Just because Lou Hinkley of Daedalus Audio was one of the show organizers for PAF 2022, along with Gary Gill, it doesn’t mean he’s going to get special treatment from me. Nope. There were two Daedalus Audio rooms at the Pacific Audio Fest in Seattle, one with LTA amplification, one with VAC amps, both with LampizatOr DACs and WyWires cabling. I spent just enough time in both rooms to realize that, well, these were two systems that functioned as gentle, welcome much-needed oases of sound.
Which of the two Daedalus Audio rooms did I prefer? Tough question. The first room, the one with Linear Tube Audio amplification, featured a pair of Lou’s Argos v.3 loudspeakers (starting at $15,850/pr USD), an LTA MicroZOTL preamplifier ($5,750) and a pair of Ultralinear+ power amps ($6,800 each). The DAC was LampizatOr’s Baltic 3 ($6,600), and Final Touch Audio supplied some of the cabling in addition to Wywire’s speaker cables ($1,995/pair).
The second room, with the big $150,000 VAC 450i iQ integrated amplifier and a LampizatOr Pacific DAC ($25,950), featured a pair Apollo 11 v.3 speakers (starting at $27,500/pr USD). As I mentioned, both rooms had a warm and open sound that just swept out the cobwebs out of my brain, and made me forget about anything but the music that was playing.
The LTA room was a bit clearer, with a little more energy. The VAC room was just a little richer, just a little more romantic, with an overall bigger sound. Of the two Daedalus Audio rooms, I don’t know if I can pick a winner at all. Both were superb. (For Lou, it’s probably like picking his favorite child.)
Lou Hinkley announced that because of his involvement with the inaugural edition of the Pacific Audio Fest, he would be limiting the amount of hand-built loudspeakers he releases this year. The two Daedalus Audio rooms at PAF 2022 were so compelling, so sweet and filled with beautiful music, that I hope he’s able to get back to his craft as soon as he can. Daedalus Audio makes their speakers on an almost bespoke basis, with every pair possessing a unique appearance–which is why solid wood speaker enclosures are one of the truly exciting trends blossoming in the high-end audio industry right now.
In other words, the two Daedalus Audio rooms deserve very special treatment.