CAF 2015: Daedalus, ModWright and VPI


CAF2015Leveraging an unusual corner-of-the-room setup, Lou Hinkley of Daedalus Audio and Dan Wright of ModWright managed to wring some spell-binding sound out of the Capital Audiofest this year. None of this stuff is exactly cheap. It’s also not exactly the bling-y-est stuff on the market. But the sound quality in this room was good enough to make grown men weep, make babies stop weeping, and get cats and dogs to … well, no, those little bastards will do whatever they want, no matter what you do. Me? I was transfixed.

Up front and majestic-like were the pair of mixed-wood Poseidon v2 loudspeakers, which start at $16,450/pair. The finish on these guys here at the show Lou calls “Baked Flamed Maple with an Art Deco Baffle”, and that commands a bit of an upcharge ($21,450). The speakers are always solid wood — standard is cherry for this model, I think — and yes, there are many that raise an eyebrow at that. Get over it. The speakers are 115lbs each, and that’s all mass, baby — and wickedly braced. What’s new here is the driver — these are brand new, and Lou is a bit cagey about the proprietary nature. Insert lots of eyebrow raising and surprised looks from Lou, here. I remember talking about this update with Lou, way earlier in the year, when he just started exploring. Fast forward, and Lou is just flabbergasted at how much of an improvement it makes. The sound is clear without crispiness, detail with deep tone, and bass extension that’ll jump-start your fight-or-flight reflex.

With the fancy new Ambrose amplifier from the joint-venture with ModWright over in the Viva HiFi room, Dan and Lou had to “make do” (ha!) with the KWA 150 Signature Edition amplifier. This big, silver box sported a subtly glowing blue laser cut-out, and cranks a health 150wpc into the 97dB Poseidons. Overkill? Maybe. Probably. But the result is hard to argue with.

Sultry, sexy, textured and nuanced … this was very clearly and very obviously one of the very best sounding rooms at the show. That was a lot of ‘very’ — and rightfully so.

Also in the rack, the Elyse DAC ($6,900) and PH150 Phono Pre ($7,900), along with the dual-chassis LS 36.5 DM preamplifier ($9,995) and a ModWright modded Oppo BDP-105D (mod is $2,495).

WyWires Diamond Series interconnects, speaker cables and digital cables were matched up with WyWires Silver Series power cords and a WyWires/Daedalus Power Broker AC distribution system ($2,495). I talked a bit about the new Diamond series in the Viva HiFi room — so check that out.

On top of the rack, the new VPI Avenger, shown here in base-form ($9k) and a 12″ carbon-fiber-wrapped 3D-printed tonearm and a Shelter 901 cartridge. Want more? Check out the VPI room discussion!

Other than the sound, what did catch my eye was all the extra bits from Daedalus. There was the rack — I didn’t know Lou made racks, though I shouldn’t be surprised by this. There was also a “wiring rack harness” (my words) that sat behind the rack to provide something like a structured-cabling array to sort out your cables — way tidier than the usual mess. Pricing varies — call Lou if interested.

While I was in the room, Lou was fiddling about with some footers that he’s calling Daedalus Isolation Devices (DiD), a wood/steel/bearing composite device that Lou suggested provided superior focus. We tried them — and he’s right. They work. Pricing is still TBD, but expect them to retail for a couple-hundred for a set.

About Scot Hull 1063 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you Scot! All of us had a great time at the show and there WERE a lot of good sounding rooms.
    I think this was the best sound we have had and I am really looking forward to RMAF next month!

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