Newcomer Virtue Audio made its debut at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest showing a colorful collection of affordable Tripath amplifiers. The 45Wpc Audiophile One ($249) integrated amp was engineered by Audience's Roger Sheker and uses VirtuCap input capacitors designed for Virtue by Audience. Inside the chassis, you'll find the cutest little heat pipe designed to maximize space and keep things cool. On the rear panel, propeller post binding posts makes making connections easy, and the amp's aluminum chassis is available in five bold colors (black velvet, snow [a kind of frosty white], red brick, clouds [a kind of frosty blue], and mesa [a kind of mustard]).
One of the most obvious solutions to the problem of attracting a younger audience to high end hi-fi is mentoring. It is undoubtedly clear that younger generations of music lovers can distinguish between poor and good quality sound. They can, after all, hear a wider range of frequencies than older folks. And they do, after all, love music. So, what is the problem?
Another thing that caught my eye in the Daedalus Audio room was this nifty, little wood case for the Logitech Squeezebox. Daedalus' Lou Hinkley told me that he had done it as a one-off project, but because so many people seem interested in it, he may decide to build more. The attractive wood case provides beneficial EMI shielding, Hinkley said.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is very important (and encouraging!): There were more young people at this show than at any other hi-fi show I've attended. Whereas in past years, at other shows, I have felt like the youngest dude in the house, this year, at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I met many people who were actually younger than me.
Much of Keith O. Johnson's invaluable presentation consisted of a series of graphs that demonstrated everything from jitter to the noise created by certain power cables. One of his many messages was, if folks think there are no differences between cables, I have the graphs to show otherwise. He also exhibited graphs that show how the quality of manufacture of CDs makes a huge difference in the ultimate analog signal. Want to see what a bad DAC or amplifier does, and compare it with a state-of-the-art unit? Keith can show you. Pictured is a tone-cluster wave he developed as a diagnostic tool that resembles music.