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Welshsox
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RMAF

Despite all my issues with high end hifi im going to visit RMAF for a couple of days with an open mind.

On Sunday though im watching the Broncos v Cowboys !!!

Who else wil be there and does anyone fancy meeting for a beer ?

Alan

KBK
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Re: RMAF

I think you will enjoy yourself immensely. I won't be there, but - have fun!

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Re: RMAF


Quote:
Despite all my issues with high end hifi im going to visit RMAF for a couple of days with an open mind.

If you go with an open mind and a positive attitude, I think you'll find a lot to be happy about. It's a great time.

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Re: RMAF


Quote:

Who else wil be there and does anyone fancy meeting for a beer ?

Alan

Alan-

If I were going I'd gladly hoist a pint with you.

Demondog
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Re: RMAF

I made the decision to attend this just a few days ago. A friend who went to RMAF last year, and is going again, recommended a while back that I go to this year's event. I knew my wife wouldn't be interested, but I didn't think it would be right for me to take yet another solo trip this year.

But the other night just for a laugh, I asked my wife if she'd be interested in going to the RMAF (I had to explain what it was), and of course she said no. I was a little surprised though when she urged me to go by myself. So I quickly made the arrangements.

I'm really looking forward to this now, and while I don't know just yet what my schedule will be in Denver, I'm always up for a beverage and a little conversation.

dcstep
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Re: RMAF

I'll be there and would love to hoist a pint with a few Stereophile buddies. I'll be guiding Guido Corona (a blind audio journalist) around most of the time, so if you see us, with him and his cane, don't hesitate to introduce yourselves.

Dave Stephens

Stephen Scharf
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Re: RMAF

I just booked my flight today....

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Re: RMAF


Quote:
...so if you see us, with him and his cane, don't hesitate to introduce yourselves.

Dave Stephens


I'll keep an eye open. My forum username will be on my ID tag for anyone who wants to avoid me

Stephen Scharf
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Re: RMAF


Quote:

Quote:
...so if you see us, with him and his cane, don't hesitate to introduce yourselves.

Dave Stephens


I'll keep an eye open. My forum username will be on my ID tag for anyone who wants to avoid me

My forum name will be obvious...

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Re: RMAF

I saw a couple sight impaired people with canes today, including one fellow at a small hifi shop after show hours, about 7:45, just a few miles away from the Marriott.

I was just warming up at the show today, but heard some amazing stuff nonetheless. Went to JA's talk/demo on the evils of compressed music when not done with a light hand. I've read a bit on the subject before, but he was able to make the situation very clear.

It may have been only the first day of this event, but I think I've already received my money's worth in listening to, and the discussion of some amazing equipment.

I managed to get a few of my sample songs played, (on the YG speakers in particular) and I felt a little magic, which is what I came for. Can't wait for day two!

Stephen Scharf
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Re: RMAF

Looking forward to it tomorrow. I am here in Denver about 2.5 miles from the Tech Center and will be there at show open tomorrow.

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Re: RMAF


Quote:
I saw a couple sight impaired people with canes today, including one fellow at a small hifi shop after show hours, about 7:45, just a few miles away from the Marriott.

I was just warming up at the show today, but heard some amazing stuff nonetheless. ...

Guido and I were at Soundings from 7 until 8:30 on Friday. Were you the guy with the Pat Martino LP???

It's amazing how bad the sound was in many high end rooms, but there some great gems.

Dave

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Re: RMAF


Quote:
Guido and I were at Soundings from 7 until 8:30 on Friday. Were you the guy with the Pat Martino LP???

It's amazing how bad the sound was in many high end rooms, but there some great gems.

Dave


No, I was the guy with the stuffed mushrooms. Ha Ha

Well I did see you then. I think I was standing by the front door with a friend, talking to the Boulder guy when you and Guido left. Sorry I didn't say Hi, but you know, mouth full of mushrooms and all.

I was only truly disappointed by only a small handful of rooms. Among other things today, I really liked the small floor standing PMC fact PB1i speakers, until I looked up the price. OK, I still like them.

geoffkait
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Re: RMAF

"It's amazing how bad the sound was in many high end rooms."

Well, not really all that amazing.

Pop Quiz: How many reasons can you think of why the sound would be so bad in many high end rooms?

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Re: RMAF


Quote:
"It's amazing how bad the sound was in many high end rooms."

Well, not really all that amazing.

Pop Quiz: How many reasons can you think of why the sound would be so bad in many high end rooms?

Well, seriously, here's my list:
*Most of the rooms are indeed shitty.
*Most of the exhibitors couldn't set up a good system in a good room if you paid the a million dollars.
*Many of the designers wouldn't know good sound if it hit them between the eyes (and ears)
*Much of the software used to demonstrate is hideous, non-music.
*Many systems are put together by a team of makers (one makes amps, one makes speakers, one makes wires, etc. and no single person is in charge).
*The ones that offer complete systems are not good at all things, such that Esoterics wonderful digital players are obscured by their somewhat average speakers. (Their sound was actually decent, but lacking the total sonic package).
*Finally, we attendees tend to bring in loads of shitty software that we want to hear on the systems, resulting is some really sad stuff.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Dave

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Re: RMAF


Quote:

Well, seriously, here's my list:
*Most of the rooms are indeed shitty.
*Most of the exhibitors couldn't set up a good system in a good room if you paid the a million dollars.
*Many of the designers wouldn't know good sound if it hit them between the eyes (and ears)
*Much of the software used to demonstrate is hideous, non-music.
*Many systems are put together by a team of makers (one makes amps, one makes speakers, one makes wires, etc. and no single person is in charge).
*The ones that offer complete systems are not good at all things, such that Esoterics wonderful digital players are obscured by their somewhat average speakers. (Their sound was actually decent, but lacking the total sonic package).
*Finally, we attendees tend to bring in loads of shitty software that we want to hear on the systems, resulting is some really sad stuff.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Dave

Well, as long as you had a good time that's all that counts

Stephen Scharf
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Re: RMAF

Well, there were some rooms with great sound.

1) Dynaudio
2) Intuitive
3) Harbeth
4) Acoustic Technologies
5) Peachtree Audio/Zu
6) Ray Kimber's room with the astonishing Sony speakers...

I was most impressed with the Peachtree/Zu room, pairing the Nova integrated with the Zu Essence. A match made in heaven, excellent sound, very musical and natural, with great imaging, And a killer value proposition, with the Apple TV as music server, a little over five grand.

As for music, I went around with Melody Gardot's lastest CD My One and Only Thrill and asked for the title track to be played, and had exhibitors literally flippin' out when they heard her sing for the first time. "Oh! Who is that!?!?" was the typical response....they were all writin' down the name of the CD...no Diana Krall here...

dcstep
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Re: RMAF

I have Melody's "Worrisome Heart" and didn't realize that she had a new CD. It's now on order. Thanks Stephen.

I loved the big system in Gamut's huge room and could not stand Kimber's room. (I did buy a couple of IsoMic CDs however and think that Ray Kimber is a great guy). I'm not arguing with Stephen, as several people that I know well and respect commented very positively about The Sony speakers. I just couldn't listen "through" the set up and front end of that system. This just shows how our perceptions of the same thing differ.

Dave

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Re: RMAF

BTW, the following is from the "News" section of Nordost's web site:
"But the star events look set to be Hi-Fi 2009 at Whittlebury hall in England, and the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver, where we will, in conjunction with project partners Vertex AQ, be unveiling and explaining a new approach to audio measurement

RGibran
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Re: RMAF

The resident Nordost Fanboy JVS has reported on this in the show coverage.

He also reported similiar incontrovertible proof from a presenter at a show within the past couple of years but that doesn't seem to have worked out, if anything it would seem to have gotten buried!

At this point this would seem to be some more high end manufacturer biased 'because we say so' hyperbole.

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Re: RMAF

I actually hope the white paper is affirmative - by giving a means to measure whatever it is they will measure, it will open the flood gates for people to get the same results at fractional price points. In a way, you'd think it would nearly kill the ultra high end cable market if we can start measuring.

Prediction: The white paper conclusion will say something to the effect that we will still need the multi-kilo-dollar cables because there is yet more they are unable to measure, so we will continue to require products at their price point.

Sorry for the cynicism.

dcstep
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Re: RMAF

One good sign is that the CD players tested ranged from a Rotel to a dcS, all with similar positive results, just varying magnitudes of improvement.

No promises, but they are discussing developing software and testing proticols so that others could do the same comparisons independently. They're using a defense contractor that's independent from the audio manufacturers and has a serious reputation in defense circles to maintain, so the results seem promising to me.

Of course, Nordost and Vertex realize their perceived conflict of interest. Hence, their desire to use an independent contractor and motivation to make a protocol available to the rest of the world. They see this as validation of what they've been saying all along.

We'll see...

dcstep
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Re: RMAF


Quote:
...

At this point this would seem to be some more high end manufacturer biased 'because we say so' hyperbole.

Well, we saw actual test results from a real, live independent lab, so I think it's more than hyperbole. Whether it'll turn into a white paper and a test protocol that can be validated by other independent examiners remains to be seen. I'm cautiuosly optimistic.

Dave

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Re: RMAF

"No promises, but they are discussing developing software and testing proticols so that others could do the same comparisons independently. They're using a defense contractor that's independent from the audio manufacturers and has a serious reputation in defense circles to maintain, so the results seem promising to me."

They're using a defense contactor? With a serious reputation in military circles to maintain? So, the results seem promising?

Gosh, this could be...really, really big.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: RMAF


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I have Melody's "Worrisome Heart" and didn't realize that she had a new CD. It's now on order. Thanks Stephen.
Dave

Dave, it came out in April, and IMHO, it's killer.

If you liked the first album, oh, man, are you in for a treat...

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Re: RMAF

One of the big surprises I had as a first time RMAF attendee was being introduced to more music that I have never heard, than equipment I have never heard.

A couple of people even asked what I was playing.

Welshsox
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Re: RMAF

Hi

Attended for the first time, as usual my thoughts dont seem to allign with the normal pattern !!

1 - As an event it was very well organised, lots of equipment and seminars. If your really into hifi then i would suggest this a must do event at least once.

2 - The majority of the systems sounded OK at best, their was very little correlation between cost and sound quality.

3 - Majority of the rooms were setup to show the benefits of hifi, very few rooms were musical.

4 - It was amazing how much digital front end equipment was being used, Ipods, laptops etc.

5 - Why dont they play normal music at these shows ? why does it all have to be weird jazz or obsecure female vocals ? why not some normal pop/rock etc ?

Alan

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Re: RMAF

The vast majority of pop/rock/whatever is so badly produced that is easily shown to be very sonically inferior-when played on good audio systems.

The bad jazz is at least well produced.

When we do shows, we do our best to NEVER play such stuff. We bring some well recorded specific tracks and cuts..and then we, us guys in the given room.. suffer the ills of having some of our favorite Jazz/blues tracks ruined in our lives forever as we get to hear the same few tracks for days on end. The given room visitor gets to hear some great Blues/Jazz tracks they may have never heard before..but we ruin our favorites through incessant repetition..such is life.

For some unfathomable reason those given Jazz thingies are incredibly popular. I personally don't go for it, and can't stand the stuff. I like actual music.

However, the common given artist and tracks you may hear so often do allow some aspect of the systems and rooms to remain the same for comparative purposes - across the given systems.

To add, we will (and almost any group in any room will) play the given requested track or CD, but we draw the line at Death Metal. We are trying to bring people into the room, not force them out. As an example, 'Gwar', though amusing, isn't all that good for bringing people into a room with those desired soft 'Pan-like' notes of floating ecstasy. Rammstein can be fun, as it is very well produced - but it still drives most people out of the room. Too bad, as when it comes to literate political and social commentary as parody or...er..worse, they are very good. Here's one. Even my mother thinks Rammstein is cool. And another.

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Re: RMAF

Alan, I totally agree.

As for your #5, you have to bring your own music. I never found and instance where we couldn't hear our own music, when requested. (OK, one guy had a laptop-only front end).

Dave

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Re: RMAF

Hi

Im not suggesting death metal !!

It just would have been nice to also learn about some good music, surely not every track by beatles/queen/led zepplin/pink floyd/ELP and Mahler/any Russian composer/Elgar are badly produced ?

All im saying is that the range of music was kept within such a small area.

I was in a room with Harbeth speakers and one guy did have them play Aerosmith !! thats about the only track of that nature i heard all show.

Alan

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Re: RMAF

Alan,

I love rock and pop and actually played in a funk/rock/soul band for a number of years. I don't think it's an anti-rock bias, but more about hearing acoustic cues that we're all familiar with to some degree. Even the best produced rock includes vast influence by amplifiers, reverb, etc. which makes it really hard to hear what's the system, what's the performer's amp choice and what's the engineer's slider choices.

You really should bring a disc that you really love and, in particular, one that you think challenges systems and is still good music. I suspect a fair number of listers will fall off their chairs when they hear what you bring in.

Dave

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Re: RMAF

But, if not for show demos, how will new audiophiles ever learn about the required canon of Patricia Barber, Jennifer Warnes, Eva cassidy, Amanda McBroom, et al?

If not for these crucial show demos, some poor unfortunate neophyte may mistake Madeleine Peyroux for Billie Holiday - imagine how embarrassing THAT would be!

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Re: RMAF

There was a room I was in on the lobby level that was playing Riders on the Storm, but I left when they put on Led Zeppelin. I heard Riders on the Storm from that room four more times over the next two hours as I walked by, or from the next room. I like rock music, but generally not for evaluating Hifi equipment.

On the other hand, I heard Patricia Barber for the first time ever, in the Gamut room.

As a resut of some of the stuff I heard over the weekend, I've been downloading new music from HDTracks all morning.

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Re: RMAF

I missed any doors or zeppelin !!

I did hear Gates of Kiev in one of the big rooms on the ground floor, it was the one with big old fashioned looking horn speakers. It sounded awful, no dynamics at all and not a great sound.

The one overriding positive I took from the show was that the cost of hifi means absolutely nothing in terms of its sound ability. There were several great sounding systems that fell within the $10-$15k range for the entire system, maybe its just that smaller systems sound good in smaller rooms but some of brands that i was expected to be blown away by were not that impressive.

I really enjoyed the AVA/Salk room, the Odyssey room, the Bartam Audio room, I was very impressed with the Affirm Audio single driver speakers.

I was not impressed at all the Ayre room, the PS Audio room and several others. By far the worst sounding product for the price that i heard were the YG speakers, i would not have given you $1000 for them let alone $100,000. The room with the ARC electronics and $45k Vandersteens was very flat and unmusical, im sure people might like its detail but it did nothing at all for the music.

The clear winner for musical sound at a reasonable price was the Odyssey room, it blew away just about everything at the show regardless of cost.

Alan

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Re: RMAF


Quote:
I missed any doors or zeppelin !!


I really enjoyed the YG speakers when I had them play Private Investigations by Dire Straights, and a Kenney Lattimore tune through them. The big Dynaudio's made an impression as well with some of my sample music. But even if I had some money, either of these would look ridiculous in my small house.

I also was intrigued by the Affirm Audio (Luminations I think)speakers. Shocked really.

I thought there were hits and misses all around, but wouldn't expect much agreement from others with my preferences. I do think many of my opinions were greatly influenced by the music playing at any one time.

I was totally exhausted by the end of the three days, but still can't get over how much fun I had.

dcstep
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Re: RMAF


Quote:
I missed any doors or zeppelin !!

I did hear Gates of Kiev in one of the big rooms on the ground floor, it was the one with big old fashioned looking horn speakers. It sounded awful, no dynamics at all and not a great sound.

The one overriding positive I took from the show was that the cost of hifi means absolutely nothing in terms of its sound ability. There were several great sounding systems that fell within the $10-$15k range for the entire system, maybe its just that smaller systems sound good in smaller rooms but some of brands that i was expected to be blown away by were not that impressive.

I really enjoyed the AVA/Salk room, the Odyssey room, the Bartam Audio room, I was very impressed with the Affirm Audio single driver speakers.

I was not impressed at all the Ayre room, the PS Audio room and several others. By far the worst sounding product for the price that i heard were the YG speakers, i would not have given you $1000 for them let alone $100,000. The room with the ARC electronics and $45k Vandersteens was very flat and unmusical, im sure people might like its detail but it did nothing at all for the music.

The clear winner for musical sound at a reasonable price was the Odyssey room, it blew away just about everything at the show regardless of cost.

Alan

I left that horn room after 20-seconds.

Don't you know that the YG speakers are "The best in the world"? (I agree with you 100% and, on the ground floor, they were driven by a $128,000 stereo amp and a $30,000 CD player that used a $20 Phillips transport). It's sad and pathetic how bad some of those "uber" systems can be.

Dave

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Re: RMAF


Quote:
I also was intrigued by the Affirm Audio (Luminations I think)speakers. Shocked really.

Did they sound 'starting at $24,500' good?

I love single driver speakers, but sometimes the pricing, despite KBK's lamentations, gives me great credulity.

Heck, if the speakers used the D9eIII driver, just the drivers sell for 69,000 bucks!

I was struck by the blog coverage and we have passed through the price looking glass, people.

(Disclaimer: All products are worth the price and should be considered values at any sales price, etc...)

Was anybody using the PHY line of drivers?

They seem like stone cold bargians at only 2K per pair of drivers!

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Re: RMAF


Quote:

Quote:
I also was intrigued by the Affirm Audio (Luminations I think)speakers. Shocked really.

Did they sound 'starting at $24,500' good?


Most of the various component prices went right over my head, about as far as they went over my budget. I am not in the market for the majority of products I heard, so personally I don't seriously think about the cost.

I spent my time there looking at what kind of sound is possible from different designs and constructions. And primarily to see what the state of Hifi is like today.

I didn't think the Affirm speakers were among the best, but I was surprised at what they where able to get out of that single driver design.

Welshsox
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Re: RMAF

Dave

We are going to incur the wrath of the hifi elite.

Basing judgement on how something sounds and not its price is just not American !!!!

The fact that we independently dimissed $300,000 worth of gear is not right, i suggest that we both need to be locked into a room with a $20 CD ROM ( in a $30,000 box ), a $200 pre amp PCB ( in a $50,000 box with solid gold wire ) a $500 power amp ( in $100,000 LARS plastic box ) until we understand that hifi should not be judged by sound, how the hell are these companies supposed to make money if they actually have to justify the price on sound quality !!!!

Oh wait, they could look at the AVA/Salk or Odyssey and see fantastic sounding systems for $5,000 total !!! cant have that though, no money to provide free long term loans to reviewers so they can compare one peice of overpriced crap to another !!

Alan

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Re: RMAF

Buddha

The ones i was looking at were $10,000, they did sound good though. Im not sure how much the drivers cost but the construction was IKEAish at best, it looked like some poor quality MDF. No way would I pay teh money for something that was just a few planks of MDF.

Im sure there is a magical design technique or special capacitors that justify the money but it looked like a $2K speaker

Alan

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Re: RMAF

On the plus side, since they changed their name, the price has come down 18 LARGE!!!

Review Link

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Re: RMAF


Quote:

We are going to incur the wrath of the hifi elite.

Basing judgement on how something sounds and not its price is just not American !!!!

We're not alone, BUT I did keep my head down low and my mouth shut through most of the show.

Dave

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Re: RMAF

Wonder if anyone has given serious consideration to doing static displays at the shows. Would it not be better to be silent and thought the fool rather than speak and remove all doubt?

Buddha
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Re: RMAF


Quote:
Wonder if anyone has given serious consideration to doing static displays at the shows. Would it not be better to be silent and thought the fool rather than speak and remove all doubt?

Post of the day!

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Re: RMAF


Quote:
Hopefully the Stereophile team spotted this and will put some good stuff in the mag and blog.

The problem with difference testing has been that linear differences (amplitude and phase response) tend to swamp the more subtle differences you are trying to investigate. You therefore end up "chasing ghosts." However, there was enough experimental detail described in the Nordost/Vertex presentation that I will, when I have a spare weekend, try to replicate their findings using the "ting" test tone they mentioned as a starting point.

Apparently, the Nordost/Vertex results are repeatable, so there might well be something there.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

dcstep
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Re: RMAF

I wish you success JA.

JasonVSerinus
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Re: RMAF

It seems you and I weren't in the same rooms at the same time. I was playing Mahler and Schubert and a whole lot more.

jason

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Re: RMAF


Quote:
Wonder if anyone has given serious consideration to doing static displays at the shows. Would it not be better to be silent and thought the fool rather than speak and remove all doubt?

There is something to be said for that.

My experience is that the shows are lots of fun.... as long as you don't have a room that you are attached to for the entire event. Setting up and exhibiting take a lot of effort also and it is worth spending money to get one of the big rooms, because the little narrow hotels rooms suck.

I missed this year but hoping to come next year. I would consider a passive display simply because an active one is so much work and if you are not making music, you can live with one of the little rooms. That way I could be thought the fool, without confirming it.

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