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Pacific Audio Fest 2023, Part One

07-27-2023 | By Carol Clark | Issue 128

Pacific Audio Fest, Doubletree Hilton adjacent to SeaTac Airport. Great weather, nice flight via Alaska Airlines, wonderful room.

This is like our 50th show in the past 35 years. Something like that, hard to remember them all. But after all these years we have learned that for the most part, rooms will reflect the music being played. And that for the most part, rooms will sound anywhere from quite good to decent enough. But like I said... it is the music being played. Play something big, bold, dynamic... wide range... something that that has rhythm and drive. Something that not only taxes the system and room, but perhaps the listener. Challenge people with somethign new, different... unexpected. "Little music" is not going to show what the system can do. It is not going to draw people in. Sadly a number of rooms leaned on the "little music" and as such... yeah no. Nothing to keep us there. Nothing stands out. I mean it is just not interesting or engaging. To us at least.

I get being afraid that you might scare people away, or over tax the system and room. But then you can control the volume and as such play it just loud enough that the system comes alive. I will say that the vast majority of rooms offered listeners to choose whatever via Qobuz, which is nice trend. 

Signage for who and where with what. Nice to see this as it reflects, make that projects, the professionalism of the show organizers. Well organized and well ran.

Day one. Right away I encountered our own Jeff Day. Always a smile and laugh.

Linear Tube Audio, set up directly across from registration. We remember when they first showed way back a few years at AXPONA. Just starting out back then, but today? Must have been in 4-5 rooms. Congratulations.

Day one, Alex Sventitsky amid the people checking in. Hmm... now where did I leave my room?

Valve Amplification Company, The Audio Company, Von Schweikert Audio, MasterBuilt. Always great sound from this collaboration. Very effortless.

Standing room only in the VAC room.

David Solomon with Qobuz. David lights up the room.

Norman Varney of AV Room Service. Nicest guy. 

AV Room Service with the evidence or measurements that their product does what they say it does.

ASC Tube Traps. Now clap your hands...

Kirmuss Audio. If you brought in an LP, they would clean it for you.

More exhibitors in the Marketplace.

Marketplace day one.

For those who want to go all out... serious breaker boxes and isolation transformers.  

Stax Headphones.

Durand Tonearms.

Audeze Audio.

Triangle Art. Big, BIG EFFORTLESS SOUND... but sadly never were playing the music that we wanted to hear.

Next Level HiFi, Audio Group Denmark. A remarkable sounding room featuring Ansuz, Aavik, Borresen, and Axxess. Crazy good.

Crazy expensive. Pushing the envelope here with a system that was pushing the million dollar mark. Worth it? Can't say. Don't have a million to spend but for sure it sounded stellar.

Their new line (all in one integrated) that is rather affordable at under $10K.

We had a great time chatting with Jonny Wilson of Snake River Audio.

Great cables!

The folks at check in were very helpful.

Focal and Naim. This room was amazing! They asked me what I wanted to hear, and usually I don't like to bore the other attendees with music I like. Since there wasn't anyone else in the room, I said The Cure. They played "Love Song" and I enjoyed it. Then, he put on "Making Plans for Nigel" by XTC, and that got both Dave and I bopping in time to the music. Awesome!

Naim Electronics.

Focal loudspeakers. These sounded rather good too. Well, the system sounded rather good.

Ideon Audio, JMF Audio, Audio Skies, Farnsworth Audio, HRS. In this room they played Massive Attack for us. Sounded phenomenal.

New speakers, the Hydra, from Baun.

Baun Hydra, drivers.

Gershman Acoustics, Pass Labs, Wolf Audio, all wired with Cardas Audio.

KL Audio.

Jaguar Audio with Avantgarde Duo SD / Gen 3 loudspeakers. Cabling by Analysis Plus.

Jaguar Audio, Avantgarde loudspeakers. This room sounded quite good.

Jaguar Audio featured Avantgarde and Phasemation amplifiers, Phasemation preamplifier, T+A DAC/Streamer, Kuzma Stabi R turntable and tonearm, Puritan Audio Labs power conditioner, and Stillpoints rack.