Capitol Audio Fest and the New York Audio a trend is emmerging

Just returned from the Capital Audio Fest Last week and the New York Audio Show this week.

Very few systems at either shows sounded great there were a few memorable setups.

I saw two distinct trends one was to setup up a system with really expensive everything no matter if that was a realistic pairing and the other was to setup affordable based systems that were well matched in price.

For example: at the Capitol Audio Fest, a pair of new Focal Kanta bookshelves at $6k a pair was put together with a Naim Uniti Nova, a $7.5k integrated amp/dac/streamer with inexpensive Wireworld cabling, about a $15k system that sounded fantastic.

At the New York Audio Show, Golden Ear’s Sandy Gross, was playing the Triton Reference a $8,5k set of speakers with a $3k Peachtree integrated amplifier, this system was a little soft to my ears but was still very musical. We have been kind of fans of the Golden Ear for years especially for Home Theater so were intrigued to hear them sound quite decent vs a few other demos where they sounded either way to peaky or just plain bloated and dull.

Compare these two excellent pairings vs at the New York Audio Show a set of the new Magico A3 at $10k with a $14k AVM amp but with Nordost Valahalla 2 speaker cable at $11k and a Nordost Vallhalla interconnects $8k and power cables $5k which then pushed the somewhat affordable pairing of the A3 and AVM amplifier at $24k to a system close to $60k! 

Magico A3                           $10k
AVM int                                $14k
Nordost Vall speaker Cable $11k
Nordost Vall interconnect    $  8K
Nordost Val power cable     $  5k
Nordost Power cond            ?
Source components             ?
                            total           ?

 I just don’t understand the logic of that pairing when the Magico A3 is being heralded as the most exciting $10k speaker a somewhat reachable price for many aspiring audiophiles and then paring the speakers with $40-50k plus worth of electronics and cabling.

As both an audiophile and a retailer we have always tried to recommend intelligent pairings your thoughts?

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
This is good to hear. It is high time that the industry as a whole recognize that our industry would collapse if it cannot attract middle class families to participate and find something to love they can afford.

When stores exhibit, their systems tend to be more proportional.  When a manufacturer tries to show his product to the best advantage, or when two manufacturers go in on a room together, things can get out of whack.
Twoleftears you actually got that wrong,

the two setups that we mentioned the Naim/Focal setup was from a dealer and the Magico/AVM/Nordost setup was also from a dealer.

The manufacturer setup was from Golden Ear.

The point was one dealer's setup matched what we would have considered a normal pairing, $6k speakers with a $7.5k amp and matching dollar level cables while the other setup in our minds was wildly off.

We would never recommend or pair $20-30k worth of cabling for a $10K set of speakers, hence the what were they thinking puzzlement.
I would wildly speculate that Nordost must have paid Magico to advertise their cables.

Apart from that it puzzles me if the speaker cable is $10k then speaker should probably be using same cable internally so the speaker is a steal if discount internal cabling. Essentially pay for cabling the drivers, cabinet etc are free.

But hey it begs the question what is the internal cable used for Magico. 
Yeah, $10k speakers with $11k speaker cables is either stupid or extravagant. Overall cost of system cabling as much as the cost of active components is almost certainly always stupid.
I do use speaker cables that cost as much as speakers, though. Both cost $500 used.
@audiotroy I’m sorry, you got that wrong. Were you actually at CAF? I was referring to Command Performance sets ups and Deja Vu set up, two highly recommendable stores by the way.  Tenacious also probably falls into that category.
Two yes I was at Cap and I directly mentioned the Naim Focal setup was from a dealer same in NY Magico system was a dealers setup.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
I went to the 2018 NY show, and am a veteran of many RMAF shows. I find that in almost every instance, the simpler the system, the better it sounds. I’m not talking price, just simplicity. A show setting has way too many variables to try and make a 10 piece ensemble of electronics and speakers mesh. 
I did not care for the sound of the Golden Ear Triton room; it was a simple setup as I like, but either the Peachtree was not up to the task, or something else was amiss. I expected better, not more, bass, from a system with a tuneable low end. Not bad sound, but the rave reviews seem a little much.
After visiting the Robyatt room, I ask: Can the Quad speaker be duplicated? They really lean toward my ideal of smooth tonality and no in your face stridency.
Anyone with more than a passing interest in this hobby should really get to a show or two. You’d be surprised at how many of the critic’s darlings, be they speakers, amps, etc., don’t really seem as special as the flowery prose would suggest.
Having said that, nowhere else but at a show or local audiophile club, will you find so many like-minded people that share your passion. It’s fun.
@audiotroy  Good Post. Generally, I agree with your position. However, this is a hobby driven by personal preference to meet very personal goals. I believe limiting "intelligent pairings" mostly to relative price parity can be, well limiting. Since your post is mostly about 'price' I'll respond to that aspect.

As both an audiophile and a retailer we have always tried to recommend intelligent pairings your thoughts?

I will use myself as an example. As you personally know, I have the T+A PA 3100 HV driving the Tekton SEs. Most would consider the spend on the T+A vs the Tekton SE to be a mismatch. It's the very opposite for me. When I add the cost of cabling I've settled on, into the mix, the percent outlay towards speakers shrinks even more. 

Many may come to the conclusion that I should spend more on speakers and less on amplification and cabling. I've turned the 'typical' recommendation upside down. For this, I am musically richer and satisfied. That's me. Others will choose differently.

Currently one of the preamps I'm considering for a new system is inexpensive, a 'dog' in the looks department (btw, I love Canis lupus familiaris), and is a generally limited product. If I go forward with it, most would consider it a mismatch on price with respect to the speakers I'm considering and the amp I have chosen.

In the end, I'm looking for optimal synergies that give me the results I am looking for. General rules are good for guidance but they should guide, not decide.
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11k speaker cables, 8k interconnects, and a 5k power cord is hilarious with any system.
dep14"11k speaker cables, 8k interconnects, and a 5k power cord is hilarious with any system."

That would be dependent, reliant, and contingent upon the total price of all of the components in the specific music reproduction system within which these cables would be integrated for example if we are talking  about a total price in the range of $200K USD then the products you describe would represent a trivial, immaterial, and insignificant percentage of the total cost.
11k speaker cables, 8k interconnects, and a 5k power cord is hilarious with any system.
I would like to see Nordost’s financials. 😉

"Nordost should be a poor choice for Magico, anyway, regardless of cost."

That might explain why that "system" didn't sound as good as it could. Didn't realize those cables were that expensive....
My preamp alone retails for more than my speakers.  It's about performance and synergy, not price tags, IMHO.
The A3's were the highlight of the NY Audio show for me. Really terrific sounding speakers. Found it hard to tear myself away. Must have gone back to that room about 4 times on Sunday.
Perhaps the show organizers should hand out blindfolds and lead perspective buyers from room to room. That way one wouldn't know how much the system costs or looks like, etc. We have these amazing listening devices attached on each side of our heads, and should be the only sense used to assess sound quality!

My 2c
Overall i was a little disappointed with the show.  For me bargain of the day was the definite technology monitors, star of the show was the sonner speakers (again), and i also enjoyed the large dynaudio speakers with tube amps.  Oh and the immense horn set up was very impressive, plus you got free tea!  Left feeling a little flat (mind you my car was vandalized at the wkd so that had something to do with it!).  Cheers
Yes you are right, I have heard 100K+, that sound so bad, compare of 2,000$, it was like a Ferrari jacked on block for repair :(

@audiotroy - you’re correct, it was Command Performance from Fairfax, VA setting up the Naim Audio Uniti Atom with Focal speakers at the Capital Audio Show.  I was in CP the Saturday before buying a pair of Focal Aria 906 bookshelf speakers, Wireworld Omega 8 cables and test driving the Uniti Atom.  After further research, I really want the Uniti Star and Dynaudio Special 40s.