Rich Graebel HifiZine roving reporter Thu, 03 May 2012 19:05:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Oasis Audio Gourds Thu, 03 May 2012 17:36:23 +0000 These speakers were made out of gourds.   Very unique and actually sounding good.  The definitely had a unique tone, similar to the nOrh 3.0 drum as I recall.

I didn’t get any pricing but they could also be an interesting Computer speaker with a little ampage.


The main speakers were used with this “sub.”


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Salk and AVA Thu, 03 May 2012 01:21:28 +0000

Salk Sound Scapes

Nick Goode wrote:

Jim (Salk) and Frank (AVA) paired up again this year in another large room. The yet to be named two way monitor speakers use Raal & Scanspeak drivers. These will reportedly retail for about $3500. One of the only smaller speakers I have heard that I would not need to use a subwoofer with for music. They were being driven with a new 225watt AVA stereo amplifier. They are pictured here next to the flagship three way Soundscape speakers.

Salk Monitors


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Hawthorne Audio Sun, 29 Apr 2012 16:42:47 +0000 These open baffle speakers are the best I’ve heard.  Not that I heard many nor really care for the ones I did hear.  But definitely good.  The bass is different without a box but is growing on me. Worth the listen if these speakers or their design interest you.  A nice looking room and the speakers did not over power it.



Bob Marley Jamin’ is sounding really sweet.
Twenty-five watt monos on tweeters and mids and a couple plate amps on the bass drivers. Mac mini battery powered and an Emotiva cd player. Both sound great.
97dB. $14k. Review in bound for sound coming up. Darrel and Diana are great people and yes the cookies are yummy.


Nick Goode wrote:

Hawthorne Audio (Darrel and Diana Hawthorne) returned to AKfest with a stunning open baffle system. Their reference open baffle speakers ($14,000) were driven by a pair of Quicksilver tube monoblock amps and a mac computer based source and Metrum dac. Their reference speaker features a horn loaded AMT driver combined with their purpose built open baffle midrange and bass drivers. This was one of my two favorite systems at the show. The workmanship of the baffles and the care that went into these speakers were evident. The results were incredible. I have to say the finest open baffle speaker system I have heard and by a large margin. It might be a good idea to get your speaker order in soon because I believe their waiting list is about to get a lot longer. Hawthorne Audio also offers other interesting speaker models and caters to the DIY open baffle speaker enthusiast.
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Bogdan Audio Creations Sun, 29 Apr 2012 15:34:48 +0000 I’ve heard this room at three shows now. It has sounded better every time.


These little co-axiel speakers sound pretty good. They remind me of the nOrh speakers. $2k


These are a great sounding monitor as wel,l gotta love the ribbon.


Detailed without harshness. Narrow sound stage. Maybe a better set up in this large room would have done them more justice.


Nick Goode wrote:

Bogdan Audio showed off their handmade creations including their top of the line black floorstanders ($36,000) and their two way monitors ($24,000) which used solid cherry cabinets and Raal ribbon tweeters. The owner of Bogdan Audio builds each pair of speakers by hand and is very skilled at his craft. Dire Straits was playing when I visited and the guests that were there seemed quite impressed with the musical quality of the system.


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Odyssey Audio with GIK Sun, 29 Apr 2012 15:18:14 +0000 Odyssey Audio had his Kismet Ref Monitors, Kismet amp, Candela pre and a new Kismet phono pre.  Glenn from GIK did the room treatments.  Corner pillar traps, art panels on the sides and the new Scopus traps in the back.  And to get it just right they removed the plastic light panels on the huge drop florescent light fixture.

Nick Goode’s take:  Klaus (Odyssey) and Bryan (GIK) teamed up together in one of the larger rooms at the show. While I visited I got to listen to the new Odyssey two way monitors powered by Odyssey Stratos stereo amp and Candela preamp. This system sounded good with a huge soundstage and had a big sound. This is no easy feat for a pair of monitors. It was clear that GIK (Bryan) worked some magic in this setup with his room treatments. The Odyssey equipment rack was massive and had impressive build quality just like the rest of the components

Kismet Ref Speaker


Odyssey Audio's new equipment rack


Kismet Gear

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Audionote Sun, 29 Apr 2012 14:19:18 +0000 I have always found AN rooms to sound good.


The digital cd player was sounding really good. The they switched to vinyl which was pretty nice too.
Don’t know how they get such nice sound with speakers cramed into the corners of the room.
System price 42k. Yep 42,000 dollars.

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Selah audio Sat, 28 Apr 2012 15:51:04 +0000 Rick (Selah Audio) brought a pair of bi-amp speakers he named the Gamechanger ($10-12,000). Don Keele of Audio Artistry was also in the room explaining the technology behind the design and also his CBT36 kit ($2,000) that is being offered from Parts Express. I have heard several line array speakers in the past and not been moved by them. This system was spectacular with all types of music I heard on them over the course of both days. These were built as a fully active pair with electronic crossover and eq duties being handled by a DEQX. Multichannel amp and source from Marantz. The dynamics I heard on this system were in another league from most systems I have ever experienced. This system had a jump factor that has to be experienced. I have to agree with the name Rick gave them.
–Nick Goode

Selah Audio The Game Changer


Selah Room

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Vapor Audio and Morningstar Audio Sat, 28 Apr 2012 15:22:10 +0000 Vapor Audio and BMC electronics

Vapor Audio's Breeze speaker


I really like these speakers.  Never heard of the electronics but the power meters on the amp looked like an RPM guage in a car.  Kinda cool, but I like meters.   Vapors speakers stands are pretty sweet too.


Nick Goode wrote:  Vapor Audio also had a pair of their Breeze monitors playing with BMC Electronics. These sounded very refined and musical when I had a chance to hear them on Saturday. Sadly I do not have a photo of that combination. Vapor Audio had another couple pairs of speakers that looked very interesting. Innovative speakers on their way from this new company. One to watch for in the future.


Morningstar Audio and Eastern Electric

Vapor Audio Cirrus

Eastern Electric Amp



Eastern Electric Avant Preamp

Nick Goode wrote:  Bill (Morningstar Audio) and Ryan (Vapor Audio) combined in this room with Eastern Electric Avant preamp, Dac, Integrated Amp (amp section used) with Vapor Audio Cirrus two way monitors. This system had a detailed and engaging sound when I visited on Sunday afternoon.





Member rooms Fri, 27 Apr 2012 17:25:40 +0000 RayW’s room
May favorite boom box on the floor.
The little “Eric’s” are about $200 and sound better than they should.  Sorry for the bad pic.


X25 room
Playing a talking Heads video


Acalunas1 room



Kegger and squidward
AN speakers DIY set amp



Stephen J



Marantz sa1 cd. Thorns 125 mk ii. Mac c29 & 240 amps. Nice!



Fritz speakers. Home built amp.

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Misc AKfest pics Fri, 27 Apr 2012 01:34:20 +0000

Tyler Accoustics


Hawthorne Audio


Big Red Machines Room



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