Capital Audiofest 2023 (Nov 10-12)

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by supertransformingdhruv, Oct 20, 2023.

  1. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    Details:
    • Website: https://www.capitalaudiofest.com/
    • November 10th - 12th, 2023 @ Twinbrook Hilton, Rockville Maryland
    • If you're on the DC metro take the red line up to Twinbrook
    • Day tickets are $20 or free with student ID
    • While the show's mainly focused on two-channel, the headphone section's been growing every year
    I should be there Saturday if anyone wants to grab some beers after? There are a few great places pretty close by.

    Previous year threads w/ some post-show discussion:
     
  2. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I'll be heading up tomorrow (saturday) around 10am but I need to out of there around 2pm. PM me if you want to meet up!
     
  3. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    Wait am I wrong or are you a week early?
     
  4. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Yeah, that's what I meant! the 11th...
     
  5. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    Sorry to have missed you @yotacowboy, we didn't get in until the afternoon.

    I had a great time at CAF as always-- though, this year it seemed to be crawling with youtubers. Some of my favorite things from the show:

    [​IMG]
    Clayton Shaw's Caladan Open-Baffle speaker was definitely one of the highlights of CAF. Though it didn't blow me away as much as the Spatial X4, I definitely think it's at the same level as the M3 Sapphire. I think he's using the same 12" eminence drivers as always, but there's a new silk dome tweeter. Anyways, the really wild thing about this speaker is that it's $3k-- that's a fair chunk less than any of the Spatials came in at.

    [​IMG]
    After last year's disaster, I wasn't expecting too much from Rethm. They really surprised me with the Trishna, which combines a wide-band paper driver with a 4-driver isobaric powered sub. This ended up being my favorite sound of the show; I'd put the wide-bander performance up there with Voxativ and Lowther, but the Trishna really kicked ass with how well integrated the bass extension was.

    [​IMG]
    Voxative brought their new Ampeggio, which was a blast to listen to. I wasn't terribly impressed with the BLH, but I think that was a function of the room size. It definitely integrated better when I got further back from it. I really liked the aesthetics of their tube amp, which had some of the biggest knobs I've ever seen.

    [​IMG]
    Last but not least on the wide-banders: the Lowther Edilia sounded like a dream. While it's not quite as powerful in the bass as the Rethm's powered sub, Lowther's up to some very cool things. A cheerful British guy introduced himself as the Edilia's designer and explained all the tricks; the BLH is actually a tractrix horn, the bass driver is actually in parallel with the wide-band, the "crossover" is actually just the natural roll-off as provided by the paper driver's weight, etc.

    [​IMG]
    I finally had a good experience with Zu speakers! And all it took was someone other than Sean Casey picking the songs. Randy (cheapaudioman) came in and asked for some Metallica, so we blasted the black album for a bit. Great tone, great dynamics, but not a ton of separation or imaging. I could barely tell Metallica had two guitarists. I'd love to see what a better amplifier or phono could do on this. While I think the Black Ice was a poor fit, it was certainly better than the HypeX stuff that Zu was running on last time.

    [​IMG]
    The Audio Company really chilled the hell out this year and I'm here for it. They gave the Ultra 11 a rest and brought out the Endeavor. These things cost less than a tenth of the Ultra 11 but sounds so, so much better. It's still hyper detailed, with excellent imaging and a super-wide soundstage, but it's also a little more relaxed. You can actually listen to this without getting exhausted after half a track. The highs don't pierce your skull and the lows don't induce testicular torsions; they're all very good but also very normal. I think it's the same ridiculous amplification as last year, but the sources had a bit more chill as well.

    [​IMG]

    There was definitely a lot of other great stuff at CAF.
    • AGD apparently brought a 2 million dollar room, but both times I poked my head in there they were playing european techno. I didn't stick around.
    • Audeze brought the new Maxwell headset. Good spatial demo with their dongle, but the headset's a little heavy and clunky imo. I don't think I'd enjoy it as a daily use Zoom headset.
    • The Rega RP8 is just so cool. Maybe I'll sit on my turntable upgrade fund for another year and shell out for one.
    • I really love how many manufacturers come out and are happy to engage with show-goers. It's awesome to listen to something, turn and ask your questions, then learn that the guy running the room also designed the equipment and can explain exactly what's going on.
     
  6. Gazny

    Gazny MOT: ETA Audio

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    I really like the Von schweikert rooms. I feel the bigger the room the higher the odds have having it all just sound good.
     
  7. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    They always have the biggest room at this show, but I've always felt that the Ultra 11 speakers they used to bring were overwhelming even there. I've heard them a few times, they always come off as sounding surreal and unnaturally dynamic. Maybe you need a concert hall amount of space for these monsters to have the breathing room they need.
    [​IMG]
    (Pic from CAF 2019)
     
  8. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I had too much going on this whole weekend so I had to skip it, but I was really, really looking forward to hearing these. So they're not using the Peerless corundum tweeter? hmmmm...

    I walked out of that room last year wondering if there's some kind of cheater compressor running; the dynamics were wholly unrealistic while playing any orchestral work. I'm not a live classical feind, but I've never heard a live orchestra sound anywhere near what that year's setup sounded like, dynamically.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2023
  9. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    There's not much more on the website than Clayton said in person, but there are a few details.
    My guess is that the smaller silk dome (vs the M3's customized Peerless 1.25" corundum) and the smaller mid/bass (no 15" option with these) are a big part of how he's driving the cost down. Also looks like I was wrong about the drivers being Eminence. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  10. artur9

    artur9 Facebook Friend

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    I went for the second time this year. Last time was pre-Covid and was tiny, or so I remember.

    The standouts for me were
    • seeing/hearing MBL. The room was filled with 5y-salary-worth of stuff so ...
    • putting eyes on the Philharmonic family of speakers, hoping the True Mini were small enough. They weren't. The tone on each of the speakers matched - as one went up the line the additional power and detail was easy to hear.
    • The Geshelli rooms. Nice family! Heard the ZMF Atrium there. Unfair comparison to the Meze Classics in that room.
    • Borrensen speakers, not on my radar (or price range) but sounded the best to me of the large dynamics.
    • Mon. omg, that Supermon Micro sounded great and less than the size of a 1/2 gallon of milk.
    • The professor in the Theoretica Applied Physics room was "a dear." Also using Janszen, which I used to have, so the change the BACCH made was clear.
    • The entire first floor filled with vinyl vendors was a thing to behold.
     
  11. chesebert

    chesebert Acquaintance

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    Did anyone see the room with Playback Designs MPD-8 and Jeff Rowland amp? How was it?
     

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