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2018 CAS Report by David Blumenstein

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Napa Acoustic surprised me with their ingenuity. It was a room that an interior designer could love. They have designed a wall hanging system measuring 2.5” deep whose surface fabric can in essence be silk-screened. Is it Class A audiophile? No, but that’s not the point. This system of theirs did a more than admirable job and in the right situation with a properly situated electric outlet on the wall, this self-contained solution means no wires, no wires at all need be visible. The residential and commercial possibilities are endless. If there ever was a B2B, business to business, opportunity in the world of HiFi this is it. Ideal for hotels, restaurants, galleries, clubs, lounges there’s no end and what with being able to change the artwork, the surface design its longevity is assured. (photo below courtesy of David C. Snyder)


PureAudioProject staked out two rooms conveniently across the hall from each other. Now if you’re not familiar with the company by name, you must have heard about that open baffle speaker company which is shipped as a kit for owners to assemble. I arrived at the show a day early and watched as Ze’ev and Tommy assembled the speakers and all I can say is that it is even more straightforward than IKEA assembly. The idea of actually choosing the components, the baffles, the colors and then putting the whole lot together imbues PureAudioProject customers with a real feeling of ownership, a real organic sense of what it means to be an old-school audiophile, a pioneer. At some point later this year, I will partake in this process, as there’s a Trio 15 model with a Beyma driver surrounded by a matte black baffle and pair of woofers surrounded by bamboo. I’m drooling at the prospect, and the model I’ve selected is rather efficient at 96dB, so yes, there are tubes in my present and future. (photos below courtesy of David C. Snyder)


Studio Electric and Wyred 4 Sound paired up to make a system where I could just sit and listen to the music and lose my cares. The result was a system which I could see in my home and many others. Form following function makes sense for most of us out there without the luxury of palatial listening rooms. Dave MacPherson’s stand mounted Studio Electric M4 monitors really benefited from the addition of EJ Sarmento of Wyred 4 Sound’s new ice power modules in the company’s new amplifiers. Note: for all of you out there running a computer as your digital source, stock USB on motherboards were NOT designed for audiophiles, hence Wyred 4 Sound’s Recover, an external USB re-clocker priced at $149, is a must…not an option. (photo below courtesy of David C. Snyder)


I stand 6’4” tall. Why am I telling you this? It just so happens that there’s a David rule about HiFi gear, if it is taller and/or weighs more than me, it’s …  so, then I find myself in the Audio Federation room where Audio Note electronics, of which I am acquainted and will get even better acquainted with their entry-level system which I will write about later this year for Dagogo, was matched with the majestic and towering Acapella Audio Arts Campanile horn speakers clad head to toe in Acrylic White cabinets. Now let’s be clear on their measurements, they stand 7’ 10” tall and this particular model weighs in at a svelte 550 pounds and I had to stand with my arms outstretched to touch the top of the cabinets with about 6” to spare. If you’re entertaining these speakers take care to measure your ceiling height as with the standard 8’ ceiling it could be a tight fit, especially if the original contractor was not too exacting.  I’m a sucker for Audio Note. The fact that I built my first DAC from one of their 1.0 kits could be the reason why, and coupled with the Campanile’s I found myself coming back to the room with CDs for them to play. It was my favorite system/room of the show and I could gladly sit and listen for hours on end. (photo below courtesy of David C. Snyder)


This is by no means a comprehensive show report, but rather a slice of life. I want for you all to experience HiFi shows for yourselves and not live vicariously through show reports. If you’ve been to one of the big shows, visit a smaller regional one, if you have not been to any, then by all means visit one such as CAS which will afford you the opportunity to actually talk with manufacturers and designers and learn more about them, their design philosophy and how much of them personally goes into each of their products. You can see that there’s always new to listen to and learn from. I expect to see you all at CAS9 next year and don’t be shy about walking up to me… I’ve had my shots.

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