CAF 2015: Best In Show

This was a surprise. The entire show. A surprise.

And given that it seemed like it might not happen at all for a few months, the overall success was a stunner. Sound quality? WAY up. I can’t stress that enough — even the so-so rooms were good. But the very best rooms were astonishing. And by astonishing, I mean, WTF with an explosion of exclamation points.

My first nod goes to Audio Note UK for their entirely unfair positioning of Vincent Bélanger and his cello. That was the best thing I heard, hands down and game over. Of course, that was live. Hardly fair. That said, a nod is due — it was a marvelous demo.

Runner’s Up

*Salk Sound. Holy cow, that was fun. Natural, nuanced and engaging — maybe the best sound I’ve heard from a Salk; here paired with LampizatOr, DanaCable, and Wells Audio.

*Classic Audio Loudspeakers. Shown here with Atma-Sphere, Kuzma and Purist Audio Design, the Classic Audio Hartsfield speakers were just unbelievable. Un-be-leeve-a-bull.

*Bricasti Design. Seeing Brian Zolner of Bricasti here, and listening to his magnificent amps driving that enormous loudspeaker from Tidal Audio, I was not only thrilled but gratified (his amps are awesome, aliens notwithstanding). Astonishingly great sound.

Robyatt Audio

My top pick goes to Robyatt Audio. I’ve been watching Robin Wyatt and his Quad fetish for a while now. Each of his show demos, over the years, have marked some truly epic experiences, but this time and at this show, I was gobsmacked.

Those Electrostatic Solutions rehabilitated Quad 57s kitted out with Sopranino super tweets from ENIGMAcoustics, driven by Miyajima OTL amps and pre, wired up with TelWire, sitting on a Kanso rack and fed by awesome vinyl on a VPI turntable, together represent some of the finest sounding gear you can buy today.

Absolutely lovely sound. Very well done.