Capital Audio Fest 2019

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by ProfessorC1983, Oct 27, 2019.

  1. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    let's hear about those big expensive Devore Orangutans. Did anyone get to listen to them who has spent any time with the 96's and 93's? They're out of my price range, probably forever, but they're so odd looking that I'd like to hear impressions.
     
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  2. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    I had a nice time at the Capital Audiofest. I recognize that show conditions make it hard to really get a grasp on the full potential of any product, but, nonetheless, I heard some promising sound which means that the particular components are capable of sounding good. The big rooms, in particular, are hard to get good sound, so I kept that in mind when listening.

    The most interesting product at the show, to me, was the prototype of the Classic Audio T-9 system which sat in the corner of their huge room and was put into service on occasion, but was not featured. It had a full range driver with a field coil magnet structure and operating from 50 Hz to 20kHz. Below that point, a field coil woofer took over. The sound was very dynamic and immediate and exciting. There were some sharp peaks that made some recordings, particularly female vocalist sound a bit "shouty," but the designer said that the system can be tuned to some extent and that these qualities are in the recording and only made prominent by the total lack of dynamic compression of the speaker. In any case, for something they think they can sell in the $20-25k range, this is a winner.

    There were two rooms running Ginko speakers and both systems were very good sounding. One was a $10,000 system running in one of the big rooms which sounded beautifully balanced, natural, and relaxed, without sounding lifeless. The small stand-mounted speaker in another room (I think it was $3,000) sounded very good too-very well balanced and natural sounding.

    The room featuring Elekit tube amplifiers/kits and AER speakers was interesting, if a bit frustrating. The AER speaker that was playing in the room utilized a single, full range driver with a very large circular horn extending from the baffle. From the lower midrange on up, this was a magnificent speaker--extremely dynamic, detailed and clear, and without the peaky quality of most full range drivers. But, in this configuration, there simply was not enough warmth and no deep bass. I understand that the purpose of this setup was to demonstrate the extraordinary midrange to top end capability of the driver, but, to me, it was easy for a lot of people to be instantly turned off by the lack of bass. I am very interested in these drivers, but, implemented in other ways, such as in a two-way system with a very fast bass driver, or in a quarter wave back loaded horn set up.

    The YG Acoustic Carmel 2 speakers also impressed me with their beautiful sound and nimbleness without being overly edgy. It is a big plus that it is also a small floorstander that is friendly to room decor.

    Two rooms had Rosso Fiorentino speakers in them and both systems sounded very good-- decent dynamics and a little hot on top, but, they were not uncomfortably bright or edgy. The overall tonality was pretty good; even though I prefer a little more midbass for warmth, I liked this system a lot.

    Perfect8 had a very unusual system that made it easy to overllok the basically good sound that they delivered. The main unit is a small glass cube with two side firing woofers and a front firing tweeter. Another glass enclosure held two subwoofers/amps. The room was set up with a little too much bass from the subwoofers, and the tweeter is a bit too soft on top, but, overall, this was a very musical system.

    I will have more comments on the show.
     
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  3. IGD Positive

    IGD Positive Forum Resident

    Location:
    Inner groove
    I've heard the 96s and while I didn't get to spend a ton of time with them the 96s), I'd say the Reference version gives you very similar qualities but on a much larger scale. They were in a pretty big room and had no problem filling the space. They were very detailed but not in any sort of fatiguing way. They sounded very natural and I could have sat and listened for hours.
     
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  4. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    I liked the DeVore Reference at the show--good, natural tone and a very relaxed, but not soggy, sound. The Luxman 300b amp is an eight-watt amp, and yet, the system filled that massive room. That was a very nice setup for a pretty difficult setting (lots of echo). The other retro-looking Luxman gear on display were also pretty looking.

    I also liked the Sanders Sound room with their hybrid electrostatic/dynamic woofer system. They were mostly doing demonstrations with loud, very punchy sounding music to demonstrate how their system can really move the air and create a physical impact (the demonstration was convincing), but, that system sounded good with other kinds of music too.

    MC Audiotech had a very nice speaker system that used a array of bending wave dynamic drivers in a very large, square dipole top end unit, with twin 18" woofers in a cubical dipole unit underneath. The sound was a touch leaner than my own preference, but, I like the sound nonetheless. This is one of the rare examples of unusual technology that does not result in a one-trick pony kind of presentation; it was good sounding in all respects.
     
  5. IGD Positive

    IGD Positive Forum Resident

    Location:
    Inner groove
    I also want to mention that I really liked the Raven Audio stuff I heard. The McGary/Salk room was also very solid.
     
  6. jonwoody

    jonwoody Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC
    My friend who was with me at the show owned O93's, he's got Shindo Lafites? now, and thought the Devore/Luxman setup was the best of the show.
     
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  7. jonwoody

    jonwoody Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC
    Another interesting speaker that wasn't playing in the EDS room they had a bookshelf field coil speaker called The Panda on static display.
     
  8. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    Ok, 57 posts and not one pic!! C'mon man.
     
  9. displayname

    displayname Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas
    I love the Rosso stuff, glad to see them getting extra exposure. I know one of the rooms had their entry level floor standers. I’ve heard more of their mid-upper lines, and I wonder if that would resolve some of your preferences. I dream of owning Volterras one day.
     
  10. jphabc54

    jphabc54 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NoVa
    I've got a bunch I'll try to share in the next day or two.
     
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  11. jonwoody

    jonwoody Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC
    I take terrible pics and only took a few but here you go.

    The gorgeous Luxman CL-1000 preamp

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    Luxman/Devore setup

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    Emia room with stacked Quads

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    And a random pic of a D/A converter I'd never heard of in the Zu room because I really liked the industrial design

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  12. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    That’s the first time I’v seen someone using the new Neve stuff.

    I’m interested in that lowish price Luxman tube integrated and the matching CD player/DAC. Was anyone demoing that pair?
     
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  13. jonwoody

    jonwoody Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC
    The only Luxman gear I saw being demoed were the big boys they had other stuff on static display including the cute new integrated.
     
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  14. jphabc54

    jphabc54 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NoVa
    VAC/Van Schweikert Room
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    Up Close with the VAC 450i IQ
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    Antal Audio Group w/ Triangle, Tsakiridis, and Soulines (really liked this room)
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    Gryphon Room -- was lucky enough to be there when they fired up the R2R
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    Best in Show -- Acapella + Audio Note
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  15. jphabc54

    jphabc54 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NoVa
    Runner up -- VPI + KEF Muon
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    Harry Weisfeld setting up the other VPI Vanquish -- sounded better with the Muons.
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    KEF Blades with some great tube action
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    Fern + Roby
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    Perfect8 + Ypsilon
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  16. jphabc54

    jphabc54 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NoVa
    Acora + Audio Research 750 space heaters
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    Modwright + Fern + Roby -- nice room
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    Avantegarde + Wadax
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    Tekton + McGary
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    MC Audiotech + Pass Labs
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  17. jphabc54

    jphabc54 Forum Resident

    Location:
    NoVa
    Daedalus Audio + Border Patrol
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    Salk + McGary
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    Raven Audio
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    Last But Not Least: these crazy new Endow speakers
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  18. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    Thanks for taking the time to post all of those. Looks fun
     
  19. Archimago

    Archimago Forum Resident

    Nice pictures man... Wondering what you thought about the sound of those Endow speakers? I had a listen at RMAF in September (as discussed here) and thought they could use a bit of tweaking to improve the treble.
     
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  20. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    Thanks for the pictures. I forgot to mention the Endow speakers, but, your pictures brought it back to mind. I liked the sound of those speakers, so its crazy looking design is no joke. The array of small drivers on the thing that looks like a giant tumor has drivers facing both out and inward. The inward and outward drivers are out of phase, so the radiating surfaces of the drivers are all in phase. The purpose of having drivers facing both ways is to distribute, and thereby minimize, the distortion from the asymmetric movement of drivers forward and backwards.

    There was another system that I really liked, but, I can't recall the name. The cabinet was a symmetrical pointed oval and it employed a wide range driver and a tweeter. This system had a lot of the dynamics and immediacy of full range systems but did not sound thin in the upper bass and it did not have excessive peaks in the upper midrange.

    The two Emia rooms were also interesting. In one, the stacked Quad 57 electrostatics were putting out some good sounds-dynamic and forceful. This is not just a pair of Quands in a single frame. It has built in tube bi-amplification with a dedicated crossover. Because it is built as a system, the amp has special transformers wound by Emia that are specifically designed for the Quads. In a regular setup, a tube amp will have a transformer designed to step down the high voltage of the output tubes and convert it to higher current. But, electrostatic panels need high voltage/low current, so the signal has to be converted back again via a transformer in the speaker. By building the amp as an amp dedicated pair, one step of conversion can be eliminated. In the other Emia room, a speaker from a company named Cube was being shown. It is a small narrow floorstander with only a single full range driver. This was a pretty nice sounding speaker. It was quite dynamic and engaging and had almost enough bass for my taste. It was a little rough and had some peaks (most evident with piano music), but, it is nothing like the old days of single driver systems.

    What was notable about this show were the number of successful implementations of single drivers in full range system (e.g., Cube, AER)or the use of full range drivers as wide range drivers with a tweeter or woofer added to help out (Classic Audio T-9, the oval speaker mentioned above). Last year, for me, the single driver Charney speaker was the best thing I heard at the show. I hope to see more development in these approaches.
     
  21. LitHum05

    LitHum05 Disco es Cultura

    I heard a pair of Focal Utopia headphones. Then I went home and cried while using my mid-fi gear.
     
  22. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    Thanks for the pics @jphabc54.

    The question I have after viewing the pictures is, why do speakers have to look so freakin ugly? Some of those are just awful to look at. I can't imagine living with them, no matter how good they sounded. I've read Kef came up with the Reference line because they feared no one would buy the Blade because of its looks. The Blade may have been the best looking speaker in all of the pics above.
     
  23. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    the Tektons are particularly offensive. They look like someone took their Honda Civic to Pep Boys and bought every automotive accessory in hopes that it will make their car faster.
     
  24. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    I didn't want to pick out any specific speaker as the most offensive, but I agree 100%. Had to show that Tekton speaker to my wife so she can see I'm not totally nuts.
     
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  25. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    Sure, they look like crap and would be a sure deal killer for my wife, but how did they sound?
     

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