RMAF 2010

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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 17, 2010 0 comments
Doshi Audio of Virginia was proudly displaying their handcrafted Jhor monoblock amplifiers ($18,995/pair) and Alaap V2.1 full-function preamplifier ($14,995). Partnered with the oft-encountered Wilson Audio Sasha, and Transparent XL series cabling, the system excelled in midrange strength as it threw an exciting soundstage. Although lacking ultimate bass control, the system rendered take-no-prisoners rock in accurately brash and brazen fashion.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2010 0 comments
Applause rang out after Silverman's performances. Among the most appreciative were those in the standing room section in heaven, aka the mezzanine balcony. Notice Roy Hall (third from left), who really socks it to Mikey Fremer in the "Manufacturers Comments" section of the November issue, among the admirers. On the second night, Gary Koh of Genesis was spied in rapt attention.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2010 1 comments
Taking this year's novel room treatment prize lying down was Artemis Labs of Simi Valley, CA. Undoubtedly wishing to imprint a message that their equipment produces the sound of your dreams, on display were the Artemis Labs SA-1S ($11,000) and SA-1 ($7800) turntables; Schröder Reference SQ ($5600 Euros) and Artemis Labs TA-1 ($3500) tonearms; Artemis Labs cartridge (not yet priced), PX-1 (LCR) phono pre (ditto), LX-1 linestage (ditto encore), LA-1 linestage ($3500), and SP-1 18Wpc power amp ($18,000). Rounding out the system were the fine Verity Audio Leonore loudspeaker ($15,995/pair) and Purist Audio Design cabling.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2010 0 comments
Reasonably priced cabling from Soundstring Cable Technologies of South Norwalk, CT created a polite, welcoming feel in a room that also featured ModWright and Oppo electronics and Nola bookshelf speakers.
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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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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 16, 2010 1 comments
Here we see the Vitus Audio SIA-025 integrated amplifier ($20,000; 100Wpc running class-A/B) and SCD-010 CD player ($20,000) and Amphion’s Krypton 3 loudspeakers ($20,900/pair). Amphion is now distributed in North America by VMAX Services. This system was very easy to listen to. Even at low volumes, there was no lack of drama, scale, or drive. It was a pleasure catching up with VMAX’s Richard Kohlruss and meeting Vitus’ Hans-Ole Vitus, who tells me he’s got a new phono preamp that Michael Fremer will love.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 16, 2010 3 comments
Zu did an outstanding job of transforming their drab hotel room into a comfortable, swanky listening environment, utilizing Flor modular carpeting tiles, a nice lounge seat, and some sweet-looking gear: Zu’s Soul Superfly ($2600/pair), a 16 ohm loudspeaker with a claimed efficiency of 101dB, in dazzling green finish, looks right at home with Luxman’s SQ-38u integrated amplifier ($6000) and D-38u CD player ($4000) and a Peachtree Nova D/A integrated amplifier ($1199). At the time I listened, Zu was using Channel D’s Pure Music front-end software ($129) for iTunes as a source, and there was an easy, laidback feel to the music.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 16, 2010 0 comments
Since my earliest visits to the Stereophile Show, well before I began writing for the magazine, I have always left Jeff Joseph's speaker displays with a smile on my face. This show was no different. Displaying the lovely Joseph Audio Pulsar ($7,000/pair) with not-yet-released-or-priced Pulsar stands, the combo with Ayre electronics (including the QB-9 USB DAC—$2750) and Cardas Clear cabling was a joy.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 16, 2010 6 comments
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.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 16, 2010 0 comments
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:

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