Scottsdale Speakerfest, 6/29/19

Hi All,
I don't know if anyone else on these forums attended the first annual Scottsdale Speakerfest yesterday: but I did and wanted to offer my impressions. I suppose like any first time, it would have benefitted form better organization. Fortunately, I don't think any more than 100 people showed up, and it was sponsored by the Arizona Audio Video Club, so a good number of those in attendance were members. 
It was held in a very nice venue; 2 rooms in a large modern office building in a large office park. The only dealer there was a very nice gent named Tom from a new ATC dealer in Tempe. His system was all ATC from CD player to amp, with Cardas clear cabling, the speaker being the SCM 40. This system sounded amazing on all music, and it seemed that there was no argument about that. 
The other speakers were:
Joseph Audio Pulsar - I was really looking forward to this because I had never heard it before. It was set up with a small Hegel integrated and an Oppo CD player after the laptop used for streaming gave out, and the sound was pleasant but underwhelming. They changed the set up later, but I missed the demo, and whatever the change was, but those in the room said it was much better. I must say that in person, they look like 9k...those binding posts! Geez.

Tekton Double Impact - My first time hearing them, and they impressed me by not being impressive. Big wide open stage, focused vocals, very good separation and dynamics, but what I noticed most was balance over the range from bass to treble. Nothing stood out. They did sound "all of a piece" in spite of all those drivers. I'd love to hear them in a well sorted and optimized system, which this wasn't.

Sanders Electrostatic - Wow... Something must have been terribly wrong. They just can't sound this bad!. My friend and I were shocked by the sound. After the first 15 minutes of playing it, they never bothered again as far as I could tell. And they were using 2 Magtech monos to drive them.

LSA monitors - Never saw these in person before and I had no idea that they were so deep front tp back! Unfortunately, the sound was really disappointing. They sounded small and muffled, closed in you would say. gain, I think they must be pretty good speakers under better circumstances.

Spatial Sapphire - This was loaned by the designer as a new model. It was a 15" bass driver with a dome tweeter up top. It was very disappointing in almost every way. The original ones with a 15" bass and a 15" coaxial must be a lot better.

Zu Audio Soul Supreme - This really sounded nice overall, a bit treble-centric and the bass didn't reach that low, but it was a lively and fun speaker.

Salk Tower - I don't know what this tower was called, but they were 4k and had a beautiful exotic high gloss veneer. They have a beryllium tweeter, and boy was it clear and detailed! It also had a 5" mid driver, and way down near the bottom, an 8" woofer. It had a slot that suggested a transmission line at the front bottom. This speaker sounded really nice, and was immediately "impressive" with that tweeter, but I had the feeling that it would be very unkind to recordings that had distorted or overly prominent high frequencies. 

The ATCs were the flat out winner, just because they are so good at making music sound real, and are completely enjoyable. Impossible to know if the Tektons could have competed, but it would have been very informative to hear them in that same system with the ATC electronics.  

All in all, a nice day, and not overcrowded. I wonder what next year will be like.
thanks for the report. I live in northern AZ and couldn't make it. maybe next year.
Glad you came! The Salks were Song3 beAts. Having spent some time with them, I can say they actually handle rough recordings better than one would expect. Detailed yet smooth and forgiving is how I would describe them.

The Joseph’s came alive (along with several other speakers) with the addition of a PS Audio Directstream DAC between the Oppo and the Hegel.

We are holding another public event called DAC-It-Out at the end of August. I’ll post details in the digital forum soon.

Again, thanks to all who came and participated in SpeakerFest.
I would agree that the ATC's sounded the best.  Then after talking to the Tempe Dealer, he indicated that there is an active ATC speaker that sounds twice as good...albeit for twice the money.  I would have loved to be able to listen to both of those back to back. 

As far as Tekton Double Impact, I too came to hear these speakers that the Audiogon audience has billed as one of the greatest speakers of all time.  For $3,000 they are well worth the money if you have the space for them.  Are they reference level listening speakers, I don't think so.  They are really well suited for a theater room set-up.  They play loud.  

I did like the Joseph speakers but they are to small for what I need.  

I was there and largely agree with your summation. I went to hear the Spatials which I thought would be the M3. The x5 at the event had some kind of issue. What a bummer.

i agree with you on the Zu and the ATC and the Tekton. The Tektons sounded good but didn’t blow me away.
Love to hear that ATC won! We have been recommending ATC to our clients for several years.

The ATC SCM 40 ,one of our clients has in an all Naim system and we were streaming Pink Floyd, the Who and other classic rock and it sounded like you were right there in the control room.

The SCM 40 big soundstage, smooth, musical, great dynamics. and they play to realistic volumes. 

We have heard all the other speakers mentioned and some of those do sound promising but we are not surprised that most of your guys perfered the ATC. 

We head an Active ATC SCM 40 at the New York audio show a few years ago and the sound with an inexpensive dac was just so real and the entire system cost less than many guys cables.

Go ATC go. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ ATC dealers
Thanks for the report.  I'm away from AZ right now but hope to attend one of these when I get back.
Not surprised at all by the ATC showing.  I run ATC 40 active with Gaia.

Astonished by the general lack of investigation by the audiophile community into the world of studio grade active speakers.  The evidence more than ample that active when done well is a serious contender.

The immutable behavior by most treading the tired standards of preamp, power amp and speakers.....repeat.  I know, I lived there for years myself.  It's a brave new world if only explored with open minds and ears.