As John Atkinson (right) and I were saying our goodbyes until the 2009 CES in Las Vegas, RMAF co-directors Al Stiefel and Marjorie Baumert were compiling attendance stats for this year's show. Although the fact that there were far more rooms this year, with exhibits spread over two hotels, left some exhibitors thinking that attendance was down, attendance was actually up just over 7%. Almost 3500 people attended this year's RMAF. The Sunday walk-ins were 407almost 150 over last year.
I admit it. I have found YG Acoustics' hyperbolic promotional material off-putting. But having recently listened to the Colorado company's 4-way Anat Reference Professional speaker system in Wes Phillips' systemhe is reviewing it for our February 2009 issueI made a point of seeking the speaker out for a longer audition at RMAF.
In my opinion, few rooms at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest could compete with the sound produced in the Ayre Acoustics/Vandersteen Audio suite. To me, the music created by this combination just sounded right. It was effortless, involving, and realistic without being overly etched or bright.
Something funny happened to me when I walked into the Marriott's Room 422. I had been feeling particularly stressed and particularly drained, and I really didn't want to listen to any more music or exude any more pleasantries. But I was suddenly relieved of all that negative energyseriously, I could feel it!upon walking into Room 422.
Hiram Toro explained that he took the reigns of Koetsu USA when his close friend and Koetsu importer Ronnie Caplan unexpectedly passed away. Before Ronnie succumbed to complications following a heart attack, Hiram had promised his friend that he would take care of everything, fully expecting that Ronnie would recover from his illnesses. Hiram kept his promise and has maintained the Koetsu presence in the US market for the past two years. When he decided that that wasn't enough fun, he added Chario loudspeakers and Montegiro turntables to the roster.
I was very happy to finally meet Modwright Instruments' Dan Wright, possibly best known for his Modwright "Truth" modifications to popular components such as the Sony '9000ES universal player and Logitech Transporter.
The more I hear Vandersteen Audio's loudspeakers, the more I find myself admiring their relaxed, controlled, natural sound. Richard Vandersteen, the fighter pilot featured in a recent banner ad on this website, was happy to present his Quattro Signature Mk.2 ($11,700/pair). It utilizes a 6.5" mid-bass driver derived from the Vandersteen Model 5A and sounded exquisite driven by Ayre amplification.
Putting together a loudspeaker kit may be an art of an older generation. I had model airplanes and cars, but I often hear older audiophiles talk about the first loudspeaker they ever built. It always kind of freaks me out.
And here's that sexy Modwright-modified "Truth" Transporter with its tubed analog stage. Transporter owners can have their units modified for $2000, plus shipping; Modwright provides new units for $3800. All Modwright modifications are only available factory-direct.