Capital AudioFest Chronicles 2022
Room 526 M101 Cables
That's the bad news. The good news is that in the darkened room and properly lit they looked like a cross between MasterBuilt cables from VonSchweikert and Noguchi light sculpture. I listen in the dark a lot and these were very cool. M101 has less expensive lines of cables with 2m power cables for as little as $799.
Supporting the cables were unique cable cradles from Millercarbon Isolation. Yes, that's the same Millercarbon that is so highly respected on the Audiogon Forums. Who would have guessed that at his day job he was a coat-hanger wizard? Three sets of these were $600 (presumably $200/set). They were so inconspicuous the cables looked like they were floating in the air. Also in the rig were MolaMola Makua (Roon ready preamp) with Tambiqui (DAC) and phono stage ($23,400) and MolaMola Kaluga (power amp) ($17k). Townshend Audio Isolation contributed four sets of Seismic pods ($2k) (I'm not going to guess if that was the total price of four.) and Seismic podiums (size 2, $1795). So to this point, the rig was pretty heady. Why this gear from the Netherlands is named after a warm ocean fish, I don't know.
The music here was pretty special. Very smooth and analog-like with a very black background and excellent resolution. The intro to Pink Floyd's "Time" was pretty ethereal and would have been more so only with the addition of good subwoofers. It lacked a touch of dynamics — especially after just coming from the GT Audioworks room. But what were those speakers? I was astonished to learn they were Paradigm Persona 3F ($12k). Simply put, they sounded far better than I have ever heard a Persona speaker sound in my life. Paradigm doesn't know what they've got, I thought. I might have said that out loud, actually.
But what's that unusual-looking power conditioner you're using? I asked. "Oh, that? It's an EcoFlow battery," the guy said. (Delta 1300, $999). I'd been tricked! The entire rig was running off-grid! With the low power draw of the Class D amps, this was a very clever trick as well as a path for further investigation. (I see online that EcoFlow is running a tempting holiday special. At the worst, I could keep it to run my sump pump if we have a power outage in the next ice storm.) This was a very disruptive room, to say the least.
Room 528 Amped America
Atop the rack was a Music Hall Stealth turntable with an adjustable VTA ($1649). Linda Ronstadt soothed my bank account with her rendition of the Eagles' "Desperado".
That's it for the first half of the 5th Floor. It's time to catch a few hours of sleep before sliding over to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a grateful time with family and/or friends over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Drive sober, stay safe, and be well. And enjoy your music more than your guns.
I'll be back next week to finish up the 5th Floor.