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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 will speak about some rooms I favored, however first, I’ve a giant fats bone to select. Or extra like an irritating pimple that I have to squeeze?

Phrases by Dave McNair, Photos by Grover Neville

There was a whole lot of quiet speak in regards to the attitudes and insurance policies of different, greater audio publications and a few of the writers that cowl audio reveals and who evaluation tools. This speak technically is likely to be categorized as rumour however I feel it deserves a dialogue, nonetheless.

Self-interest is a reality of life, along with the utmost that life just isn’t honest. The universe does not give a rat’s ass about you or your hi-fi firm, however that does not imply hi-fi business 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 couple of room or evaluation a product, it is due to what my Mother all the time mentioned, “If you cannot say one thing good, do not say something in any respect.” That is very completely different from “That room or product is basically 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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In addition to merely being nasty, it robs readers of the data who’re genuinely searching for that data to information a purchase order. And I am bored with many manufacturers and merchandise that I really feel are glorious getting brief shrift or worse from the audio press institution AND some little guys who haven’t any ears and questionable style.

A whole lot of this goes on at each audio present and within the evaluation 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 must 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 just isn’t as subjective as most individuals make it out to be, however an absolute rating is form 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, discipline coil selection. Within the Treehouse speaker, this midrange driver is the guts of the system, protecting a really extensive 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 have 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 arduous 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 dangerous, simply not the sound I am used to listening to at earlier reveals – or in my mastering studio, the place I exploit SRC-2s day by day as displays.

acora src-1

The QRC-1 system, nonetheless, 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 stable 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 Methods. 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 unique however comparable Kharma on this room on the final CAF, however this 12 months it was extra particular. Perhaps it was a magic combo of drugs, regardless, the sound was nice on this room. Massive, punchy, and detailed however with much less of a neutral-based method and extra of a enjoyable, rigorously chosen editorial vibe. Top quality however not hi-fi sounding.

The 4 PTA buddies did a takeover on this room and had an iPad streaming celebration. I took the time to play a number of tracks I had combined or mastered, which suggests I favored the sound. Numerous enjoyable was had.

jameson and doug white

Doug White’s TIDAL Audio room is nearly a excessive bar custom at CAF. This 12 months was no exception. New Tidal Piano G3 loudspeakers pushed by these beautiful trying Vinnie Rossi Brama separates. I might be lyin if I mentioned the room was something lower than glorious however this 12 months appeared only a completely different hair. Not worse or higher, however completely different.

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That is the primary time I’ve heard Tidal audio system with one thing apart 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 evening 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 undoubtedly on my very brief checklist 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 components 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 nearly 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 taking part in. I assumed it regarded nice, so why not avoid wasting bucks to place elsewhere to the system whereas nonetheless getting a stable 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 largest impression on me. There have been additionally loads of rooms that sounded mediocre to unlistenable, and typically that is because of circumstances past the exhibitor’s management; I get it. However what bothered me probably the most was the number of music that many of the rooms performed.

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

dave with jason and eric

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

I do not need to paint that adverse an image trigger I had nice time listening to techniques and visiting with buddies. I can not keep in mind laughing a lot in a single weekend. I am positive I will go once more subsequent 12 months.

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dave mcnair's best of show--vinnie rossi

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