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
NOLA Baby Grand Reference Gold 3 Speakers
Carl Marchisotto had the latest updated version of his NOLA Baby Grand Reference Gold 3 loudspeakers. It was a special treat to meet and greet a designer that had a hand in designing and building Dahlquist Speakers back in the 1970s and 1980s. The five-way phase array DQ10 was my first audiophile-grade loudspeaker. Carl has devoted a lifetime of design and manufacturing to developing open and baffle-less design speakers. This concept for open baffle speakers from other companies was featured in other rooms at the show.
Carl's tall speakers feature a line source array of drivers in an open speaker design braced by four corner columns while the bass drivers are housed below to form a base in a beautiful wood cabinet. The sound is open and gigantic, like being in a big hall with a massive presentation of the sound stage which was majestic in force and size.
I had a delightful time and a nice listening session with Eli and Ofra Gershman showing their striking-looking Grand Avant Garde speaker. I have been following posts and comments about their company, so it was especially important and welcoming to meet them in person. Plus, there was an impromptu meeting and demo of live music singing with the realistic quality of the Gershman speaker playing the accompaniment when Anne Bisson dropped into their room to sing a duet with her record playing in the background!
It was special to hear Anne share some stories about her career and production of records that are so favorably heard by many audiophiles. The Grand Avant Garde provided an engaging musical sound with the smart-looking newer black trimmed model of the VPI HW40 Anniversary Direct Drive table. I used the rosewood side flanked HW-40 as part of my system for over a year before changing to another VPI direct drive model turntable.
Conrad Johnson & Kharma Elegance Speakers
I was super impressed with the music presented in the Conrad Johnson room with the $47,000 Kharma Elegance dB9-S speakers. The 20/20 Evolution Systems dealership set up a system using Siltech Cables with the new CJ Art 88 flagship preamplifier costing $28,500 along with the Art108A amplifier costing $52,000. Also in this system was the LampizatOr Big 7 tube DAC. The Kuzma Stabi R Turntable set up with the debut of the $25,000 4-point SIR arm was kept busy spinning great-sounding
LPs whenever the $32,000 Taiko Music server was taking a break from the music action.
This was my favorite-sounding spacious room. The system portrayed musical wonderment with everything from the classic rock of Led Zeppelin to an engaging presentation of Mozart's Gran Partita K. 361 wind serenade, to the soulful sound of my demo LP Night Hawk featuring Coleman Hawkins and Eddie
"Lockjaw" Davis. It was great to see and hear the new lines of CJ equipment since Jeff Fischel, long-time senior technician and GM going back to the 1980s has taken over the ownership of the renowned company. I use their 1990s vintage Premie8A amplifier at home.
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