For many of us in the press, RMAF 2010 began with VTL's well-orchestrated press breakfast launch of the new MB-450 Series III monoblocks ($18,000/pair) and TL7.5 Series III preamplifier ($20,000). Speaking before a full house that included representatives from Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, Positive Feedback On-Line, Enjoy the Music, and many other media outlets, VTL's Luke Manley explained that the Series III is VTL's first fully balanced amplifier.
Lest anyone think that we at Stereophile don't pay attention when manufacturers speak, take a look at Stephen Mejias, virtually mesmerized by Luke Manley's energetic and ever-enlightening prose. Also pictured, Steven Rochlin of Enjoythe Music, Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio, and the empty chair and scattered detritus of the photographer-in-action.
That's sure how it felt when I waded through the mob at the registration table. Graced by the presence of William Togno, a fellow member of the San Francisco Bay Area Audiophile Society, the registration table was swamped a good 90 minutes before the show opened on Friday. There were so many people packing into the elevators to the five floors of exhibits in the Denver Marriott Tech Center Tower that the elevator frequently refused to move; when it finally got up the courage to ascend, it alighted on each floor with a huge thump. Scary.
La Stupenda is no more. The brilliant coloratura soprano Joan Sutherland, who died a thousand deaths onstage after emitting flawless high E-flats, died at her home near Montreux, Switzerland, on Sunday, October 10. Her death was confirmed by her frequent stage partner and friend, mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne.
Next weekend's Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) is bigger than ever. Scheduled to be held October 1517 in the Denver Marriott Tech Center, the seventh annual show has expanded from last year's 145 display rooms to a record 174. Add in silent displays in hallways, and there were products in every price range from a good 400 companies (up from 350 in 2009). Now occupying six floors in the Marriott Tower (including the mezzanine) and two in the Atrium, the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest has well earned its reputation as the largest consumer-audio and home-entertainment show in the US since the demise of the Stereophile Shows.
Even as editing continues on his forthcoming Stereophile recording of Brahms' Handel Variations and Schumann's Symphonic Études, Canadian pianist Robert Silverman is set to perform and re-record all 32 of Beethoven's piano sonatas. Silverman's eight-concert series of Beethoven sonata performances and recordings will take place in San Jose's lovely Le Petit Trianon Theatre, beginning this coming Thursday, September 9 and ending on April 14, 2011.
According to a recent Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) press release, "CE Industry to Surpass $174 billion in 2010, Reach Record High by 2011," sales forecasts are far more optimistic than had been expected. While the figures aren't easily translatable to the high-end market (which the CEA identifies as "high-performance audio"), some consumer-electronic (CE) trends give cause for qualified optimism, and provide clues as to which products may prove most profitable for manufacturers and dealers.
Klaus Heymann has some surprising news. During an in-person chat in the lobby of San Francisco's Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the founder of the label that turned the classical-music recording industry on its ear revealed that, in the US, classical-music sales for the labels that Naxos distributes are stable.
Constantine and Ann Soo deserve a huge thank you from the audiophile community. Responding to pleas from insistent dealers and distributors, who lamented the absence of an audiophile show from the San Francisco Bay Area, Constantine and dagogo.com took a huge risk.