RMAF 2019

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 07, 2019  |  7 comments
Do VAC tube components possess chameleon-like powers? That's the question I've begun to ask: Each time I encounter their components in different settings, I hear radically different sound. Here, from a system including Nola's towering new Concert Grand Reference Gold 2 loudspeakers ($250,000/pair), an Audio Research REF CD8 CD player, Nordost Odin 2 cabling, and VAC's Statement 450S IQ amplifier ($63,000), Master line stage ($28,000), and VAC DAC MK II ($12,000), the sound was midrange preponderant—not at all what I expected to hear from either VAC electronics or a 275lb open-baffle line-source array design with a claimed frequency range of 18Hz–100kHz, 91dB sensitivity, and 8 ohm impedance. I think the room was simply too shallow in depth, with seats too close, for these speakers to strut their stuff.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 10, 2019  |  1 comments
Paradigm’s Canadian-designed-and-engineered Persona 7F loudspeakers, which have beryllium diaphragms, anchored a system that received additional grounding from the Paradigm Persona SUB ($6500). The sub’s six 8" woofers are powered by a 1700W “Ultra Class D” amplifier that, aided by DSP and other stuff, descends to a formidable 12Hz.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 07, 2019  |  1 comments
For a room too small for Tekton's massive, multi-driver Moab loudspeakers ($4500/pair), Parasound and Tekton were getting surprisingly good sound. The small system lineup was headed by the new Parasound Classic 200 Integrated ($1195), which includes an all-analog signal path, analog bass management with high and low pass outputs, a DAC whose circuitry is, in the company's words, "pulled directly out of the award-wining Halo P-5," and far more goodies than you might expect at this price point.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 09, 2019  |  15 comments
The story in the PS Audio room was the company's new loudspeaker, the AN3, various prototypes of which have been demoed at audio shows throughout 2019. The RMAF demo pair was described by the company as the final prototype. The design—strongly influenced by the late Arnie Nudell, the "AN" in AN3—includes servo-corrected powered woofers, a folded ribbon tweeter, a rectangular planar midrange, and an 8" cone "mid-bass coupler."
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 10, 2019  |  0 comments
In the Gaylord Hotel’s North Tower, where room after room, regardless of its size or layout, seemed conducive to good sound, Raidho Acoustics was making a major impression with the world premiere Raidho TD2.2 2.5-way loudspeakers ($46,000/pair in black).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 06, 2019  |  21 comments
Where am I? I thought I was heading to Denver to cover the 16th edition of the three-day Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, but it looks as though I boarded the wrong plane and ended up in Las Vegas.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 10, 2019  |  32 comments
After talking with a number of exhibitors and attendees, I’d have to call the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest’s daring move to a new and very different venue—a controversial if also inevitable move—a success. Everyone I spoke to was happy with attendance, and the sound in the hotel rooms was generally excellent.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 09, 2019  |  1 comments
The Hellena MK II uses a 604-8E alnico coaxial driver, made by Great Plains Audio, that owes its design to the original Altec 604-E. Its woofer, Great Plains Audio’s handmade Model 515-C low-frequency loudspeaker, incorporates a massive alnico V magnetic assembly. There's also an alnico horn supertweeter.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 10, 2019  |  11 comments
Another speaker debut and another winner. Introducing the Vandersteen Kēnto Carbon ($37,500/pair), which, together with Vandersteen M5-HPA amplifiers ($15,800/pair), VTL electronics, and more sounded open and alive on top on a Mercury Living LP of Dorati’s rendition of Stravinsky’s The Firebird.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 10, 2019  |  14 comments
Ray Kimber of Kimber Kable was in “You gotta” mode. After he told me that WBT, the 34-year-old German company that supplies connectors and cable terminations to hundreds of manufacturers worldwide, had a new, environmentally friendly facing process that made for better sound, I arranged to meet with WBT founder and CEO Wolfgang Thoerner on Sunday morning to discuss their new "WBT-PlasmaProtect" PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) plasma process.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 06, 2019  |  30 comments
It’s no surprise that the Wilson Audio rooms were buzzing. Both Sheryl Lee Wilson and her late husband Dave’s successor, son Daryl, were on hand to unveil, in passive display, the new Chronosonic XVX loudspeaker ($329,000/pair, seen to Daryl’s right).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 09, 2019  |  4 comments
That the first big room I visited sounded as good as it did, which was far from the best I’ve heard those components sound, was due to the expertise of setup wizard Stirling Trayle. A lot of room treatment was brought in at first, but after Trayle did his thing, most of it was stashed in a hallway. The system, from Nordost, VTL, and YG Acoustics, was headlined by VTL’s Siegfried Series II monoblocks ($75,000/pair), TP-6.5 Series II phonostage ($12,500), and TL-7.5 Series III linestage preamplifier ($30,000); a special edition of YG Acoustics Sonja 2.3 loudspeakers wired with Nordost ($112,800/pair); and enough Nordost Odin 2 cabling and power products to keep several silver and copper mines operating for weeks.

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