Ken Micallef

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 13, 2022  |  2 comments
I have a theory about Greg Roberts, Gary Dews, and Pete Grzybowski, respective owners of Volti Audio, BorderPatrol Audio Electronics, and Triode Wire Labs. I knew guys like these three in high school, whip smart dudes who had the best music, stayed up late playing that music, but were somehow at school the next morning before anyone, pushing their grades to the max. Me? Slacker.
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 13, 2022  |  0 comments
Alma Music's Fabio Storelli and On A Higher Note's Philip O'Hanlon tempted me with promises of serious sound, female entertainment, and triple-distilled whiskey. I fell into their room and almost spent the night.

O'Hanlon had the brand spanking new Graham Audio LS8/1 Limited Edition standmount loudspeakers ($9700/pair, with stands).

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 13, 2022  |  4 comments
Albert Guerra of AGD Productions (left) and Michal Jurewicz (right)

Running into my Brooklyn buddy and Mytek head honcho Michal Jurewicz at the local Safeway (hotel food: $$$), he invited me to an after-hours shootout between his forthcoming GaN FET-powered, Empire monoblocks ($19,990/pair, below), which are specified as offering 400W into 8 ohms and 800W into 4 ohms. His dueling partner in this shootout was Albert Guerra of AGD Productions, who brought his GaN FET-operated Gran Vivace Monoblocks ($18,500/pair).

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 13, 2022  |  6 comments
The Listening Room and Perlisten Audio's Erik Wiederhotlz assembled a fine-sounding room, its front end including the revised Michell Orbe SE Turntable with an inverted, oil-circulating main bearing, freestanding motor, and massive platter ($6999 w/o tonearm; $8495 w/Technoarm 2), Innuos Statement Music Sever and Streamer, Soul Note D2 DAC ($8999), Soul Note E2 MM/MC Phono Equalizer ($8999), and Soul Note S3 SACD player ($19,999). Amplification consisted of more Soul Note!
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 13, 2022  |  0 comments
Perennial purveyor of uber musical sounds, Audio Note (UK) presented their wares at CAF, hitting every possible price range, and more importantly, making exceedingly sweet and empathetic sounds.
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 13, 2022  |  0 comments
The Berlin-made electronics and loudspeakers in the Voxativ room were impressive and riveting, moving air like a freight train from their handmade full-range drivers, modular, three-section floorstanders, and 30Wpc SET integrated amplifier.
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 12, 2022  |  0 comments
Jeff Fox and Jessie Bentley of Falls Church, Virginia's Command Performance AV graciously opened their room to me, pre-showtime. I chose their vinyl copy of trumpeter Erik Truffaz's 2000 album, The Mask, for play on their J. Sikora Reference turntable, ($47,000; gloss finish with Reference power supply), and its new J. Sikora KV Max Zirconium Series 9" tonearm (TBA), a CAF world premiere, running a Lyra Atlas Lambda SL cartridge ($11,995).
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 12, 2022  |  1 comments
High Water Sound's Jeffrey Catalano is a an evolved being, existing on a higher plane, his rooms part meditation, part deep music immersion seminar, part discovery/journey. Year after year, Jeff assembles some of the best-sounding rooms you'll ever hear at any show. And often with equipment as unique and revelatory as Jeffrey himself.

This year at CAF was no different, Jeff's system and choice of vinyl inspiring, calming/stunning, informing and educational.

Ken Micallef  |  Nov 12, 2022  |  2 comments
Robin Wyatt's Robyatt room wins my early, best sound of show. Playing recordings I thought I knew well, as well as those I'd never heard, his exacting, tonally true, vivid, physical, natural and extremely transparent system left my jaw on the floor and other's mouths agape.
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 12, 2022  |  0 comments
Black Ice amplification joined with Klipsch speakers and a Pro-Ject turntable to create a high-octane rig that played contemporary pop, rock, and blues like Stevie Ray Vaughan riffing with '90s German techno.