RMAF 2011

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John Atkinson Posted: Oct 18, 2011 0 comments
Danish manufacturer Vitus Audio was showing off its new RI-100 integrated amplifier ($13,000) at RMAF with a pair of YG Acoustics' two-way Carmel speakers, connecting everything with Purist Audio Design's Corvus-series cable. (Purist was celebrating its 25th anniversary at RMAF.) Running the 300Wpc amplifier's output stage in class-AB rather than class-A allows the RI-100 to be, for Vitus, relatively affordable.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 16, 2011 Published: Oct 18, 2011 0 comments
Audioarts also presented a system comprising BMC amplification (supported by a SolidSteel stand) and Zellaton loudspeakers ($24,950/pair). Every Zellaton driver is completely handmade and takes up to three weeks to produce. The speaker cabinet uses a semi-open construction meant to minimize cabinet resonances.
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John Atkinson Posted: Oct 18, 2011 2 comments
The 2011 RMAF saw the debut of MBL's new Corona series, all finished in gloss white. Playing Peter Gabriel's new CD of some of his songs abut accompanied by a orchestra, the C31 CD player ($9200) and C51 300Wpc integrated amplifier ($11,100) sounded open, spacious, and uncolored with the new MBL 116F "Radialstrahler" loudspeaker ($32,000/pair).
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John Atkinson Posted: Oct 18, 2011 0 comments
I stuck my head in the door of Room 8009. "That's Willie Nelson," I recognized that distinctive voice. "But what's he singing? Wait a second, that's Peter Gabriel's 'Don't Give Up'—WT...?" I had to go in and take a seat. Daedalus Athena three-way speakers ($9950/pair) were being driven by AMR AM-77 monoblock amplifiers which in turn were being fed signal from a First Sound Presence Deluxe tubed preamp ($9200). Source was AMR's impressive CD-77 CD Processor. Nice, very nice.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 18, 2011 0 comments
Emotiva’s Danielle Laufman had impressions made of her ear canals at the Westone booth. Both Danielle and her mom, Cathy, would be getting custom ear plugs, while Danielle’s father, Emotiva’s founder Dan Laufman, would be using his ear molds for custom in-ear monitors.
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John Atkinson Posted: Oct 18, 2011 1 comments
I know audiophiles are not supposed to like Diana Krall. But the singer/pianist has true jazz instincts. Her version of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," played back an open-reel tape on a Right Sound-modified Studer A80, with the Usher Dancer Mini 2 speakers ($4999/pair) driven by Usher amps and connected with JPS Aluminata cables was gripping. Undoubtedly contributing to the quality of the sound was the fact that, like many exhibitors, Usher had made a serious attempt to modify the acoustics of their room at RMAF with acoustic treatments.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 18, 2011 0 comments
The little card says it all, so I don’t have to. (Thank goodness.) It’s the beautifully designed Bottlehead Smack WOT (with output transformers) headphone amplifier kit.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 18, 2011 0 comments
Dynaudio’s Mike Mannousselis always brings a ton of awesome music to hi-fi shows, and this time he played a track called “Suzanne” by Asobi Seksu, a band I once booked to play at Uncle Joe’s, a small but dearly loved dive bar in downtown Jersey City.
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John Atkinson Posted: Oct 18, 2011 2 comments
The sound of the Harbeth Compact 7 speakers, driven by an LFD integrated amplifier via TellurideQ cables was as musically communicative as I was expecting. But then I saw the triangular Stein Magic Diamond sitting on top of the speaker cabinet and knew I was in the presence of serious audio strangeness. Sam Tellig wrote about the Stein devices in his September 2011 issue column: "The Harmonizers, Magic Stones, and Magic Diamonds helped make the room boundaries disappear and the venue of each recording matter more. It was as if sound flowed more freely through the air."

Ulp!

But the sound in this room did have some special magic to it.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 18, 2011 1 comments
Jason Stoddard and Rina Slayter presented a row of Schiit headphone amplifiers—Asgard ($249), Valhalla ($349), and Lyr ($449)—along with the Bifrost DAC ($449, with “buzzword-friendly” asynchronous USB input; $349, without USB input).
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John Atkinson Posted: Oct 18, 2011 0 comments
Tempo Distribution's John Quick was putting an LP on the Basis 2200 turntable (fitted with the Basis Vector 4 tonearm and My Sonic Labs Eminence EX cartridge)when I went into his room. He was showing off Musical Fidelity's new M1 VINL (no "Y") phono preamp ($1199), which has the same form factor as the M1 DAC and a front-panel display to show which of 10 resistive loadings (MC) or capacitive loadings (MM) has been selected. The sound of vinyl in this room, with the Musical Fidelity M6 500i 500Wpc integrated amp ($7000) driving Verity Leonore floorstanding speakers ($16,000/pair), was clean, clear and full-range.

But what I enjoyed most in this room was a live 24/48 recording of Tori Amos singing and playing piano at the Montreux Jazz Festival,played from John's laptop running Amarra and sending USB data to the dCS U-Clock interface for the Puccini player used as a DAC. Ms. Amos sounded vividly real.

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John Atkinson Posted: Oct 18, 2011 0 comments

Swedish manufacturer Sjofn was luring visitors into its room with an attractive woman drawing their attention to a poster on the wall outside the door announcing (the clue). Inside the room was a pair of unprepossessing stand-mounted speakers, driven by a Hegel amplifier via Supra cables. The two-way, ported Sjofn speakers ($999/pair) were taking full advantage of their boundary loading to produce a big sound.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 18, 2011 0 comments
I hope this doesn’t gross you out or make you cancel your subscription or anything, but SEXY (in all caps) is the first word that came to my mind when I walked into the room hosted by Tone Imports, DeVore Fidelity, Well Tempered Labs, and the Box Furniture Co.

There was a lot of pretty stuff to look at and listen to in here.

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John Atkinson Posted: Oct 18, 2011 0 comments
The Audio Alternative's big room on the ninth floor was one in which I spent more time than I had intended, such was the spacious sweep of sound produced by the Vandersteen Model 7 speakers ($50,000/pair with premium M7 crossovers) driven by Audio Research Reference 250 monoblock amplifiers ($25,990/pair). A CD of Joe Williams singing a vocal version of Miles Davis's "All Blues," recorded 20 years ago with the then-groundbreaking Colossus digital system kept me in my seat. The source components were supported on one of Harmonic Resolution Systems' excellent racks, BTW.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 18, 2011 2 comments
Bob’s Devices’ Bob Sattin was especially excited about his new CineMag 1131 (Blue) step-up transformer ($895). These transformers are especially developed for use with low-output moving-coil cartridges and represent the very best that CineMag has to offer. Hand-made and very limited.

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