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Capital Audiofest (CAF) 2023 Show Report -- CAF 2023 premium luxury audio event coverage.

Capital Audiofest 2023 Show Report / Chronicles Part 5
The 6th Floor Part A
Show Report By Rick Becker


Capital Audiofest 2023 Show Report / Chronicles Part 5 The 6th Floor Part A


Room 601 American Sound
Based in Toronto, Angi Lisi's American Sound is a major importer and a top retailer in Canada. She also typically has a major presence at the Chicago show. Her room at Capital was modest but it was a fine-sounding room with Rethm Marga speakers driven by a Western Electric 91E amp.



The Rethm speakers are markedly improved within the room at CAF 2023, sounding fuller and more tonally balanced. If you liked them before, you will love them now. And if you haven't appreciated them in the past, they deserve to be revisited. It's a hybrid design with active woofers and an efficient full-range driver on top that can be driven with SET amps. It has an interesting, architectural use of metal and wood and it is very easy to listen to.



And look what we have here a Western Electric integrated that is said to put out nearly twice what you normally expect from a 300B tube. When you order an amp, you specify the impedance of the intended speaker you will be driving (4 Ohm, 8 Ohm, and 16 Ohm) or you can order a different transformer block if you change speakers down the road. Seen here is my favorite color, champagne. Nickel and black are the options, $15k or $16k, depending on finish.


This was a great room to start off the 6th Floor.




Room 604 Geshelli Labs
Geshelli Labs is usually packed with people, but I caught them early. This company is growing as evidenced by its cluster of three rooms on this floor.



New here was their Dayzee DAC which starts at $1300 and goes up, depending on options, one of which is their signature sculpted wood chassis. This chassis takes extra time to build, so if you're the impatient type and want it delivered the day before you order it, maybe just go with the standard chassis. On the other hand, if you delight in owning unique things, this will appeal to you. There's nothing else in the high end like it. Just be prepared to wait longer for it. That's the nature of custom and special order work. Note the bands caused by the use of different woods and the dovetail construction that is more visible along the bottom side edge. Very nice!



On the other side of the rack was a newer version of their Zoofa integrated amp that starts at $2500 and goes down, depending on options. This newer version features bar-type VU meters at the left rather than the classic round VU meters that have been available from the start. Very fun-looking gear that appeals to a younger crowd, based on what I've seen in their rooms in previous shows.




Room 605 Geshelli Labs
The main reason their rooms draw a younger crowd is their deepest roots which lie in the headphone arena where they are known for their small DACs and headphone amps that come in a variety of chassis from Plexiglas to wood. They had an entire room set up just for this category. Note the sculpted headphone stand in front of the gentleman here.




Room 608 Geshelli Labs & Niel Blanchard Designs
The Neil Blanchard Designs banner here refers to the loudspeakers which had a clean look. They are offered in kit form in both mass-loaded transmission line and bookshelf designs.



Seen on the right was the classic design of the Zoofa integrated amp with traditional round gauges along with the Dayzee DAC on the left, both with the sculpted wood chassis. So cool, even if you feature just one of this pair in your rig. Note the use of different stains on different bands of wood. Again, if you want something as customized as this, you have to be prepared to wait as this is artisan quality work, not an assembly line, mass-produced product.



The speakers make no pretense of hiding the plywood construction with a knotty veneer on the outside a cool, casual, contemporary look, also suited for a cabin or cottage. I have no comment on the sound because the music wasn't playing at the time.



Here's a cutaway of the internal bracing with its slotted port exiting at the back.




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