RMAF 2010

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 17, 2010 7 comments
In his Avatar Acoustics room, Darren Censullo put together a system featuring a Feickert Analogue Blackbird turntable ($7495) with Feickert’s DFA 10.5 tonearm ($1000) and Lyra Kleos cartridge (review to come from Michael Fremer), Abbingdon Music Research (AMR) CD-77.1 CD player ($10,995), AMR PH-77 phono preamp ($11,995, recently reviewed by Michael Fremer and John Atkinson), and AMR AM-77.1 integrated amplifier ($9995). Speaker cables, interconnects, and power cords were Acoustic System International’s LiveLine ($995/1m interconnect; $2100/2.4m cable; $1195/1.8m power cord). The gear was supported by an Acoustic System 3-shelf rack ($3500) and Acoustic System International Top Line feet ($750). Power distribution came from an Avatar Acoustics Mach 4 ($1995) and Avatar Acoustics Afterburner 8 wall outlet ($80). Acoustic System International Resonators were carefully placed around the perimeter of the room, near where the walls met the ceiling.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2010 11 comments
Photograph: John Atkinson
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2010 0 comments
Fidelis, distributors of Harbeth loudspeakers and other products, was playing the classic BBC style Harbeth Super HL5 ($4995/pair), Perreaux Prisma 350 350Wpc stereo power amplifier ($8995), Wadax Pre1 preamplifier/DAC ($19,995), Sound Science MV Diamond digital server ($4500 w/iPad), and Pyon Sound Muzika Ultima turntable ($18,995). Bringing out the best this equipment can offer were the excellent Echole Obsession cables that are poised to make a major impression in the U.S. market. Four Stein boxes (little black boxes with the blue light on silver stands), which I discussed in the TweekGeek report below, were the icing on the cake, adding air and ease to the presentation.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2010 7 comments
Audioquest's Joe Harley showed off a system using Ayre electronics and Vienna Acoustics speakers, whose lovely midrange and easy-on-the-ears presentation was made possible by Audioquest Sky interconnects, Meteor Flat Rock Series speaker cable, Energy 100 power cords, and the new top-of-the-line Diamond USB cable (the latter shown in the photo with Harley). All of these cables, including the USB, utilize Audioquest's DBS dielectric bias system to keep the cables at peak capability 24 hours a day. (A FireWire cable is in development).
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2010 16 comments
Last spring's Axpona show in Jacksonville gave me a first opportunity to audition some of Grant Fidelity's bargain-priced Chinese imports. I really liked what I heard. Despite cries of foul from a few of those posting comments to the blog who depicted Grant as the cause of the entire high-end slowdown in the US, and me as a conspirator in the eventual collapse of Western Civilization, the word is clearly out. Grant's room at RMAF was mobbed, so mobbed by attendees who were eager to chat away while the music played that nothing short of blowing a police whistle would have quieted them down. (A few systems at RMAF sounded like police whistles, but that's another story).
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2010 5 comments
Oh my, did Muddy Waters' Folk Singer sound good. I hadn't heard this audiophile classic in many a year, and my time in Mike Garner of TweekGeek.com's room convinced me that it was time for an extended revisit. Garner achieved gorgeous clarity and marvelous quiet on this recording. As I wrote in my notes, "A very special moment."
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 16, 2010 0 comments
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.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 15, 2010 Published: Oct 16, 2010 0 comments
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.”
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 16, 2010 0 comments
Sjofn HiFi made a big splash at our Home Entertainment 2007 show with the Guru loudspeaker, and the company hopes to attract greater attention with their new monitor, “the clue.” I walked into the room just as a thunderous bass note was struck. “Whoa,” I thought to myself as I took the last remaining seat in the packed demo. The little Sjofn speakers ($999/pair) were partnered with electronics from Norway’s impressive Hegel: CDP4A CD player ($4500) and the 200Wpc H200 integrated amplifier ($5000). The system was small, but it produced nothing but big, room-filling sound. There was that well-controlled, thunderous bass and startlingly quick transients.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 16, 2010 0 comments
DSPeakers are active designs with built-in Anti-Mode room correction. We listened to the smaller Servo 300 speaker ($3500) with a Resolution Audio CD player, and, just as in Montreal, I was surprised by the small system’s big sound and bold bass. Also on display were DSPeaker’s standalone Anti-Mode correction units, the 8033 C ($350) optimized for home theater applications and the two-input 8033 S ($450) for stereo systems.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 16, 2010 0 comments
The newest Zu loudspeaker is the Omen. I don’t know much about it. The product literature says: “Omen is the right loudspeaker for every concert fanatic, music junky, skater fool, and snowboarding dirtbag; splitting your cash between your lifestyle outside and your lifestyle inside just got a whole lot louder!” So, Zu has a specific audience in mind. At just $999/pair it is also Zu’s most affordable speaker.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 16, 2010 0 comments
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.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 16, 2010 0 comments
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.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 15, 2010 Published: Oct 16, 2010 2 comments
Win Analog's audacious amplifiers are made to be played in the dark.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 15, 2010 Published: Oct 16, 2010 8 comments
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.

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