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

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

 

 

Room 310  Blink High End & Audio Group Denmark
Blink High End was a new entity for me. They are a retailer in Cambridge, MA, and they teamed up with Audio Group Denmark in one of their three presentations at Capital. One of those was in Suite 750, covered in Part 4, and the third was in the Eisenhower meeting room, yet to come.

The system here was a considerable step-up over Suite 750 and if you went directly from one room to the other you would be able to discern the improvement here. But put forty other systems between them and what stands out is the house sound of this world-class manufacturer. There certainly is no shame in spending at one level or another.

More important is to be comfortable with their sonic signature which is very high resolution, fast attack and decay, precise spatial definition, and a fullness to the upper bass and lower midrange, all wrapped in a very tight presentation. The rig was oriented along the long wall with the speakers spread wide apart an orientation that I am finding successful in more rooms as the years go by. I also noted that the speaker stands, equipment rack, and individual components were all isolated by vibration-absorbing footers, a growing trend that I've been writing about since well since Stillpoints first burst upon the scene.

In the photo above was Veronica Diaz, VP of sales and audio systems designer at Blink High End who was very helpful.

 

 

As you can see, the Borresen M1 monitors ($100k, with stands) were toed in, yielding the middle three seats in the row as the best place to sit, but most of the qualities of this room were evident no matter where you stood or sat. The M1 is an example of contemporary Danish design of the highest order. Unlike other Borresen speakers that are also offered in rich wood veneer, the M1 is available only in gloss black at this time. The technology that goes into Borresen speakers is cutting-edge, eschewing any use of iron whatsoever. You can get the full story on a separate web page, not on their main website. Search "Borresen M1 Speaker" if you've got deep pockets. Otherwise, you can find a similar monitor, the Borresen 01 Silver Supreme Edition on their main site.

 

 

The rack itself is from Ansuz Acoustics, one of the sister companies under the Audio Group Denmark umbrella. Details were scarce, but I heard something about Titanium and it looks like each shelf is isolated from the other with vibration-absorbing technology.

From the top was the Aavik C-880 preamp ($70k), followed by the Aavik P-880 power amp ($70k). On the next shelf was the Aavik D-580 DAC on top of the S-580 Streamer ($25,200 each). The black boxes on the floor to either side of the rack were Ansuz Acoustics power components, as were all the cables in the system.

On the bottom shelf was a Yamaha CD player, CD-S3000 ($6k) used as a transport to accommodate visitors with CDs they wished to hear. Not all rooms were this thoughtful.

There is a systems synergy at play with all of the Audio Group Denmark rooms, as they typically only show products from within the corporation. I can't recall hearing a system in recent years that had just one or two of their components in a system with other manufacturers, which is their way of guaranteeing you hear all of the benefits of the technology they put into their products. Those who are in this price league will do their homework on the web and book a flight to Boston, or visit another nearby dealer to hear this very fine gear in person with their own favorite music.

 

 

 

Room 311  MC Audiotech
Mark Conti and Paul Paddock have continued to evolve their speaker technology over the years and as much as I loved the sound and the design of their Forty-10 speaker I reviewed in July 2021, the TL12 is a much more accommodating design at a more affordable price ($25k to $29k, depending on the veneer). It was slightly revised this year with slots on the sides rather than the combination of three round ports and a pair of slots shown last year. A little less Bauhaus, perhaps, and leaning toward a more transitional look from a styling perspective, but just as outstanding from a listening perspective.

Not having to bi-amplify as in the case of the Forty-10 is a huge plus for most people. With 92dB/W/m sensitivity and 8 Ohm impedance, this speaker will appeal to those with moderately powered SET amplifiers as well as those who prefer to stick with solid-state. These speakers will also play in much larger rooms than seen here, given the appropriate amplification.

Like the Forty-10, the TL-12 uses wide-band line source drivers that cover 300Hz to 20kHz and with a first-order crossover to a 12" woofer with a transmission line, it reaches down to 28 Hz.

 

 

I had no trouble driving the Forty 10 with 18 SET Watts per channel on the upper modules in a large room and the 42 Wpc offered by the Ampsandsound Zion monoblocks ($36k) showed no signs of strain in the room at the show. An amp of 35 Wpc is recommended. The outstanding transparency and tonal color that came through here makes this speaker a tube lover's delight. The Ampsandsound preamp on the top shelf was modeled after the Marantz 7 circuit and was seen in Part 2 within room 855. The monoblocks, I'm told, were modeled after the Citation 5 circuit. What goes around comes around, and it came around in a big way with the TL-12 speaker. Also in the rig here were a Wolf server and a Weiss DAC501. The rack was a Symposium Acoustic Foundation rack.

 

 

 

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