PAF 2022

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 04, 2022  |  0 comments
With the support of Seattle's 76-year-old Hawthorne Stereo, Focal Naim America presented a system described by the company's Tom Graham as "The best of the best of what Focal and Naim have to offer." The sound in the large room was extremely open and spacious on a 16/44.1 wireless stream of a very naïve sounding soprano singing the "Pie Jesu" from John Rutter's Requiem.
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
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 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 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  |  Aug 03, 2022  |  2 comments
Uh oh. It had to happen someone. But did trashed-in-shipment karma really need to strike New Hampshire's Gunny Surya, whose excellent Sonner Audio Legato Duo loudspeaker ($9500/pair) had to make do, not with the intended SW1X Audio Design DAC III SPX ($7500), but rather with an iFi DAC2 ($400)?
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 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 02, 2022  |  4 comments
Show co-creator Lou Hinkley proudly stood alongside his new Daedalus Audio Apollo11 v.3 loudspeaker (starting at $27,500/pair). Variously depicted as "a whole new version" (in the room sheet) and "pretty complete makeover" (by Hinkley at the show) of the Apollo, the 52"-tall speaker boasts a larger midrange and an entirely new array design. "The lower three woofers function more like a point source, and the additional tweeter delivers more stage height and width," Hinkley said.
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 02, 2022  |  0 comments
Let's start with the music. On Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's RCA Living Stereo recording of Rimsky-Korsakoff's Scheherazade, the solo violin's sound epitomized beauty of tone. Smoothness was the system's strong suit, dwarfing (in this room) layering, detail, dynamics, and grandeur.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Aug 02, 2022  |  1 comments
Aurender, whose music servers were in use in some of the best sounding rooms at PAF, had its own separate static display (with every model) and listening rooms. In the latter, the Aurender N20 ($12,000) produced excellent sound through the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Series 3 ($10,995), Constellation Argo Integrated Amplifier ($35,800), Magico A5 loudspeakers ($26,800), Shunyata Research cables and power conditioning, and Grand Prix Audio Monaco equipment stand.
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  |  1 comments
There was one and only one raison d'être for this room: showcasing the Innuos Statement Music Server/Ripper with Next Gen LPSU and 1TB internal SSD ($21,700). If it wasn't an unqualified success—two other pieces of equipment, borrowed for the show, were not broken in and produced flat and uninvolving sound on Day 1—it mattered not to moi, because the same Statement sounded fantastic during a 7-hour post-show visit to my Port Townsend music room by Innuos software designer Nuno Vitorino.
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.

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