Capital Audiofest 2012 Starts Friday
For a one-man effort that began with 14 or 15 rooms in a Rockville mansion, the Capital Audiofest has grown considerably in its short existence. An idea birthed at a partya group of well-lubricated audiophiles, meeting for their annual post-CES bash at the home of Ijaz Kahn, sat around lamenting that there hadn't been an audio show in DC since the 1980s, and when they had finally sobered up, exactly one, Gary Gill, pictured above at last year's Show, found himself committed to following throughthe Capital Audiofest has expanded into a major show that will draw upwards of 1500 eager attendees from as far as Canada, Florida, and the Midwest.
Situated right off Interstate 270, and easily accessible via Metro/free hotel shuttle connection, the Crowne Plaza Rockville is decidedly audiophile friendly. In addition to six large exhibit rooms, and several ballroom areas that will host vendors and vintage gear, the bulk of its 13' x 18' listening rooms have 9' ceilings and masonry walls well insulated against bleed-through. One of the key issues that plagues audio showsproviding a stable flow of electrical current that enables rooms to sound consistent hour to hour and day to daywas reportedly not a problem last year.
While food service was a bit challenged last yearCapital Audiofest 2011 was the first big show the Crowne Plaza Rockville had ever hostedmanagement promises a modified menu with more quality sandwiches and special lunch items to keep things moving smoothly. Hotel staff will also come directly to the people, as it were, with traveling bars on each floor and delivery service visiting the rooms of overworked exhibitors. This could be one very happy show.
Chief among the show's attractions is its unique mix of vintage and new gear. Gill, who also plays jazz trombone, explains that the fest very much reflects his personality and predilections. "I'm primarily a vintage guy," he says, "so I mix quality vintage gear with the best of the new."
The show's exhibits will offer high quality sound from The Voice That Is, Audio Power Labs, Command AV, Bel Canto, Paolo Audio, Sophia Electric, United Home Audio, MBL, Volti Audio, High Water Sound, High-End Palace, Philharmonic Audio, Deja Vu Audio, VPI, David Berning and many more. Among the product debuts, Audio Power Labs' 50W monoblocks, will receive their first public airing, and Greg Roberts' Volti Audio will unveil a floor-standing loudspeaker with the unique Feastrex driver.
Add a number of delicious raffle items, still growing at press time; several jazz performances strong on improvisation; and appearances by Janel and Anthony, a fine DC-area acoustic duo whose music will not only delight but also provide a live reference for audiophiles who rarely venture beyond the sweet spot, and you have a well-rounded show wanting only for the workshops and seminars that will surely come with increased demand.
Stereophile's complete show coverage begin on July 13, with postings from John Atkinson added throughout the week. Please stay tuned. Better yet, head to the show, and add your own observations to John's.