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

Capital AudioFest 2022 Show Coverage
Always fun and educational to see how things have evolved... and to see old friends.
CAF 2022 Show Report By Bob Grossman

 

Capital Audio Fest 2022 Show Coverage Always fun and educational to see how things have evolved... and to see old friends. CAF 2022 Show Report By Bob Grossman

 

  The Capital AudioFest (CAF) 2022 was a tremendously exciting experience and a musically thrilling time. My memories and thoughts of the event are filled with a sense of camaraderie, stories, humor, kindness, and welcoming sense of joie de vivre from fellow enthusiastic audiophile attendees along with the presenters in each room and hosts at the festival. My heartfelt thanks to my best friend and musical audiophile buddy Ken Sternberg that took all these pictures and shared attendance at the weekend festival.

 

Background
This was my first public event since the Covid Pandemic, and I felt as liberated as a prisoner being set free. The CAF has grown tremendously over the ten years that I have been visiting the event. This year was a great reflection and testimony to the resiliency of the music industry with many new high-end manufacturers and dealers expanding their presentations with over 90 exhibitors at the beautiful Rockville, Maryland Hilton, just outside of Washington, DC.

The Hilton had a variety of huge exhibition halls; medium and smaller exhibit rooms; and a giant mosh pit of record dealers surrounded by many tables with smaller demo areas for presenters and companies displaying accessories and specialized audio gear. CAF 2022 included numerous seminars and guest speaker presentations within the hotel auditorium throughout the weekend. They also offered informal evening concerts with live musicians in the hotel restaurant and bar area.

 

 

Even with three days available for listening and seeing events at CAF 2022, the task and challenge of getting everywhere were a bit overwhelming. This is all part of the inspiration and awe-stuck nature of attending an event of this magnitude. It was like showing up hungry at a fantastic diverse smorgasbord of the finest foods and beverages, taking in a breathtaking view of the feast fit for a king yet not being able to taste, eat, and drink everything served at the banquet.

The opportunities to meet with equipment designers and company reps along with many dealers were incredible. They brought equipment that was set up in demo rooms showing complete audio systems from their product lines. It provided a fantastic education and musical experience to compare such a diverse array of systems side-by-side in a brief period of time. Conventions like this provide a chance to see and hear equipment combinations assembled by the best professionals in the business.

 

 

Do Some Work Before You Get There
I always enjoy the preparation for attending a big event. I studied the show prospectus online and then used the printed show book once I arrived to mark out a logistical game plan to effectively see the rooms and presentations I prioritized. It was a noble attempt to try and cover as much as possible at the CAF that quickly turned into a foolhardy approach as I walked past room upon room that beckoned me to enter and hear something that caught my attention. The unexpected places each presented compelling music that took time to hear, appreciate and enjoy.

The many conversations about music and explanations for equipment were all especially important too. Sometimes it was wonderful meeting old friends from past review projects, or dealers that I know from the Philly area and past shows, but it was equally important to make new friends and see different equipment brands and models that I did not know.

With an over 40-year-long career as a music librarian, I tend to be organized but there is a lot to be said for the surprises you can encounter if you relax and just go with the flow, so to speak. I am incredibly happy to have seen and heard so much in such an accelerated and compressed amount of time yet just could not get to do everything. I regretfully apologize for not getting to all the rooms and people that had put so much time and effort into coming to the show. In the big scheme of things, their business is also our business and vice versa so attending an event of this magnitude brings us all together to share in the understanding and appreciation of music.

 

 

Speakers, Speakers, and More Speakers
I got to see the debut of several new speakers in large, smaller, and more modest-sized rooms. There were several ways of approaching the show based on size, stature, and costs of the equipment that comprised each music system yet there also were the critical importance of the room dimensions, size, and acoustics to simulate your home experience. I occasionally found it frustrating when components that were very capable of being good systems were shown in rooms with less-than-ideal acoustics and proportions.

It sometimes felt as if smaller speakers were being asked to play at their limits to fill a large room while other larger speakers did not have quite enough distance and open space to play at their potential for their multiple drivers to blend, harmonize, and be focused. I talked to several vendors who voiced their concerns about acoustic and room settings, but they all worked to overcome the challenges.

 

 

 

Genesis Tribute Speakers
Gary Koh of Genesis Advanced Technologies introduced his Tribute speakers costing $120,000. The speakers were powered with his designs of Genesis brand electronics with the new VPI Avenger Direct Drive Turntable fitted with the beautiful $4,250 Genesis Wand Arm. The new Genesis speakers are an homage to Arne Nudell, one of the founding partners of Genesis before Gary took over the company.

 

 

 

Gary featured a majestic array of state-of-the-art sourced drivers along with gorgeous, matched wood panels. The appearance harkens back to the great realms of the Infinity IRS days of Arne. The sound had uninhibited dynamics and limitless frequency ranges. I think Arne would be proud of this modern-day introduction that played music loud and clear.

 

 

 

Tidal Piano G3
Doug White of The Voice That Is! was playing the new revised Tidal Piano G3 loudspeakers costing $64,000. These speakers use a new decoupled tweeter assembly design and are at a lower price point than other Tidal speaker models yet offer fabulous sound and performance. Of course, a great deal of credit should also be given to Vinnie Rossi with his new lineup of the Brama preamplifier at $33,995 and the stereo amplifier at the same price. They look terrific and provide a beautiful sound. Doug had the equipment set up on the new Ultra-Q Critical Mass System racks with excellent cabling by Siltech. Regardless of the equipment choices, room sizes, and show I have attended, Doug always sets up an impeccably detailed and engaging room that sounds spectacular. He brings along new entries each year and establishes a standout statement room for people to hear his equipment dealership lines. Doug is a member of PAAG, the Philadelphia Area Audio Group where I am also a member.

 

 

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