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

Capital Audiofest 2023 Show Report / Chronicles Part 3
The 7th Floor Part A
Show Report By Rick Becker



Room 715 GTT Audio & Video
Bill Parish always greets people with a smile and for good reason at this show. He had an exceptionally fine-sounding room with deep blue Vivid Audio Giya G4s2 speakers ($34k) driven by a pair of MolaMola Perca stereo amps used in a vertical bi-amp mode. The MolaMola Makua line stage ($12,200) was fitted with a MolaMola internal DAC for an additional ($8,500). A Grimm Audio MU1 streamer ($12,500) was supplemented with a Dejitter It Switch X ($3,500) and WiFi X ($850).

Bill is good friends with Joe Kubala and has been using Kubala-Sosna cables (as have a lot of other presenters) since... forever. Sensation Series cables were used here with 2m speaker cables ($7,800), 1m interconnects ($6400, $1400 additional meter), and 2m power cords ($2350).



This was the U.S. Premiere of the MolaMola Perca stereo Class D amp ($9850 each) from the Netherlands.



The Giya Series 2 comes in four sizes. There is one larger and two smaller than the G4 heard here. All are four-way speakers with five drivers each with a side-firing woofer on each side. The G4, at 54" tall and narrow at the top, will play a lot louder than its apparent small size suggests. I've admired Vivid speakers since they first introduced the more affordable Oval series back in 2005 — probably in Montreal.




Room 716 ModWright Instruments
The rig here featured a mostly ModWright system to drive Acora Acoustics SRB monitors. The equipment rack was a Fern & Roby ($7500) made from solid walnut and steel. (I covered the Fern & Roby room on the 8th Floor.)



The top shelf featured a SOTA Cosmos Eclipse turntable ($10,500) with an SME V 9" tonearm ($5700) equipped with an Ortofon Windfeld Ti MC cartridge ($6k). To the right was a ModWright Ph9.0XT tube phono stage ($5250). The middle shelf featured (l to r) an LS 99 balanced tube preamp with an external power supply and tube rectification. The little box in the middle was a Weiss DAC 204 ($3495) and on the right was a ModWright Analog Bridge with XLR Balanced upgrade ($3900).

The bottom shelf held a KWA 99 monoblock on each end with power supplies for the preamp and phono stage in the middle.



Here's a closer look at the turntable and the PH9.0XT phono stage. The ‘X' upgrade includes balanced outputs and 6dB more gain for $1250. The ‘T' upgrade includes tube rectification and a higher voltage pre-regulation stage for $500. A further upgrade is with a better power umbilical cord using Cardas metals and a better design for $395. This cord is available from dealers as well as when ordering a new phono stage. Older PH9.0 units can have the X and T upgrades done at the factory in Washington state.



The Acora Acoustics SRB monitor ($18k) is made with 2cm thick high-polish Black Granite and was mounted on an Acora SRS-M metal stand ($3125/pr) which features a polished granite base. It is said to be suitable for rooms of 60 to 220 square feet and it sounded very good in this room. The experience quelled any fantasy I might have been harboring about mating these monitors with subwoofers in my much larger room. This speaker is fine for smaller situations and it took a Best Rooms award a couple of years ago at the Montreal show in a room this size. But, as I've heard over the years, their floorstanders are so much better in larger rooms without the need for subs.




Suite 719 Robyatt Audio
Rob Wyatt was haranguing the crowd when I walked in... well, not really. It has been a while since I've heard the Quad ESL 2812X, a new version at $10k, which is $5k less than it used to be. That opens the door to a much larger crowd. Rob Wyatt said it is still made in China and he is one of two dealers in the USA.



The console here was a mid-century modern design that might well have been a collectible found at a garage sale. It certainly looked authentic. The turntable was a Gyro SE and the little box on top of the Java HiFi Double Shot integrated amp was a Miyajima Laboratory KSW MC step-up transformer .



The Miyajima Labs Carbon stereo phono cartridge used here, regularly $3k, was on a show special at $2750. Four other new cartridges and a demo special were also on sale .



Here's a look at the Finley Audio cable lifters in action — a modular, customizable design that I raved about at last year's show. Those may well have been Finley Audio cables in the rig, too. I hope those white power cords were for the lights.



Marin Bell, founder of Java HiFi in New Zealand, was quite proud of the Java HiFi Single Shot (~$9k) and Double Shot (~$13k) integrated amps he was premiering in a gorgeous mid-century modern style. The Single Shot shown here puts out 200 Wpc @ 8 Ohms with a GaNFET power amp stage. It features two line-level RCA inputs, a high-resolution DAC with USB input, an MM phono stage with RCA inputs, and Bluetooth aptX.

The ‘Double Shot' version puts out 400 Wpc and features four pairs of XLR inputs, a fixed and a variable XLR output, hi-rez DAC, MM phono stage with RCA inputs, Bluetooth again, headphone output, and a remote control for volume and source selection. The CNC-machined solid beech wood cabinet features real wood luxury veneers. Java also puts out separate preamp and power amps in similar styling. Very classy, for someone who abhors traditional box-shape hi-fi gear.

I sat through a Leonard Cohen song here and was moved by the music, making this an interesting and memorable stop.




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