Gregadds' Capital Audiofest Tour

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
54
48
Metro DC
#1
Is the Hilton the only Hotel in America without free Wi-fi?

CAF has come a long way since I first attended the show in 2010, when it was held in the governors' mansion. Not only is it now convienent to our world class Metro system, I only had to walk 30 yards to the hotel entrance.
I am slightly embarrassed by the fact that I never paid for attending the show. You see the metro leads to the rear entrance that directed me right into the show. I never located the registration desk until I left show. It was closed.;)

VAC/VonSchweikkert

They had a room in the atrium. I can safely say they went all out. Not only did they have their flagships on display the other systems were on static display.Actually they were operational but would have been drowned out by the main system.
I returned to this room and gave it a significant amount of attention. I also took a little nap. (I am 65 years young). Managing a big system like this is a always a big risk. While I am not saying it blew up in their face, I was underwhelmed. Maybe my expectations were too high or I did not care for the musical selections. I can only surmise that they knew they had missed the mark. They asked me what I thought and I di not really have the heart to tell them. They suggested I move me seat and take off my hat. This help a little but it was still a big disappointment. All of these components have significant indivdual merit. It however, is a reminder that you can't just throw money at a system and expect good results,
When I attend a comedy show I want t the comedian to be funny. Others want the comedian to bomb so they can heckle them. That brings me to the Genesis room. I had met Gary before at RMAF but we had no reason to remember each other. It was good seeing him. A really nice guy. His exhibit could easily have been in contention for a prime example of what not to do at a show. I desperately wanted to give Gary a good report. It was not really his room as he pointed out. He had to know the sound was bad. He was showing his WATT/Puppy clones along with VPI direct drive 40th anniversary prototype. It's a great speaker. We all know that, Let's hope Gary figures something out and gets some better sound out of that room/system.

Note: For some reason the Hotel chose to denote room locations by prorpernouns rather than numbers. I can't speak for others but this left me with no ability to find sny room. I was on the correct floor but had no idea how to find the room. Actually this did allow me discover a room which I otherwise would have had no interest in visiting
Achieving SO.
Gamut Rs3i
I was searching for the Martin Logan Room. At that time I heard Sarah Vaughn coming from a room. Being a big fan I stopped for a listen. The guy conducting the demo had an air of confidence that belied his appearance and what appeared to be a rather ,meager system in a small room. Sarah and Satchmo were singing. It was only two of us in the room. At the end of the selection we both proclaimed WOW simultaneously. This a mini-monitor and comes in at the bargain price of $21k. Yes I have been seduced by mini- monitors before only to walk the next morning in shame. Voices were just real. I did not feel as though I was listening to a stereo. Yes you still have the solve the problem of deep bass. They do make a full range version. But we all know how that usually goes.
What's her name? Gamut.(Sorry for all the sexual metaphors.)
20181102_155157.jpg
 
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Grady98

New Member
Apr 27, 2018
10
2
3
East Coast
#2
Greg, I spent a couple of hours there yesterday myself and agree with your assessment. CAF has indeed come a long way. I have missed the last two years and the number of exhibitors was impressive. There was certainly no expense spared in the Vac/VonSweikert room! I too was underwhelmed and thought to myself how disappointed I would be if I shelled out the amount of money necessary to have that statement system. Jim from The Audio Company, the dealer for the room, gave me a gracious tour of the components and it was impressive. I also did not have the heart to give my opinion. It just had no soul. An your right about the music selection, was not my cup of tea.

I think the room while large did not help as is the case at every show I have attended. I was surprised how small many of the rooms were leaves me wondering if the Hilton was the best venue. I must give a shout out to the GT Audioworks/Pass Labs room. His planars with the bass towers were impressive.
 
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Likes: Gregadd

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
54
48
Metro DC
#3
20181102_175723.jpg

Martin Logan 15A, Benchmark Electronics.
This is definitely an arranged marriage. Both are fine companies in their own right. I would own products from both but would not pair them. Magnoia could have easily have easily brought over some McCintosh gear. There is also JS Audio who was a McIntosh dealer. I think still is.
ML fans know room placement and listening position are critical. I eventually found a good seat. The 15a has bass! That's good news. I was shown a graph of in room bass performance before and after correction by a digital correction system. A microphone is placed at the listening position. I was told crossover is around 300hz. At that frequency response the woofer becomes "directional." In the wrong spot that forced imaging downward. That problem was solved by moving backward. The woofer module is 12" with a forward and rearward woofer. Two choices for amplification would be Moscode or Spectral.
It was the ML sound with better bass extension. Those who claim the ML is "thin" should give this model an audition. Overall I was pleased but not thrilled. $25k is a bargain now days, I am sad to say. I wonder if the Neolith has the bass correction. if not there definitely needs to be a "trickle up." 20181102_173211.jpg
 
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Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
54
48
Metro DC
#4
VPI
VPI was omnipresent at the show. Their own showroom was similar to a VPI Museum. The wall was lined with static display of past models. It appeared to me they were still "dialing in the system. They had pasired with the Wilson ALEXX. Two heavyweights could afford a big room. The sound was what you would expect form them. The sound was not the usual laid back WIlson sound. It was definitely a close mike sound. Sort of as if stuck your head inside the piano or the tuba. Moving back again solved this problem. Indeed they realized the problem and the switched to a less revealing cart./turntable combo.
High marks for VPI and Wilson.
 
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Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
54
48
Metro DC
#5
Tidal
Another surprise. Once more $30k was described as more affordable. This however was a pleasant surprise because I am not a Tidal fan. This the non-Tidal-Tidal. It's made by Tidal called Vimberg. If you are determined to forgo panel speakers and waste your money on a full range box speaker then this is for you. No sonic spectacular, just a very realistic sound. 20181102_135341.jpg
 
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Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
54
48
Metro DC
#6
SOTA
I am a past owner of various SOTA models. The SOTA had to major problems. reliability and speed variations. I did not take any notes so consult The website for accurate information. They have beefed up the undercarriage, added outboard speed control and use a magnetic bearing. They were using headphones as a demo. Sound was good. The SOTA Millenium is not in future plans. One can be had for $4.3k. Various finishes are available.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
54
48
Metro DC
#7
Greg, I spent a couple of hours there yesterday myself and agree with your assessment. CAF has indeed come a long way. I have missed the last two years and the number of exhibitors was impressive. There was certainly no expense spared in the Vac/VonSweikert room! I too was underwhelmed and thought to myself how disappointed I would be if I shelled out the amount of money necessary to have that statement system. Jim from The Audio Company, the dealer for the room, gave me a gracious tour of the components and it was impressive. I also did not have the heart to give my opinion. It just had no soul. An your right about the music selection, was not my cup of tea.

I think the room while large did not help as is the case at every show I have attended. I was surprised how small many of the rooms were leaves me wondering if the Hilton was the best venue. I must give a shout out to the GT Audioworks/Pass Labs room. His planars with the bass towers were impressive.
I don't think you would be disappointed if you purchased one of the systems they were offering. I have no doubt they could make it shine in your room. I just think they bit off more than they could chew. My opinion of course.

Unlike some NY audio stores, they were not snobbish. They indulged me without any knowledge of whether I could afford any of the systems they offered.
 
Oct 12, 2013
1,780
66
48
Essex UK
#8
Tidal
Another surprise. Once more $30k was described as more affordable. This however was a pleasant surprise because I am not a Tidal fan. This the non-Tidal-Tidal. It's made by Tidal called Vimberg. If you are determined to forgo panel speakers and waste your money on a full range box speaker than this is for you. No sonic spectacular, just a very realistic sound.
The Vimberg Tondas sounded very good when I heard them at Munich this year and I agree "a very realistic sound."
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
54
48
Metro DC
#9
A/B Blind Test
On my way to the VAC room I was walking through the atrium and saw a bank of four headphones. I decided to give them a listen. it turned out it was a testing booth. I talked to the guy and he wanted me to give a listen. We did not know each other. The only equipment I could see were the headphones which, at least to the naked eye, were identical. I had nothing to lose since I had taken no previous position on the sound. It was like a Pepsi /Coke taste test where you have no idea what cola is in the test. A straight up preference poll. Or so I thought.
You guys know how I feel about AB/X Blind testing. There was sign saying" A/B testing done right." Why not if I flunked it was anonymous and I would never see the guy again.
He selected a generic piece of music and he let me pick the volume which remained constant even though I had the option to change it. No one was waiting ,so I could listen as long as I liked. My strategy was to get a fix on the music first. Then make my comparison. it did not take long for me to form an opinion. I began making my choice. Between And B I preferred B. Both were good. I held it up indicating my choice was B and was oabout to go on my way. If only life was that easy. To me there was no doubt about my choice.
He seemed perplexed concerning my decision, because "A had so much less distortion and more frequency extension." I told him that B had a more open livelier sound. It is ironic that his description of the sound of A was very similar to my description sound B. Now I was confused. Curioisly he then launched into a diatribe about how I must like "distortion and limited bandwidth." I could see this was about to take an ugly turn. I thanked him for his time and went on my way.
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,674
1,067
113
Beverly Hills, CA
#10
Hi Greg,

Did you see and hear the line source SoulSonic loudspeakers?
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
54
48
Metro DC
#11
No. Sorry to say I did not recall that I did.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
54
48
Metro DC
#13
The above is a picture of the room manned by Deja Vu Audio in Mclean, Virginia. It is one of my favorite stores because they deal in vintage stereo and technology. SET amps and Horn speakers are their specialty. Indeed when it appeared Turntables might become obsolete they stood by them. Just like the store the room was playing good music and had good sound. I am glad they are w still around. I do believe it changed ownership once.
 
Oct 12, 2011
274
11
18
56
Brooklyn
#15
Ron,

I stopped in all three days. They were in a huge, and I mean really huge room. They definitely improved over the show but ultimately weren't my cup of tea. Didn't seem to have any of the drive or pace that I was hoping for. Wasn't a fan of the music selection and there were people talking each time I was there so take my impressions with that in mind. I also was a bit disappointed in that what I wanted to hear was the Thrax system but the shippers decided that one of the amps didn't need binding posts and sheared them off. I had hoped to hear the new Thrax monoblocks at CAF as they also had an issue in Munich this year.

Hi Greg,

Did you see and hear the line source SoulSonic loudspeakers?
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
54
48
Metro DC
#16
OOOPS! So my favorite speaker of the show and I cant remember it's name. I promise if I attend the show I will be more dilidgent in my coverage. If someone recognizes it please help me out. It is simply a two planar magnetic drivers mounted aon aan open Baffle witht wo magnetic drivers. One for the highs and one for the midrange. it sits upon a woofer system. It was being driven a digital outboard crossover. It' sounded really good and illustrates my pointabount box speaker colorations. It is a modular system you get started fro about$7.5k. I think will the tweeter.midrange driver as mounted in the picture above. I think that includes the didigtal crossover. The finished product looked like this.
 

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Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
54
48
Metro DC
#18
Since there seems to be no such award I decided to create one. It is the Gregadd 2018 Wife Acceptance Award. Color me red. Once again I do not konow the name. 20181102_135042.jpg 20181102_135042.jpg
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
54
48
Metro DC
#19
That is right. A speaker that doubles as a planter. I did not get a picture but I swear music was emerging form one of those large outdoor cement planters.
 

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