Arion Audio, VPI Industries, Audio Research Corporation, Nordost Cables | CAF 2021

Arion Audio and VPI Industries were showing new products at Capital Audio Fest 2021. Alongside reference components from Audio Research Corporation and Nordost Cables.

The Story

Truth be told, I didn’t make my way to this room until the after-hours shennanigans began, and with a few drinks in my own system I began to tackle what I looked shiney in the VPI Industries system.

Firstly the big Apollo loudspeakers, and Apollo Woofers from Arion Audio. The Apollo is a five-piece loudspeaker system featuring separate full range line source dipole towers open baffle woofer modules. Separate cabinets allow the towers to be placed in the perfect location to optimize sound-stage and imaging. The bass modules can be placed for optimum extended bass in-room response and seamless integration with the towers. Advanced DSP room correction is provided for perfect system-room integration.

Secondly, the Apollo woofer modules are an Open Baffle (OB) design and integrate perfectly with the Apollo towers. Using separate woofer modules allows flexibility with their placement to optimize bass integration into the listening room. Furthermore, the bass modules are designed to be stackable. The one pair of woofer modules that comes with the system will yield a good bass response in an average size listening room. If the Apollo system is used in a large listening room then multiple pairs can be stacked or placed around the room to help minimize room bass issues.

Capital Audio Fest 2021 Show Coverage powered by ModWright Instruments Inc.

Thirdly, on the VPI Industries and all their new products to swoon over. While they were originally meant to celebrate 2020, VPI revamped and launched their former Prime line as the 21 Series with the minor refinements to each of the three turntables based off customer, dealer, and reviewer feedback.

The new VPI Avenger Direct was also on debut status. At CAF 2019 VPI showed the state-of-the-art Vanquish turntable but also loosely teased a heavy prototype for their potential Avenger Direct. Had CAF 2020 happened this was one of the many products they would have planned for a production launch.

The Avenger Direct uses the same motor as the HW-40 with some minor engineering refinements. The Avenger Direct completes the line by offering listeners a high-end VPI turntable with multiple tonearms as any of a belt, rim, and now Direct Drive option. The table features their Pneumatic Air Suspension Feet as well as a brand new tonearm that is so new they haven’t even named it yet, and I don’t have pictures.

The Sound

Really fantastic imaging both in the center and around the edges. Great depth, probably the only other room at the show to portray such a deep soundstage. What I really liked was how clean and extended the top end was. It gave us every bit of the detail without being overly hot and spicy up top, and with the open baffle bass modules, there was just about nothing we could have wished for in terms of bass or integration between the subs and towers.

Also, the way this system was dialed in via the Trinnov computational software presented a really show-stopping sound. Which begs the question, is anything possible with this system? Can I dial in smooth and fat sounding? Is there a “more butter” setting?

Capital Audio Fest 2021 Show Coverage powered by ModWright Instruments Inc.

For more Capital Audio Fest 2021 coverage—CLICK HERE!

Capital Audio Fest 2021 Show Coverage powered by ModWright Instruments Inc.

For more Capital Audio Fest 2021 coverage—CLICK HERE!