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Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2022 Show Report -- CAF 2022 premium luxury audio event coverage.

Capital AudioFest Chronicles 2022
Rick Begins... 6th Floor Part A
Show Report By By Rick Becker

 

Capital AudioFest Chronicles 2022 Rick Begins... 6th Floor Part A

 

  A year ago there were maybe 45 rooms at Capital Audiofest and almost everyone wore a mask. Then Gary Gill quit his day job and helped organize the Pacific Audio Fest in Seattle that occurred in August. This past weekend, Capital jumped up to the league occupied by AXPONA and featured around 92 rooms. It was a big-league show, at least by North American standards.

Enjoy the Music.com sponsored an industry get-together on Thursday night for the people who toiled that day setting up their rigs. I rolled into town, arriving an hour late for the event after making two wrong turns without the aid of GPS or a co-pilot. Gary offered me several tickets for drinks. I picked one and the bartender set me up with a Fat Tire. I milled around, bumping elbows, and snapped a few photos. I liked this guy's shirt:

 

 

 

Mark Block of the New York Audiophile Society recognized me from their zoom meetings and he steered me over to find my name tag and pick up a show guide. Halfway through the beer I retired to my room and studied the floor plans, marking each room with the principal vendor or product and highlighting the rooms on each floor that were 'must-see' stops. I originally thought two days would be sufficient to cover the show, but that was when the room count was 'only' about sixty. After studying the floor plans, I was worried that I would be hard-pressed to hit every room.

 

 

Some guys dream of retiring to warm weather with a beach outside their doorstep. A lot of audiophiles dream of waking up and stepping outside into a sea of records. Such was my experience at Capital. The stairs outside the door to my room led directly to the floor of the Atrium, but I knew the consequence of taking that first step, so I headed directly to the elevator and took it to the 6th Floor.

 

 

6th Floor -- Part A
The plan, as usual, was to work from the top floor down. That would be 6th, 5th, and 3rd Floor hotel rooms, 3rd Floor meeting rooms, and finally the Atrium rooms and booths. Given I spent only two days at the show with say 92 rooms, that gave me only about 10 minutes per room. Some I stayed a little longer, others a little less. So don't expect analytical equipment reviews, but rather take my comments as suggestions of things to investigate further if something catches your fancy. Also, I tried to stay alert for hidden gems in rooms that were only average-sounding for whatever reason.

Sometimes the impression was colored simply by the recording quality of the music that happened to be playing. I like to think that I'm a multi-genre listener, aside from opera, so I respectfully turned down offers to play something of particular interest to me.

Contrary to previous years, I'm refraining from identifying the "Best Rooms" at the show until I've covered them all. At that point perhaps Steve will drop in the logos and the hosts of those rooms will be notified. The good news is there were a lot of very good-sounding rooms at the show. The industry did not sleep through the past two years.

Speaking of the past two years, only two or three percent wore a mask despite the vulnerable age bracket of most of the participants. Having survived getting it, (which I caught at AXPONA in Chicago) and recently taken the bivalent booster, I opted for going maskless.

 

 

Room 601 Infigo Audio
Just like the Toronto Audiofest three weeks earlier, the first room was a pretty special presentation. I haven't been overly enthusiastic about Alta's traditional wood-enclosed speakers but their new flagship was an entirely different beast. Mike Levy of Alta Audio described it as a combination of a transmission line and a tuned port on the bass. The top four drivers looked enclosed, but like more affordable Vandersteen speakers, they are an open baffle design with cloth stretched over a wooden frame to give them a more conventional look and conceal the drivers. The woofer was in a gloss black chassis.

 

 

 

The composite front baffle, which was composed of different materials for constrained layer damping was finished in a lustrous contemporary paint to contrast with the black of the sides and back. Not only was it very attractive, but it also sounded very good driven by the Infigo electronics that included the Method 4 DAC and Method 3 Class A monoblocks. A small black box on the floor bore the logo of Resonance Audio which now is involved with Ambisonic simulation. I'm not sure what that box was all about, but the music here was very holographic.

 

 

 

 

I also spotted a small Adata solid-state drive that probably contained the entire history of rock 'n roll. This was one of the few rooms I had time to double back to hear at the end of my visit on Saturday and it was just as impressive after surveying the entire show. The high quality of the Infigo brand is well known and this new Alta speaker puts them in the big league in my view.

 

 

 

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