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Pacific Audio Fest 2022 Show Report  -- PAF 2022 Event Expo


Pacific Audio Fest 2022 Fab 5 Picks -- Best Of PAF 2022 Show Report

Pacific Audio Fest 2022 Fab 5 Picks
Greg Weaver chooses the Best Of PAF 2022.
Show Report By Greg Weaver



Since I first hear them, I've been impressed with the amazing coherence and effortless dynamics delivered from Germany's long-standing Acapella loudspeakers. Even so, I still was not prepared for the exceptional presentation I found in Cascade 3, identical in shape and size to Cascade 5. Sponsored by the Audio Federation, Acapella's USA distributor is from the San Francisco Bay area.

The source here was the Acapella Audio One music server ($8,000), which, while it has its own internal DAC, was used to serve the astonishing Audio Note UK DAC Five Signature ($119,689). This Classic Level Five converter, with its valve-regulated power supply, uses transformer coupled and balanced XLR outputs, and custom Audio Note silver wire throughout.

This was the first time I am aware of hearing the Acapella integrated amplifier ($135,000) a hybrid device, employing an E182CC valve initial gain stage and a MOSFET output stage. It uses silver wire throughout its compact and strategically conceived layout, allowing for both short and very closely matched signal paths, with a staggering 2,000 Wpc rating.

This remarkable integrated amplifier drove the beautiful and siren-like Acapella Apollon loudspeakers ($180,000/pr.). Acapella Audio Arts has been building loudspeakers and audio electronics in Germany for forty-five years and is credited with inventing the spherical horn. Standing seven feet seven inches tall, tipping the scales at some 700 pounds, each speaker uses six 10" woofers, a roughly 30" (780mm) hyper spherical midrange horn covering the critical range from 350Hz to 6000Hz, and their unique ion (plasma!) tweeter.

Cabling was a mix of Acapella and Audio Note UK, with Acapella's Solid ceramic insulated silver conductor Authentic Line interconnects, loudspeaker, and power cables and Audio Note's SOOTTO (silver) power cables with no pricing provided. Everything rested on the Harmonic Resolution Systems (HRS) previous flagship MXR Equipment Stand  ($22,000) and M3X2 Isolation Bases ($3,695 each), which are no longer in production.



I was immediately taken with this system's utterly exquisite delicacy and nuance. This system presented with effortless dynamic scaling and complex, fluent microdynamic involvement, yet offered an amazing sense of space and focus, especially given its horn midrange. The system's ability to accurately recreate vibrant tone color, with surprising fidelity of texture, and deftly articulate the individuality of instrumentation was almost unparalleled. About the only weakness I could pick on was a rather shallow stage depth. Listening to tracks from Dire Straits Brothers in Arms, proved an almost mystical experience.




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