RMAF 2016: Herb's Wild West Preview

I flew to Denver in a tin can. It had no insulation, no tube traps, no RPG diffusers, no noise-cancellation circuits. It was extremely noisy and it had plastic seats—very much like those white stacking lawn chairs they sell at Home Depot. Instead of fold-down trays for hot food, this plane had little iPhone shelves on the backs of all the seats. But the woman piloting the tin can was amazing. If I didn't look out the window I couldn't tell if the plane was in the air or on the ground. Life in the can was loud but cool runnin'.

Just before I left Brooklyn, I discovered that I could download full albums from Tidal onto my iPhone, which I equipped with an AudioQuest DragonFly Red DAC-headphone amplifier ($199) and a pair of JH Audio Roxanne in-ear headphones ($1299). So I listened to reggae and bluegrass, which perfectly overcame the tin can's loudness. I also read from a collection of short stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, entitled Strange Pilgrims—a title that described exactly how I felt when looked out the window and saw all those covered wagons circled around the Denver Marriott Tech Center. On the ground, when I got a closer look, I realized they were not covered wagons at all, but white tents, like those for a wedding or a circus.

Then I remembered: In the weeks leading up to Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2016, all my audio peeps were bitching about how the Marriott was under renovation, and how their sleeping rooms had been moved—against their will!—to some nearby hotels, and how CanJam—the show-within-a-show sponsored by Head-fi.org—and other main floor exhibits had been exiled to the white tents. With campfires and torchlights, no doubt.

Every time I heard this bitching, I laughed. I told them that this was not New York, it was the Wild West, and that if they could just accept and adapt a little, this would be the best RMAF ever. When I arrived at the hotel and started hugging my friends and looking around at how beautiful everything looked, and when I saw the smiles of the hotel staff, I understood clearly: these would be some bright, sunny, music-filled days, in Denver…and you are invited!

Allen Fant's picture

Keep us posted- HR.

Anton's picture

Illegitimi non carborundum, Art!

ednazarko's picture

I picked up an Aries Mini, with the external power supply, and was very surprised at how good it sounds. I'd so love to do an A/B between the Mini with power supply and the Altair.

Richard D. George's picture

We certainly had beautiful weather here in Metro Denver for the RMAF.

Richard D. George's picture

... Denver is a terrible place. We barely survive. Whatever you do, don't consider moving here.

Anton's picture

At that altitude, it's a wonder your speakers work at all.

What can you generate, 83, 84dB peaks in that thin air?

It's so dry, don't even try touching a record player...your LP will stick to the platter like socks out of the drier.

Although, the food is good, what with water boiling at what we lowlanders consider hot tub temperatures. You can boil meat and get a sous-vide medium rare!

I can see why they call it audio fest and not audiofile or Hi Fi fest. Everything in that thin air sounds like MP3 at sea level.

(Disclaimer, since we are on an audio site: I am just going with your vibe and goofing around and don't mean anything that is actually bad.)

I used to live in Fort Collins. No fleas on the pets and no dust mites as allergens up there with you guys!


monetschemist's picture

but nobody listened. Rats!