Capital Audiofest 2019?

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by yotacowboy, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    Oh, sorry @zach915m, I should’ve checked the $ of upgrading before making that blanket statement (I will edit my post above). You are absolutely correct that it is a judgement call left up to the customer.
    Geebus, I didn’t realize Mg was that expensive versus Al. #facepalm
     
  2. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    Yeah MG is 2.1 x the cost of aluminum. Machining it is a nuisance/expensive as well because of not done right it can cause a dangerous fire. It's nice though!
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
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  3. Silverion77

    Silverion77 Acquaintance

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    My impressions:

    I won't belabor what others have said about Joseph Audio. I think in general it was my favorite room at the place and they basically didn't even try.

    I was also a fan of the Egglestonworks room. I really wish they had put the floorstanders in at some point, but overall found the room to be tastefully composed.

    Tekton: I had high hopes, but this was a big disappointment for me. The mids sounded awfully muddy. I have a chance to try these in someone's home so I'll find out if its just the room situation.

    Eikon was also disappointing. I had a really hard time trying to lose the speakers. The tweeter just seemed so beamy, that I just heard phantom center, speaker to my right, speaker to my left.

    PAP: Hated the quads w/ horn. They had the Voxativ set up today and it was sooooooooooooooooooooooo much better. Those OB 15s are silly and the full ranger was infinitely better than the horn.

    Salk: I always really like the Salk room. Maybe bias at this point since I 'want' to like them. Curious what others thought about them.
     
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  4. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Second time hearing Salk in "show" conditions for me - IMHO, they're a little hard to judge because they're kinda boring in a way that probably makes them good-to-GREAT speakers once in your house. Sometimes boring is better than show-stopper boom-tizz? Odyssey was similar in that regard - spent about 30 minutes in Klaus' room, and things just got better and better the more time you spend with it, when at first it's just kinda meh.

    FTFY.
     
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  5. willsw

    willsw Friend

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    @zach915m thank YOU for always helping us out with shows and giving many visitors reference phones that they know. A lot of people also admired the new ZMF headphone stands.

    I got in another quick round of room visits. The Eggleston bookshelves were still good the second time, with a natural spatial presentation and no harshness. The QLN speakers with Vinnie's stuff were also great the second time around. That was one room that I wanted to camp in and play all of my favorite songs, but I didn't have time. The presentation was incredibly three-dimensional.

    Gingko audio had small speakers in a small room and bigger speakers in a big room. I only spent a small amount of time in each room, but they both accomplished the naturalness and dimensionality that hits me hardest when it's there and leaves me least engaged when it's not.

    Stepped into the Benchmark/Martin Logan room and felt attacked by the guitars in a Beatles song. I'm don't usually feel that negatively about rooms but I wanted to leave immediately. I did stay long enough to enter the raffle. Who's gonna skip a free raffle?

    Volti and Border Patrol shared two rooms, with Volti's Greg manning one and BP's Gary in the other. Gary got the better gig. The Rival model speakers sounded harsh and shouty with the couple loud tracks that were played by Greg. Disappointing, as I know I've heard the Rivals in the past and thought they sounded excellent. The Vittorias in the other room were so comfy and present. I would have liked to hear more tracks on that system, but duty continued to call and I had to hurry on.

    I agree with other comments on Fern & Roby's room with Modwright with their larger Raven speakers. Very nice to listen to and relax. Not quite exciting and engaging like some others, but also speakers that I would probably be happy living with. Unfortunately, the room with the smaller Raven II speakers (and LTA amps! Woo!) did not manage much during the 60 seconds I spent. I thought that the huge rack between the speakers and extending into the room farther than the speaker drivers could have been messing things up, but what do I know?

    I was peer pressured into a quick listen to the Joseph Speakers. Sure, yeah, they were doing it all, or near enough that I'd really like to hear them again.

    The Zu setup reminded me of being at home, as I have the original Omens in the same blue, but my mediocre home setup sounded much better. I've heard Zu systems in giant rooms that have been impressive and I appreciate their kind of whatever setup that focuses on the music playing aspect of the system. This one was just weirdly sparse and not quite at the level of cramped apartment with a DIY chipamp.

    I wish Eric Alexander would put some effort into a show and rent a big room for his big ass speakers and get a show partner who is good at doing shows. A couple years ago LTA wanted to do that and then we didn't realize that we had the 6' tall Double Impacts in a tiny, low-ceilinged room that ended up looking pretty similar to how the MOABs looked this time around. I'm still a fan based on my former ownership of the Lore and M-Lore, but it's just sad seeing these fat speakers in little rooms.

    Had a short but interesting chat with the Audio Envy cable guy. I like his approach. Probably won't ever use them for reasons in no way related to the cables themselves.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
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  6. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Non Voting Friend

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    Checked out the show on Friday but didn't get to hear the Joseph Audio room.

    Good stuff:
    Soundsmith Monarchs. These had by far the best technicalities at the show but had no bass in the room. The speed of these speakers was amazing. Think KRK meets good British monitors. Thanks @Parker . You guys need to sell these as studio monitors. "MSG bass" lovers will hate these. That light bulb fuse is killer.

    Dynaudio Evoke 50 off of a Parasound amp and CD player that did it no favors. It had the Dyn punch and smooth sound sig but the bass and attack was too pillowy. Impossible for me to truly vibe with this rig but not bad. Super crankable but probably needed a much better amp. I liked it.

    For headphones @gandhisfist 's closed cans stole the show. Slightly v-shaped but nothing too bad. Good stuff, punchy, slightly papery, and a tiny sparkle. These are sick. Everything else there sounded lo-fi.

    Middling:
    Salks had slight "MSG bass" as coined by AER guy. The Beryllium tweeter was slightly fatiguing but way better than Focal. These sound like they would need very good placement and treatment to sound good.

    Meze (?) boom tizz cans. Who would buy these over the seatbelt headband closed cans?

    The room with the horn speakers that looked a little like old Tannoys. Someone had a pic of it here. Not chuckable but not great. Could have potential.

    Disappointing:
    Egglestonworks 6.5" woofer two-ways. These were pleasant but the mids were too forward and strident with no bass. The exhibitor hooking these up to a tube amp was retarded. That tube amp sucked anyway and I could hear the distortion when it was pushed to moderate loudness.

    Focal gold headphones not the Utopia. WTF? How did these idiots make a Beryllium driver sound slow? WTF? Awful.

    Ganghisfist open cans. Too bright with no bass impact or punch. I don't like these drivers at all in the open enclosure. They become something for people who love the stock HD800 and sound like they have an upward shelf in the highs.

    ZMF cans. You know what I think.

    The million dollar system LOL

    PAPs. Nasty horn bullshit.

    Tektons.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
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  7. gandhisfist

    gandhisfist Almost "Made"

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    Joseph Audio room was easily my BIS. Crazy imaging that was all over the room, great resolution and shocking bass from woofers so small. Even when I was standing almost perpendicular to the speakers, the image was still between and behind the speakers, which was really impressive. Probably some of the best dynamic contrast of the rooms I heard at the show.

    Other rooms I thought were notable:

    Modwright/Fern & Roby: This room was definitely a bit laid back and warm sounding. Still had quite good dynamics, ok resolution, nice timbre and wasn't v-shaped like I felt most of the rooms at CAF were.

    Vinni Rossi/QLN: Never heard of these speakers before but they surprised me. A little too much bass for the room I think but otherwise really solid. More resolution than the Modwright room, but not quite as much as the Joseph (though probably the most similar to Joseph, just more necessary to be closer to the sweet spot for imaging). Again, not v-shaped sounding, which was a complaint I had about most of the rooms at the show, since they all pretty much seemed to play female vox and drum tracks and the minute you put on anything with other instruments in the mids you could hear the vocal shout and bass above everything else

    Spatial Audio: Sounded pretty good, little too close to the back wall in the room, so the bass muddied up it seemed from the reflections, the OB rooms generally seemed to have this problem. Imaging was also behind and between the speakers on these. Better setup if you went to check them out 2nd or 3rd day, they had problems with the room on day 1.

    Pure Audio Project: Same as above. Quintets were way too big for the room and I really dislike that horn driver in them. The Trios with the Vox drivers definitely sounded much better (the upper treble was back), but bass on both sounded muddy and a bit compressed. I'm hoping its just the room again, need to hear the Vox driver versions in a larger room (or at least further from the back wall) to make up my mind about them.

    Salk: Pretty great sounding room, I would put it at or above the Vinni Rossi/QLN room. Only gripe i had with these was the imaging, which I felt was sort of a flat line across the front of the speakers.

    Soundsmith: Great little bookshelf monitors. Bass was weird but apparently due to a bass null in the room. Mids and treble were quite good on these, imaging was also well defined behind the speakers. Would think these would actually make pretty great passive monitors in nearfield.

    Egglestonworks: The bookshelves/monitors they had on display were sounding quite good, but I was more interested in the floorstanders that they never ended up putting in the setup. A tiny bit of compression on these and a relatively small sweetspot in the room, but otherwise no real complaints.
     
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  8. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    This was also my initial impression with the LTA MZ3. Good thing I heard these in my EC Af, I also triangulated with ZMF VC, Auteur and Atticus as well as to figure out with @willsw help that the lack of bass was due to the Border Patrol DAC. Very quick impression of Borealis is HD800SDR with much easier to appreciate bass and better behaved treble. I moved over to a bigger LTA amp (name?) and Denafrips Aries (2?) DAC and the bass was back. I put on Grant Green “Alive” and was groovin’.

    I neglected to mention that the LTA gear was beautiful and built like a tank. I need to go over to Takoma Park and check out some of their gear! Without LTA, there was a very limited headphone footprint at the show. I previously thought that headphone gear is a lot of money; at CAF, I felt like a kid hanging out at an ORFAS club meet. Who are the people that can afford this gear?
     
  9. willsw

    willsw Friend

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    Through the show I sent people looking for more headphones down to Headamp and Mytek. I didn't see that Ifi was also present until the end of Sunday. Did anyone listen to their new Zen unit?

    I want to shout out the Qobuz guys, David Solomon and Eric. Before the show they helped us out with enough accounts for all of our stations and at the show they moved from their big ballroom to set up in the corner of our hallway lounge. They had a Manley amp, Focals and Ethers, but I heard them telling people to go listen to @gandhisfist Aurorus headphones on the LTA setups.

    Also thanks to Ari (I can never remember which real name is which forum name) for helping us improve our tablets' performance.

    As a reminder, unless a manufacturer needs us to ship something immediately we're holding onto everything for the week, so if you couldn't make the show or want to spend more time with a headphone or DAC, let us know and you can stop by the Takoma Park shop. If you're very interested in something but don't have time this week, it's very likely that we'd be able to hold onto something longer. The Spatials that were at the show will be joining the Daedalus Apollos in our listening room.
     
  10. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Non Voting Friend

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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    And those Joseph Audio speakers look sick! Like better Amphions with some 100hz BBC boost. Damn I missed out.
     
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  11. Silverion77

    Silverion77 Acquaintance

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    Heh, happy to help. Hopefully the space keeps those little guys ticking. Things looked good when I popped in and out the rest of the day.
     
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  12. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    There was another room I spent a bunch of time on, Sweet Vinyl. Interesting product, terrible price. Forgot to include it in my show & tell because I didn't take any pictures of it.

    They had a digital box that sits after the phono and removes clicks & pops. I was pretty impressed by the demo/sales pitch; the guy cleaned up a scratchy, old Pink Floyd record in real time. Toggled between the cleaned up version and the analog bypass with no delay. Awful smartphone app, but you could probably ignore that and just flip the switch on the box.

    I immediately wanted one to play all my crappy old records and dollar bin finds. Only problem was the most basic model started at $1500, which is... a bit much for what I want to do. Still, I haven't seen anything real-time like that before.
     
  13. crenca

    crenca Almost "Made"

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    Thanks for all the reports guys. My limited experience with Joseph Audio is that they are just "right" sounding in most every way. The problem is that the pricing does not make sense to me at all - it's a hell of a markup for special sauce tuning/design. Oh well, this market is apparently a pure luxury market and these guys sell them at about the same rate no matter how they price them...
     
  14. treboR

    treboR Friend

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    If you are up for DIY, check out the SEAS kit @monacelli linked to earlier: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/capital-audiofest-2019.8438/#post-277255
     
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