Not very good this year ill skip it hope NY snow is good.
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I would like to go, but will unfortunately travel out of the country during this time.
Attended last year, and 2012. In those couple of years, the show has improved by a significant margin. With the move to a far better venue, the 2014 affair seemed much more of a professional and polished undertaking.
Hope you have a good time!
I will be there. The show usually has the right amount of visitors to each room that one can always find a seat and one can usually get the exhibitor to play a favorite selection. What was remarkable about the past two shows I attended is how much better the rooms with analogue setups sounded than the all digital rooms (I personally listen primarily to digital sources).
Unfortunately, because the show date has been moved so that it now conflicts with another show, a lot of the headphone exhibitors will not be there. That is unfortunate because the big headphone room was the most pleasant part of the show--everyone is friendly and helpful and they even allow people to take phones to another booth to hear them on a different amp or in comparison to something else.
Interesting you mention the headphone contingent, Larryi.
I noticed they had the most energetic and youthful crowd at CAF last year, by leaps and bounds. As I said, the high-end audio component of the show took a major leap forward with the change in venue. But the headphone room truly sat on a different level from the rest of the show. Say what you will, it's encouraging to see the young crowd show up with such numbers and passion. Makes you realize how far off our hobby has gone.
Not only did last year's show have the big headphone room, there was another smaller conference room that had a bunch of DIY people, most of whom were young guys showing off their own headphone amps and sharing their projects with each other. That was a lot of fun too. While this protends that the future of the industry is headed in the direction of headphones, I will bet that a sizeable portion of that crowd will cross over toward speakers in the future. Headphones are a great way to start out in the hobby because costs are more reasonable.
I enjoyed this year's show even though the big headphone room was not present. What is remarkable about this show, particularly if you have gone to it over the years, is that "old" is winning the battle over "new." Each year, more and more of the exhibitors are showing with old technology, such as tube amplifiers and vinyl sources, and those rooms tend to deliver the better sound. To me, the most interesting rooms were decidedly "old school."
The best sounding overall system, albeit and expensive one, was the Deja Vu room with the reproduction of a Western Electric StepHorn--quasi open baffle bass cabinet (open in the back) with a short square "horn" in front. The woofer is an 18" Jensen. The midrange horn is a compact Western Electric horn (KSS6368 or something similar) driven by an IPC LU1000 compression driver (very similar to the permanent magnet Western Electric 555). The tweeter is something I am not familiar with. This big and ugly speaker delivered a big, relaxed and full sound without sounding murky or sluggish. The electronics were three modules of what is intended as a complete system built by Aldo D'Urso of Italy (present at the show). The modules are a phonostage, a DAC and an integrated amp. Each of the source components has a high enough output that the integrated amp is designed to eliminate a gain stage (for sound quality reasons). The system was demonstrated using the phono setup (Thorens 124 turntable, the top of the line Ortofon tonearm and a one of the current Ortofon SPU cartridges). The system delivers music in a way that makes audiophile checkbox analysis superfluous.
The other very commendable room was the MyEmia room which was showing a very highly modified Quad 57 system. All that remained of the original Quads were the panels. The panels were put into a much more solid frame, an active crossover splits the signal which is fed to two EL34 pushpull amps separately feeding the bass and treble panels. The upstream electronics included a remotely controlled autoformer volume control that allows for 1 db steps and balance control too (logic controlled relay switching of the autoformer taps). The sound was definitely NOT your dad's Quad 57; the system delivered a surprising amount of deep and punchy bass, and quite high volume levels too.
Other notable rooms include that of the Harbeth distributor who also distributes the new Rossi electronics. This is the modular single chassis gear that can be configured with a tube phonostage, remotely controlled autoformer volume control (my guess is that this is very similar to the volume control design by Dave Slagle that was in the MyEmia room. The Harbeth HL5 speakers (old school design) sounded very good coupled to this electronics--rich, but not congested sounding and very coherent from top to bottom.
Another room I liked was that of a newcomer Fern & Roby (primary business is making furniture). They have managed to put together a whole system that is reasonably priced that was also delivered very musical sound (it helps that they went with modest volume levels for their demonstration). The "cool" part of the system was their own turntable which is made out of cast iron (non-resonant).
For more modern technology, I liked the room with the planar magnetic Bohlender Graebener speakers and twin dipole subwoofers. This delivered a huge soundstage and surprisingly delicate sound--at the insistence of visitors they did play bombastic crap, but, their own demo tracks showed how capable this system is at delivering detail and dynamics at lower volume levels.
Gershman was showing their new speaker which sounded quite good except for a too hot top end (something I think was either an artifact of show conditions or something that can be tamed).
Year to year, the MBL room at this show can either sound like crap or be quite nice, this year it sounded decent; as always though, the MBLs deliver a fantastic soundstage that holds up even when sitting off of the direct center axis.