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Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2023 Show Report -- CAF 2023 premium luxury audio event coverage.

Best Of Capital Audiofest 2023
Capital Audiofest Report / Chronicles Part 11
Show Report By Rick Becker


Best Of Capital Audiofest 2023

Rick Becker's Best Rooms At Capital Audiofest 2023


Part 1: Room 812
Treehaus Audiolab

(See Room Coverage Here)
Rich Pinto presented a very fine speaker that lies at the intersection of fine art, industrial design, and high-end premium audio.



Part 1: Room 832
AV Luxury Group International (Margules And Raidho)
(See Room Coverage Here)
The tube magic of Margules amplification and Raidho Acoustics speakers combined to bathe this listener with a 'you are there' experience in a transparent soundscape that enveloped the entire room.



Part 2: Room 844
Perfect 8 Technologies, dCS, Ypsilon, And Equitech

(See Room Coverage Here)
The almost surreal experience of speakers made with glass produced an ethereal musical soundscape that was even more surreal.



Part 3: Room 719
Robyatt Audio, Quad, Java HiFi, And Finley Audio
(See Room Coverage Here)
Modern system with the new Quad ESL 2812X speaker, the new Java HiFi integrated amplifier from New Zealand, and an analog front end from Mitchell.



Part 5: Room  615
Bang & Olufsen
(See Room Coverage Here)
Bang & Olufsen stepped into the high-end arena once again with a Danish modern design that grabbed both my eye and my ear.



Part 6: Room 651
Pro Audio Design And TAD (Technical Audio Devices Laboratories)

(See Room Coverage Here)
Pro Audio Design made a big splash in two rooms with a full house of TAD speakers and electronics, even inviting the CEO of the company to meet with the press and consumers.



Part 6: Room 661
Clayton Shaw Acoustic Lab
(See Room Coverage Here)
Clayton Shaw presented a very modestly priced and well-designed speaker that is a gateway product to the high-end or for anyone who would like to experience the transparency of an open-baffle loudspeaker.



Part 7: Room 306
Philharmonic Audio
(See Room Coverage Here)
Philharmonic presented almost their entire lineup of very fine-sounding speakers from desktops to floorstanders that newcomers or veterans who don’t want to spend big bucks can enjoy with pride of ownership.



Part 7: Room 310
Blink High End And Audio Group Denmark

(See Room Coverage Here)
Blink presented the best of three systems from Audio Group Denmark that I heard at the show. (I missed out on the $2,000,000 system in another room.) The Borresen M1 monitors shown here will likely fit in more homes than the flagship speaker and they were the epitome of the Audio Group Denmark house sound.



Part 7: Room 316
Border Patrol, Living Voice, And Triode Wire Labs
(See Room Coverage Here)
Border Patrol is now importing Living Voice speakers from the UK and they went all-out, bringing the gorgeous looking (and sounding) R80 that revels in the sound quality offered by the Border Patrol tube amplification.



Part 7: Room 323
High Water Sound, TW Acoustics And Cessaro Horn Acoustics

(See Room Coverage Here)
Jeff Catalano put together another outstanding room with TW Acoustics amplification this time, to supplement his ever-present TW Acoustic turntables. The high-efficiency speaker from Cessaro in Germany thrived on the power from parallel 300B tubes from Western Electric.



Part 8: Plaza I
Matterhorn Audio Group, Kroma Atelier, And Audio Group Denmark
(See Room Coverage Here)
The tall, beautiful Kroma tower speakers from Spain filled this large ballroom, driven by Aavik electronics and Ansuz cables, as if it were the perfect concert venue.



Part 8: Jefferson 
VPI, Audio Research, And Acora Acoustics

(See Room Coverage Here)
Val Cora presented his flagship Acora VRC granite speaker driven by Audio Research electronics and a VPI turntable at the front end. While I've heard these speakers sound better in other venues, the cream still rose to the top here with unmatched inner detail and natural timbre.



Capital Audiofest 2023 Show Report / Chronicles Part 9 The 3rd Floor Large Rooms Part B.

Part 9: Wilson
The Voice That Is And Tidal Audio
(See Room Coverage Here)
The Tidal Audio rig produced a very transparent, high-resolution, dynamic sound that reached out into the room with a 'You're at the live concert' presentation with a presence that could not be ignored. Very few systems can pull this feat off in an enjoyable way.



Part 9: Truman
Convergent Audio Technology, Essential Sound Products, And Magico

(See Room Coverage Here)
Ken Stevens has evolved his tube amplifiers over decades and the primary change at this show was the new (and difficult to drive) Magico S3 speaker. CAT makes this list because it is still among the very best in the world, and they proved it here again.



Part 10: Frederick
Distinctive Stereo, Genesis Advanced Technologies, Merrill Audio, Analog Audio Design, Hyper Sonic, And Heed

(See Room Coverage Here)
The Distinctive Stereo room gets a nod here because of the wealth of new products in multiple categories that were auditioned or merely displayed. Talking with the numerous manufacturers and importers was a real learning experience that transcended the sometimes chaotic presentations from both audio tape and LPs.



Best Of Capital Audiofest 2023



That's A Wrap
This wraps up my Capital Audiofest Chronicles for another year, 46k words and 422 photos later. Thank you for hanging in with me into January. It was a great show again, though I would hesitate to say it was as well attended as the previous year. With a keen eye and an open ear, there was a lot to learn and discover. The number of fine products available today has become overwhelming and I will not likely be covering shows in such detail as this one in the future. That means you will simply have to show up in person to see all the outstanding gear. I'm more than willing to share the experience with you.

I hope to be at the Montreal Audiofest 2024 from March 22nd through 24th and look forward to seeing you there. Until then, I will be catching up on long-overdue product reviews.


Be well and as always... enjoy the music!


— Rick Becker




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