RMAF 2013

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 15, 2013 0 comments
The Danish speaker manufacturer Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries (DALI) should have a winner in its new wireless Kubik Free+Xtra Loudspeaker System. Available in black, white, or red, the optional two-part system consists of the Kubik Free ($1295), an active single-stereo speaker that can be used by itself in tight quarters, and the Xtra passive second speaker ($695) for those who want a wider soundstage and better imaging. Demmed by Thomas Knudsen in wireless aptX Bluetooth 3.0 mode—the Kubik Free can also be played via USB, optical, and analog connections—the speaker's 100W class-D amplifier delivered lovely sound. The drivers are composed of the same proprietary DALI wood-fiber cone drivers used in DALI's big babies.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 15, 2013 0 comments
Sonus faber mated its Olympica 3 loudspeakers ($13,500/pair) with Audio Research’s Reference CD9 CD/DAC player ($13,000), Reference 75 amplifier ($9000), and SP20 preamplifier ($9000). Heard through AudioQuest Redwood cables, the system uncompromisingly conveyed the take-no-prisoners nature of the demo CD that was playing during my time in the room.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 15, 2013 1 comments
“YFS” stands for Your Final System. The company’s founder, Kevin O’Brien, worked in the A/V installation business, doing audio consulting and building systems of all prices, until around 2011, when he decided he wanted to solve that problem once and for all. To that end, the YFS HD Ref3 LE “computer transport” ($15,500) combines an 8-core processor, 32GB of double data rate type 3 (DDR3) RAM, a 1TB solid-state drive (SSD), and a SOtM USB 3.0 PCI digital output card—all with heavily modified external power supply and audio circuitry.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 13, 2013 Published: Oct 14, 2013 10 comments
Familiar sights in the Music Hall room: stacks of LPs, beautiful women, Roy Hall, Leland Leard, and the Ikura turntable.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 13, 2013 4 comments
The Funk Firm’s new entry-level turntable, the Flamenca ($1495, without cartridge), will be available next month. The two-speed ‘table uses a DC motor and a very thin (0.15mm) thread-belt to drive its glass platter. Funk refers to their tonearm as a “pickup arm.” A tonearm, explained Pro Audio’s Brian Tucker, implies that the arm imparts its own sonic signature to the system. Funk aims to eliminate the arm from the system, thereby allowing the cartridge to perform optimally. In this case, the Flamenca’s new F6 tonearm is carrying a Dynavector DV 10X5—one of my fave cartridges. The F6’s detachable mounting block is meant to simplify cartridge installation. And, while the stock Flamenca is said to be specifically balanced for high-quality performance straight from the box, it can be easily upgraded with Funk’s Achromat platter mat and any of Funk’s higher-end tonearms.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 13, 2013 2 comments
Earlier this year, Michael Fremer gave us the scoop on Acoustic Signature’s new Wow turntable ($1950 with Rega 202 tonearm). It employs the same bearing design and AC motor found in all Acoustic Signature turntables, uses a 9-lb CNC-machined platter with a leather mat, and comes in high-gloss black or white acrylic. In person, the ‘table is very attractive and seems extremely well built.
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John Atkinson Posted: Oct 12, 2013 21 comments
"What is this music?" asked Jason Serinus (above).

We were sitting in the VTL room, where a pair of Wilson Alexia speakers ($48,500/pair) were being driven by VTL's S-400 stereo amplifier ($33,500), TL-7.5 Series III preamp ($20,000), and TP-6.5 phono preamplifier ($10,500 with transformer).

"It's 'Lose Yourself to Dance,' my favorite track from Daft Punk's Random Access Memories LP," I whispered...

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 12, 2013 106 comments
With up to 75 rooms to cover on multiple floors of the Marriott’s tower, I decided to check out Synergistic Research’s much-heralded new products before the show officially began. Inventor Ted Denney decided to dem his new babies, not with the expected megabuck system, but rather with a Bose radio. Positioned atop one of his Tranquility Bases, used as shelves on a Solid Tech rack, the radio played a vocal track by Anne Vada and Aki Fukakura as Denney demonstrated the cumulative effects of his tiny aluminum passive HFTs (High Frequency Transducers, $299/5 pack), active FEQ (Frequency Equalizer, $750), and Tranquility Bases. (In the photo, Ted is pointing to the HFT affixed to the front of the radio.)
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 11, 2013 0 comments
Earlier this year, I reviewed PSB's Alpha PS1 powered desktop loudspeakers. Pleased by their small size, great looks, and clean sound, I purchased the review samples. Now, PSB offers the matching SubSeries 100 subwoofer ($249).
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 11, 2013 1 comments
I've been kicking myself for not making it out to Brooklyn to hear YG Acoustics' flagship Sonja 1.3 loudspeakers while they were in John Atkinson's system.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 11, 2013 0 comments
Every year, the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, which starts today in the Denver Tech Center Marriott, kicks off with a pre-show gathering for exhibitors and press in the hotel’s Atrium. With each attendee handed two coupons for free drinks, it’s a great way to come down after an intense day of travel and room set-up. Show organizer Marjorie Baumert, shown with Ric Mancuso of Reference Recordings, was having an especially jolly time celebrating the show’s 10th Anniversary.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 11, 2013 12 comments
I did not see the same kind of impressive attendance I've become used to seeing on RMAF's opening day—lines stretching through the lobby, out the doors, and around the parking lot—but, at just past 12pm this afternoon, there was nevertheless a fine crowd of anxious hi-fi enthusiasts gathered round the registration tables.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 06, 2013 5 comments
Everyone's favorite audio show is about to get underway. The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest returns to the Denver Marriott Tech Center on October 11–13.

RMAF may not be the biggest consumer audio show in North America—that honor recently passed to T.H.E. Show Newport Beach—but even without a cigar show, car show, wine show, and airport right across the street, RMAF's 440 brands spread over 138 hotel rooms, 25 big rooms (and three more at the Hyatt across the street), a CANJAM headphone ballroom hosting a record 37 exhibitors, 14 software vendors (CDs, LPs, etc.), and 26 lobby exhibits is definitely something to get excited about.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 17, 2013 0 comments
Though they’d spent the last two years working on their Darwin Cable Company designs, Tony Bender (left) and Bill Magerman had only just met. Prior to this year’s RMAF, all of their communication had taken place via email and over the phone.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Oct 11, 2013 1 comments
For its 10th anniversary, the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest has lined up some stellar entertainment. With more than a little help from Kimber Kable, Nordost Corporation and Reference Recordings, Marjorie Baumert began the celebration with a pre-show performance by vocalist Lillian Boutté. The only musician since Louis Armstrong to be decorated Ambassador of Music by the city of New Orleans, Boutté brought her 30 years of experience with jazz, gospel, and R&B to the first of three performances at the show. Backing her up were Eric Gunnison on piano, Mike Marlier on drums, Mark Simon on bass, and a singer whose name was not listed in the program.

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