When I walked into the Classic Audio Loudspeakers room at the 2019 Capital Audiofest, it looked exactly like the Classic Audio Loudspeaker room at the 2018 Capital Audiofest. If I compared the photos from my coverage last year to these photos, I bet you everything was mapped out to the inch. While there’s something comforting in knowing what to expect–two huge pairs of Classic Audio Loudspeakers, the T-3.4 Field Coil powered system ($54,950) and the T-9 Field Coil system with sub ($72,950) dominating the room, blasting historical recordings at a volume never heard before–this year the Classic Audio Loudspeakers room sounded different than last year. Better. I stayed for much longer.
I’m not saying I didn’t like the Classic Audio Loudspeakers room last year. I did, and a lot. It’s just that during my two visits they seemed to be enjoying some very ancient records that were very, very noisy. That music seemed to fit the theme of the room–big horn loudspeakers, a Studer 810 reel-to-reel deck and an absolutely gorgeous modified Technics SP10 Mk II turntable with a Tri-Planar arm ($9800) and a bevy of van den Hul cartridges. The amps were among my faves, the Atma-sphere OTL Novacron Mk 3.3 power amps ($22,120/pair) and the MP-1 Mk 3.3 preamp ($21,200). Cabling was supplied by Purist Audio Design.
So what was the big difference in the Classic Audio Loudspeakers room this year? The music was much more interesting this year, and it really showed off what these big field coil speakers could achieve in a very large room. Instead of scratchy old records, we listened to a bunch of electronica which proved how much air those massive speakers could move. (Was this the first time I’ve listened to trance on an old Studer R2R? Maybe.) When you see gigantic field-coil loudspeakers in a cavernous listening room, like I did in the United Home Audio room, you want scope. You want scale. You want to feel that deep, thumping bass smack you right in the coccyx.
It’s not every day you walk into a huge downstairs conference room at a high-end audio show and see a rave like this with big horn speakers, reel-to-reel decks, tube amps and Nipper, the RCA dog, watching over the proceedings like the good dog he is. Classic Audio Loudspeakers surprised me with a room that looked exactly the same, but was far more entertaining than before.