I’m Not an Audiophile… But…
Last year my Dad and I went to the Capital Audio Fest. I had so much fun, that I wanted to go again! This year’s Capital Audio Fest was a lot bigger than last year. (At least it seemed that way to me!) Even though I wanted to go again this year, I knew I was still out of my element a bit. This audio show is really for those that consider themselves as Audiophiles. I.. am… Not. As I write this I want to make sure you know, I am NOT an audiophile. Never claimed to be. I’m not technical. Never claimed to be. I went to this Capital Audio Fest as a novice, not knowing any of the players, companies or equipment.
Those attending these types of audio shows are looking at speakers, amplifiers and other equipment at price levels that are incomprehensible for those that don’t have a real interest in high-end audio. I’m not talking about speakers from Sony, Pioneer, LG or Acoustic Research. Brands at this show are companies like Von Schweikert Audio (just the name sounds expensive!), Valve Amplification Company, Grado, or Volti Audio.
This audio fest is really a unique experience. Imagine a large hotel, and each exhibitor has a hotel room. All furniture has been removed, and the exhibitor has 6-10 chairs set up, and the stereo playing music. In some cases, it could only be you and the exhibitor. It’s a perfect opportunity to ask the representative any questions you may have regarding their stereo equipment.
How Much You Say??
I heard speakers that ranged in price from $500, and I thought they sounded really good. I heard $4000 speakers that didn’t sound very good. There were $20,000 speakers that sounded good, and $35,000 speakers that were amazing. My goal was to listen to the most expensive speakers I could find. Well, I accomplished my goal. I came across a pair of speakers that cost $125,000… but that doesn’t compare. In fact, that is cheap. There was a system there had a price listed at over $1.13 Million…you read that right. Here is proof.
It’s All About The Music
I’m going, to be honest with you, I have no clue about the technology being used in these expensive stereos. There is one thing that DOES makes a huge difference… the music selection. I heard a lot of Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, and Chris Stapleton. However, some of the exhibitors put on some experimental music and frankly put, it was awful. I get it, I know why they did it. Weird sounds, odd instruments, can show the audience what the speakers can do. I’m just not a fan.
Digital Vs Vinyl
One more thing to note about the Capital Audio Fest. There are two distinct schools of thought in this world. Digital music vs Vinyl. Streaming services like Tidal, Amazon Music HD and Qobuz are targeting audiophiles with their Hi-Res streaming service. One thing I can tell you is that Vinyl is most certainly is not dead. There were numerous vendors set up at the show selling their vinyl records. Vinyl players are really expensive too. I’m leaning on the digital side. I moved all my music to my hard drive. I’m digital from here on out.
For more in-depth coverage from real audiophiles, or from people that know this stuff better than I, check out Part-Time Audiophile and CAF2019. Enjoy some of my pictures I took from the event. I don’t know brands or anything, but they sure do look cool.