RMAF 2012

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2012 3 comments
Get a grip, Serinus. The equipment may have been ringed with Christmas lights, but it was October in the Denver Marriott Tech Center, not December in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin. Nor does Nhan Huang of Angel City Audio resemble Western conceptions of Mary's immaculate offspring. Be that as it may, or as some of my harshest critics may wish it weren't—jump to it, JohnnyR—the Melody Pure Black 101 preamp ($499), Melody M845 monoblock amplifiers ($5899/presumably for the pair), Onix CD-50 $3699), Angel City Audio P2000 power conditioner ($4499), and MG Audio interconnects and speaker cable were delivering bright and incisive sound on two unidentified jazz tracks.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 17, 2012 4 comments
John Atkinson told me I should go see SOTA’s Donna Bodinet, so I did, and this is what I found: SOTA’s Series II Moonbeam turntable ($800 with S100 tonearm and Ortofon OM5E phono cartridge).
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2012 1 comments
There was so much going on in the George Warren Precision Sound room that, once I finished snapping photos, it was hard to focus on the music. Nonetheless, it was clear that the George Warren turntable ($4200–$4850, depending upon finish) with its MØrch DP-8 tonearm (around $5000, available in gold or silver) were what this system was all about.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 17, 2012 3 comments
Wavelength Audio and Vaughn Loudspeakers teamed up for a sound that may have lacked the bass impact and scale of other systems I heard at RMAF, but that was coherent, relaxed, and very easy to enjoy.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2012 1 comments
I never thought that yet another listen to Rebecca Pidgeon's "There is a Rose in Spanish Harlem" would hold my attention, but, on the set-up from Avatar Acoustics' Darren Censullo, the recording sounded irresistible. I was especially seduced by the system's compelling warmth in the midrange and correctly proportioned bass. But really, everything in this room sounded really good.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 17, 2012 3 comments
Merlin Music Systems’ Bobby Palkovic is having a better time than ever, and you could tell by the sound in his room, which was remarkably tuneful, engaging—neither too forward nor too laidback—and, most of all, fun.

“I like to take things to an end, and now I’ve gotten to a point where I’m beyond happy,” Palkovic said of his Master VSM loudspeaker ($13,600/pair), which are now wired with Cardas Clear cable.

Adding to Palkovic’s pleasure is his new relationship with digital music:

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 17, 2012 1 comments
In the Music Hall room, I also met Alissa Vassilkova, whose father, Alfred, is the founder and lead designer of Estonia’s Estelon loudspeaker company.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2012 3 comments
Emotiva, the Tennessee-based company whose Chinese-manufactured components have been providing a genuine taste of the high-end to large numbers of audiophiles, previewed their all-new pro line. The combination of the Stealth DC-1 24/192 DAC ($699) and Stealth 8 powered Studio Monitors ($1499/pair), due by the end of the year, was making great sound for the price.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2012 3 comments
It was nearing the end of the day of the first day of the show, and I hadn't covered nearly enough exhibits to ensure blogs for every room on floors 4 and 5, plus a number of others that I had agreed to cover. That, I figured, was why I found myself increasingly breathless as I ran from room to room, listening to less and less music before jotting down a few notes and heading out the door.

Then I entered the Coincident Speaker Technology room, heard some gorgeous music, and realized the underlying reason for my near-frantic pace.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 17, 2012 3 comments
Jason Victor Serinus also mentioned that Rega has released their popular RP6 turntable with a new Union Jack finish. Here’s a closer look.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 17, 2012 2 comments
I don't know if it's a case of careful component and/or cable matching—Wilson Audio, after all, favors VTL electronics and Transparent Cabling, and Spectral always dems with its own, MIT-manufactured cabling—or just better engineering, but my experience of Teresonic single-driver loudspeakers has shifted dramatically for the better over the years.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 17, 2012 5 comments
The people from TweekGeek (“Funny Name, Serious Audio”) have a great thing going. They’re starting the Knights of the Listening Room, “a group of friends where audiophiles can share their audio systems…”
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 17, 2012 6 comments
It’s no surprise that Sam Tellig likes Harbeth’s Monitor 30.1 loudspeaker ($6490/pair in rosewood; seen here on Resonant Woods stands) as much as he does. (You can read about that in our November issue.) The speaker is handsome, understated, and it just looks right. Driven by Bret D’Agostino’s Bully Sound Company BSC-60s, a 60Wpc power amp built around a 1300VA toroidal transformer, the Harbeths sounded right, too. Bricasti’s M1 DAC ($8495; a favorite of both John Atkinson and John Marks) accepted signals from a Music Vault Music Streamer ($2495). Tellurium Q cables tied everything together.

What else was in the system?

Oh, yes: The Stein Music Harmonizers. And, I almost hate to tell you this, but:

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 17, 2012 5 comments
“For a speaker manufacturer to not recognize the importance of room interaction is either disingenuous or willfully naïve,” said Wisdom Audio’s Jon Herron, during his demonstration of the tall, slim L75 loudspeaker ($18,700/pair) and its outboard SC-1 crossover ($6500).

At the time, I was marveling over the system’s full-range, large-scale, dramatic sound. I found myself looking up in the air, feeling as though I was seated in a concert hall or movie theater, surrounded by sound.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 17, 2012 3 comments
John Atkinson insisted that this cowbell had something to do with his daily seminar on recorded sound, but I suspect that he, like most people at RMAF, was just having a good time.

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