Philip Bamberg's Bamberg Audio was playing the Series 5 TMW ($8800/pair) and displaying the Steries 2 TMM ($4800/pair) when I entered. The 5 is a 3-way design with a 375W active woofer, parametric EQ, and separate monitor. It is said to descend flat to 25Hz, and down to 18Hz 6dB.
For many of us in the press, RMAF 2010 began with VTL's well-orchestrated press breakfast launch of the new MB-450 Series III monoblocks ($18,000/pair) and TL7.5 Series III preamplifier ($20,000). Speaking before a full house that included representatives from Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, Positive Feedback On-Line, Enjoy the Music, and many other media outlets, VTL's Luke Manley explained that the Series III is VTL's first fully balanced amplifier.
Lest anyone think that we at Stereophile don't pay attention when manufacturers speak, take a look at Stephen Mejias, virtually mesmerized by Luke Manley's energetic and ever-enlightening prose. Also pictured, Steven Rochlin of Enjoythe Music, Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio, and the empty chair and scattered detritus of the photographer-in-action.
That's sure how it felt when I waded through the mob at the registration table. Graced by the presence of William Togno, a fellow member of the San Francisco Bay Area Audiophile Society, the registration table was swamped a good 90 minutes before the show opened on Friday. There were so many people packing into the elevators to the five floors of exhibits in the Denver Marriott Tech Center Tower that the elevator frequently refused to move; when it finally got up the courage to ascend, it alighted on each floor with a huge thump. Scary.
Attendees were treated to a fine demonstration in the Amarra room. A system featuring Focal loudspeakers and Parasound amplification was used to demonstrate the benefits of the Amarra music player software. On a desk between the loudspeakers and beside a Mac laptop was a screen, and on the screen were slides which contained simple talking points:
Win Analog’s S Series-833 100W monoblock power amplifier (in the rear of this image) was designed to be “a statement product, both sonically and visually,” sales director John Dark explained. The amps measure 18” x 24” x 19” and weigh 200lbs. Its aluminum chassis panels are CNC-milled, 0.375” thick. That colossal tube in the center of the chassis is an RCA 833, originally employed as a radio transmitter. Dark says it was chosen here for its “very, very liquid sound.”
James Harrell’s Jumping Cactus Loudspeakers are high-efficiency designs (94dB) with isolated aluminum enclosures. The speaker’s front panels are finished in Bubinga wood, while the aluminum portions feature a nice satin black power coat. All three drive units are from Eminence. That’s a 10” paper cone woofer, a 6” paper cone midrange unit, and a 1” phenolic dome tweeter. The midrange and tweeter are secured atop the woofer enclosure via Velcro, and can be angled or moved back and forth. A passive Butterworth 1st order crossover is in its own enclosure and is velcro’ed onto the back of the speaker.
Things are slowly heating up, as I sit here in the hotel cafe, The Trading Post. In the last few minutes I've spotted Mike Manousselis of Dynaudio, John Quick of Tempo Sales & Marketing (distributors of Nagra, Verity, dCS, and Musical Fidelity), Paul Barton of PSB Loudspeakers, Walter Swanbon of Fidelis AV, Richard Vandersteen of Vandersteen (of course), and Vinnie Rossi of Red Wine Audio.
The Lift, conveniently located outside the Marriott's large, central atrium, is where weary show-goers and audiophiles will raise their spirits with pints of the finest local brews. Some of those fine brews include: 1554, Fat Tire Amber, Blue Paddle, 5 Barrel Pale Ale, Titan IPA, Modus Hoperandi (ha!), Hoss, Avalanche, and Cutthroat Porter.
Some savvy exhibitors, such as Audioengine (seen here), have announced their presence at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2010 with banners hung across their balconies, so everyone knows where the party's at.