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Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2017 & CanMania Show Report
Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2017 & CanMania Show Report
The Audio Company, Von Schweikert, VAC, Esoteric, MasterBuilt Audio, And ASC
CAF 2017 Show Report By Kemper Holt


CAF 2017: The Audio Company, Von Schweikert, VAC, Esoteric, MasterBuilt Audio, And ASC


  I started all three days at the show spending an hour or more in this room, and I could have written off the rest of the show and parked here basking in the best reproduction of music I have ever heard. This veteran crew did it right, arrived Monday, basic setup Tuesday and got music playing, next two days getting it right, for the show absolute perfection. They spent half a day just tracking down insufficient AC current and dividing up which amps were plugged into what outlet. The room looked beautiful and the entrance to the Potomac room announced you were entering into a special experience.




I got to the Hilton early on Friday and went straight to the Potomac room and was greeted by Leif Swanson and Damon Von Schweikert of VAS, and Kevin Hayes of Valve Amplification Company (VAC). They introduced me to the owner of The Audio Company Keith Sequeira who helped put together this magnificent system. There is no easy way to describe how wonderful listening to this system was, I need to delve into a thesaurus for new terms. Leif first played some tracks from Roger Waters' Amused to Death, a voice came from 20' off my left shoulder and a piano came from 20' to my right, imaging was crazy good. The system had a huge soundstage, imaging to die for with air and space around instruments, crushing low deep bass, and an ease that made you forget about the system and just get carried away by the music. My subconscious reaction was that I couldn't keep my eyes open, they just closed and the illusion of live music took over. Gentle Ben revealed lifelike dynamics from his Sax, Ray Brown's Soular Energy was stunning with piano dynamics and harmonics like a club setting, Michael Hedges' explosive guitar technique set me back in my seat from dynamics, the horn section on Henry Mancici's Pink Panther had two others within the room tap me on the shoulder and say how live it sounded!




I believed I could hear them stand up and play with lifelike impact and bite that was perfect, as orchestral music was presented on a huge wide and deep stage with beautiful string tone, horns with the proper bite, and real world dynamics, Santana's Arbraxas closed out a session and I wanted to stand and applaud! Another capability of this system is that it was able to sound dynamic and involving at lower levels, and it allows low level details to be easily presented without straining to hear them which helps in tricking you into believing it's live music.



This system was truly a state-of-the-art statement and I'm so glad they brought it to the Capital Audiofest for the East Coast to enjoy. I heard a similar system in Chicago at AXPONA 2017 and it was even better here in Rockville. Thanks to all involved for letting us hear just how far we have come and how sensational music reproduction can be. I had no idea how close this system would transport me to various venues and the experience of live music.


There's nothing left but to list the equipment that made this room sing.
Transrotor Orion Turntable and arm, ($33,800)
Air Tight Opus Cartridge, ($15,000)
Esoteric N-01 Network Audio Player, ($20,000)
Esoteric Grandioso P1 Transport, ($35,000)
Esoteric G-01 Master Clock, ($18,000)
Esoteric Grandioso D1 Monoblock DACs, ($36,000/pr)
VAC Statement Phono stage, ($80,000)
VAC Statement Line Stage, ($75,000)
VAC Statement 450iQ Monoblock Power Amplifiers, ($120,000/pr), 2 pairs used
Von Schweikert ULTRA 11 Loudspeakers, ($295,000/pr)
Von Schweikert Shockwave V12 subwoofer, ($11,500) used for room correction
MasterBuilt Audio Ultra Line cabling
Critical Mass Racks
Acoustical Sciences Corp Tube Traps



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