PAF 2023

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 27, 2023  |  2 comments
"Have you heard Dutch & Dutch? If you haven't, you must." Time and again, variations on that theme were voiced either by me or many of the attendees I chatted with at the show.

As far as I can recall, my encounter with the Dutch & Dutch 8c active loudspeakers ($15,000/pair) is the first time I have heard this company's offerings. (They've only exhibited at two shows.) I sure hope it will be far from the last.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 27, 2023  |  0 comments
It took two visits until this room got silent enough for me to get a handle on what was going on sound-wise. There was a lot going on, and it was not always easy to parse.

The big items of note were prototype Spatial Audio Lab open-baffle loudspeakers (price and release date TBD) that descend to 30Hz and two components from Don Sachs and Lynn Olson Design, the Statement 300B monoblock amplifiers ($18,500–$19,900/pair) and Raven preamplifier ($4600). Both products will be manufactured by Spatial Audio Lab later this year.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 27, 2023  |  0 comments
I first heard Hungarian speaker company Popori Acoustics' top-line XR1.23 electrostats in Warsaw last year, where their deep bass greatly impressed. On Day 1 of the Pacific Audio Fest, the world-wide premiere Popori's WR1.23 w electrostats ($75,500/pair), which reside one level below the XR1.23s delivered some of the best sound I heard at the show.
Brian Damkroger  |  Jun 27, 2023  |  1 comments
On Sunday morning, I headed to the Marketplace to visit Kingrex Electric. King Rex himself, Rex Hungerford, was standing amid tables covered with a number of their modified and custom-built electrical panels and other components. He was explaining and fielding questions about what Kingrex does, which is designing specialized AC circuits and equipment to provide an audio system with absolutely the cleanest and quietest power possible. Or in website-speak, they have a singular focus, "Enriching the audio experience with clean electricity."
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 26, 2023  |  2 comments
As much as I attempted to skip equipment we'd recently explored in Chicago, Munich, and/or Costa Mesa, my uncertainty about the intrinsic sound of CH Precision Series 1 equipment impelled me to check out their exhibit from greater Seattle dealer Audio-Ultra. While not everything in the system was from CH Precision—Ideon supplied the Absolute Epsilon DAC ($47,000), Absolute Epsilon Stream ($19,900), and Absolute Epsilon Time Signature V clock ($22,000), all of which complemented Aurender's N20 music server ($12,500)—there was sufficient CH Precision equipment in the chain to draw some conclusions.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 26, 2023  |  0 comments
In a room whose vintage TAD Evolution One floorstanders (NFS) attracted considerable attention, Wells Audio equipment delivered consistently fine, solid sound. Jeff Wells's room was also one of many I encountered that dealt with the hotel's lack of ethernet ports/wired internet by only playing 16/44.1 rips from CD.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 25, 2023  |  1 comments
On the pretty lucky-sounding 13th floor of the Doubletree by Hilton at SEATAC, LTA and Daedalus Audio presented the larger installment of their two-room partnership. A Red Book file of Patricia Barber's "The Beat Goes On" was distinguished by lovely warmth and a very solid, all of one piece presentation.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 25, 2023  |  2 comments
For the second year in a row, the first room at PAF I entered was dominated by Dan Wright's ModWright equipment. Presented in equal partnership with Seattle HiFi, who carries all the components on active display, the room was headed by ModWright's new KWA 99 fully balanced, class-AB, compact MOSFET monoblocks ($7500/pair introductory price—normally $9000). Mated with the matching LS 99 fully balanced tube preamplifier ($6500 introductory price), the system produced extremely quiet, absolutely lovely sound. This was a great start to the show.
Brian Damkroger  |  Jun 24, 2023  |  9 comments
There's an established standard protocol one observes when entering a room at an audio show. First, you stand in the doorway and listen for a couple of minutes, then check in with the exhibitor and if necessary, introduce yourself. Next, you exchange pleasantries and catch up while idly thumbing through whatever literature is displayed. Finally, and only at the exhibitor's insistence, you make your way to the best seat in the house while apologizing to everyone you step over, around, and displace. That's not what happened when I visited the NOLA room where Carl (left in photo), Marilyn, and Kristen Marchisotto (right) were overseeing the west coast debut of the $150,000/pair Baby Grand Reference Gold 3 loudspeakers, the midpoint of NOLA's reference series. Stepping into the doorway was as far as I got before bee-lining to the front and center, shoving aside anyone not fast enough to get out of my way.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 23, 2023  |  2 comments
The Pacific Northwest's premiere/sole audio show, the Pacific Audio Fest (PAF), takes place today through Sunday June 25 at the Doubletree by Hilton at SEATAC airport near Seattle. Attendees, who judging by pre-registrants, could double or triple 2022's inaugural PAF attendance, will discover 41 active exhibit rooms, eight exhibitors in "Record Row," seven exhibits (from six companies) in the "Headzone," and at least nine booths (from eight companies) in the "Marketplace" at the other end of a large shared ballroom.