The Rocky Mountain International HiFi Press Awards

The big story here at this year's RMAF has not been a particular superior room, or a manufacturer's particular success in bringing great music audio hardware or software into the world, but rather the inaugural Rocky Mountain International HiFi Press Awards 2015, which were presented during the evening of October 2nd, 2015 at the Marriott Hotel here in Denver.

RMAF organizer Marjorie Baumert and Roy Gregory of Audio Beat presented awards designated in 20 categories, selected and voted upon by "anonymous ballot of the world's leading HiFi press publications." The presentation of the awards was quite efficient compared to other awards shows, in the presence of a festive group of members of the greater audio community who were here in Denver for RMAF. Designers, manufacturers, audio press, recording company people, even a stray musician or two, were among the group that gathered on the top floor of the Marriott to participate.

The winners of the pioneer "Class of 2015" in the twenty designated awards categories were announced, and nicely framed awards were handed out to those who were present to collect them. (Those categories and winners are listed below.) Roy Gregory acknowledged that there may have been some discussion about process and results, but that it was a good thing to get this annual awards event underway.

I personally felt a sense of fellowship among those present, from peers honoring other peers in a varied basket of categories. As I witnessed the announcement of the individual awards, I felt a sense of camaraderie in the room, and I hope that with whatever modifications to the awards process might occur going forward, that this newly created annual tradition will evolve and continue as a direct outgrowth of the activities of the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival. I am personally pleased to see that several manufacturers and pieces of gear that I have been covering this very weekend here at RMAF are winners. Hey, do I know how to pick 'em?

And the RIHPA2015 winners are:

CD Player: Aesthetix Romulus Signature

D/A Converter: PS Audio DirectStream

Music Servers and Computer Based Audio: AURALiC Aries

Mobile Player: PonoMusic PonoPlayer

Turntable: VPI Industries Classic Signature

Pickup Cartridge: Lyra Etna

Tonearm: VPI Industries JMW-3D

Phono stage: Rogers High Fidelity PA-1A

Integrated Amplifier: Devialet Expert 200

Preamplifier: Audio Research Reference 10

Stereo Power Amplifier: PS Audio BHK Signature 250

Mono Power Amplifier: Ayre Acoustics MX-R Twenty

Bookshelf Loudspeaker: KEF LS50

Floorstanding Loudspeaker: KEF Blade Two

Headphones: HiFiMan HE1000

Headphone Amplification: MOON by Simaudio Neo 430HA

Power Cable: AudioQuest NRG WEL Signature

Signal Cable Analogue: Nordost Valhalla 2

Signal Cable Digital: Atlas Mavros Ultra S/PDIF

Power Conditioner: IsoTek EVO3 Aquarius

Racks, Platforms & Supports: Harmonic Resolution Systems RXR Audio Stand

Best Audiophile Recording (Digital): Chesky Records, David Chesky & Jazz in the New Harmonic: Primal Scream

Best Audiophile Recording (Analogue): Analogue Productions, Roger Waters: Amused to Death

Innovation: Master Quality Authenticated MQA

Value for Money: AudioQuest JitterBug

Life Time Achievement: Dieter Burmester of Burmester Audiosysteme GmbH

tonykaz's picture

Are they all drinking Cherry Nyquil?

Well, Pono getting an Award helps explain the yawning.

Some of these folks hafta be thinking of getting into LED lighting or some other field, maybe even Cement Construction Equipment or Auto Emissions. Or, reading Jason Stoddard's Book on creating a success in Audio using Internet Marketing principals.

Geez, this is a far cry from the Excitement of Winter CES 1985.

These are the "Still suffering Audiophiles"

A Press Award for a Record Player, is that based on Advertising Dollars?

Audio is a Middle-Class Hobby with the Middle-Class going broke. The top 1% have Bose systems at they're Country Clubs.

Tony in Michigan

dalethorn's picture

Love it - I never would have guessed there would be such a diversity of product and prices, yet erudite focus on relevance.

Bill Leebens's picture

I'm fully capable of being a snarky SOB, but I do my best to avoid making vaporware comments that have no connection to reality and belittle people who are doing their best to not just do well, but do GOOD.

So-- tonykaz, you weren't there. I was. The atmosphere was upbeat, many of the companies (including mine) have enjoyed several strong years in a row. There is optimism and strong attempts are being made to broaden both the market and mission of quality music-reproduction.

"Is that based on Advertising Dollars"? What on earth does that mean? Every turntable company I know of--and I know most of them very well--is having trouble keeping up with demand, record-pressing plants are booked a year in advance, and the upsurge in vinyl has caused an across-the-board uptick in component areas like phono preamps. And very few companies have what you would call major ad budgets, and receive lots of coverage in spite of that.

That's the kind of meaningless smear I would expect to see on the Asylum.

So: if you're so goddamn negative about audio--what on earth are you doing HERE? Just trying to spread a little sunshine?


tonykaz's picture

Helloooo, this is the 21st Century internet. You can expect any and all Critique here.

Nice rebuttal though.

But, you're swimming in the Moat, it's filled with sharks and other manner of discourteous critical analysis types.

Of course you can have you're own little self congratulatory Awards but when you display them to the Vast Public you should expect to receive the legitimate opinions of that Public ( if given the opportunity as the Internet efficiently does ).

Audio Companys are left to serve the top 1%, I get that! But Audio has always been a Middle Class hobby, our hobby.

It just seems like Hubris, rubbing our noses in stuff "normal" working folk will never be able to "consider" owning.

Some of the Audio Press has morphed into the Robb Report.

Tony in Michigan

ps. if I'm negative about (your) Audio why I should get out?,

why would you say something exclusionary like that?

Audio belongs to everyone!

Michael Fremer's picture

Why does a doofus like that post anything here? Not that I was particularly happy to not even know about these awards until after the fact....'s picture

Dear Bill,
You are the guy who is always there for friends be it dealers, Store owners or friends. These are good things that happen to our industry. Some great products were in the running..I applaud any or all positive actions to further our industry..Some we agree upon and some we would have liked to be different in the results. Nevertheless it's all good. Let's salute on a cold beer soon. Oh the naysayers...Let it go ! Remember lot's of people Love ya...LOL

pavru's picture

Is the evaluations based on looks and commercial success or
based on sound quality?!'s picture

This is awesome ! Some great products were represented. Some awesome products were in the running..
Let's salute the winners.

Bill Leebens's picture


Glotz's picture

Discourteous indeed.

This guy is the reason the internet sucks.

Tony has been nothing but a complete drag on this site day in and day out.

His childish rants always lack any substance, and his 'grammar' make reading anything he spouts seem like a Tea Party rant. Not much of an opinion at all.

Tony, you really should leave. Please never come back.

G.R.Noakes's picture

Tony is active here but more active on Head-Fi; he makes me long for the olden days when you could assign some members of a discussion group to a "Twit File."

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

For additional commentary and discussion of these awards, please see

GuillaumeLN's picture

There must be quite a lot of very old ears in the press, because many of those products are very bland, if not plain dull.