PAF Friday Highlights | PAF 2022

paf friday highlights von schweikert

Another audio show, another photo of an amazing Von Schweikert Audio/VAC system, brought to us by The Audio Company. For me, this is the only way to kick off coverage of the Pacific Audio Fest. What was special about this room was its size, 70′ by 70′ by 14′ according to Leif Swanson of VSA–their biggest room yet. (You know that’s saying a lot for Von Schweikert and VAC.) This was, as usual, one of the true PAF Friday Highlights just for the sheer impact of this amazing system.

Those blue beauties in the photograph are the Von Schweikert Audio Ultra 7s ($180,000/pr), the very same pair that appeared at Hubcom 2022 a few weeks ago. Relatively compact for the VSA Ultra line, the 7s nevertheless filled the room with an undeniably powerful sound.naim solstice

Next on the list of PAF Friday Highlights is the brand new Naim Solstice turntable, which was featured in the Focal Naim room. Ever since I first heard the Naim ARO tonearm and Armageddon power supply on a Linn Sondek so many years ago, I’ve been hoping Naim would get back into analog. The sound quality was superb, with an incredibly easy and laid-back presentation.

paf friday highlights focal

I’ve spent a lot of time on Focal Naim rooms in the last few months, first at AXPONA 2022 and then High End 2022 in Munich, but this was a pleasure due to the amazing, beautiful and quite substantial Solstice.

sonner audio

I’ve also been enthusiastic about Sonner Audio lately, so much so that I’m finally getting a pair in for review. In fact, I’m getting this pair of the Sonner Legato Duos ($9,500/pr) at the end of the show. Yep, I drove here, and I’m driving back with these. I’m excited to get them in my system as soon as I get back to Portland.

paf friday highlights

Another of the PAF Friday Highlights was the Acora Acoustics room, which was located in a room almost as large as the VSA/VAC room. At AXPONA 2022, I felt the big room was problematic (I wasn’t in love with the venue) and the SRC-2s felt a little blurred, but they sounded so much better here with plenty of focus and truly amazing bass. Plus, I haven’t seen a pair of loudspeakers placed so far apart in a very long time–at least 20 feet! Center fill, nevertheless, was superb, and I finally understand why Dave McNair loves these so much.

I always enjoy the LTA/Spatial Audio/Anticables room at audio shows–these affordable systems always compete for Best of Show. In this case I felt Linear Tube Audio’s Mark Schneider knocked it out of the park with his latest integrated amplifier, the Z40+ ($7,650) and the Spatial Audio Lab X4 loudspeakers (starting at $7,950/pr.) Of all the PAF Friday Highlights, this was perhaps the most magical–meaning this is the system I really wanted to bring home.

paf friday highlights audio note

From LTA, I moved to the Audio Note UK room and was unexpectedly treated to a private concert by cellist Vincent Belanger. Many of you have seen this amazing demo, where Belanger plays his cello live, and then plays with a recording of himself on the Audio Note system. Belanger kidded that “I always win,” it was truly astounding how well the cellos blended into a coherent performance.

borresen m1

In Munich, I freaked out when I heard the Borresen M1 monitors. They sounded so big for their size that I almost had an existential crisis. What is Borreson doing that no one else is? It was only after I’d written the show report that I found out the M1s retail for $100,000/pr. That wasn’t shocking at all–it explained so much about the incredible performance.

In a few weeks I’ll be traveling to Denmark to visit with the Denmark Audio Group, makes of Aavik, Ansuz and Borresen, and I’ll discover the secret behind another of my PAF Friday Highlights.

fink team

The final choice for my list of PAF Friday Highlights was found in the Matterhorn Audio Group room. I’ve been wanting to hear the Fink Team Kim monitors ($12,990/pair) ever since they were covered in Hi-Fi Pig–I find that my audio tastes align with Mr. and Mrs. Smith. In Munich, they were kept in a static display. Here, I was able to hear both the Kims and the Borg ($36,490/pair) and they are tremendous.

Tomorrow, I’ll have my PAF Saturday Highlights!