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Dave McNair’s Better of Present | CAF 2022

Like my current attendance on the Toronto audio present, I did not go to the 2022 Capitol Audiofest on an official present report mission for Half-Time Audiophile. I went to have some enjoyable and laughs with my different PTA crew, Grover Neville, Jameson Mourafetis, and Eric Franklin Shook. For Dave McNair’s Better of Present I am going to speak about some rooms I appreciated, however first, I’ve an enormous fats bone to choose. Or extra like an irritating pimple that I have to squeeze?

Phrases by Dave McNair, Photographs by Grover Neville

There was a variety of quiet discuss in regards to the attitudes and insurance policies of different, greater audio publications and a few of the writers that cowl audio exhibits and who assessment gear. This discuss technically is likely to be categorised as rumour however I feel it deserves a dialogue, nonetheless.

Self-interest is a truth of life, along with the utmost that life will not be truthful. The universe does not give a rat’s ass about you or your hi-fi firm, however that does not imply hi-fi trade commerce publications ought to have free reign to declare winners and losers based mostly on little greater than ego and a perverted have to Management the gates of data.


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If I select to not write a few room or assessment a product, it is due to what my Mother all the time stated, “If you cannot say one thing good, do not say something in any respect.” That is very totally different from “That room or product is admittedly nice, however we can’t say something or if we do, not a lot that is overtly constructive as a result of that threatens the order of issues in our world,” and even worse, “they do not ‘t warned.”

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Moreover merely being nasty, it robs readers of the knowledge who’re genuinely in search of that data to information a purchase order. And I am uninterested in many manufacturers and merchandise that I really feel are wonderful getting quick shrift or worse from the audio press institution AND some little guys who don’t have any ears and questionable style.

Plenty of this goes on at each audio present and within the assessment course of.

I’m not saying there may be completely no self-interest happening at PTAhowever what little there may be nothing to do with promoting or a should be the large man on campus.

Finish of rant. Now, Dave McNair’s Better of Present.

tree house audio

Better of CAF 2022

Dave McNair’s Better of Present is in no specific order, as a result of high quality will not be as subjective as most individuals make it out to be, however an absolute rating is sort of silly.

Treehouse Audio had an exquisite and unique-sounding room. I felt it was considerably higher sounding than their displaying on the final CAF. It will need to have one thing to do with a change in driver on this distinctive 3-way, open baffle, high-efficiency loudspeaker.

The brand new driver is of the energetic magnet, subject coil selection. Within the Treehouse speaker, this midrange driver is the center of the system, overlaying a really vast band from 70hz to 14K and past. The bass speaker has its personal devoted amp and dsp for seamless integration, and a brilliant tweeter coming in round 14K and barely on, which completes the image. Hornlike dynamics however no horn coloration and a excessive diploma of coherence. Treehouse tube electronics had been used to drive this musically partaking system.


Acora Acoustics used the present to debut their present three-speaker lineup – however in a quartz materials versus the standard black granite. I discovered the off-white quartz of the QRC-1 to look very snazzy. Grey quartz was used within the QRC-2. The grey was additionally handsome, even when it is exhausting to get throughout in photos. The smallest speaker, the SRB was of their conventional black granite cupboard.

I felt like one thing was off within the gear used to energy the QRC-2 system, together with the analog rig. It wasn’t unhealthy, simply not the sound I am used to listening to at earlier exhibits – or in my mastering studio, the place I take advantage of SRC-2s each day as screens.

acora src-1

The QRC-1 system, nevertheless, was smokin’ good. Among the greatest I’ve heard the SRC-1s sound at any present. That acquainted ultra-precise imaging and truth-telling however listenable Acora sound, and on Hegel strong state electronics. Undoubtedly Dave McNair’s Better of Present materials.


One of many final rooms I heard on Sunday was arrange by Maryland seller 20/20 Evolution Programs. I felt just like the Kharma DB9S audio system, together with conrad-johnson electronics, put me within the Pleasure Dome like few different present setups I’ve heard. I heard a distinct however comparable Kharma on this room on the final CAF, however this yr it was extra particular. Perhaps it was a magic combo of substances, regardless, the sound was nice on this room. Giant, punchy, and detailed however with much less of a neutral-based method and extra of a enjoyable, fastidiously chosen editorial vibe. Prime quality however not hi-fi sounding.

The 4 PTA buddies did a takeover on this room and had an iPad streaming social gathering. I took the time to play a number of tracks I had blended or mastered, which implies I appreciated the sound. Plenty of enjoyable was had.

jameson and doug white

Doug White’s TIDAL Audio room is sort of a excessive bar custom at CAF. This yr was no exception. New Tidal Piano G3 loudspeakers pushed by these attractive wanting Vinnie Rossi Brama separates. I would be lyin if I stated the room was something lower than wonderful however this yr appeared only a totally different hair. Not worse or higher, however totally different.

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That is the primary time I’ve heard Tidal audio system with one thing aside from Tidal electronics. The sound nonetheless had that magic Tidal high quality of clear water, however this time the water was extra Perrier than distilled. I used to be getting over some meals poisoning from dinner the night time earlier than, so that will have had one thing to do with my impressions. I additionally did not spend a great deal of time in that room, nevertheless it was positively on my very quick listing of great-sounding rooms at CAF 2022.

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The upstairs smaller room put collectively by Von Schweikert Audio was a deal with. The Endeavor Reference Version speaker was equal elements enjoyable and top-shelf hifi. Utilizing a easy however efficient system with VAC electronics (one 450IQ amp and a Grasp Pre) and the LampizatOr Horizon DAC, I heard sufficient element, linear frequency response, and spatial info to be true HiFi but with a punchy virtually rock n roll vibe. The end I noticed was their new lower-cost cupboard panels. Was it a veneer or just the cupboard wooden with a end? I ought to have requested however was too mesmerized by the Floyd that was enjoying. I assumed it regarded nice, so why not avoid wasting bucks to place elsewhere to the system whereas nonetheless getting a strong speaker? Want You Have been Right here sounded sufficiently rockin’ and psychedelic.

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Dave McNair’s Better of Present–Postscript

After all, there have been loads of different rooms that sounded good, however the ones above made the most important impression on me. There have been additionally loads of rooms that sounded mediocre to unlistenable, and generally that is attributable to circumstances past the exhibitor’s management; I get it. However what bothered me essentially the most was the number of music that many of the rooms performed.

As I stated in my Toronto article, I can take just a few worn-out present chestnuts, primarily as a result of I’ve some sense of what they sound like to guage a system. However c’mon, fellas, if the wi-fi is spotty and unusable, carry a variety of information or an enormous exhausting drive with a various choice so I can hear one thing I do know. Why is it so exhausting to play first rate music at a hi-fi present?

dave with jason and eric

So many rooms gave me no approach to choose. The few with streaming or a big exhausting drive choice had been often huge eye-openers. By that, I imply after I listened to a system that originally had a wow issue with the curated alternatives, virtually each time I performed real-world but high-quality sounding tunes, the magic disappeared. Perhaps that is why the tune choice is proscribed…

I do not wish to paint that damaging an image trigger I had nice time listening to methods and visiting with buddies. I can not bear in mind laughing a lot in a single weekend. I am positive I am going to go once more subsequent yr.

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dave mcnair's best of show--vinnie rossi

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