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Amir's 2023 Pacific Audio Fest Report

amirm

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Hello everyone. I attended the 2023 Pacific Audio Fest (PAF) today. I was pleased with the relaxed atmosphere of the show. Just enough people were there as to there being interest but not too crowded. The show is about 20% the size of the major audio shows like AXPONA and now defunct RMAF. I managed to attend all the exhibits (sans the headphone area) in an afternoon. I may go back tomorrow to explore more.

I was sad that there were no badges so you didn't know who was there other than the exhibitors. In that regard, I didn't think anyone would recognize me but many did! This resulted in many nice conversations and heartwarming comments from members about the work we are doing at ASR. I also caught up with some industry friends after some 3 years of absence.

I usually take my DSLR to shows but it is heavy and a burden so this year I decided to use my Samsung S23 Ultra. Pictures are a bit too crispy/over sharpened for my taste. But convenience was superb as was the signal processing in the phone to take multiple pictures and merge to reduce noise. Image stabilization worked better than my DSLR! I think the do the job and convenience was amazing.

If you are new and not familiar with my reporting, my focus is on showing the pictures and sample music I heard.

Let's get started.
 
First suite was Aaavik , Borrensen and ansuz:

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Like the huge LED on this Forte 3 all in one streamer, amplifier and DAC. Didn't like the $11,000 price though. :)

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Børresen X3 speakers (10,000 Euros)
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Music played:

Life on Mars​

AURORA


Highs sounded piercing.

Both Sides Now - Erlend Gunstveit​


Nice!
 
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Triangle Art Suite.

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You have to admire the woodworking of the speaker:
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And the craftsmanship of the turntable:
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Selection of demo LPs:
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Just when you thought Dianna Krall had disappeared from audio shows! :)

Fancy tri-amp speakers:
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Should we blame them for not using cable lifters???

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Scheherazade, Op. 35: III. The Young Prince and the Young Princess​


Bland. Pronounced hum/buzz in the right channel!
 
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Local company making carbon fiber blank Reel to Reel from boing rejects! Much more solid and parallel than typical aluminum reels:

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Yes prices go up to $250! Nothing is cheap when it comes to this format.
 
The Audio Company:
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VAC tube amplifiers:
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Von Schweikert Audio Ultra 7 Speakers:
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Rear drivers:
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Peter Gabriel - Mercy Street​


Very nice center image. Like many setups though, speakers were too far part.

Fleetwood Mac - The Chain (LP)​

Not this track but this is what Shazam returned:

Scratching LP with very distorted highs. Had to walk out.....
 
Other electronics connected with massive/long speaker wires:

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Check out these "Masterbuilt wires." They are one of the most expensive in industry. A short length may be $20K!

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The wires probably cost the same as two or three sports cars! :)

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Focal suite:

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Naim electronics (same group):
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Focal Sopra N2 (concrete???):
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Nice looking:
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Kansas 2 Focal speaker:

Sohn - Veto (favorite band of mine and at the show):​


Nice music but sounded a bit boomy to me.

Switched to Sopra N2 speaker:

Avi Kaplan - Change on the Rise (Official Music Video)​


Nice separation of layers in the music.

Untitled II (Live at the Acropolis)​

Nice music. Great high frequency detail
 
Ideon Audio:
JMF AUdio

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I thought the slits were ports but they are decorative and don't go deep:
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Piece of wood stuck it the middle of the woofer???

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Nils Landgren - Fragile​


Nice and open sound.

Van Morrison Moondance:

Same comment: nice and open sounding.
 
Jaguar Audio (local audio dealer/audiophile):

Avantgarde horn speakers:
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Fancy amplification:
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This is LP so wrong look up on the specifics:

Duke Ellington and his Orchestra - Take The A Train​


Nice. Lots of channel separation. Speakers too wide again.

LP: Roxy Music - Avalon (right look up?)​


Shazam naturally has a hard time finding LP tracks. So above may not be right. Whatever it was, it sounded extremely tinny.
 
My good friend Gary Koh of Genesis was showing prototypes of $8,000 speakers made out of bamboo enclosure:

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Renee Olstead - Summertime​

Nice track!


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Wano Turntable:
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Monster speakers Genesis is known for:
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I have heard these at the factory and they have incredible dynamics.

Analog Audio Design TP-1000 Reel to Reel deck. Love that colorful touchscreen:
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Kind of expensive at $20,000:
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Nice to see detailed measurements!

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Bella Sound:

Analysis Ribbon Planar Speakers:
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Kahili Amplifier:
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Pachelbel: Canon In D - New Bach Collegium Musicum (?)​


Nice and open/mellow sound. Nice relief from a number of rooms with aggressive highs.

Mari Nakamoto - Georgia On My Mind​


Superb vocals and instruments on each channel. Best sound in the show so far!
 
Joseph Audio/Doshi/Cardas Audio
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Joseph Audio Pearl Graphene speakers:
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Love it when there is a list of gear and prices:
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Joseph Audio speakers always sound good at shows and this example was no different:

SOHN - Life Behind Glass (Official Audio)​

 
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ModWright Audio/Revel Speakers:
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I don't know why but as soon as I went to this small/standard hotel room and saw the Revel speakers I thought, "boy, this is not going to compete with the big systems I had been seeing." Man, was I wrong! See later.

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Dominique Fils-Aimé | Birds​


Absolutely superb! Amazing detail and imaging.

Muse - Madness​


Excellent sounding.

Stone Flower (LP)​


Thin sounding and highs a bit gritty. This youtube sample sounds horrid so maybe it was the source.

Janis Ian Tattoo: (LP)
Nice. Good bass, detail.
 
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Running on empty folks. Got less than 6 hours of sleep last night. Need to catch up on some tonight. I have about 30% of the exhibits left to post. Good night...
 
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