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

Capital Audiofest 2023 Show Report / Chronicles Part 1
The 8th Floor Part A
Show Report By Rick Becker



  I immediately ran into a couple of old friends the 30th Anniversary edition of the Black Swans by Gershman Acoustics that had just earned a Best Rooms Award at the Toronto Audiofest.



Next to the Swans was the VPI presidential gift from President Biden to the visiting Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Anthony Albanese. This was probably a rejected copy as the plaque spelled it "Honorable", which is USA English and not proper British Subject English (a rookie mistake). It turns out he is something of an audiophile. In any case, it was very cool as well as an honor for VPI and our industry.



Taking the advice of the concierge, I swung around the Atrium to the far right elevators which were fairly efficient throughout the weekend.



The 8th Floor
Starting at the top on the 8th Floor, which is my usual modus operandi, I found 801 and worked my way around the floor to keep my photos in sequence for easy identification. With so many rooms to explore, I could not spend enough time in each one to do a detailed accounting of the equipment or write an analysis of the sound quality. The opinions I've expressed here are just that opinions, and I was shooting from the hip.



Room 801 Old Forge Audio
Wait a second, am I back in Canada? This was a room straight out of the Montreal show. A Thoress integrated amp drove a Heretic speaker with Luna Cables making the connection. Like most rooms at the show music was streamed which is where Wattson Audio from Switzerland comes in. The little black box with the silver knob was their Madison streamer ($3450).



The Heretic AD-614 speaker ($7290) with coaxial 12" woofer and compression horn driver looked much more refined in a light natural stain rather than the grunge rock black that I've seen at Montreal and Axpona. These are very efficient speakers and an easy drive for tube amps. Note the two tubes poking through the roof of the Thoress amp from Germany a single-ended triode hybrid EHT Integrated amp putting out 20 Wpc into 6 Ohms. This new finish had me taking the Heretic speakers much more seriously, and they certainly should be on the list of tube lovers and those with a more modest budget.



As I turned around to leave, who should I bump into but David Cope (L), who spent many years with Audio Note (now happily operating Old Forge Audio, a retail store in Stonington, Connecticut), and Danny Labrecque of Luna Cables in Quebec, both of whom I've known for more than a decade. Phonographe Distribution in Montreal distributes all this stuff in Canada.




Room 804 DarTZeel America
DarTZeel electronics from Switzerland drove efficient horn speakers that looked a lot like Avantgarde from Germany, with both an analog and digital front end. No people or literature to help me out here.




Room 805 GoldenEar
At last, a chance to hear the new GoldenEar 66 speaker that I had first seen on silent display at the Montreal show. It is very attractive in the deep red finish with a bowed grille protecting the drivers. Music was streamed with an Aurender and the electronics were modest in price. The music was good here, but past experience with GoldenEar speakers tells me these speakers would sound a whole lot better with even finer gear. Don't let the affordable price of GoldenEar speakers fool you. This new model looks like it deserves to be in a much more expensive rig, and I'd bet it can sing far above its price point, particularly if you spring for more sophisticated vibration-absorbing footers.



GoldenEar is under the Audioquest corporate umbrella, so naturally, the rig was so wired.




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