Capital Audiofest 2017: The Audio Company, VAC, Von Schweikert, Esoteric bring their A-Game

The Story

This was probably the only room at Capital Audiofest that could have charged a “special exhibit” admission price during the show. The Audio Company brought to CAF what was arguably a room configured with a system many audiophiles might never experience in their real lives, either specifically or in terms of outright cost. So making it to an audio show near you to see rooms like this should be on your bucket list. Likely if you know someone who attended Capital Audio Fest this year, you’re likely already seeing system pictures on social media.


While speaking with a representative from Esoteric, I asked, “Was this a record player or tape that I just heard?” He replied through a grin “It’s our new N-01 Network Player.” At this point I proceeded to mutter around my own tongue, making for a very capable and off-the-cuff Foghorn Leghorn impression. “I say, I say…”

The Sound

The main room enveloped you with it’s scale. Think “ultra high end IMAX audio” if there were such a thing. Horns on Dust Bowl Revival’s “Hey Baby” were wild, full of realism and tuneful. Roger Waters tune “Three Wishes”, despite being a combination of digital keyboards, electric guitars, and severely EQ’d drums, the demonstrating system was powerful and used its enormous stage presence to maximize the beautiful parts of the recording while minimizing its corny style.

The second room, possessed an obviously (to me) softer touch than the main, but was still strong in it’s display. Diana Krall’s “Little Girl Blue” was fully rendered with the emotion that it contains. Personally that’s one of my favorite songs on her Best Of album and I connected with it as much as ever in this room.

The Systems

Main Room:
VAC Audio

Statement Phono Stage $80,000 USD
Statement Line Stage $75,000 USD
Statement 450 iQ (two pair) Monoblock Power Amplifiers $120,000 pr USD

Von Schweikert Audio
ULTRA 11 Loudspeaker $295,000 pr USD
Shockwave V12 Subwoofer $11,500 ea USD (subwoofer used for active room correction)

Network Audio Player $20,000 USD
Grandioso P1 Transport $35,000 USD
G-01 Master Clock $18,000 USD
Grandioso D1 Monoblock DAC $36,000 USD

Turntable $30,000 USD
5009 Tonearm $3,800 USD

Air Tight

Opus Cartridge $15,000 USD

MasterBuilt Audio
Ultra Line Interconnects, Power Cords, and Speaker Cables

Critical Mass
Olympus Six Shelf Rack $60,900 USD
Maxxum MK3 Six Shelf Rack $36,900 USD
Black Diamond MK3 Amp Stand $2,995 ea USD

Acoustic Sciences Corp.
ASC-TubeTrap Room Conditioning

Second Room:
VAC Audio
Renaissance Phono Stage $9,900 USD
Renaissance Line Stage $9,900 USD
Phi 170 iQ Power Amplifier $9,900 USD

Von Schweikert Audio Endeavor E-3 Loudspeaker $8,000 pr USD

Esoteric K-07 CD Player $6,000 USD
Innovation Compact Turntable with Magnify Tonearm $9,995 USD
Ortofon Cadenza Red $1,200 USD

MasterBuilt Audio Reference Line Interconnects, Power Cords, and Speaker Cables
Critical Mass Sotto Voce Four Shelf Rack $4,500 USD
Critical Mass Black Sapphire Amp Stand $1,190 USD



  1. The end is near for this hobby and they all know it.
    I saw a pair of speakers that listed for $23K three years ago, list for $72K this year!
    Wealthy people can’t be that stupid..

    Litttle Vanatoo speakers for $450 sound really really good!

    Of course I will be accused of sour grapes because I can’t afford astronomically priced gear.
    I think PT Barnum was at that show!

    Its a shame as this used to be such a great hobby.Same great people just the price for admission went up….alot!

    • This room was pure music nirvana, regardless of the $. I feel fortunate to have had the experience. Don’t be hatin’!

  2. I paid $250 (lots of Whataburgers) for my excellent phono stage (Parasound) — and thought I lost my mind? $80k for a VAC phono stage – I would drop deader then dead. More gear for the Oligarchs and Plutocrats crowd. What dopes.

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