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Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2016 Show Report
Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2016 Show Report
Border Patrol, Daedalus Audio, And Triode Wire Labs
Report By Kemper Holt


  Border Patrol's head guard, Gary Dews, and Pete Grzybowski, aka "Triode Pete", combined for 2 rooms at 2016 CAF, the first featured Athena V.2 speakers, ($11,850 per pair) from Daedalus Audio. The Athena V.2s, on loan from Scott Dalzell in Vienna VA, have a story that shows how much concern and commitment Lou Hinkley has for his clients. Scott's Athenas didn't start out as V.2s, but have undergone some major upgrades to reach that designation, and Lou was thoughtful enough to make sure the upgraded product was retrofittable to the original model. Lou likens the process of buying one of his speakers to having a musical instrument made for you, custom choices available, and a Daedalus speaker is more than just great sounding, clients have an heirloom type attachment to them and how they match the decor of their rooms.

I think Border Patrol amplifiers have the highest "pounds per watt" in all of audio. Gary strongly believes in a stout power supply, and the outboard "boat anchor" heavy external supplies for his amps prove that point. So much iron must contribute to how BIG Gary gets 20 watts to sound. A Border Patrol P20 EXD amp ($16,750), Border Patrol Control Unit preamp ($6,500), and Border Patrol 1543 DAC ($1250), all sat on DiD Daedalus isolation devices, ($480 for set of three). The 1543 DAC is a no oversampling or digital filtering DAC built around the TDA1543 R2R ladder chip, uses a C-Media USB receiver chip, and has a choke input filter power supply with hybrid tube/solid state rectification. I'm sure the 1543 is one reason digital sounded so natural here.



Triode Wire Labs had a cable for everything, adding to their award winning, and affordable power cords, Pete has upped the ante into "Statement" cords which utilize different dielectric material, new design, and more copper than before. Connectors play an important role in these cables, choosing between Furutech, and IeGO plugs allows you to tailor the sound to be synergistic with your system. TWL Spirit interconnects and TWL American speaker cables filled out the system, getting out of the way of the music and contributing nothing tonally, (neutral), and presenting music in an organic fashion. Digital sources used the new TWL Split Power and Data USB cable, and the TWL Spirit 75 SPDIF cables. Pete continues to offer an American made product with superior sonics at reasonable pricing, kudos Pete.




I heard Rickie Lee Jones' "Easy Money" and her vocals were clear and imaged properly. Bass was tight as the speakers disappeared. So I stayed in this room for quite some time as Lou played my favorite from his server, Jesse Colin Young's "Ridgetop", and got swept away by the huge soundstage, swirling sax, and Jesse's voice, one of the rooms you wanted to relax in and enjoy the music.





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