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Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2016 Show Report
Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2016 Show Report
Triode Wire Labs, Border Patrol, And Living Voice
Report By Kemper Holt

 

  Reporting on rooms can be difficult, especially getting all the front-end gear, preamp, amp, speakers, cables, etc listed correctly. "Triode Pete" of TWL says are "the red-haired stepchild" of rooms, and at time may be left out of a show report. So I'm starting with some of the most neutral, non-fatiguing, engaging cables from one of the truly good guys, Triode Wire Labs and Pete Grzybowski. You can always ask Pete questions about his cables, audio in general, music, beer, and especially which cable choices should work best in your system, he'll always have time to help. TWL has branched out from their award winning power cables, and now have a complete wiring palette to cover all your connections, including a new Split Power/ Data USB cable ($329). TWL now offers a premium line of power cables incorporating larger diameter conductors, different dielectric, new design, and Furutech FI-50M connectors, top of the heap called "The Obsession" ($1299).

 

 

Gary Dews had his Border Patrol S20 EXD dual mono amp with dual outboard power supplies ($16,750), and to streamline the system he incorporated a volume control on the S20. The big silver box sitting outside the rack is the tube rectified power supply for the Border Patrol 1543 "Il Bambino" DAC ($1500), which uses a TDA 1543 R2R ladder chip with no oversampling or digital filtering, and comes in a beautiful wood box. For such a small looking, and attractive speaker, the Living Voice OBX-RW ($11,800 per pair), produce a much bigger sound than they look. A CEC TL3N transport fed the 1543 DAC, and TWL cables laced it all together.

 

 

This room sounded great on all my music, voices focused and properly sized, speakers disappeared leaving a wide and deep soundstage, rich tonality, extended but not bright treble range, tight and punchy bass especially drum kits, and oodles of detail without sounding etched or lean. The Living Voice speakers have an outboard crossover box, which prompts many to ask "what's the box behind the speakers"? The outboard xover, and 300Bs with giant power supplies let the LV OBX-RWs sing with authority and dynamic excitement, if you need speakers that don't dominate a room, but are accurate and you can listen to all day without fatigue, call Gary.

 

 

 

Late Friday night Greg Roberts of Volti Audio, now in TN, rolled into Rockville after driving all day towing a pair of new speakers finished the day before. Well finish tells the whole story, the new Rival speakers ($7900 per pair), are un-finished and require almost 10 times less man hours to build compared to Volti's Vittoras ($25,750), even though they use the same drivers. The production Rivals will have some improvements to crossover tuning, and will be narrower and taller not requiring stands. Now many more fans of Greg's Volti sound will find them affordable. So halfway through the show, the Rivals were setup in place of the LV OBX-RWs, Gary Dews graciously allowed the Rivals to crash the party. The Rivals had the tone and dynamics Volti is known for, and the bass could easily overload the room at times. The next time we hear the Rivals they will be dialed in and a speaker to watch for.

 

 

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