So what if the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest doesn’t officially open until noon Friday? The Stereophile crewLR, Jason Victor Serinus, Stephen Mejias, John Atkinson, and Art Dudleyhave met for an 8AM strategy session in the Marriott’s Atrium dining area. Omelets devoured and territory divided up by floor, we can finally sit back for a moment, smile, and savor our two hours before the big 11AM pre-show press unveiling of the new Wilson Audio Alexia loudspeaker.
Beyond all doubt, the most heralded debut at a show filled with more product debuts than could fit in our show preview was the unveiling of the Wilson Audio Alexia loudspeaker ($48,500/pair). Introduced at back-to-back press conferences, the speaker and its elite companions made a stunning impression.
If there's one thing that Dave Wilson (pictured above) knows besides crossover design and time domain alignment, it's the sound of live, unamplified music performed in spaces that do it full justice...
Barring the unlikely resurrection of either the summertime Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago or this magazine’s own fondly remembered movable feasts of the 1990s, there is only one hi-fi event for which I would board an airplane: Welcome to Denver. And while this non-flyer is already considering renting a car and driving home Monday, I’m glad as hell to be here: I think this is going to be fun.
Michael Lavorgna, editor of our sister site AudioStream.com, moderated a computer audio seminar on RMAF’s first day. Participants, from left to right: David Chesky (HDtracks.com), Andreas Koch (Playback Designs), Gordon Rankin (Wavelength Audio), Rob Robinson (Channel D Software), Mark Waldrep (AIX Records), Steve Silberman (AudioQuest), and Michael Lavorgna.
I noticed this sign hanging above the entrance to the Marriott Tech Center, home of the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. “Save the Music”a fine message, but sort of vague. What's it about? I wondered. Inside the hotel, near the elevators, I found a postcard with a picture of a pianist at a piano, both the musician and his instrument covered in what appeared to be thick black oil. (Oh no!) At the top of the postcard again were the words, “Save the Music.”
On the back of the postcard, I found a message from dCS, titled, “Saving the Music for 25 Years.” Audiophiles are familiar with dCSwe know who the company is and what it doesbut this postcard seemed addressed to those who may be new to the hi-fi world:
There is no need for Denver's Rocky Mountain Audio Fest to toot its own horn. The three-day affair, which opens at noon on Friday, October 12 in the Denver Marriott Tech Center, promises no less than 431 exhibitors; 174 exhibitor rooms, including 24 large ones (same since 2009): 41 miscellaneous vendors; 35 CANJAM vendors; and an impressive number of show debuts.
The largest US high-end audio show open to the public is also, despite its size and occasionally snow-encrusted environs, the warmest and friendliest audiophile show in the country. For this we owe thanks to Marjorie Baumert, who continues to nurture and sustain the show following the death of her show co-founder and husband, Al Stiefel, at the start of 2009; the exceptional staff at the comfortable Marriott; a dedicated cadre of volunteers drawn from the Colorado Audio Society and Marjorie's extended circle of friends and family; and exhibitors who, welcoming the relative peace and quiet of the location, approach the show as if reuniting with old friends.
First of all, I’d like to point out that, though I probably should have, I did not take this picture. This picture was taken by VPI’s young Mathew Weisfeld, who is way cooler than me.
Now, the turntable is VPI’s Traveler, which I review in our November issue. What turntable, you ask? That turntable therethe one behind the girl in the red glasses. (The red glasses, she told me, weren’t hers, but instead belonged to Music Hall’s Leland Leard. But that’s another story.)
Legacy's Bill Dudleston stands by the new Aeris speaker ($16,900/pair), which combines an AMT tweeter/supertweeter module (see below) with a dipole midrange unit and upper wooferthese have corrugated surrounds for maximum inearityand two sealed-box subwoofers operating below 220Hz and driven by an internal 500W ICE-power class-D amp. With an AVM amplifier and CD player,the sound of Tchaikovsky's Italian Caprice was forceful and clean, though the big bass drum thwacks clipped the amplifier at the level I had chosen for the orchestral sound in the large room Legacy was using.
Anders Ertzeid, VP of Sales and Marketing for Hegel, introduces the Norwegian company’s new H300 integrated amplifier ($5500). This amp includes a 32-bit DAC, 5 digital inputs and 5 analog inputs, and uses a high-precision clock circuit said to eliminate jitter.