Publisher Profile

2019 CAS Report by David Blumenstein, Part 1

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Dagogo readers who know me understand that much like Leroy Jethro Gibbs of NCIS fame, I too have my many rules. Mine just happen to be all Hi-Fi related, and in this instance speaker related. I’m loathed to accept a pair of speakers into my home which obliterate any shadow I can cast. I stand 6’5”/1.96m tall and for me to one of a handful of people who can with my wingspan touch the top of Acapella’s Campanile2 loudspeakers surely says something about their physical presence, their stature, but don’t’ let that think that’s all these skyscrapers have to say for themselves. They spoke volumes as the folks from Audio Federation paired them with Audio Note UK’s Kegon Amplifiers, CDT Five Transport, M9 Phono Preamplifier, emmLabs DV2 integrated D/A Converter and Acapella’s Audio One Music Server.

Audio Note UK was also on display room 5226 at the show with their: MeishuTonemeister, CDP 3.1x/II CD Player, TT3 turntable and IQ3 moving magnet cartridge, and of course their AN-E Spe HE speakers finished in a glorious Indian Rosewood. (see photo below)

I managed to spend some invaluable time with Audio Note’s Peter Qvortrup (those of my loyal readers should remember an interview of mine with Vincent Belanger where Peter chimed in). We caught up on the 2nd floor balcony of Bulding 5 at the show (again, see the photo below).

The Campanile 2’s were indeed the elephants in the room, and I’m here to tell that you Acapella make speakers in a variety of sizes, so fear not, those of you, most of us with standard height ceilings, there is hope. I know Audio Note UK fairly well. I have their entry-level system at home — stay tuned for that write-up, and all too familiar with horns. The pairing of the electronics/source components with the speakers would make Robert Palmer of Wine Spectator proud indeed. I often remark that the care and effort that it takes into matching gear in a room is equal to that of a top-flight sommelier. Unfamiliar as I was/am with emmLabs, they definitely have piqued my curiosity.


Audio Federation did not corner the market on sizable speakers at CAS9. A relatively new company Bernhagen–Porter caught my ears with the sound of their speakers, my eyes with their construction/finish and my concern with their heft. Each speaker weighs in at approximately 240 lbs. / 110 kgs. And if I were to lose more weight would challenge yet another rule of mine regarding speakers individually weighing more than I.

The Model 10/12 is a relatively new beast on the scene, a 10” 2-way sporting a 12” powered subwoofer. Bernhagen-Porter is comprised of David Bernhagen and Lyle Porter. I spoke to both of them at length about their unique approach and mission. It helps that David is a musician/composer and Lyle is a cabinet maker. Not a bad place to start when designing speakers and it is in their design, replete with drivers having their own dedicated internal asymmetrical cabinets. It is their intention that these be unified with a solid, braced, hefty outer cabinet, and it in the process of bonding the outer and inner cabinets possessing different respective signatures they be canceled.

Mammoth as they be, they are sensitive creatures — 96 dB 1W/1M to be exact. I really appreciated the effort these chaps have put into their creativity, construction and design. The 10/12 will not be their only model. I eagerly await news of newer, less hefty models, but if the 10/12 is any indication, this team may be on to something.

Marchand Electronics had something to say with their BTA40 805A Single-Ended Triode monoblocks and PR41 passive preamplifier. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, Marchand Electronics had made a name for itself in the production of electronic crossover networks, solid state, vacuum tube and modular audio amplifiers.

THE BTA40 805A amplifier impressive sonically but also in its design. It makes use of ONE big 805A tube in a single-ended configuration, 20 WRMS, Class A, Voltage gain 36db, 8 Ohm load.

It is something to behold both outside and in.

So ends the first installment of my CAS9 show report. More installments to follow. I have taken my time in publishing, because I really like to take in what I have heard and seen at the show. It’s not just the gear but stories of and behind the manufacturers and representative of products being exhibited. Stay tuned for more in the coming days.


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