany himself via recorded tracks in the Audio Note room.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to a live cello 6' away played by an accomplished musician.  (The Audio Note J-LX speakers sounded really nice too!).  The second great experience was listening to Dave Slagle demonstrate 3 different RIAA equalization topologies in his phono preamp---LR vs. LCR vs. RC---with all other aspects as constant as possible.  Very interesting!

Another interesting experience was hearing the new Volti Rival speaker which uses the same drivers as the Vittora but with a smaller bass reflex cabinet (and smaller price).  I hope this new speaker gives Greg Roberts the commercial success he deserves.

Lastly another measure of whether a hifi show was a success is how many LPs I heard that are now on my Need to Get ASAP list.  By that standard this CAF was a great success!

Saletric There were few if any CDs being played on CD players. Mostly vinyl and digital streaming.   I suspect that and strides in Dac technology in recent years  helped achieve better more consistent sound throughout the show.  I know it has for me at home.  I heard very little if any digital glare or brightness. 
One of the rooms I enjoyed most with gear I could see myself owning someday was the Vac/Gershman room.  The Gershman monitors playing were perhaps my favorite new find at CAF this year.  

The room running Rogue hybrid amp and Joseph Audio compact floor standers was another.   I was already a Big Rogue fan but never noticed Joseph audio before.   The sound was nice and hit well above the size of the speakers much like Totem.  Lots of competition at that price though.  
"Lastly another measure of whether a hifi show was a success is how many LPs I heard that are now on my Need to Get ASAP list"

That's the trend I have notice on my last visit to RMAF and The SHOW.  Believe it or not Vinyl is back.  The future of music has come down to three forms, Vinyl, hard drives and streaming.  I believe the CD format days are numbered.  

I switched to Aurender N10 / Modwright DAC last year and hardly spinned any discs since then.  

I was there just yesterday and really enjoyed it, my very first audio show ever. Favorite rooms for me:

Deja Vu Audio- astonishing Vu’s speakers were just finished Thursday using all vintage Western Electric drivers and sounded fantastic driving by a single 6wpc mono amp.  Sadly I can’t remember the output tube type but the dual blue mercury vapor rectifiers were stunning to see glowing blue! And yes I said a single mono amp, it sounded so good Vu said everyone just assumed it was stereo. Oh and lps spun on a gorgeous Garrard 301 TT, The sound in this room was holographic and my best of the show.

Audio Note- didn’t get to hear the cellist, room was too crowded but listening to the equipment, classic warm rich detailed sound, and quite affordable.

Zu Audio- my first time hearing Zu, driven by all Pass Labs, but a very solid vivid punchy sound. Also the vibe in that room was so chill and relaxed I didn’t want to leave.

Volti/Border Patrol- really nice sound a good balance of detail and warmth and a really tactile sound, highly enjoyable.

Tidal/Bricasti- totally not my cup of tea but I enjoyed way more than I anticipated, plus musical choices in this room were just outstanding! I would say the best digital sound I heard all day, most of my fave rooms had TTs. I wish they had turned the Rel sub off though, integration was really well done I just wanted to hear the speakers on their own.

Classic Audio Reproductions/Atmasphere- tough to argue with Ella and Louis on analog tape, super engaging and live sounding.

All in all a lot of fun though some rooms were disappointing overall it was a good learning experience and lots of great sound.
Yes Audio Note room always seems to be one of my favorites as well.   No difference this time around.

I plan to do some experimentation with corner placement of speakers in a few rooms of my house.

Classic  Audio/Atmasphere was probably the best showcase for gear at the show.   Last time I attended a couple years back they were in a small cramped room that cramped their style as well.   This time around they were in a large ballroom with plenty of space around them, the largest vendor room at the show I think.  Plenty of room to shine.    The RTR tape of Beatles White Album playing when I was there was a lot of fun.    The room was surprisingly empty though considering this was probably the grandest audio treat at the show.

The new Kef Muon flagship models that premiered were impressive as well when I heard them.

My time was limited so I bypassed record vendors and only briefly sampled many setups I wish I had more time to listen to.

Benchmark room was a draw for me in that I had never heard BEnchmark gear and this will likely be my next DAC perhaps sooner rather than later.
Another room I like that I forgot about was Fern and Roby great industrial design and use of natural materials and very solid sound.
berning/voxitive custom horns
To add more info, that room had Linear Tube Audio amps (the boards designed for us by David Berning) and Gary Gill built the horns. That was one room playing CDs, through a modified Icon Audio tube-output CD player, as well as playing vinyl on a Fern & Roby turntable. 


Another interesting experience was hearing the new Volti Rival speaker which uses the same drivers as the Vittora but with a smaller bass reflex cabinet (and smaller price).  I hope this new speaker gives Greg Roberts the commercial success he deserves.

I came in when they were playing Buddy Guy's "Done Got Old" and the room was packed - rightfully so, it sounded incredible. After that, someone requested classical and a selection from the Firebird Suite literally blew into us at the back of the room. Those were the $11k model with the external crossover. I'd love to hear the basic $4k model. 
Great show..many outstanding rooms. The Tidal room with the Piano Diacera G2 speakers was my favorite inspite of the REL not in use due to setup issues with room placement.Such great,natural sound with effortless presentation.

I had a good time at the show, although I really did not see anything "new" that piqued my interest.  Overall, most of the rooms delivered decent sound, which is unlike many shows where some rooms sound truly awful.  I think this is probably the case because it was the second year at this venue and most of the exhibitors were there for the second time.

The best sound at the show, to me, was delivered by the Deja Vu room with the "new" open baffle speaker system with vintage drivers and a newly built crossover made with vintage parts (it looked like a sealed system but it was open baffle).  The system had two speakers, but, was configured as a mono system because the amplifier used is a one-of-a-kind prototype (uses WE 271 output tubes and mercury vapor rectifiers).  This system provided an amazing demonstration of mono delivering a big, open, soundstage.

I was also impressed by the monitor speaker being shown in the Gershman room.  It delivered an incredibly layered and deep soundstage when playing a phono source (I did not know the music).  When the demonstration followed with Richard Thompson's "Quality Shoe" from a digital source, the sound was less terrific (I own the vinyl and it is a good recording, but, I don't know how well it was mastered in digital).  Still, this is a very promising speaker.

The Audio Note room was again doing its stealth thing--the system was very musical and enjoyable without having those aggressive qualities that a lot of people seem to like at shows (but I am guessing that kind of sound would grow tiresome in the long run).

I say two rooms with Voxactiv speakers in them and I liked what I heard--very clear and dynamic sound, minus the shrill and peaky quality that is often heard with wide-range drivers.  The big Voxactiv speaker at the show had to be listened to at quite some distance to not sound shrill and peaky, but, when thus accommodated, it was very nice sounding. 


Darn I missed the Volti room somehow.  Sounds like it was a worthwhile listen.
Larry,

I am a little confused by your description of the Deja Vu speaker as "open baffle."  The cabinets I saw appeared to be completely sealed front and back.  Did Vu switch speakers during the show perhaps?  The ones I heard on Friday and Saturday were rectangular boxes about the size of a medium refrigerator, very nicely finished, and had a black grill on the front.  If we are talking about the same speakers, I certainly agree this was a very fine system.  It also improved significantly in sound from Friday to Saturday by the way.  By Saturday it had a very smooth, warm, detailed and dynamic sound that suited to a T the jazz LPs I heard during my visit.  Aldo said the speaker used all vintage drivers but not Western Electric.  The midrange horn has an elliptical front and according to Aldo was made in Japan in the 1960s.


I say two rooms with Voxactiv speakers in them and I liked what I heard--very clear and dynamic sound, minus the shrill and peaky quality that is often heard with wide-range drivers. The big Voxactiv speaker at the show had to be listened to at quite some distance to not sound shrill and peaky, but, when thus accommodated, it was very nice sounding.

The smaller room with the Voxativ speakers (the other room had Gary Gill's horns built around Voxativ drivers) was one of my favorite rooms to sit in, and Holger was great to talk to. That room (309) had a great custom David Berning amp that had switches on the front for class A or class AB as well as for feedback (labels hand-engraved on the spare aluminum chassis), and a Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL2 preamp. The digital end was processed by the fairly new, proprietary R-2R DAC the Metrum Pavane, which Holger seemed to enjoy as much as the vinyl played on the Fern & Roby turntable. We've been using NOS DACs (Metrum, Wavelength, Augio-gd) whenever we can–they seem to be a perfect match with our tube gear. Hard to judge a DAC at an audio show, though, unless there's another source in the room to compare it with. 
I was really impressed by the Benchmark room and those Studio Electric monitors. The room I found the most enjoyment in was with the Larsen 8 speakers. Also nothing wrong with those Focal Sopra 2 speakers!
I recall David Berning related amps in a number of rooms at the show.   Very well represented and a very good showing overall. 
Darn, I think I missed Larsen as well and that was one I went in thinking I really wanted to hear.

Only had about 5 hours to spend there Saturday. A lot to digest in such a short time.

I spent a lot of time in the Benchmark room enjoying listening and chatting with the vendor reps. Theirs was a reasonably priced setup (by high end standards) that delivered big with smaller profile products that would fit nicely into many peoples homes.

The other "affordable" product there that hit really big and got my attention were the new Gershman monitors and stands for under $5K.

Overall, it would be nice if there was someway for someone to navigate through these shows based on cost. In other words have more low cost entry type systems that newbies might be more comfortable testing the waters with.

The room geared around headphones is a nice starting point.

Years ago at Tech Hifi when hifi systems were actually popular with the masses, most people still came in looking to start on a modest budget and go from there.

Nowadays at these shows, its mostly a no holds barred attempt to have the best sound in each room at any price.

That’s fine but I think if these things are actually to grow in popularity over time, an approach better suited to drawing more people in is needed.

There should be rooms featuring Bluetooth source enabled complete systems for easy entry at various price points for people with smart phones and tablets who like what they hear at the show and aspire to good sound at home.   There will always be people who want good sound.    The high end world need to connect with them better  in order to grow IMHO.
Were the Studio Electric speakers in the Benchmark room the ones that show as discontinued now on teh SE web site?

That site references the Benchmark site for the newer version. Benchmark site shows their monitors, which were at the show but not playing when I was in the room. The other monitors which I think were referred to as the Studio Electric monitors were. There were no grills on the ones playing.

Benchmark was also offering a show special 10% off on their electronics which was a nice bonus for going to the show.  

There should be rooms featuring Bluetooth source enabled complete systems for easy entry at various price points for people with smart phones and tablets who like what they hear at the show and aspire to good sound at home. 

That's a good idea. At the table we had one setup using the Jriver app that lets you connect wirelessly to a tablet, which led to a few conversations with people who wanted to get their system connected. A/V installation companies and dealers could definitely capitalize on this. I know the Daedelus Audio/Border Patrol room was also using a wireless system for playing music, and probably some others, but I don't know how much that was talked about. At the SoCal CanJam a few months ago, Riva had a very successful showing with their new bluetooth speaker. 
I noticed many rooms streaming from laptops as a source.

I noticed at least one headphone setup streaming from a tablet.

I did not see anyone streaming from a smartphone.

I had my Iphone 6s that I run Plex app on with me. It can connect to my music server at home. I’ve used it at some dealer shops for listening to gear with very impressive results even from analog out.

I asked a couple vendors  if I could connect to their system DACs and try but no takers on that. Understandable at a show environment.  But I would have loved to play some of my stuff on some of those systems though.

Salectric,

The Deja Vu speaker IS an open baffle speaker.  The back, which looks solid, allows sound to pass with some damping of higher frequencies.  I thought it was solid also, but, I got that explanation from Vu.  I did not know that the horn itself was also from Japan and built in the 1960s.  That would make the horn and the compression driver coming from Japan and from around the same time period.  The Yoshimura Labs compression driver in the system is something new to me.  I understand it has a diaphragm that is very much like that on a WE 555 driver. 

Larry,

Thanks for clarifying the open baffle design.  The second time I visited the room Aldo was demonstrating the system to Art Dudley and he had removed one of the speaker grilles.  That's how I saw the drivers on the front panel.  It has a horn tweeter mounted in the middle that appears to be a Jensen RP-302.  The 15" woofer looks like an Altec but that is just a guess.  The three drivers blended extremely well.
@larryi  Thanks also for the info on Deja Vu and my mistake up above I could have sworn Vu said the drivers were all WE but I was obviously mistaken. And I never noticed they were open baffle either even after walking behind them! Good catch! I have to say I found the Voxativ room with the big horns to sound really tipped up bright and peaky, plus when I was in there they were playing some terrible new age music. The smaller room with the David Berning gear was much better sounding.
I’ll throw in my impressions:

Tidal Diacera G2 and Bricasti - One of my favorites at the show, the finish is absolutely beautiful and must be seen to be believed! The Agorias playing in the next room sounded even better!

Kef Muon - Stunning to look at but I didn’t care for the sound - too analytical

Legacy Aeris with Raven Amps - Surprised no one mentioned these yet, they offer terrific value with deep powerful bass, sweet highs, clean midrange and a high level of detail.

Joseph Audio Pulsars with LKV electronics - Very sweet monitor with a nice rich sound

Gershman/VAC - As stated earlier they are sweet sounding but a bit dark. Perhaps too much warmth coming from a combination of the speakers, tube amps, and vinyl.

Daedalus - Didn’t care for these that much (Athena V2). Sound musical, but pricy, and competition is stiff at this price.

Alta Audio - Best bargains at the show IMHO. The smaller Rhea is a bargain at $4.5K and the Lelantos is even better. Nice detail, good bass, clean, sweet highs thanks to the ribbon tweeter.

Zu Definition - Didn’t like these at all. Sounded quite colored to me - midrange was ’off’.

Spendor SP100R2 - Nice warm sound, but the bass was a bit boomy to me and price for the overall system was quite high, $97K

My favorite rooms in no order were.

The odyssey room

Deja Vu room with the Nolas

Classic audio when playing tape

Vac/Gershman

The Legacy Aeris, first time I've heard Legacys sound really good

All in all most the rooms were sounding pretty good.

Jond,

I agree that the smaller Voxactiv sounded particularly good; the big system was bright, but, if you sat WAY back they were quite good and not so bright.  The big horns need to be in a big room that allows one to be quite far away from the speaker.  In this respect, that system is unlike vintage horns which, although large in size, sound terrific in smaller rooms (which accounts for the crazy-looking Japanese setups with monster horns in tiny apartments).

vrao81,

I thought the Joseph Audio Pulsars and LKV electronics sounded quite good too, something I was surprised to hear because I have never liked Joseph Audio speakers when I've heard them in other setups.  The Spendor SP100R2s did sound nice; as for the bass, all of those bigger rooms seemed to have bass problems, mostly boomy sounding but with severe bass suckouts in certain spots in the room.

Tom Hankins,

we are petty much in agreement.  The Odyssey room sounded really good with reasonably priced gear.  I did not stop to hear the Legacy Aeris because I have never liked the sound of that speaker, but, as often is the case, the right setup probably made a huge difference.  The other room with decent sound and not too pricey stuff was the Fern and Roby room with gear made by a furniture maker/blacksmith (great looking table with cast iron legs in the room too).

I really only heard the big Voxativ custom speakers briefly, enough to determine they were doing some very good and unique things and that I liked them and thought they had potential.

Very cool and impressive but too big for anything I am ever likely to seriously consider owning. So given limited time I moved on quicker than I would probably have liked to as I had to do with many of the larger more "cutting edge" setups. I always like to hear what is possible to help establish what a reference standard for sound should be in my head. Then I move on trying to approach that within my means as best as possible.

I totally missed Joseph Audio now I'm bummed have never heard one of their speakers before and was curious. Oh well I'll have to remember for next year. I see how dangerous audio shows are now too all I can think about are how I need new speakers!
Mapman,

FYI, three of the rooms you liked (Martin Logan, Care Audio & David Berning/Voxitive Horns) all featured room acoustic treatments by Resolution Acoustics.

Http://www.resolutionacoustics.com
Did not know that. 

I heard so many really good sounding systems there.  It seems to me that attention to integration and setup and personal preferences may each be bigger factors for good sound these days than most any particular product.  There are so many good ones. The secret recipe seems to be how one mixes and matches and tweaks to perfection as needed.  So many ways to make tasty soup. 
I will say the thing that impressed me most at this show, more so than any single thing I heard, was the passion of so many of the vendors there. So many of these guys seem to really put their heart and sole into realizing their visions and making the best products they possibly can all for the love of music. There were so many technological works of art. I'll take one of each please.  Hats off to them all.
I met a friend yesterday who had the same experience at this show with respect to a couple of rooms.  We both noted that the analogue setup in the room with the Brinkman table/cartridge was defective; it sounded out of phase.  I asked the vendor about this and he acknowledged that somewhere in transit, it appears that the cartridge went bad (not wired out of phase).  Still, they continued to demonstrate with a weird sounding phono setup when their digital setup sounded pretty good to me.  My friend noted the same problem but did not discuss it with the vendor.  He said that another room had the speakers wired out of phase and others in the room complimented the "wide" soundstage and really liked the sound that way.  More evidence that there is a WIDE range of opinion on what constitutes good sound.
We both noted that the analogue setup in the room with the Brinkman table/cartridge was defective; it sounded out of phase. I asked the vendor about this and he acknowledged that somewhere in transit, it appears that the cartridge went bad (not wired out of phase).
We had a turntable that was supposed to be shown fail to keep speed; a very generous Fern & Roby had a spare and lent us theirs, and we also used a modified tube-output CD player that the cable vendor happened to bring. This is the second show we've had last minute substitutions in sources. For audio shows: test a million times and always bring a backup! 
The story about the Brinkman demo is absolutely right.  When I entered the room, there was an empty seat in the front row on the center line of the speakers.  As I started to sit down, it was immediately evident that the sound was out-of-phase.  There was a hollowness in the entire bass range and a hollowness in the center image despite full-range sounds coming from each speaker.  There were only a few people in the room so I felt at liberty to say out loud to the room host that the speakers were out-of-phase.  He said they weren't but rather there was some sort of problem with the phono cartridge.  All I know is that I have been setting up stereo speakers for many years and I am quite familiar with and sensitive to the effects of an out-of-phase setup.  What I heard that day was definitely out-of-phase stereo speakers, and the sound was so strange, so disorienting, that I would have had a headache in minutes if I had stayed.  So I left.  It was most unfortunate since I was looking forward to hearing the Brinkman table.

Now it is possible the cartridge wires were connected out of phase rather than the speaker wires.  That would have the same effect.  But regardless of where the error occurred, somebody should have had enough sense to correct it before a public demonstration.
As I assisted Doug White on Saturday in The Voice That Is room showing Tidal & Brinkmann, please let me shed a bit more light.

On Friday, after a comment was made, Doug acknowledged there was a problem that sounded like a simple out-of-phase wire swap and spent some time during the day troubleshooting in between visitors to the room. After Friday’s show ended more evaluation led to the decision to demo digital only on Saturday until he could clearly identify the issue. At that point all indicators pointed to a likely problem with the cartridge. Friday night was filled with meetings so, other than confirming the connectivity, the analog was untouched knowing he could focus and would have my help on Saturday.

On Saturday, we played digital throughout the day amid many smiling faces and enthusiastic head nods. A number of folks commented about the great bass from the TIDAL Piano and wondered about the contribution of the subwoofer which wasn’t turned on. We later moved the woofer to a table top to clarify the point. Later that morning a reviewer asked to play his LPs. Doug explained the analog issue and, at his repeated request, we reluctantly agreed to play some for him anyway. In hindsight, that might have misled others that walked in at that point. We returned to digital playback only for the remainder of the day. Not used to gremlins, Doug agonized over the trouble and, late Saturday night and into Sunday morning, he had the chance to “test a million more times” finding the issue. As it turned out, the tonearm mounting had slipped during the relocation of the turntable from table to the rack resulting in a cartridge alignment/overhang problem. What appeared to sound like out-of-phase wiring, was actually an alignment problem (Van Den Hul stylus type). Admittedly, Doug stated he should have checked again despite the long day Thursday as digital was used in overall setup in not just one but two rooms. Lesson learned. Don’t do the show’s turntable setup after a 18 hour day. Get a good night’s sleep! Bringing a backup would be ideal but isn’t always feasible.

Sunday morning’s show opening was with the analog setup back and spinning at 100%. The same reviewer returned at 10:15 to hear a number of his LPs and shared his enthusiasm at the sound. Some attendees re-visited and analog was featured throughout the day.

Yes, it’s true that stuff happens during show setups and exhibitors go to great lengths to debug the issues as quickly as possible. Very often the best sound is experienced on Sunday because exhibitors work on their rooms constantly. Doug mentioned that he appreciated the attendee mentioning it to him, regrets his less than ideal experience, and extends an invitation for him to visit the Studio to experience the setup correctly - hopefully in the near future.

We appreciate all the kind words from visitors to Capital Audio Fest, the TVTI room and the Bricasti/TVTI room next door. We look forward to seeing you at the next show. Cheers,
Spencer
Spencer I was in that room Saturday and I am amazed the sub wasn't turned on I assumed it was so pretty stunning bass from those speakers for their size. Also the musical selections in that room were fantastic and a lot of fun, kudos to your DJ!

Thanks for the explanation of what happened with the Brinkmann setup.  I would not have guessed that this was a misalignment issue and I can see how this was quite vexing until you figured things out.  I once got a loner turntable from a dealer while they were repairing mine.  That loner had the same kind of phase problem that could not be cured by just switching the wires to one channel.  I chalked it up to a problem with the cartridge, but, it appears that this might have been a case of misalignment too. 

One learns something new every day.

The show was once again an interesting venue to sample great hardware and pickup on some nice music to test system capabilities. The vendors are some extremely nice folks. Of particular note - Matt Early (Now Listen Here), Marco (Audio Note) and Carl Marchisotto (Nola) were most hospitable and educational. I could have spent hours in each of their rooms listening to their most musical systems.
The rooms that impressed me the most were the ones that contained the following speakers: Larson speakers at $2k, the Audionote speakers at $4.5k, the Joseph Audio Perspectives at $7.7k and the NOLA at $33k. The KEF, Tidal and Alta rooms were underwhelming and left me thinking that speed and analytical are not long term attributes that I could live with at any price point.


As a happy owner of both a Rogue "Cronus Magnum+" tube amp and an Ayon "Triton" tube amp, the Raven room blew me away with their "Blackhawk LE" integrated tube amp. So much so, that the show demo came home with me after the show discount. I can say that it gives the much more expensive Ayon amp a real run for the money. The Ayon has more power, but the Raven is a remarkably great deal and would still be that at 2 or 3 times it’s price.

The Larsen speakers were astonishing in how well they filled up the room with music. We heard several genres played on vinyl, and these speakers delivered the goods on all. I would not use these for sit down critical listening, but they are remarkable if you want to surround the space with music. I need to listen to these some more...

Loved Deja Vu’s setup, always a delight and wonderful. Likewise, the DIY gear was very well done and the room seemed to be permanently occupied as a result. All in all, there were lots of great listening moments and generally the matchup between the various amps and speakers was good or in a few cases (Raven) excellent.

Well, that was an interesting follow-up to the problems in the Brinkman/Tidal room.  It certainly sounded like the channels were out of phase.  I am pleased the room sponsors were able to fix the problem before the end of the show.
Now I will certainly admit that my brother knows much more about different mfg’s and product lines than I do (and he was along as well), I’m more a photography and digital renderings guy (visual, less auditory) but I know what I like when I hear it. The Josephs were punching way above their weight class and Mr Josephs was quite cool, he took time to explain some of the new parts in his floor standing units vs the Pearls we heard in NYC about 15 yrs ago. Crazy knowledgable guy and great speakers. At $7k they were one of the best IMHO and hearing a classic reel to real (LOL) was a great treat, the quality so much better than expected for an original 1955 recording on tape. The Pearl 3s would prob remove my shoes and socks, sadly he didnt have them along. $31.5k if I recall the pricing correctly.

+1 for Vond on the Zu audio room, the sound was excellent and everyone was very chill, just a great laid-back vibe and "come on in and set for a spell" was just hangin in the air.
I enjoyed the look of the big $200k Kef's.

My favorite sound was the Legacy Aeris (good WAF too). The Wavelet they're using really took that speaker to a whole new level. Sounded nice with those Raven tubes as well.

Great show overall- nice turnout!

They were playing a vintage spoken recording of some sort when I heard the kefs.   They were very impressive with that.  Would have liked to heard more but had to move on.  

My corner placement experiment is working out exceedingly well.  A nice new trick to have up ones sleeve when needed.