Capital Audiofest 2023 Show Report / Chronicles Part
Montgomery Room Legacy Audio
The backdrop not only gave lots of details but concealed whatever else was behind to which all those cables were connected. It also seems to have acoustically blocked off a section of the room. Since Legacy typically shows their Master Series speakers with the Wavelet processor, I'm left to wonder how this might integrate with a system with other amplification. And looking at the power cords to the active subwoofers, compared to what other companies might use (See the Von Schweikert room below) I have to wonder if they are leaving some sound quality untapped.
A more modest rig displayed the Focus XD ($15.2k), an equally efficient hybrid design with powered woofers and the dual air motion tweeter. While the cabinet is less complex, the same high-quality workmanship and interesting veneer options still apply. This is their 40th year and it is not surprising that their speakers show up so seldom on the used market.
Frederick Room Distinctive Stereo, Genesis Loudspeakers,
And Merrill Audio
The rig that was playing featured a new tape deck playing jazz recordings supplied by Charles King, a friend of Gary Gill, director of the show. Charles designed the "King Cello" tape head preamp, I was told. I have binged on jazz for nine straight days each June at the Rochester International Jazz Festival each year since 2001, and a few years before that. These tapes were sounding very close to the real thing. Transparent, dynamic, and highly resolved — an "in-the-room" kind of experience. Charles mentioned that one of the tapes was stuck in a machine he was repairing. He is also the "go-to" guy in the USA for repairing Stellavox machines. I ended up staying way past my typical five minutes in this room enjoying these tapes, and more.
The tape decks were from a new French company, Analog Audio Design that burst upon the scene in 2022. This was their TP-1000 deck ($20k), designed on a blank sheet of paper, not a reinvention of a deck from another company. Their only other product is a "Gold" version of the same. I was impressed, not just with the music, but also the design and apparent quality of the machines.
Brian Tucker of Pro Audio Ltd. in Barrington, IL is the importer of Analog Audio Design decks and shared the room with the other three companies. Brian worked for Studer for many years and has been involved with reel-to-reel decks for most of his professional life. He only sells the tape decks directly, which explains the extraordinary price of $20k. The Puritan power conditioners used here were also carried by Pro Audio Ltd. and are sold through a dealer network.
Charles put on a tape given to him by a friend with some Beach Boys material — music I was very familiar with, being a cutting-edge Boomer. I marveled at the sound quality and the inner detail of the recording — so vastly superior to recordings of that era. Then it began to dawn on me that this was a modern recording of a cover band, a very good one, at that, and the word spread around the audience in the room. Nevertheless, another "in-the-room" experience.