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.

Listening room photos March 2017

[Still have a hard time writing 2017. Or ‘2’ for that matter :-)]



This is the main listening room with the Acapella Cellini speakers and La Musika integrated amplifier. Audio Note digital CDT-5 and DAC 5 Signature.

Finally sounding…. OK…. here, though we still have some issues with the very thin 1/4 mahogany plywood walls [the (awesome) windows are much more substantial, sonically, than the walls in these Eichler homes!]


The small Audio Note room, AN/E SEC Signature speakers, Kegon amplifiers and M2 Line Balanced preamplifier sounds quite nice, though we are divided on whether to push the speakers just a little bit more into the corners or not. This room also has extremely thin walls, and zero insulation – but it is working better than we feared at first. Still lots of experimenting going on here. Tonality and frequency response are pretty good; still working on the soundstage.


The dining room system, trade-in Avalon Eidolon speakers, is not setup and Neli is still a little upset about it. Took us forever to commit to really using the dining room this way, since it also has Neli’s office in it and, you know, the kitchen.  :-) But she should really just go with it – I mean it *is* kind of a nice work environment… 😉

Getting everything into a ~1500 sq. ft. home, with us both needing an office, another room dedicated to audio gear and tools [and perhaps someday serving as the guest bedroom] plus 3 listening rooms is challenging… but it is finally starting to work out. (!)


10 questions reveal whether you are an audiophile

10 questions reveal whether you are an audiophile

MakeUseOf has a fun click-bait article.



The article is fun and not too far off the mark.

My purpose posting this is not to promote more vacuous reading material to waste your life by, but to help combat the rise of Stupidity and Willful Ignorance [and here in Audiophile Land, who woulda thunk it? :-)].

To do this we are going to look at the comments to this article. [he says as they (understandably) run screaming for the exits].

  1. “1. I think being a music lover is the 2nd most important thing in being an audiophile. The 1st is your wallet”

Rude, I know, and this is actually backwards, we know lots of poor audiophiles – but certainly more money does help you ENJOY being an audiophile more.

The fact that the article says you can be an audiophile for only a $200 pair of headphones was nice and inclusive IMO.

2. peculiar species of audio snobs called “Golden Ears”, who claim to hear things that science can’t measure.  I think it is an acquired condition caused by the astronomical cost of of their audio hardware, and the consequential inflation of their egos…

Where do these people come from? We’ve all seen their posts. They are just another angry insecure hater on the internet with an inferiority complex, but somehow they picked up this meme which is repeated over and over [must be part of people like this’s make up that they can’t think for themselves and resort to mimicking hateful things they see].

I suppose some Golden Ears can be snobbish, just like any other person who has spent a lot of time training themselves to accomplish something.

To say that “science can’t measure” a phenomena that people experience… people need to respect education more in this world. For one, that is how all science gets developed: find something that is currently unexplained and then try to explain it then find a way to verify your explanation [perhaps using technology to ‘measure’ it].

Second, in this case it is more like “things that science does not know how to measure yet” or even more likely “things that nobody wants to fund the measurement of”. [actually, I know Nordost has done some work in this area and I am sure many others, as have we at Audio Federation many years ago, using a simple Radio Shack meter and swapping out powercords to verify changes in frequency response].

And this last thing about egos… another meme perpetuated by these people. If it were true all us distributors and dealers would be rich. The sad fact is this is not a popular hobby, and most people hide their gear in a back room and lie to people, telling them it costs much less than it really does. So, no, we do this in spite of the blow to our reputation and ego it entails. These are not highly visible and sought after cars or homes.

3. …vinyl with all the hisses, clicks and thumps….Anyone who says vinyl is better than digital (as I described it above) has no idea what audiophile means.

OK. So some people ARE more sensitive to surface noise than others. Of course, good LPs on good turntables have extremely little surface noise and this ‘pops and clicks’ meme is just a way for people to pass judgement on vinyl without considering the issues [this meme has been around for a LONG time, since the dawn of CDs and before].

Besides the repetition of this meme once again, the generous interpretation of what this person is saying is that being an audiophile primarily means the pursuit of a low noise floor. [So they probably won’t like tube gear either :-)]. Most people who read this blog think there is a little more to it than that [accurate frequency, harmonic accuracy, sound staging, separation, etc. etc. etc.]

4. …I’m an electronics engineer. But slew rate in amplifiers is not a meaningful parameter.

There is almost always one of these guys. Oh, they are a PhD in this or that. Oh, they are an EE in this or that. Oh, but they do like to B.S. on the internet. All measurable parameters are ‘meaningful’ to the sound, and none are a conclusive determiner of sound quality, even when aggregated into a total datasheet. I’ve seen amps with awesome slew rate and awesome sound – in the way that the great slew rate measurement would indeed reflect – and I’ve seen amps with very poor slew rate sound awesome, but in different ways.

5… In fact, the fact that provenance isn’t even mentioned makes the whole discussion here moot.

OK. I am presuming this is written ‘tongue in cheek’ and is hilariously true :-)

6. “you’re an audiophile if you like African music!!!!1!11!”

Ah. The exclamation point guy. Taking something literal that was meant to be an abstract example only. Do these people run the internet now, because I see them all over the place – like they outnumber us 10 to 1 :-/

7… Do my speakers have pride of place in my living room? No I have a room dedicated to listening!

This $14K Linn system guy is just like guy #6. Can’t read a fun article without taking not only the article literally as the “Definite Test of whether YOU are or Are NOT An Audiophile” as well as things having to be written in “Semantically precise English” [an oxymoron if there ever was one],  and, of course,  “Completely Exhaustive” [there is nothing about being an audiophile, no terminology omitted, that can not be found in this cute Cosmo-like quiz].

Like 6, these people like to express their anger in public.

8. …tie audio snobbery–ohhh, sorry, audiophilia–to musical tastes. For instance, I love Frank Zappa,…

A much nicer comment than 6 and 7 – but again complaining about the lack of inclusiveness of all possible types of audiophile’s favorite musical genres in an article [that list itself would… well, look on Wikipedia sometime for all the [100s] styles of techno music, for example]. We like Zappa too, though it is not often played here [he is just one artist of many], but BOY is he hard to reproduce well [a great test for a system, this is :-)]

That said, it is not audio ‘snobbery’ that prefers 4-piece jazz with female vocals [easy to reproduce well, even on lesser systems] and classical [the complexity, depth and mathematical beauty of classical music is unmatched by most other genres of music – and many of us discover it for the first time as audiophiles because for the first time we can actually HEAR what is going on behind the primary ‘melody’]

The only valid reason to go for vinyl is listening to a record that was actually recorded on tape (analog) and there is no CD transfer of that original recording. If you avoid remastered editions you are much better off listening to a CD from a quality standpoint, by far.

Please, don’t spread pseudoscience…

This person has some valid points [primarily that vinyl is now often ‘polluted’ by digital some place in the process of mastering]. But they confuse ‘physical media’, how the music is delivered to us, with ‘the process of mastering’. For example, some CDs are compressed while the Vinyl is not even though the come from the same source.

They also confuse ‘quality’ as ‘a couple of measurements CD proponents have made’ instead of “musical accuracy and enjoyment” [otherwise, for example, “you are much better off looking at photographs than paintings from a quality standpoint, by far”]

But this is at core another case of trying to interpret statements in the article as literal and absolutes: ALL vinyl is better because NO vinyl has been touched by digital and analog is ALWAYS better than digital and digital contaminates EVERYTHING it touches.

Also, not sure I know many people who want to argue that vinyl is “measurably” better than digital, just that it sounds more like music and is more enjoyable in the same way that humans enjoy music [whereas digital is often enjoyable in that way that we, say, enjoy a clean kitchen… just a joke people, a joke! :-)]

“Please, don’t spread pseudoscience” … A great idea. Seems like we need to more often explicitly delineate opinion from fact, especially since there is a tidal wave of people who default to interpreting things as FACT [when, in my opinion, they need to be interpreting EVERYTHING as opinion [or humor :-)] until they do their own research].

OK. Happy New Year, everyone!