Audio Federation at CAS 2017

[Yes, we are going to Newport 2017 this Spring as well, and I’ll post where we will be when the powers that be (Neli) tell me the details :-)]

Here we are in the wonderful world where there is a show that is only 20 minutes away. :-)

Although CAS skipped a year, it is back in force and we are signed up for one of the larger rooms on the first floor of the building where the vast majority of exhibit rooms will be.

It is now in Oakland, at the Hilton, with plenty of parking and rooms that do not have air conditioners or heaters where equipment is supposed to go [unlike most of the other shows, shows where you eventually just learn to sit on the thing while plugging cables into the back of the gear].




This is the hotel layout and where the rooms are located.


This is the room we are in. The front wall backs to the outside. So we will not disturb anybody if we play it a little LOUD [unless, however, our neighbors on the other side of the rear wall are too loud for our listeners to bear . in which case we will flip the room the other way. ]


Hmmm, maybe we should just put the system on the long wall, on the left, also an outer wall. You know, there is hardly ever any choice when we setup rooms about where the system should go. This is a such wealth of choices here [we, (well me anyway, haven’t talked to Neli about this recently), have been looking more favorably at long wall setups than we used to. Letting the sound breathe on the sides helps clarity and macrodynamics, and clarity OF macrodynamics :-)]

We’ve been wanting to go to this show for years and years. Every year we would talk and talk about it. One or the other of us would always not be able to make it. This is awesome.

Our Cellini are here…

Acapella Cellini loudspeakers in a modern gray and white fit very nicely into this mid-century modern home.

Thin deformable walls and make for some bass suck-out, and hard-surfaces everywhere make for an elevated midrange – so we have work to do.

Neli has some family-heirloom carpets that go well here – but they are too small! So what do we do? Get a new carpet that better fits the room? Use two smaller ones, albeit ones that have different patterns from each other? Is the aesthetics of the room really that important? Does it contribute to the enjoyment of the music or it’s only job to stop the sound from bouncing around the room indefinitely?

You know, moving requires us to make So Many Decisions. We are kind of burnt out.

Anyway, lots of tuning to do.



OK. I guess it had to come out sometime. There is indeed a mirror that surrounds the gas fireplace. Not our idea. Seriously.

Have to say that you DO get used to it. But we will probably put some plants there, or paste up old album covers over it, or give people Halloween masks to wear [I will be Terminator and Neli? Trying to convince her to go for the Princess Leia, but…]


We’ll be open soon… !

Pursuing the Ultimate Music Experience… in California

Well, “soon”, anyway.

We decided to rent instead of buy for a number of reasons. One is that we do not know the area well yet. Another is that prices have risen sharply the last year or two or three – now is a good time to sell, not buy.

After a long strange trip of visiting many nice homes, encountering extraordinarily nice and the occasional bizarrely unqualified not-so-nice property managers – we found a place Neli and I and Audio Federation can call home.

[One place we tried to get four different ways and got three wildly conflicting responses (the fourth response is still forthcoming). This contributed to the length of time it took us to find a place. Something that we conservatively estimated would take 2 weeks escalated into 2 months. It would have driven one of us nuts, except that I did not want to go nuts in front of Neli. It’s a sellers market out here, and that leaves room for some sellers who would otherwise be quickly culled from the herd.]

Although we originally intended on getting another house-with-an-awesome-view, we fell in love with Palo Alto, most of which is flat. We especially love Downtown Palo Alto, Professorville, Old Palo Alto and South of Midtown. There is an energy and diversity here that really suits us. Its not just families, or retired people, or Stanford students, or academicians, or Googlers and Facebookers, or young people or old people – there are all of these kinds of people here crammed together.

We *are* trying to keep the burn rate down (aka outrageous megabucks paid for rent), and there is also the ‘luck of the draw’ – you can only pick a place from the places that are available, and this is a very random set of homes at any given time. Whatever houses that happen to be on the market at the time you are looking are the ones you get to choose from.

But in the end we did find an awesome house in Palo Alto and it stood out for us from the others. As you will see below, it really works for Audio Federation and what you may have seen over the years of our ‘architectural preferences’ :-)

The photos below are a simulation, like the previous posts, of what the systems will look like in then house. Looks like we are going to start unloading the truck today.

This is what they call an ‘Eichler’ out here. Joseph Eichler was real estate developer whose houses have an open layout internally with the rear walls of the home consisting primarily of floor-to-ceiling glass. There are 10s of thousands of these, and their look-a-likes, on the Peninsula.

So, yeah, we like the ‘bring the outside in’ feel of these houses, and they are ubiquitous – many audiophiles out here will have a home like this – so it really does work for us.


This is the living room, as viewed from the backyard. It will be the main listening room. It is 13.5 feet wide by 20 feet long. This is the size of many mid-size listening rooms and is also very similar to the size of the hotel rooms at many shows.


This is the view from inside the main listening room. We will put the main couch here and probably LPs on the rear wall. We will probably go with IKEA LP shelves since they seem to work well and are modern in a way that matches the Eichler home.



This is the dining room aka Listening room 2. This room is 11×18 feet in size. Right now we have a pair of used Avalon Eidolon speakers which will go in here to start with. There will probably be a steady rotation of gear through this room.


This is the 3rd listening room. This will be an office until we need another listening room. It is 11×14 feet in size.


This is the 4th listening room. It has ‘Audio Note corners’ optimal for placement of Audio Note speakers. it is 11×10 feet in size. This is a small room, but many of our AN customers have small listening rooms like this. We might be also end up swapping Audio Note between here and Listening room #3. [just not sure how having one all glass corner will work for these speakers. Guess there’s only one way to find out :-)].

The blog here will go back to being much more about audio than house- and room-selection methodologies – though at some point we will do a more thorough wrap up of all the many, many issues the audiophile has when moving listening rooms from house to house.