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Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2022 Show Report -- CAF 2022 premium luxury audio event coverage.

Capital AudioFest Chronicles 2022
Fine music on the 5th floor Part A.
Show Report By By Rick Becker

 

 

Suite 519 Robyatt
The Robyatt room drew a lot of attention for multiple reasons. Principal among them was the Miyajima-Labs Prominent OB Field Coil Speakers ($25,500) shown in what can only be called a Golden Oak finish that harkened back to the latter half of the 20th century. While the open baffle speaker had significant depth, the back side featured two large openings covered with grill cloth. And as you can see, there was a power supply of some sort for the field coil driver back there, too, as well as a tube power supply built into the speaker cabinet. Also, note the Finley cable lifter which I will come back to in a minute.

 

 

 

The thick black cable is the power cable for the field coil speaker and the thin grey cable is the speaker cable for the music signal. (The thin black cable was for the lamp in front of the speaker.) The cabinet was constructed of solid Japanese red pine that looks very much like ash, with narrow strips finger-joined together to eliminate defective sections of wood. The drivers were an antique horn-loaded Electrovoice compression tweeter supplementing an antique Jensen A12 full-range field-coil driver that uses a tube power supply built into the speaker. The speaker didn't seem to go very deep, but the sound was excellent in the range of which it was capable.

 

 

 

 

The musical excellence traces back to the phono cartridges for which Miyajima is most famous. There was an Infinity mono cartridge ($3475) on the Bird tonearm ($8,750) and a Destiny Stereo cartridge ($7,600) on the Bird of Prey tonearm ($10,750) which is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. (I had a sneak peek at it at the Toronto show in October.) These arms came from Thai-Scandinavian Engineering in Thailand. The aluminum/brass headshell ($375) incorporated a sculpted finger lift that shows the respect the designers had for the tactile experience of manually positioning the tonearm.

 

 

 

The turntable itself looked like a work in progress. It is based on the VPI HW-40 direct drive turntable. The multi-layer Baltic plywood base and tonearm supports, combined with the dark slate base and aluminum platter and record weight had a very contemporary look that simply clashed with the sophisticated elegance of the tonearm and cartridge. Had the wood been stained dark with a touch of red in it, the turntable would have kept the visual attention on the gorgeous tonearms rather than competing with them. The copper platter, a $2k option, was an elegant touch that can go either contemporary or traditional, whichever way the predominant wind is blowing.

 

 

 

The electronics included the Miyajima MC-2 vacuum tube MC head amp ($7,850) and Wo-1 preamp. An MC-1 mono phono head amp ($6,950) and an OTL stereo power amp ($17,000) were also in use. Miyajima is from Japan.

 

 

 

At least some of the cables used here were from Finley Audio who offer two series of cables—the affordable Stratus Family and the moderately priced Cirrus Family. What initially caught my eye as I entered the room was their modular cable lifters that appealed to the long-dormant kid within me that was proficient with sets of building blocks and Tinker Toys. Different blocks can be stacked between dowels (with different finishes) to accommodate a variety as well as combinations of cables. How clever is that?!

 

 

Robin Wyatt (Robyatt) was the gracious host here and I should point out that there are two excellent videos of the room on the Miyajima website that gave me a better impression of the room than my video notes. The room was practically empty on one video while the room was packed during my visit — just one of those variables you can't control at audio shows. But it was easy to see and hear why this room was so popular.

 

 

 

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