The Capital Audiofest 2022 Fab
Best Of CAF 2022 Number Two
What may have been the first thing to catch your eye with that listing of associated gear was the fact that virtually every product was NEW! Also, new this year was Doug's choice to team up with Vinnie Rossi, who, in a similar fashion to what Jim Salk and Mike McGary had done (see Part One of my show report HERE), has chosen to take a massive step forward with some remarkably impressive product introductions.
First, the new TIDAL Contros synergizes their Camira DMC (Digital Music Converter – or what everyone else calls a DAC), Arkas Streamer, and Prisma preamplifier, which individually have a combined value of just over one hundred thousand dollars, into one remarkable thirty-six-pound chassis offering tremendous performance at about sixty percent of the price. Just plug it in, connect it to the internet and your amplifier/s, and it's ready to rock.
Vinnie Rossi introduced his simply beautifully constructed BRAMA Collection, launching a decidedly new and extremely exciting chapter for his brand. The new BRAMA Preamplifier and Stereo amplifiers, with 350-Watt RMS per channel into 8 Ohms, or 600W RMS per channel into 4 Ohms, were on active display, driving the new Tidal Piano G3 loudspeakers, a revamped and amazing revitalization of a long-standard speaker in the Tidal lineup, while the new Brama integrated was shown as a static display.
All Brama products use multi-layer, gold immersion PCBs with high copper content, with meticulously routed analog, power, and fault-protection circuitry, are hand assembled and tested, one at a time, in Vinnie's new manufacturing facility in Massachusetts, and are all backed by a 10-year warranty!
Finally, I want to make mention of something often overlooked in its substantial contribution to a system's performance, the equipment supporting stands and platforms. This all-new Ultra-Q rack from Joe Lavrencik's superb Critical Mass Systems line of isolation platforms and footers incorporates elements of his remarkable flagship Olympus products, but at more affordable prices. They incorporate more mass to achieve an ultra-quiet, lowered-noise floor.
This system stole my heart with its combination of scrupulous tonal balance, its convincing recreation of texture, its open, uncongested, and natural flow, and its simply world-class recreation of space, particularly its ability to portray layering specificity.
The system was superbly balanced from, top to bottom, allowing for some engaging views into recorded performances, ranging from presenting the unfailingly authentic texture of Johnny Cash's brooding voice to rendering the bow-on-string reality that was among the best I've heard. And given the Piano 3 loudspeakers' relatively modest driver complement, it uses only two seven-inch ceramic mid-woofers along with its one-point two-inch diamond tweeter, the degree to which it could regenerate, and scale, acoustic bass weight and definition were undeniably faithful and dynamically impressive. My hat is off to Doug and Vinnie for a job superbly well done.