Capital Audiofest: Metro-D.C. Area Show Small, But Shows Solid Growth

Veteran manufacturers and rookie enthusiasts fueled increased industry participation at the fourth annual Capital Audio Fest held this past weekend, July 26th-28th at the the Silver Spring, Maryland Sheraton Hotel.

Among the veteran manufacturers showing in eight lobby level rooms and on floors 4,6,7 and 8 , many in association with area dealers, were VPI, TW Acustic, Bricasti, Tidal, Tri-Planar, Legacy, MBL North America,, Monitor Audio, Joseph Audio, Miyajima Labs, ChannlD, Janzen Electrostatic speakers, Audio by Van Alstine, Audio Note UK, Robert Lighton Audio, Red Wine Audio, Stillpoints, Raidho, Audio Flight, Purist Audio Design and ProAc among them.

There were also many smaller manufacturers, some familiar, like ModWright Instruments, WyWires, Audio Prana, LKV Research and others, and some unfamiliar like Volti Audio, MiracleAudio, Luminous Audio, Silnote, Border Patrol, GT Audio Works and others.

Among the most impressive "upstarts" was the Ohio based speaker company SVS. They design at home and build to spec in China a line of two channel, surround systems and subs at very reasonable prices. The black lacquer boxes, price points and especially the sound I heard, reminded me of what NHT was doing during its "golden age." For instance, a floor standing 3-way, with MTM configured drivers in the front baffle and side-firing woofers cost $2000 a pair and sounded quite fine driven by a moderately priced Integra receiver Show organizer Gary Gallo rounded up excellent guest speakers: mastering engineer Alan Silverman of Arf! Mastering, AIX Records' Mark Waldrep and AudioExpress's Thomas Perazella.

My friend Art Dudley was there covering the show for Stereophile, so if you want a full show roundup go there. I drove down Saturday morning to see what was new, if anything, in the analog world and I found more than I was expecting! (Photo: United Home Audio's reel to reel tape based presentation, using MBL speakers and electronics.)

marmaduke's picture

The modest event has indeed bettered itself in the past few years.

The new venue is more accomodating in terms of facilities and ease of access to public transport than in the past.

Set-ups are more professional in appearance and presentation.

Exhibitors were in good spirits and the flow of enthusiasts was steady and enthused.

The addition of a speakers forum was an excellent addition and in particular Alan Silverman's presentation was informative and entertaining even to non tech folks such as myself.

Event organizer Gary Gill has really worked hard to restablish the DC area as a music lover's audio show kind of town. Back in the day the DC Audio Show was quite the event.

Kudos to Gary and the other locals supporting the show and welcome to the folks who had the interest to come visit from out of town.

I also like the tone of the show, keen interest, courteous attendees, friendly exhibitors and a relaxed ambiance which was a real plus in the enjoyment department.

There are certainly larger more prestigeous shows around; make no mistake.  However I would be hard pressed to name a show with higher fun factor.

Only one thing, I cannot for the life of me figure out how I couldn't find Mr. F in the crowd with that video gizmo strapped to his head.

Thanks for making the trip to our humble hometown show.

Rick996R's picture

I for one, who has been the audio industry professionally,  and an audio enthusiast, was thrilled with the attendance, from both vendors and consumers.  I found it hard to enjoy the entirety of the show in just one day.  I arrived around 11am Friday and had still not visited rooms at the 6pm cut off, so a few hours on Saturday was in order.

overall, the rooms, while a bit small, were set up well in most cases.  New gear from many, as Michael as noted in his articles was on hand and the relaxed atmosphere was wonderful.  

Can't wait for next year.