Capital Audio Fest (CAF) 2023

Who is in attendance? What’s new and worth sharing from your experiences? It looks like Bacch is offering more intimate demonstrations. I have had the luxury of playing with a friend’s Bacch-SP and while I don’t think every system needs it, it’s capabilities are impressive.

I wish I was able to go as it seems the attitude across my industry partners seems to be overall positive, but I had to stay local this year. Help me live vicariously through you! 

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I hear you, I used to visit 2-3 shows a year. Lately, limiting myself to AXPONA which IMHO offers lot of exposure and learning. Hope to see you there in 2024. 

@lalitk I will definitely be at AXPONA and my accommodations are already set. Let’s email each other prior and plan to meet in person for a bit onsite when there!

Looking forward to hearing from others on CAF. I am already hearing from some of the brands, distributors and press, but I’m most interested to hear what audiophiles are gravitating towards. IME those two don’t always match up!

I went to CAF Saturday and Sunday.  Attendance was good but maybe a little less than expected.

notables to me:

- Geshelli labs has 2 new products an amp and a crazy 8 output DAC.  Really love what Geshelli can do for the price  there’s some videos on YouTube if you want to see

- Clayton Shaw showed his new open baffle speakers, Caladan, with Linear Tube Audio gear.  Sounded great.

- Linear Tube Audio is coming out with 2 new products: a Dac and a new entry headphone amp.  
- YG had some really nice new stuff.  The preamp was super cool.   Like what they are doing.

- heard Elacs new powered bookshelves.  Sounded really good for a small powered system and they have them for on significant intro sale for the next 2 days 
- there was a really cool prototype open baffle speaker made out of granite from a startup Maco (there’s some YouTube videos out there) .  They sounded really good.

so that’s my brief gear talk from only seeing 1/6 of the rooms! However, the best part about the show is talking to people. Getting to sit down and talk to people - the people who make all these cool things… being able to talk face to face with the speaker designer or Amp Designer is the best.  well worth the trip if you can make it.


I was hoping to go this year but couldn't make it--maybe next year. I hope more folks posts their experience there. It was a lot of fun when I went in 2019, then covid. 

I went Saturday afternoon. Got through floors 8, 3, and the ground exhibits. Missed floors 6 & 7. I'm a tube, open baffle, and horn lover. Almost every room sounded good. All relative. I enjoyed the VK Audio room. AER speakers in a see-through horn, SE45 amp, and vinyl. The Heretic speakers sounded amazing for $7,300. The VanSweikart 55 room with Lampizator sounded wonderful. But the price. The Atmosphere, Classic Horn room was my favorite. Oh, the Magico, Gryphon, J. Sakora was very nice. 

There are videos on YouTube of many of the rooms FWIW. They all definitely sound different. 

@b2colchagoff Thanks for letting me know about the Caladan. I wasn't aware he had even put them out. I just had a LTA Z40+ integrated on my floor, too, as a customer traded it in for a different component. I wonder how the Caladan compares to the Spatial speakers?

@tubes4good AER is really good stuff. I saw these speakers that Victor put together at AXPONA earlier this year, but he was in the next booth to us in the trade show portion, so it wasn't great for acoustics. Did VK have a room this time around?

Attended Friday and today.  My favorite room was High Water Sound, who paired the Cessaro Wagner II horns with TW-Acustic tt and electronics.  Just beautiful music playing.  Agree with prior post that Heretics were bang-for-the buck champs.  Would also note that Fern & Roby room with his Raven IIs sounded great.  Chris H swapped out the Raven IIIs cuz he was having room integration issues; the result with his new JFET amp was pretty magical.  Lots of other good rooms though. 

For the first time in many years, I attended the Capital Audiofest and had high expectations. Have to admit. all but one or two rooms I visited sounded good - great dynamics, top to bottom balance, and good detail. But, I was disappointed by one overall experience - most of the rooms sounded the same to me. I did not find what I was looking for: a system that sounded alive, a system with presence. Even the Audio Note room disappointed. Don't understand how an elevated mid base passes for good bottom end, how 300B amplifiers sound like solid state. Admittedly I did not have a chance to hear the Heretics or the horns mentioned in other posts. Better luck next year.


Here's to Herb Reichert for opening my eyes and ears.



I purchased a pair of the Elac active monitors on sale.  These were just for comparison with my reference Omega BAM I use in nearfield. I was curious to see how close they would sound since they sounded so good at the show.


Initial sound was boxy and rolled off on top. Nothing like I remember at show.


now that’s with only a couple hours burn in… doing a full burn in and we’ll see.