Vapor Audio & BMC at the Hyatt

As had happened at the 2008 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, there were so many exhibitors wanting to show their wares at the 2013 show that there was some overflow housed at the nearby Hyatt Regency Tech Center. I'll be writing about the Scaena and Wilson exhibits at the Hyatt in stories to be posted later, but the first room I went into featured speakers from a company of which I had been unaware, Missouri-based Vapor Audio ( The floor-standing Joule Black speakers ($12,995/pair) were being demmed with a BMC preamplifier and monoblock amplification, but beyond that I have nothing to write as no-one in this room seemed interested either in playing me music or giving me any information.

AT the other end of the large room were the smaller Vapor Nimbus speakers ($8695/pair), driven by Arte Forma tube amplification from Taiwan with a front end featuring the excellent Empirical Audio digital components, including the Overdrive SE DAC ($5999) and the Off-Ramp 5 HDMI USB converter (from $12999 depending on options). But this system was quiet.

otaku's picture

It is strange that they would spend the money to attend the show and then not dem the equipment. It is even stranger that they did not recognize you.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

We at Stereophile do not customarily blare trumpets, flash our name cards, or otherwise make a big deal of our presence. I wasn't there, but it's quite possible that the folks in the room had no idea that John had entered. Nor was John about to remind them that they're to put on a show. [See]. Frankly, in the fiasco I described here - - I doubt the man in charge had any idea that I was blogging for Stereophile. At show's end, I encountered several exhibitors who stated no one had visited their rooms, because Stephen's entries are so unobtrusive.

Having said that, it's true that lots of people recognize us and single us out by name when we enter. Most embarrassing is when they shoo attendees out of the sweet spot so we can sit there, and then lock the door behind us to prevent anyone else from entering.

Whether or not I am recognized or identified, I do sometimes ask if the door can be closed so that I don't have to struggle to hear musical nuances over the insistent beat and blare from the room across the hall, but I never want to keep people out. Similarly, when I take photos, I do my best to stand on the side so that no one else's listening is disrupted. Can I tell you how many times I've been setting up for a photo when some blogger or reporter for another publication strides in with a camera whose lens length is reminiscent of an elephant in heat, walks right in front of me, and snaps away directly in front of a loudspeaker while I and everyone else in the room waits in frustrated silence for his departure?

otaku's picture

I can understand them not recogizing you, but John has been at the helm of Stereophile for a quarter-century, I find it really surprising they would not recognize him.

kana813's picture

Wow, big missed opportunity.

They should have used proven American made electronics for their demo and an analog source for folks like MF.

Poor planning and management.

HawksFan's picture

Unaware?  You did give them Best of Show at Newport Beach didn't you John?  

I was really hoping to hear you comments on their new Nimbus White.  

John Atkinson's picture

Hawksfan wrote:
Unaware?  You did give them Best of Show at Newport Beach didn't you John?

Yes, I did write abut Vapor Audio in my Newport Beach report. See My apologies to Vapor Audio, Empirical Audio, and BMC, and to readers for my brainfade in Denver. However, I didn't actually award Vapor Audio "Best Sound" at Newport Beach, instead listing them as one of several rooms I had especially enjoyed.

Regarding the lack of music or attention in this room, Vapor's Ryan Scott has emailed me to let me know that both Empirical's Steve Nugent and he had stepped out of the room momentarily at the time I had visited. That was unfortunate, as under the time pressure we are under at a show, it is not really possible for a writer to return to a room, especially when it is in a remote location, as this one was.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

killjoy's picture

John A: sorry to hear Vapor was unable to "play [you] music". They are, of course, at the show to be heard, and missed an opportunity for that. I'm not clear on whether there was music playing at all or if there was specific music you wanted to hear? Did you at least ask someone who appeared to be in charge for information or to "play music"?

My experience at shows is that some vendors may not be the best show marketers but have equipment worth some patience to hear. If I really want to know or hear something from a vendor I ask. Now if there was no one to ask or even "in charge", that is not a good sign.

Jason S:I'm not sure what your point is. You say you and John are "unobtrusive". Do you not expect to be treated differently if you are, perhaps, "recognized"? Most show vendors are there to help sell their product. If the vendor believes you can help to do that (or buy something yourself) it in their interest to treat you differently. Vendors have only so much time and energy and have to concentrate on what will advance their objectives. If you are "recognized" as someone who might advance their objectives, why be "embarrassed"? Just ask to be treated like the lesser mortals.smiley

Don Quixote's picture

It is odd... since... many other reviewers at the show... found the Nimbus... to have the best sound of the show, shared with 3 or 4 other set ups, which also go unmentioned by Stereophile.  

[flame deleted by John Atkinson]

Virgolate's picture


Will there be any future reviews based on these two different speakers? Has anyone heard them against more expensive speakers, such as Magico, Yg, Wilson Watt Sasha or other brands? If anyone has, pls share some info/impressions