Jason Victor Serinus

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 07, 2012  |  3 comments
Just nine days after Independence Day, the third annual Capital Audiofest unfurls its banner with the hope of life, liberty, and good sound for all. Scheduled for July 13–15 in the three-story Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rockville, MD, the show promises up to 40 exhibit rooms stocked with enough high-quality equipment to send Paul Revere galloping from port to post declaring, "The Audiophiles Are Coming!"

For a one-man effort that began with 14 or 15 rooms in a Rockville mansion, the Capital Audiofest has grown considerably in its short existence. An idea birthed at a party—a group of well-lubricated audiophiles, meeting for their annual post-CES bash at the home of Ijaz Kahn, sat around lamenting that there hadn't been an audio show in DC since the 1980s, and when they had finally sobered up, exactly one, Gary Gill, pictured above at last year's Show, found himself committed to following through–the Capital Audiofest has expanded into a major show that will draw upwards of 1500 eager attendees from as far as Canada, Florida, and the Midwest.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 17, 2012  |  14 comments
At Montreal's Salon Son et Image earlier this year, Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio (left in photo) found the pairing of the company's Sophia 3 loudspeaker ($18,000/pair) and VTL's MB-185 Series III, EL-34-based monoblocks ($15,000/pair) and VTL TL-5.5 preamp w/phono ($10,500) so felicitous that he proposed that he and VTL's Luke Manley (right in photo) revisit the coupling in the US. The opportunity arose at Music Lovers Audio in Berkeley, California, where a public afternoon demo on June 9, 2012 drew a large group of audiophiles who packed two large showrooms at the prestigious, well-appointed store.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2012  |  0 comments
One of my fondest memories of a past CES was sitting with John Atkinson at T.H.E. Show, playing a track from one of his superb recordings of Cantus on an all-out darTZeel /Evolution Acoustics system from Jonathan Tinn's Blue Light Audio. Here, on more modest speakers and electronics, I was again blown away, this time by the fabulous soundstage height, three-dimensionality, and realistic depiction of horns and cymbals on Michael Tilson Thomas' recording of Mahler's Symphony 3.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2012  |  1 comments
This was a very special show. It was a joy to be there.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2012  |  0 comments
Late on Saturday afternoon, Emotiva's hall-end room at the Hilton shifted into college fraternity mode. The Emotiva Stealth 8s ($1499/pair) and ProDAC ($699), connected with Emotiva cables, were blasting mono-tonality assaultive rock that, for all I could tell, was sourced from MP3. The bass was huge, the highs searing, the outcome lamentable. I'll bet, if John Atkinson had analyzed what was playing for one of his seminars on how compression is ruining the pop music industry, his meters would have read red, red, red.

As you will read in the next story, it was a very different story in Emotiva's second room. Thank God.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2012  |  0 comments
Scaena's imposing systems never fail to provide one of the highlights of the Show experience. Once the flashing light show on the VAC tube equipment was turned off, I was able to settle in and enjoy sensational sound through the Scaena Spiritus 3.6 System with Trifecta subwoofers ($130,000), VAC Statement 450 monoblock amplifiers ($78,000, presumably for the pair), VAC Signature MK2a preamp with phono option ($19,500), Audience Adept aR-12-TSS power conditioner ($10,000) and, for analog, the Kronos counter-rotating dual platter turntable ($28,000) with Graham Phantom Supreme 12" arm ($6000), Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement cartridge ($15,000), and Audio Research Ref phono 2 ($11,995).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2012  |  0 comments
The sound from Richard Kohlruss' VMAX Services room excelled in warmth and soundstage width. It wasn't the most subtle or detailed system I encountered, but it definitely made a movement from Haydn's Trumpet Concerto a pleasure to listen to. Given that I have heard a movement from this concerto whistled at the whistling contest I've frequently attended and judged far more times than I wish to recount, this was no mean feat.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2012  |  0 comments
Tucked in back of the FritzSpeakers room was a display from eNetFusion's Fusion Plinths. As explained by company owner Sunil, the company's made-to-order plinths are precision crafted to your turntable using exotic woods.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2012  |  0 comments
Bless Len Miller of Soundstring Cable Technologies for providing me with a solid presentation of John Travolta's "Stayin' Alive." As my pace increased as I attempted to cover four floors in three days, this music became a mantra of sorts.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jun 09, 2012  |  0 comments
Dynamic Sound Systems of Carlsbad, CA demmed bi-amped Plinius 310Wpc stereo amplifiers ($10,300 each), Plinius stereo preamplifier ($11,350 line, $12,500 phono), and Plinius Tiki DLNA compatible Digital Audio Renderer ($4775) in a system that also included the PMC IB2 three-way loudspeaker ($18,490/pair), and Analysis Plus Oval 9 speaker cables as well as Solo Crystal interconnects and Power Oval 2 power cables.

On tracks from Nils Lofgren and Vivaldi, I found the sound solid and dynamic, but also hard, and opaque, perhaps due to the sub-optimal room acoustics. Yes, traps had been used in the corners of this room, but an exhibitor at a Show is always at the mercy of whichever room they have been allocated.

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