RMAF 2015

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 09, 2015 0 comments
Oh my, what a difference a few feet can make. I am talking, in this case, about the 6'7.8"-tall, 573.2-lb Focal Grande Utopia EM loudspeakers ($195,000/pair), each of which houses a 16" woofer, an 11" midbass driver, two 6.5" midrange drivers, and a 1" pure-beryllium, inverted-dome tweeter. This loudspeaker throws one of the largest and most realistically proportioned soundstages I have ever heard. When playing my SACD of Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra performing Mahler's Symphony 9 (Channel Classics), the Grand Utopia EMs were actually capable of suggesting the huge scale, dynamic extremes, and sheer volume that a full Mahler orchestra can produce. Which is no mean feat.
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Sasha Matson Posted: Oct 07, 2015 3 comments
By the time I went to book a room for this year's RMAF there was no room at the Denver Marriott inn. Perhaps the same thing happened to Magico, as we both ended up one long suburban block away at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech. Which was nice for me, in that it allowed me to get a breath of fresh air between listening bouts.
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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 04, 2015 18 comments
Jason Victor Serinus, Sasha Matson, and myself spent crazy time before the show started talking, scheming and dividing up RMAF rooms. But, in the end, after hours of planning, I finally declared, "You two cover the audio rock stars, I'll go find the rooms of the lesser known, still unknown, or up-and-coming, exhibitors that may have not made show-report headlines in the past. One such newcomer was Dennis Fraker, of Serious Stereo ("We Build What It Takes"). . .
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Sep 29, 2015 1 comments
Audiophiles who need something to do during RMAF should check out Soundings Fine Audio and Video. Situated just two blocks from the Marriott DTC at 8101 E. Belleview Ave X-1, Denver, CO 80236, the Denver retailer is having a party at 6pm Friday, October 2, and all showgoers are invited. They will be serving hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and adult beverages.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 07, 2015 5 comments
Voxativ may be one of the only companies in the high-end whose equipment list is designed as a flow chart. The visual presentation seems entirely apt, given how beautifully music flowed through the eye-catching and soul-pleasing Voxativ 9.87 system loudspeakers with its AC-4d wideband driver and bass extension ($34,900/pair).
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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 08, 2015 0 comments
VANA’s Kevin Wolf (right) with AudioStream.com's Michael Lavorgna in the hot seat

Kevin Wolf and VANA Ltd. represent a group of distinctive high-quality/high-value audio products that are mostly right up my aesthetic alley . . . at the Denver RMAF, Vana was debuting the new Audio Physic Avanti loudspeakers ($8000/pair) and they looked and sounded brand-new, top-of-the-heap excellent.

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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 06, 2015 9 comments
RockyFest Award Alert!

Best Sound: Vincent Bélanger
Best-Sounding Component: Monsieur Bélanger's 200-year old cello
Best Choice of Music: www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsdaTVKmjdY
Most Impressive Audio Demonstration: Audio Note UK

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Herb Reichert Posted: Oct 09, 2015 1 comments
During these shows, I tend to move through the halls like an invisible force is pushing me. For each room I take a picture of the sign, walk in and do a fast calculation about where to get the best photo of the setup. Then I introduce myself to the proprietor and ask for a sheet with prices and the names of the gear being demonstrated. Then I listen, collect more data, and ask a few questions. After about the second or third question I say, "Thank you. Bye . . . gotta go! I have 50 more rooms to cover." Rolling, rolling, and rolling . . . keep them doggies rolling. But always I try to make time for people in the halls who say they read my writings. Two of those readers I chatted with asked if I had heard the new Spatial Hologram M4 loudspeakers ($1295/pair). They thought the Spatial room had the best sound at the show. I admitted I hadn't. Promised I would. And, I am glad I did.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 08, 2015 0 comments
Ah yes. Through the audio jungle I thrashed, through sound both thrilling and threadbare, until, having totally exhausted the alliteration resources of my thoroughly thumbed thesaurus, I alighted upon the thoroughfare of Thrax. Once there, I threw all literary pretense aside, and thrillingly cried, "Thanks be to Thrax!"
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 09, 2015 9 comments
Wilson seems to not only have a lot of dealers—Shadi’s Santa Monica-based Audio Salon is one—but also possesses a most intelligent marketing strategy that leads it to honor requests for loaner loudspeakers when it feels the products they’ll be paired with at shows are up to snuff. In this case, were they ever! Alongside the Wilson Sabrina loudspeakers ($15,900/pair) in the Audio Salon room were singing components of very different price points. . .
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 04, 2015 3 comments
The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest decided to give press a head start this time around by inviting us in two hours before the show's official noon opening on Friday. While not all manufacturers got on board—several of the rooms I tried to visit on the 2nd floor of the Marriott Denver Tech Center's Tower were locked—digital audio pioneer dCS leaped into the breach by staging a 10am press conference for the official release of the dCS Rossini CD player. The company's Martin Reynolds (above) flew over from the UK to do the presentation.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 06, 2015 2 comments
Andy Carr, Marketing Director of the UK's Cambridge Audio, introduced two of the company's systems: a CX series system that included Cambridge Audio Aeromax 2 bookshelf speakers ($649/pair), and an 851 series that used Aeromax 6 floorstanders ($1299/pair). Both speaker models incorporate Cambridge Audio's BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator) drivers and dedicated subwoofers. Playing a FLAC file of Eric Bibb's "Rocking Chair" through, I believe, the CXN upsampling network music player ($999), the lower priced system ($2700 total + XLO cabling) produced really nice, smooth sound that felt just right for grabbing a beer, settling down, and mellowing out . . .
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Sasha Matson Posted: Oct 05, 2015 2 comments
Continuing my tour on the first day of this year's RMAF, let me just say in the first sentence that the beautifully matched system I found up and running in room 9026 fit me like a glove. I have had direct experience over the years, as have many others, with several of the fine audio brands represented in the room hosted by The Audio Alternative, a retailer out of nearby Fort Collins. On show was excellent gear from Audio Research Corporation, Vandersteen Audio, AMG, AudioQuest, and Harmonic Resolutions Systems.
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Sasha Matson Posted: Oct 08, 2015 0 comments
There are rooms at hi-fi shows, and then there are rooms. Kubotek/Haniwa were hosting the "Harry Pearson Memorial Concert" in Room 1122 of the Denver Marriott. I had seen information in advance, but it took me a moment to realize that I had walked into a unique event. It was a bit like viewing hours at a funeral parlor, but instead of a casket, arranged around the room were a selection of the legendary Harry Pearson's actual 3000-LP collection, which he bequeathed complete to Dr. Tetsuo Kubo, designer and president/CEO of the Kubotek Corporation, based in Osaka, Japan.
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Stereophile Staff Posted: Oct 02, 2015 3 comments
Photos: Laura LoVecchio

Standing in front of the poster for the November issue of Stereophile, new at the show, is Michael Mandell, who used to provide IT services for the magazine when it was first based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Michael is wearing a vintage T-shirt with the "Lonely at the Top" illustration we created for our April 1988 "Recommended Components" issue.

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