Living Sounds Audio was showing their LSA1 Statement Monitor ($2800/pair). Unlike the standard LSA1, which partners its 6.25” treated paper mid/woofer with a 1” silk-dome tweeter, the Statement uses a folded-ribbon tweeter manufactured by Aurum Cantus. In addition, the Statement has a revised crossover and features upgraded capacitors, resistors, and internal wiring.
Fried Audio (“Speakers of Truth”), out of Pontiac, Michigan, is on the scene with the Bud Fried Tower ($2995/pair), a handsome two-way, transmission line design. Manufactured in the US, the speaker is available in 10 finishes and uses a Hiquphon ferrofluid OW2 dome tweeter and two 7” Peerless Exclusive woofers. It has a rated sensitivity of 88dB, a nominal impedance of 4 ohms, and a claimed frequency response of 35Hz20kHz, +/-3dB.
I’m sure you’ll know what I mean when I say I hate “Lilac Wine,” even though I think it’s a beautiful, touching song. A girl once put it on a mixtape for me, and you know how those things go. Lilac Wine is sweet and heady like my love. Yadda yadda yadda. I can hardly stand to hear it. But I sat all the way through it, happily, yesterday afternoon in the Resonessence room.
“These blood-red eyes don’t see so good / But what’s worse is, if they could / Would I change my ways?”
So sings Dan Auerbach on “These Days,” the closing track from the Black Keys’ excellent 2010 album, Brothers. As Auerbach sings, achingly, slide guitar weeps, bells chime, bass guitar thumps along woefully, cymbals splash, and floor toms rumble. It’s a beautiful few moments of R&B-inspired pop music, flooded with heartache.
Across the hallway from the Xeo dem, on the fourth floor of the Marriott Atrium, Dynaudio and T+A featured two systems. The one I heard delivered solid, satisfying sound from Dynaudio’s Focus 260 floorstanders ($4900/pair) driven by T+A’s Power Plant balanced Vollverstärker integrated amplifier ($3100) and Music Player balanced multi-source CD player/DAC/streaming client ($4400). The latter can be controlled with T+A’s recently released Control App.
Dynaudio’s Michael Manousselis was having a ball showing the Xeo 5 ($4500/pair with transmitter and remote) and Xeo 3 ($2300/pair with transmitter and remote). With music sourced from a Mac mini, then sent up to 50’ via Dynaudio’s transmitter unit to the digital amps of up to three sets of speakers, the total-solution Xeo obviates the need for amps, preamps, DACs, interconnects, and speaker cables. Given all that, the sound is pretty amazing for the price.
The November issue of Stereophile was new at RMAF and free to Showgoers. We were kept busy all weekend replenishing the stock on our booth, which were literally walking away. But no prizes for spotting the enigmatic suggestion in Eric Swanson's cover photo of the VPI Traveler turntable.
I emerged from the elevator, to be greeted by the sound of a late Beethoven piano sonata being played with power and precision by a slightly built young lady. The artist, 22 year-old Fan-Ya Lin, was the winner of the 2010 Music Teachers National Association Steinway Young Artists National Piano Competition, and other awards. She studied at Weber State University where she was spotted by Kimber Kable prez Ray Kimber. Ray, who has always sponsored live music performances at RMAF, arranged for Ms. Lin to give recitals during the days at the show, with a big concert Saturday night. Fan-Ya Lin has a new SACD out on Ray Kimber's Isomike label: Emerging, featuring performances of Beethoven's "Appassionata" sonata, Bach's Toccata in c, and works by Chopin and Lowell Liebermann.
My thanks to Ms. Lin and Ray for reminding me how much further audio reproduction has to go before it could be mistaken for the real thing.
I still recall, many years ago, being blown away by the sound of one of ProAc’s extremely musical monitors. The company re-emerged at RMAF 2012 to display the ProAc Response D40/R ($12,000$14,000/pair, dependent upon finish). Hooked up to Sonus Veritas’ Modena DAC ($15,999), Genoa preamplifier ($15,999), and Florence KT120 monoblock power amplifiers (not yet released, price TBD), and sources unidentified, the system was producing excellent solid, full-range sound on a track from the Michael Wolff Trio’s 2 AM.
The Sound Organisation’s Naim system inspired me to jot “very musical and complete” in my notes. On active duty were Naim’s NDS reference network player equipped with their top DAC ($10,995) with separate 555PS power supply ($9645), NAC202 upgradable preamp ($3295) with separate power supply ($2195), NAP250-2 80Wpc stereo amplifier ($5995), and S400 loudspeaker ($6495/pair in the finish shown).
KT Audio Imports put together a cost-no-object system, comprising: Eventus Audio Nebula loudspeakers ($65,000/pair), a large three-way design with a specified sensitivity of 91dB; Triangle Art (“Design for Perfection) Reference turntable ($16,500); NAT Audio Magma single-ended monoblock power amplifiers ($44,990/pair), rated to deliver 160W into 4 or 8 ohms; NAT Signature Phono phono preamp ($7800); and NAT Symmetrical balanced line stage ($8690).
It’s Thursday afternoon, and all is aflutter in the show office in the Denver Marriott Tech Center. Everyone and their mother is arriving at once, and Show Manager Marjorie Baumert heads to the computer as she and her invaluable staff of volunteers move as fast as they can to meet the needs of multiple hundreds of exhibitors.