Capital AudioFest 2019

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Ken Micallef  |  Nov 04, 2019  |  4 comments
Oswald Mill Audio (OMA) is known for thinking outside of the box, and its new division, Fleetwood Sound Company, looks to extend that tradition.
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 04, 2019  |  0 comments
There's a cliché that says that New Yorkers are fond of wearing black. It's a true cliché. But fascination with the dark side isn’t restricted to New Yorkers.
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 05, 2019  |  First Published: Nov 04, 2019  |  13 comments
Two friends whose taste and hearing I respect—and who visited every room at this show—told me they thought the $35K/pair MC Audiotech Forty-10 loudspeakers made the best sound at CAF. No question, these almost five-feet tall decorator-friendly midcentury-modern-looking beauties sounded even better they look, and they look very nice.
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 04, 2019  |  1 comments
The other big room with spectacular sound on the Rockville Hilton’s atrium level featured products from Pass Labs, GT Audioworks, and Basis Audio.
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 04, 2019  |  12 comments
I mentioned earlier how uncolored, detailed, transparent, and image-specific an open baffle loudspeaker can sound. Unfortunately, not all open baffle speakers are created equal, and making a coherent and musically satisfying open-baffle speaker is much more complex than just bolting a few drivers to a sheet of plywood. The question any loudspeaker designer must ask is, how far should I go? When is done right?
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 03, 2019  |  6 comments
I’ve favorably reviewed both Gary Dews’ BorderPatrol amps and Greg Roberts’ horn-loaded Volti Audio speakers. Since I couldn’t afford to purchase either when I reviewed them, I was looking forward to seeing and hearing their wares at CAF.
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 03, 2019  |  27 comments
Walk through the glass entrance doors, then twenty paces straight ahead, and you find yourself standing at the lip of a dizzying precipice, with a full panoramic view of the Rockville Hilton’s vast LP-filled atrium. To your right is a spectacularly lit glass wall that measures about 25’ high by 75’ wide. Above the glass is a giant banner baring the turquoise Valve Amplification Company’s logo: VAC. Standing in front of the wall are groups of urbane sophisticates: handsome men in suits, beautiful women, bright-eyed children. This envy-inspiring display is assembled by The Audio Company out of Marietta, GA; who describe themselves as “purveyors of hi-end luxury audio.”
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 03, 2019  |  6 comments
With so many megabuck rooms fattening the floors of CAF 2019, it’s easy to miss the smallish, sub-$10,000 systems making absolutely first rate sound. One such room was manned by MoFi’s Jon Derda: the Tenacious Sound/MoFi/Quad room.
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 03, 2019  |  0 comments
Amplifier designer Vinnie Rossi has the looks of a dapper clotheshorse. His gear is also stylish and eye-catching, kind of steampunk-techno. But there's substance there, too.
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 03, 2019  |  7 comments
I’ve known DeVore Fidelity’s John DeVore a long time. Luxman America President Jeff Sigmund, too. I’ve reviewed a few of their products—DeVore and Luxman. These guys are salt of the earth. They’ve got tradition, they love music, they have a desire to create, a desire to serve.
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 02, 2019  |  6 comments
Before I knew who she was, I saw Roslyn in the hall handing out chocolate chip cookies that she baked herself. She was vivacious, with a heart-melting smile, and talking to everybody. Each hand-wrapped bag held two cookies and was tied with a ribbon in a bow, with a business card. (As I chatted with her I snuck cookie-bag after cookie-bag into my jacket pockets. I don’t think she noticed.)
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 01, 2019  |  3 comments
It was 77 degrees on October 31 and the weather on the drive down reminded me of an amplifier I once owned: dark, gray, and dry. The weather app on my phone said there were tornado warnings for the Washington, DC, area, but that could not diminish my excitement about going to Capital Audiofest at the Hilton Hotel in Rockville Maryland.
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 01, 2019  |  5 comments
The lighting in the Krell-Alta Audio room was bleak, gray, colorless. The only color in the entire room was the blue from the lights on Krell’s never-before-played-in-public K-300p phono preamplifier ($TBD), Krell Illusion line-level preamplifier ($7700), Krell Duo 300 XD amplifier, and Krell CEO Walter Schofield’s shiny blue jacket.
Herb Reichert  |  Nov 01, 2019  |  8 comments
I have been beating the headphone drum at Stereophile since I started in 2014. By 2016, when I reviewed Linear Tube Audio’s inaugural product, the microZOTL2.0 line-stage/headphone amplifier, I was falling asleep with AKG K812s on my head. (Now I’m falling asleep with HiFiMan Susvara and RAAL-requisite SR1a ribbon headphones.) To me, headphone listening is the gateway to audio’s newest wonderland.
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 01, 2019  |  1 comments
I had woken up not long before, fallen out of bed, and descended the hotel stairs to the Atrium—to the sight of what appeared to be many tens of thousands of vinyl records. I had dragged myself away and met Herb Reichert for breakfast, where we made plans for Stereophile’s coverage of Capital AudioFest 2019. But the vinyl kept drawing me back.

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