David Cope and Old Forge Audio | CAF 2019

I have a natural affinity for everything David Cope is doing at his Old Forge Audio dealership/distribution company in Mystic, Connecticut. As I’ve mentioned, he took over my two New Zealand brands, Pureaudio and The Wand, so it’s obvious we share the same tastes in high-end audio gear. For years I’ve been impressed with his Audio Note rooms at the shows. So when I entered his room early on the first day of the 2019 Capital Audiofest, I knew I was about to hear something familiar, and something that I would truly like.

Tenacious Sound
Capital Audiofest 2019 brought to you in part by Tenacious Sound.
Verdant Audio
Capital Audiofest 2019 brought to you in part by Verdant Audio!

I was treated to some very familiar gear in David Cope’s room–he was using the same Pureaudio Duo2 stereo power amplifier ($8500) that I’ve been using as a reference for the last few years. He also had The Wand’s 14-4 turntable ($3800) with The Wand’s 12″ Plus tonearm ($1800)–I’ve been using The Wand Master Series tonearm as a reference for a while, too. He was even using Vinnie Rossi‘s fabulous L2 preamplifier ($16,995), and I’m currently reviewing Vinnie’s L2i integrated amplifier. He also featured cabling from Luna Cables, and a couple of their gorgeous little SUTs as well ($2500 for the Orange and $5000 for the Red), and digital sources via Chord ($4995 M-SCALER and $11,995 DAVE). But it was the gear I didn’t know that had me in a swoon, namely the new speakers from Sound/Kaos in Switzerland.

David Cope was showing the unique wooden Sound/Kaos Wave 42 loudspeakers ($17,000/pair), which were shaped sort of like a bathtub or a canoe. They use a custom-made 8″ wideband woofer with the RAAL ribbon tweeter (again, the same tweeter found in my reference Brigadier Audio BA-2s), and they’re rated at a 92-93 dB sensitivity at 8 ohms. As David explains, “The sides are steam-bent solid maple, and the front and back are Swiss alpine spruce.” They even feature custom-wound silver transformers. The smaller Vox 3f speakers ($6750/pair with stands) were also in the room–I feel like I’ve seen these around. David told me that Sound/Kaos doesn’t follow the traditional distribution model, so he’s currently the only dealer in the US who has this intriguing brand. As I’ve mentioned, I don’t like to judge an excellent system like this on the first day of a show when everything’s still warming up and the bugs are still being sorted out. But the Old Forge Audio room was the first one, to my ears, that was firing on all cylinders. Everything sound so right.

Neli Davis of Audio Federation has been asking me to visit Old Forge Audio in Mystic for quite some time–she says his space is unique and beautiful. Then there’s the whole thing about David Cope being my doppleganger (or vice versa), something I found out back at the 2019 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest when one gentleman kept yelling “Hey, David Cope!” at me in the corridors. I suppose the biggest difference is that David’s hair is pretty much grey, and there’s a rumor going around–one that is NOT TRUE–that I dye mine. All I can say is that David Cope and I may or may not be the same person. As I said, we both share the same excellent taste in gear! (Ha!)