RMAF 2014: Reichert Sound Check

Friday, October 10, 11:30am: the line to enter the 11th Rocky Mountain Audio Fest stretched into the Marriott Denver Tech Center's parking lot (Photo: John Atkinson).

Thursday, October 9, 6:00pm: New York to Denver —from mountains of iron and cement to "Mountains of Sound" . . . For the last hour on the plane all I could see were the low-lying grassy and then the much higher arid plains of Iowa, Kansas and Colorado. When I squinted I could see legions of 18-wheel smoke signals threading their way towards one coast or another. When I looked up I could see the Big Dome Sky. Denver is a kind of high point center to the North American continent. It is where the Rocky Mountains begin. Just beyond, ground water starts draining west instead of east.

My first-ever experience of the annual Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest takes place in the Atrium Rooms of the Marriott Denver Tech Center and I am grinning and looking right left up and down—the Atrium is the indoor version of the Big Dome—and everywhere I go all I meet are tired (the show hasn't even started yet) but very happy people—and, guess what? I think I am the biggest grinning happiest person of them all.

On Thursday night everyone is either press or an exhibitor and despite all that it takes to arrive here from vast distances—all everyone talks about is how much they love Denver and the RMAF. The good vibe begins the moment you walk in and put on your name tag.

Friday, October 10, 9:00am: Jet-lagged and sleep deprived—I can't believe it. Smiles, jokes, and hugs. Everybody is setting up gear, moving boxes, and getting ready but not all frantic, serious and edgy like back in NYC. This is more peaceful easy-going.

Lobby: I had to stop and admire and dream a moment at the Tyler Acoustics "Dream Console." This substantial, one-piece, wood monolith comes in a choice of over 100 veneer finishes and is equipped with a VPI Traveler turntable, Grado Platinum wood cartridge, a Rogue Audio Amp and, (among many other things), a TEAC CD player and a Musical Fidelity Blue Tooth Receiver. (Starting at $29,000.)

Room 446: MG Audio Design is a relatively new audio cable manufacturer and we all know (or think we know) that the world absolutely does not need another cable manufacturer. Right? Wrong! There is always plenty of room in high end audio for a couple of super nice local (Thorton, CO) guys like Lee Matuszczak and Greg Graff to make excellent sound with what appear to be very well-crafted cables in the $350–$1600/m price range. The amps and speakers were also crated by Greg and Lee but they are not for sale—yet!

Room 541: Okay, I've been waiting for this my whole life and now it's here. That's what these shows are so good for—the "Oh my god—look!" factor. Just above I am praising some new cables but in truth, I hate cables. I don't care what or how they are made cables are ugly and they suck! I can't tell how many beautiful expensive systems I have seen ruined by ugly twisted convoluted cables. I had been gone from audio for ten years and when I returned I am like, what? You guys got Blue Tooth, Wi Fi, Streaming, high-rez, and DSD . . . and you are still using cables? Don't you guys read Cyber Punk? Open your eyes! The time to end cables is now and the venerable Swiss Company Goldmund is working very hard, and having great success doing just that! Their new Prologos Plus ($69,000) are active, triamped, triDACed (!), fully constructed in metal, and equipped with a wireless receiver so thy can be run directly from a computer by using the Goldmund dongle or the Mimesis 11 wireless hub/preamplifier. The sound was impressive, but I was still feeling bad about those fat garden-hose line cords powering each box. Where is Nikola Tesla when we need him?

jimtavegia's picture

Taking an analog signal and processing it twice so I can hear it again, less wire? Not this week. I do like my wireless garage door opener as the previously wired one caused too many problems on the interstate.

Oh, wait, that is what pcm does. Never mind.

Enjoy the show.

Spla'nin's picture

Hey, how about some update info on the JOB monos for us wired & analog people?

Allen Fant's picture

Do not forget those CD/SACD spinners for us digital people!

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Hi Allen,

I don't think anyone will forget. I, for one, regret the absence of CD players from many rooms, due to the restricted nature of many playlists. But please don't forget that the best a blogger can do is offer a snapshot in time. I know that some people make their room visits into mini-reviews, describing the sound of each individual piece of equipment as if they can speak with authority. But ultimately, unless someone is familiar with the sound of each particular component before they have entered the room, can pinpoint the sound of anything new, can make absolutely authoritative judgments based on listening to a few tracks (the selection of which they may not be able to control), and can extrapolate the sound from a hotel room set-up that most likely has not fully settled in to the sound of their own tweaked out listening room - in other words, if they are God - minutely detailed "reviews" at shows contain more than their fair share of fiction.

IMHO, the best we show bloggers / reporters can do is point you in a certain direction, and encourage you to launch your own investigation. That's the conclusion I've reached after years of blogging multiple shows per year.