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Southwest Audio Fest 2024 Premium Audio Show Report


SWAF 2024 Show Report Part 1
Featuring Kimber Kable, YG Acoustics, Tidal, Emm Labs, Spatial Audio, Raven Audio, and more!
Southwest Audiofest 2024 Show Report By Paul Schumann


SWAF 2024 Show Report Part 1 Featuring Kimber Kable, YG Acoustics, Tidal, Emm Labs, Spatial Audio, Raven Audio, and more! Southwest Audiofest 2024 Show Report By Paul Schumann


  It's hard to believe, but I've been reviewing for Enjoy the Music.com for over six years. In that time I have been fortunate to listen to a lot of excellent equipment in the comfy confines of my living room. The one thing I haven't been able to do is go to a high-end audio show. Then, this fall, the stars aligned in my favor. Gary Gill and Lou Hinckley decided to start a new show here in Dallas. This is just a three-hour drive from Austin, so I was eager to go. Before I knew it, I was driving up to Dallas on a Friday morning and arrived in time to get my badge and start walking around just as the show started.

Several of the big rooms on the Atrium and Mezzanine floors weren't quite ready for visitors, so I decided to start at the top and work my way down. It was the first of many laps I did around the venue for three days, as I visited all of the rooms at least three times.



Exiting the elevators, I decided to head to the right and work my way around. The first room I encountered was the Kimber Kable room. They were showing off their Kimber Select KS6068 speaker cables ($13,960.00/one meter), Kimber Select KS1135 interconnects ($2,480.00/one meter), Kimber Kable PK10 Palladian power cables ($1,880.00/one meter), and Kimber Kable PK14 Palladian power cables ($1,296.49/one meter). To demonstrate this cabling, Kimber utilized YG Acoustics Vantage 3 Speakers ($41,700.00), EMM Labs DA2 V2 D/A Converter, PRE preamplifier, MTRS stereo amp, and Ns1 streamer.





The next room on my route featured the Soundlab Majestic ESLs powered by David Berning 845 ZOTL Gen 3 Monoblocks. The sources were a Tidal Benchmark DAC3B and hi-rez recordings by Todd Garfunkle via his Korg MR1000 DSD/PCM recorder. The line control was a benchmark LA4 and EnKlein Bespoke Wireworks supplied the cabling. Displayed outside the room were a pair of smaller Majestics made for a smaller living space and targeted for the Japanese market. I ended up visiting this room multiple times over the three days of the show, and each time I was struck by the transparency and tonal purity of the system.




Spatial Audio was demonstrating their open-baffle Q3 speakers ($11,995/pair) paired with their Raven Audio Preamplifier ($5,495) and Blackbird 300B Monoblocks ($9,995). Also employed were a MolaMola DAC, Sonore + iSonic Transporter, and Anticables. The sound of music in this room was smooth and open.





By looking at the banner outside the room, I knew the Van Zyl Audio room would be a different experience. The Van Zyl Audio speaker system consisted of the Alpine Mid-Horns ($14,000) and the BB-10 Horn-Loaded Subwoofer. On the last day of the show, I was able to talk to Johan van Zyl about his system. The Alpine Horns utilize Tang Band W8-2145 8" paper cone full range and a Dayton Audio AMTHR-4 Hi-Res Air Motion transformer with an efficiency of 101.5 dB/W/m. The BB-10 Subwoofer was placed in the back corner of the room and provided a strong powerful bass to round things out. As I sat and listened to the beautiful music coming from this system, I noticed the Class D Audio Gain Mini GaN 5 amplifier ($725) powering the Alpine Horns.

The Mini GaN amp uses gallium nitride FETs and sounded smooth and refined as any low-powered tube amp. Paired with the Mini GaN amp were a Mojo Audio Mystique X DAC and Silversmith Audio Fi Fidelium Speaker cables. I really enjoyed listening to music with this system. The presentation was relaxed, musical, and non fatiguing. The Van Zyl Audio room definitely punched above its weight class.




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