PAF 2022

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 03, 2022  |  0 comments
A speaker brand new to me, Kroma Atelier from Spain, caught many an eye and ear with the US premiere of their small black Mimi Xtreme standmount loudspeaker ($12,600/pair in white, $13,860 in black, left in photo) with Mimi stands ($3600/pair). Introduced by Tim Lukas's Matterhorn Audio Group of Boston, whose other brands include FinkTeam and Creek, the speaker is claimed to work with amps that output as little as 15Wpc. With a 6.5" midrange with proprietary cone, and a special AMT neodymium-ribbon tweeter designed by Mundorf to Kroma Atelier's specifications, the speaker boasts a 4 ohm nominal impedance, an 88dB sensitivity, and a frequency response of 30Hz–25kHz. The design of its woofer's surround (below) is intentional—it is possibly one the new Purifi drive-units.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 04, 2022  |  0 comments
In a room that better suited Margules electronics than the room at the 2022 Long Beach show, and with smaller Raidho TD3.2 loudspeakers ($70,000/pair) replacing the 3.8s used there, Margules electronics delivered an extremely pleasing sound with a lively but non-edgy top. The all-male a cappella rendition of "These Bones Will Rise Again"—I believe they rose in Long Beach as well—joined another resurrected oldie, the silly "Jazz Variants" from the O-Zone Percussion Group, to showcase how successfully these tube components reproduce deep bass and high-pitched percussion.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 03, 2022  |  0 comments
Another speaker surprise from Matterhorn Audio Group of Boston. The midrange exceled through FinkTeam Borg floorstanding loudspeakers (starting at $36,490/pair), shown next to the Kim standmount (starting at $12,990/pair). The sound of Dominique Fils-Aimé singing "Birds" was as fetching as Chris Botti's "What a Wonderful World" was lovely.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 03, 2022  |  0 comments
A direct-sales company new to me, MK Audio of Charlotte, North Carolina, journeyed cross-country to present their Arion Audio Apollo 9 loudspeaker system ($35,900/pair) with full DSP and advanced room correction. The Apollo 9 is also available in Dual-Pack Woofer Package ($5900) that includes two additional woofers with two amps. With AMT drivers built in-house, the speaker is an open-baffle design with a claimed whopping 105dB sensitivity.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 05, 2022  |  2 comments
If any company's sonic signature has changed from the first time I encountered it, it's Dan Wright's ModWright. While Dan still does tube modifications to products from other companies—his Cambridge CXN V2 Tube Modification ($1500/mod only) to the Cambridge DAC was part of the show system—the KWH225i class-AB Hybrid Integrated ($9750), PH9.0X Tube Phono Stage ($4750), and world debut Analog Bridge (maybe $2900/TBD) are 100% ModWright.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 02, 2022  |  2 comments
Børresen loudspeakers, designed by Michael Børresen, joined forces with its Danish brother companies Ansuz and Aavik to present the world premieres of the cost-no-object Børresen M1 standmount loudspeaker ($100,000/pair) and Aavik 200Wpc I-880 class-A integrated amplifier ($70,000). In a system that paired them with the Aavik's S-580 streamer ($25,200) and D-580 DAC ($25,200) and Ansuz's Signature Sortz, Darkz Z2S supports, and Gold Signature cables, the sound of multiple selections was simply too high for the room. Because I could not get a decent sense of what the equipment could do, I returned for a private listen on the following morning, before the show began.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 02, 2022  |  0 comments
In a somewhat lower priced system, the Børresen 01 Silver Supreme Edition standmount loudspeaker ($55,000/pair), Aavik U-580 300Wpc Unity DAC/integrated amplifier ($35,000) and S-580 streamer ($25,200) paired with Ansuz cabling and accessories to deliver lots of fun. I loved the sound on a 16/44.1 file of Yello's "Planet Dada." The sound, a bit dry, had life and pizazz for days. I loved it. Had the volume level not overdriven the room, I would have stayed for more.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 29, 2022  |  5 comments
Stop the presses! The wittiest of Stereophile's legacy posters, our very own Anton, has returned to the audio show realm. Once again ensconced in his unique NFS room—NFS stands for "Not for Sale"—Anton has rented a penthouse suite at PAF in which to seduce showgoers with mood lighting, a vintage/homebrewed system, and lots and lots of hard brew (as in alcohol).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 03, 2022  |  0 comments
As if to dispel concerns spurred by former Krell VP Walter Schofield's surprise departure from the company, Krell's very own Director of Product Development, David (Dave) Goodman (above), journeyed to WA state to present another pre-listen to Krell's not-yet-released KSA i400 stereo amplifier ($35,000). Given that Dave designed this amp, this was quite the opportunity for savvy showgoers.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 05, 2022  |  0 comments
Of the two systems in Parasound's large room, time only allowed a listen to the big one. Given that room's entire front wall was composed of outward-facing glass, Parasound's Phil Jackson had no choice but to opt for heavy draping that, as with all heavy draping, nipped depth in the bud.

I initially typed "death" rather than depth. Whatever that may say about my own internal preoccupations, it does not reflect on the core of the system's sound, which was gratifying alive without being hot or splashy.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 05, 2022  |  0 comments
The email read, in part, like an equipment list with Herb Reichert's name on it. The room had one raison d'être: to showcase Pure AudioProject's Trio15 Classic open-baffle speaker ($9740/pair), which includes a Voxativ AC-PiFe wooden-cone center driver and three 15" woofers custom-manufactured for PureAudioProject by Eminence. To do so, Ze'ev (Wolf) Schlik paired his speaker with Pass Labs' INT-25 integrated amplifier ($7500) and XP-17 phono preamp ($4300), the Denafrips Terminator Plus DAC ($6400), and VPI Industries' Avenger turntable ($12,000) with Shyla cartridge ($2000).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 02, 2022  |  0 comments
A PNW store new to me and many, Reference Media of Bellingham, showed a system that produced very clean images with a fine depiction of space. Pat Metheny's "The Sound of Silence" on the LP, What's It All About, was notably liquid, flowing, and open. Complete with an all-encompassing soundstage, the listening experience was totally enjoyable, without reservation.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 05, 2022  |  First Published: Aug 07, 2022  |  4 comments
One more straggling post from the Pacific Audiofest: As indicative of the New York / West Coast melting pot, internationalism was the bottom line in a system assembled by Bob Vineyard, proprietor of Rhapsody Out West's Portland, Oregon showroom.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 03, 2022  |  0 comments
I first encountered consistently handsome Rosso Fiorentino speakers at a show years ago, and immediately encouraged a now-retired distributor to pick up the Italian brand. I'm so happy to discover that AudioThesis is now bringing them into the US.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 31, 2022  |  5 comments
No, this blog isn't about slaughter. It's about the components in Seattle Hi-Fi of Redmond, WA's room, some of which were displayed on Butcher Block Acoustics shelving.

Nor was there anything about the sound Burt Goodman drew from his system deserving of slaughter. True, the music selections were all standard audiophile fare from previous generations, but the sound was here, now, and excellent. Diana Krall's "Let’s Fall in Love" was bright, lovely, clean, colorful, and fully detailed.