Capital AudioFest 2017

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Art Dudley  |  Nov 08, 2017  |  0 comments
After the Capital Audio fest vintage seminar and my visit to Vinyl Revivers, I looked at my phone and saw that time was running out: I had just over three hours left to cover seven or eight more rooms. Time to get cracking!
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 08, 2017  |  0 comments
Dan Wright is most famous for his Oppo disc-player modifications that seem to cure the colorlessness and industrial ennui that contaminates the stock Oppo players. They look a bit weird sci-fi with the two tubes sticking out the top like alien antennae—but his BDP-105 and 205 mods sound rich fast and wonderful. Dan also makes beautifully crafted amps and preamps. And lately, he's been making glamorous-looking and -sounding headphone amplifiers like the shiny red $7900 300B tube-powered HA300 amplifier pictured above.
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 08, 2017  |  0 comments
What I love most about the CanJam-CanMania world of headphones is, when I enter these rooms full of tables stacked with gear and cans; all laid out into individual listening stations; each with its own folding chair, DAC, amp, and headphones—all with table cloths and tangled wires—I am reminded of those ham radio meets I used to attend. Those tribal rooms were always alive with a collective vibe of discovery—just like here and now. CAF 2017's CanMania was no exception, and, exactly like those old hamfests, there are tubes everywhere.

And of course, the most hamfest-tubealistic of all is (as always) Justin Weber's Ampsandsound table...

Art Dudley  |  Nov 07, 2017  |  8 comments
On Sunday morning, my Capital Audiofest 2017 experience began in the Hilton's Washington Auditorium, as my friend and colleague Herb Reichert (above) and I hosted a seminar titled "The Virtues of Vintage."
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 07, 2017  |  10 comments
When I walked into the VK Music room, I was jealous and embarrassed. I was jealous, because obviously VK Music's Victor Kung was doing something I admire; I was simultaneously embarrassed that I had never heard of his British Columbia-based operation.
Art Dudley  |  Nov 07, 2017  |  21 comments
Because I'm ill-disposed to flying—when you get right down to it, I'm not wild about traveling in general—I usually go by train. That's where I'm working on this portion of my CAF 2017 coverage. (We're near Trenton, New Jersey as I write this.)
Art Dudley  |  Nov 06, 2017  |  3 comments
Pros: Tactile, clear, colorful, and remarkably spacious sound; beautifully made gear
Cons: Audiophile music, audiophile demonstration protocol.

The sound in the room that featured the Daedalus Apollo 11 speaker ($22,800/pair), a selection of tubed electronics from ModWright, and cabling by WyWires was superb: detailed without sounding etched, and pleasantly liquid and warm, with good texture and a really great, spacious sense of scale. On top of all that, the gear from both brands is gorgeous: as rich and colorful in appearance as in sound.

Herb Reichert  |  Nov 05, 2017  |  2 comments
Fyssion? That rhymes with "fishin'," right? Every year I pop in the Fyssion room and every year I start thinking of fishin' before I even sit down, because these Fine Southern Gentlemen remind me of how good the bass fishing must be in their home state of North Carolina. I always cause a little friction 'cause I try to get them to have a room sheet with info about the gear they are playing and they always say, "Why should I do that?" I grin and explain that, "No words from you gets no words from me." They all laugh.
Art Dudley  |  Nov 05, 2017  |  53 comments
I began the second half of my Friday in the room sponsored by Tone Imports and Connecticut dealer Old Forge Studio, enjoying a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar. In the former category was the enduringly recommendable PTP Solid 12 turntable (2950 Euros, available direct) from the Netherlands—a cleverly refurbished idler-drive Lenco with a smart Corian plinth...
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 04, 2017  |  6 comments
I like the word tenacious. I consider myself tenacious. I admire tenacity. But I have to ask, what is Tenacious Sound? It is an audio dealer in Syracuse, New York, that is about to "tenaciously" open a new store in Nashville, TN. Tenacious had two rooms at the 2017 Capital Audio fest. The first was upscale and featured John Bevier demonstrating the hottest speaker of the moment, one I think sounds fast and lucid in a sometimes-thrilling way, the TAD ME-1K ($14,290/pair).
Art Dudley  |  Nov 04, 2017  |  46 comments
Perhaps you've heard this before, but it bears repeating: Veteran exhibitors and attendees alike have a great deal of loyalty and affection for this seven-year-old show and its busy founder, Gary Gill. I was reminded of that during my very first stop on day one of Capital AudioFest 2017, when Kevin Hayes of VAC described the reasoning behind the decision to assemble such a large, expensive, and distinctly ambitious playback system: "In light of the move to this time of year, we wanted to help Gary and the show by doing something exceptional." The result: a system built around the mighty Von Schweikert Audio Ultra 11 loudspeaker ($295,000/pair), powered by two pairs of VAC's Statement 450 iQ monoblock power amplifiers ($120,000/pair).
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 03, 2017  |  1 comments
That is me you see hanging out the car window like an old hound dog—ears flappin' in the slipstream—a big smile on my face. I am happy in the wind 'cause I am heading down to Rockville, Maryland to Capital Audio fest (starting today, November 3, and running though Sunday November 5) where I will see at least 60 fine audio rooms and I'll chatter on a panel about "The Virtues of Vintage" with old pals, Art Dudley, Joe Roberts, and Blackie Pagano. I'll be cruising the Rockville Hilton Hotel halls meeting new people and visiting the rooms of some old and (hopefully) some new friends. Tickets for entry are only $20 a day or $30 for the whole weekend.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 30, 2017  |  0 comments
From a small regional show, Gary Gill's seven-year old Capital Audiofest has grown into the East Coast Show of 2017. Set for November 3–5 in the Hilton Hotel Twinbrook in Rockville, MD, CAF will offer 57 exhibit rooms spread over three floors plus the hotel Atrium. That amounts to 93 exhibitors and over 200 brands, including a CanMania with 20 headphone vendors. For a show that, just last year, maxed out at 40 rooms with 65 exhibitors and 85 brands, this represents major growth.
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