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Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2016 Show Report
Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2016 Show Report
GT Audio Works, Sound Insight, Hollis Audio Labs, And Paradox
Report By Kemper Holt

 

  This system shines the light on how to seamlessly mate planar speakers to subwoofers and have all the drivers operate in dipole configuration. Greg Takesh, whose GTA 2.5 speakers won a couple of Awards at last year's CAF, removed the two 10" woofers and plate amp from the 2.5 and extended the Full Range Planar driver and True Ribbon Tweeter to 72" long, thus making the GTA 3R speakers ($9000 per pair). They truly are full range going down to 40Hz by themselves.

 

 

The choice of subwoofer is left to the owner and the room size, budget, or WAF. I can tell you with assurance the best choice is a dipole sub and Steve Rabitz of Sound Insight supplied the smallest of his line, the SI-200 ($6,000 per pair), using two 12" specially designed drivers and a pair of 400 Watt plate amps with a Servo monitoring each driver, crossing over about 80Hz here. In addition to my CAF compilation CD, we threw Bela Fleck's "Flight of the Cosmic Hippo" (Victor Wooten's bass growled and oozed power), Sheffield "Drum Record", Copeland "Fanfare for the Common Man", KODO "Drums", Bernadette Peters' "Blackbird", and many more. Each album was highlighting the coherent "one voice" top to bottom character of this combination, superb! The front soundstage was wide and layered deep, detail abundant, realistic attack and decay on cymbals, horns were dynamic and exciting, and voices were right there in front of you, checked all my boxes.

 

 

Not only was this the best matching of planars with subs, but the bass was the most exciting, powerful, deep, and pressurizing at the CAF show. Rich Hollis of Hollis Audio Labs used his laptop to play DJ, and his MS-3 server ($799), and dspMusik DAC/Processor ($1500), delivered the music to a pair of Paradox Pulse mono amps 100 watts each ($13,000 per pair), and Paradox Pulse supplied all the cables. The MS-3 server and dspMusik combo worked flawlessly and contributed to the natural sound from the system. If you are considering a computer/file based system, but are put off by the high cost, give Rich a call, the price might entry level but the results are not, and his customer service is second to none.

 

 

I visited this room many times, including once with a friend from Colorado who told me the only subs that matched his LS-9 speakers were similar to the SI-200s but with three drivers per side. I just relaxed and listened to music in this room, and discovered new tunes I liked as people were encouraged to play their own music.

 

 

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