Salk at Capital AudioFest

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Re: Salk at Capital AudioFest
« Reply #40 on: 15 Jun 2010, 04:51 pm »
I got there Saturday afternoon with my 8 year old daughter in tow.  We went straight to Salk room as I was very interested in listening to the SoundScape.  They were few folks in there listening to Song Tower which sounded pretty good and lively in that room.  I waited patiently and looked around to get a sense of the place.  Finally the folks left (I sure hope they ordered the Song Tower) and I asked to hear the SoundScape.  I didn't bring any music as I was really baby sitting and didn't think I would have time to sit down and critically listen.  I asked Jim and Dennis for variety of music and came away impressed.  I can understand Ric's disappointment as I also had difficult time with the tones.  The cavernous and hard room just wasn't going to give you smooth and warm tones.  We are not talking horrible sound folks.  It is only wanting because you want great stuff from a pair of $10K speakers.  What I did get was holographic sound stage with good rhythm, pace and extension.  The organ music shook the room.  I would like to hear them in my room.  I bet I can get some sweet tones out with my 80 triode watt  mono block and vinyl as source.   

I was so lost in listening to the speakers and totally forgot about my daughter.  :oops:  No worries though as I found Rachel deep in conversation with Mary who was very, very nice to her.   My daughter really liked Mary and Salk room and wanted to say bye when we were leaving, but they had already packed up as the room was being set up for a concert. 

Jim, would you tell Mary that Rachel says good bye.  I will bring her again if you do this next year.  I also wanted to chat with Dennis about the rooms he found interesting but I will have to do it here.  Jim and Dennis are good people.  You don't talk to them and come away feeling like you just talked to salesmen.  They talk to you like a fellow audiophile who truly enjoys this hobby. :thumb:

North Creek/Fibonacci Ribbon room was interesting.  You can see the ribbons move in and out.  I am not convinced that they are are good from 80 Hz up.  I think they have uneven response and I think they are more efficient up top then lower range.  What I heard was great mids accompanied with bright highs.  It's possible they sound better with tube amps but I saw SS Belles (?) amp driving them.  The sub enclosure had active driver and passive one facing out.  They sounded more appropriate for HT then 2 channel to me.  The room was set up for 5.1 but I only heard the 2.1.  I think the ribbons would have been better if they were filtered to separate the mids and the highs. 

Grapevine audio featured SS Class AB amp driving really neat looking Odeon  (Elektra?) speakers.  50 watts seemed to be an overkill for the horn speakers but the room sounded good.  We had a good discussion on a new DAC that is being developed by them. 

The Border Patrol room with Parallel SET 300B amps with separate tube rectified PS on each block sounded really good driving Living Voice speakers.  Nice synergy.  Vocals were great as expected but I also heard one of the best PRAT on any speakers driven by 300B SET amps.  Is it the British speakers or his amps?  Gary Dews attributed his unique PS for this and he may have something here.   I should check his stuff out as he is local. 

What is an audiofest if there is no used vinyl to peruse and buy? :wink:  I picked up a Callas Carmen she recorded in '63 in excellent shape.  By this time her voice was cracking but she could still do mezzo.  She does a passionate Carmen that I always wanted in vinyl and I got it for $4.  That is $1.33 per record.  :thumb:

All in all, we had a great time.  My daughter is growing up and acquiring discerning taste in sound quality.  We stopped at Sweetwater Tavern and got crab cakes and fillets.  She had a Shirley Temple and I had a good IPA (their wine list doesn't meet my standard).  Mom was out on a girl's night out just in case anyone was wondering.  8)

« Last Edit: 15 Jun 2010, 06:08 pm by woodsyi »


Re: Salk at Capital AudioFest
« Reply #41 on: 15 Jun 2010, 05:21 pm »
I don't think it's AVA electronics.  May be it's the choice of music, the file format........ :dunno:

Or perhaps the horrible acoustics in that cavernous room... :wink:

If you didn't like it, you didn't like it.  I would, however, not fully judge any speaker in that room.  YMMV.  According to others, most of the rooms at Capital AudioFest were bad.  That's a real shame. 


Re: Salk at Capital AudioFest
« Reply #42 on: 15 Jun 2010, 05:23 pm »
I see you live in DC.  Have you been to Dennis's to check out the speakers in a more favorable room or at least to confirm your first impressions?

Sending you a pm.



Re: Salk at Capital AudioFest
« Reply #43 on: 15 Jun 2010, 05:45 pm »
woodsyi -

Thanks for stopping by the room.  It was great meeting you and Rachael.

I'm sorry we could not have had a better sounding room so you could here the SoundScapes in all their glory.  But we knew even before we left home that the room would be a problem.  I liked the analogy of a train station.  We tried what we could to tame it, but there was only so much we could do.  The lower midrange and upper bass just excited room modes and made a muddy mess.  But we're still glad we went.

I'll pass on the message from Rachael.  Mary just could not get over how intelligent she is.  Can you say "genius"! Mary will be glad to hear she made a good impression.

Hopefully we'll return next year and get a better room.  I was really coveting that wood-paneled library room.  It it is available next year, we'll have to snap it up.

- Jim

R Swerdlow

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Re: Salk at Capital AudioFest
« Reply #44 on: 15 Jun 2010, 07:49 pm »
Final observations & Lessons Learned from the Capital Audiofest…

This was the first audio show I ever attended and overall I had fun.  I wish I could have spent more time there on Saturday, but I had work to do (mow the lawn, shop for groceries, do some laundry) because I had to go the DIA annual meeting (that's the Drug Information Association, not the Defense Intelligence Agency) and give a talk on Sunday evening.  I had to wear a coat & tie in 94° heat and humidity in downtown DC.  Ugh :(.

It was fun leaving work early on Thursday and helping Jim & Mary unload their very heavy gear.  I got to add my sweat to the high gloss of the SoundScape 10!  Being a pretend Salk Roadie was much better than finishing my slides for the talk on Sunday.

It was fun to meet some others I've only known online, like Ron Lee.  Bonnie & I really enjoyed dinner with you, Dennis, Jim & Mary at the Thai restaurant.  I wish I could have met all of the others from AC who were there.

Lesson #1:  Rooms really do make a large difference in sound.  The Glenview Mansion was the best illustration of that I've experienced.  I agree with Jim that the wood paneled room seemed to have great sound.  But then again it could have been the speakers in there :?.

Lesson #2:  Don't wear a Salk Signature Sound t-shirt to an audio show.  I got scowled at by some other (unnamed) guys who were displaying their speakers.

Lesson #3:  Never try to joke with any guy who is demoing his highly esoteric vinyl jazz collection over a highly priced exotic turntable, SET tube amp, and horn speakers.  He is likely to take himself far too seriously to have the time for humor.  (I asked why his turntable had two tone arms, when he only used one at a time.)

Lesson #4:  I heard a recording of Lewis Armstrong singing St. James Infirmary (made ~1959) that was real fine :green:.  I didn't know I liked him that much.  Thumbs up to the guy demoing the Joseph Audio Pulsars for playing that.  He clearly enjoyed music and a few jokes as well :thumb:.


Re: Salk at Capital AudioFest
« Reply #45 on: 16 Jun 2010, 03:29 am »
It was fun leaving work early on Thursday and helping Jim & Mary unload their very heavy gear.  I got to add my sweat to the high gloss of the SoundScape 10!  Being a pretend Salk Roadie was much better than finishing my slides for the talk on Sunday.

Roadie Richard contributing sweat...

Thanks Richard.

- Jim