Show Discussion: Capital AudioFest 2018 (Nov 2-4)

Discussion in 'AV Expos and Get Togethers (GTG)' started by Greg Takesh, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. Greg Takesh

    Greg Takesh New Member
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    CAF 2018 is around the corner.

    http://capitalaudiofest.com/

    Please join us in the Frederick room, bring your favorite cd, record or computer file.
    We will be showing
    GT Audio Works GTA3R speakers
    Sound Insight SI 600 sub woofers
    Pass Labs electronics,
    Triode Wire Labs wire
    Semper Sonus turntable
    VuJade audio 101d tubed dac.
     
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  2. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Looking forward to seeing / hearing you there Greg!
     
  3. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
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    Looking forward to the show coverage, Todd!
     
  4. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Unfortunately, my time at CAF was severely limited on Friday... and couldn’t make today. I hoping to make it by for an hour or two tomorrow, but have a sick kid and my wife is traveling :-/
     
  5. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
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    Oh, I hope the kiddo feels better, soon.
     
  6. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Well... my weekend turned into mess and I basically missed CAF. Bummed, but so goes reality. I was able to make the show for a few hours on Friday. First stop was to VAC/The Audio Group, second stop was to GT Audio Works where Greg and Steve were letting their speaker/sub combo whip-up some sonic beauty!

    The show, this year, seemed a tick busier on its opening Friday than last year. The venue, once again, proved to be great and hats off to CAF organizers for great signage and super friendly staff. I said this last year and will say it again: if you're in the region, this is a show that you must attend.

    I was definitely disappointed to have my CAF weekend plans interrupted. Especially because the show is a stone-throw's distance away from my home. But, life occasionally intervenes, so I'll have to wait for next year. My brief Friday visit took place from 1:30-4:00pm and I was able to hit several rooms. Heard some great gear, had some nice conversations, and took a few pics that I thought I'd share...
     
    #6 Todd Anderson, Nov 7, 2018 at 6:52 PM
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018 at 7:06 PM
  7. Todd Anderson

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    First up, we have the VAC/Von Schweikert room operated by a retailer called The Audio Group from Georgia. This room has – two years running – featured a million dollar (plus!) system. It's beautiful. It's drool worthy. And it's so far out of my wheelhouse... I really don't know what to make of it. Here's a look at the main system:
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    Does it really get any more eye-popping that that? All the gear this room had price tags that weighed as much - or more than - the gear itself...

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    with cables that looked quite impressive (not sure if they make a lick of difference... but they sure looked impressive!).

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    And here's one more look at the frontside of the VAC/Scheikert rig...

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    Gorgeous, right?

    And just in case you thought I was being sarcastic about this gear's pricing... here's a little glimpse at the room's gear list. Yup, your credit card better have some flexibility! Well done, The Audio Group! It was quite a room.

    [​IMG]
     
    #7 Todd Anderson, Nov 7, 2018 at 6:58 PM
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018 at 8:02 PM
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  8. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Almost forgot... VAC's new 450i iQ Integrate Amp was on display. This (big) little gem costs a cool $150K and is one wicked looking piece of gear.

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  9. Todd Anderson

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    As I reported, pre-show, CAF filled the Rockville Hilton's Atrium area with another Marketplace. Lots of vinyl and CDs for sale... some cables and vintage gear, too. In fact, it presented more vintage gear than last year. The crowd in this area was thin, making for easy browsing... and there were deals to be had (quite a few tables of 3/$15 CD buys)!

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  10. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Moving on... I entered GT Audio Works' room. Seriously folks, GT Audio Works has a really good thing going and when you start to compare their offerings to other high-end audiophile systems, you begin to understand that they're knocking it out of the park (both price- and performance-wise). Steve (Insight Audio) played me a song called "Earth Drums" (I'll dig up the name/artist) that left me mesmerized. It's a dynamic track that I'll definitely use in future reviews... but it's sound on their gear was ohhhhhhh so sweet. Very real and naked sounding with imaging and depth that's hard to put into words.

    I've been a fan of GT Audio Works since I stumbled upon Greg's CAF room some four (perhaps five?) years ago... and every year I return to be wowed again. Total, legit, speakers... and they're unique too, because Greg Takesh builds them by hand.

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  11. Todd Anderson

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    Next up was Brooklyn's Ohm Speakers which occupied two separate rooms. One was a simple 2-channel system comprised of relatively inexpensive gear:

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    The F-5015s sounded interesting. I believe they employ something called a Coherent Line Source Driver that creates a 3D effect due to its nature of design. 2-Channel wise, it sounded fairly good. Nothing earth shattering, but good. But what really caught my attention was their second room which promised a mind boggling Dolby Atmos experience. Being the devout home theater enthusiast I am, I made a bee-line for the room, hoping to find a safe harbor where people of my own thinking were huddled in multi-channel geekdom.

    Not so much.

    Ohm had cobbled together an Atmos array using two large L/R channels and a variety of surround and presence channels that were mounted high along room boundaries. Now, to cut to the chase, I wrote one simple note in my trusty journalist notebook. That word is: "NO."

    Ohm was playing an Atmos Demo disc that I've heard a hundred times over... not only on my own reference system, but on dozens of reference systems costing many multiples more at massive industry shows. Unfortunately for Ohm, their demo room rep talked up the sound experience we were about to enjoy and then proceeded to let me ears drown in something I found rather disappointing. Perhaps, for some, the Ohm Atmos experience was tantalizing. But it didn't take me long to raise my hand and ask for the check. Here's a shot of the frontend of the room (the monitor says it all...):

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Todd Anderson

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    VPI was at the event with a room loaded with turntables and vinyl. I'm a vinyl supporter but am ill-equip to write knowledgeably about the segment's gear and technology. I'm not afraid to admit it (well... perhaps somewhat afraid;-). VPI was performing some sort of A-B comparison between two of their turntables (perhaps arms?) while I was in their room. Did I hear a difference? I think so...

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    #12 Todd Anderson, Nov 7, 2018 at 8:40 PM
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018 at 9:01 PM
  13. Todd Anderson

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    Here's a shot of Daedlaus Audio's demo space. Gorgeous as ever. These handmade beauties really are something to behold. Their sound leans a tad to the bright side, which allows detail to be abound. It's always fun to see what they have on hand and 2018 certainly didn't disappoint.

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  14. Todd Anderson

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    Here we have speakers made by Odyssey and you'll have to forgive me for poor notes... I'm not sure of the model. Nevertheless, this room sounded utterly fantastic. The demo song I heard was Pete Seeger's Ramblin' Boy (Live at Carnegie Hall, 1963).

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    We started listening to a vinyl version of the song, but the room's host got frustrated by an excessive amount of pops and crackles. Grumbling that he had wasted $50 on a bad record, he reached for a CD version and played the song again. The sound was soothing and authentic. And to be quite honest: I thought the vinyl version (warts and all) sounded more appealing and inviting (he never should have switched ;-)!
     
    #14 Todd Anderson, Nov 7, 2018 at 8:53 PM
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018 at 12:14 PM
  15. Todd Anderson

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    Okay. This picture is a bit of a blur... as was my time in this room. Here I found Wolf Audio and The House of Stereo.

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    I thought the system's sound was *okay* (perhaps "serviceable" is a better adjective). It wasn't something that stoked my time-crunched fire. I did, however, rather enjoy the tune being played: Meiko's cover of "Super Freak." You can find it (and the whole album on Spotify... not TIDAL). It's a collection of covers that I think are fun and worth listening to.

    I was medium on this room, but high on the tune.
     
    #15 Todd Anderson, Nov 7, 2018 at 8:59 PM
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018 at 9:24 AM
  16. Todd Anderson

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    I had an opportunity to duck into a few more rooms but time was so pressed that I holstered my camera and notebook and let my ears enjoy a few more experiences. And that marked the end of my CAF 2018 experience.

    Many thanks, again, to the CAF staff for welcoming AV NIRVANA to the show. I look forward to next year. And for those of you that want to experience some amazing gear at a show that offers a manageable scale: put CAF 2019 on your calendar!
     
  17. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
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    Love that VAC stack! Saw it in Denver, those are some nice shots you got of it, Todd, as well as the other great shots! Klaus of Odyssey Audio and his analog/digital comparisons are always interesting! Sounds like I need to keep an eye out for GT Audio Works.
     
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  18. Todd Anderson

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    Thanks Dennis. It's quite the impressive array of gear. I'd be interested to know how many folks in North America have similar (or identical) systems. It can't be many... can it??
     
  19. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
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    Well, I don't see that VAC amp in their product list!
     

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