RMAF 2009

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John Atkinson  |  Oct 06, 2009  |  3 comments
When I last met Charles Holt in 1991, he was a teenager. But I had no problem recognizing him at RMAF—he looks just like his Dad. And, as you can see in Jason Serinus' photograph, in which Charles is flanked by his girlfriend Melissa and me, Charles is wearing the infamous "finger button," which was Gordon's favorite image of himself.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 06, 2009  |  5 comments
Visiting the Soundsmith room is always a pleasure. Peter Ledermann's phono cartridges, preamps, and diminutive, how-can-such-a-little-box-produce-that-much-sound speakers always deliver superb sound.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 06, 2009  |  0 comments
Restocking the magazines on the Stereophile booth, I saw a familiar face on the booth next door. Audio industry veteran Jim Smith was selling (and autographing) copies of his book Get Better Sound, which is, as the name suggests, about how to get better sound from your system.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 06, 2009  |  3 comments
"This wasn't our choice of music," whispered German Physiks' Robert Kelly when I entered the room they were sharing with Danish electronics manufacturer Vitus Audio. "No problem," I whispered back, " I love Howard Shore's symphonic score to the movie trilogy Lord of the Rings," which a visitor had asked to be played.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 06, 2009  |  9 comments
John Atkinson was one busy camper at RMAF. In addition to blogging the show and moderating Saturday afternoon's information-packed, standing room only Computer Audio Panel, John presented four hour-long seminars entitled PC Audio—Squeezing the Music Till the Bits Squeak, playing all his music examples from his MacBook laptop via a Metric Halo FireWire interface. The setting was Evergreen E, the large, excellent-sounding exhibit (Sony and JBL speakers, Mark Levinson amplification, EMM Labs preamp and digital source components, Kimber kables) assembled by Ray Kimber of Kimber Kable.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 06, 2009  |  13 comments
When I walked into the room of Chicago-based Acoustic Technology LLC, I thought I was listening to speakers that only had tweeters, because the only visible drive-unity was a single 3" unit. Yet the sound, a recording of Rimsky-Korsakov's Schererazade, was definitely full-range,and the soundstaging, as you might expect from such a small radiating diameter and a narrow cabinet baffle, was well-delineated.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 06, 2009  |  1 comments
Bob O'Neill sold advertising for Stereophile in the early 1980s and also contributed record reviews to the magazine. He became a firm friend of J. Gordon Holt's and gave a moving eulogy honoring Gordon's memory at RMAF.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 06, 2009  |  0 comments
Where, you may ask, are the speakers? All you see are light fixtures.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 06, 2009  |  0 comments
Bea Lam's Martini party in honor of J. Gordon Holt—that's Bea at the right of the photo— concluded with a solo violin recital to remind partygoers what high-end audio is all about.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 06, 2009  |  5 comments
At least two people I know came up to me in the hallways of the Marriott to urge me to check out Intuitive Audio's new Gamma Summit speakers ($10,000/pair). As soon as I walked into the room, the fabulous bass on Patricia Barber's rendition of "Keep on Using Me Until You Use Me Up"—I'm guessing at the title—told me why. The system's riveting presentation also featured the kind of musical highlights for days that audiophiles love. Next I heard the same Mahler Symphony 2 recording I've been playing a lot at RMAF 2009. The speakers did an extremely fine job of controlling and highlighting the bass line, and also sounded very vibrant on top. Congratulations to designer Dale Pitcher for a job well done.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 04, 2009  |  72 comments
Cable manufacturers Nordost and Vertex AQ had good reason to present their joint seminar, "New Approach to Audio Measurement: Why Cables Really Matter," no less than five times during the show. As Art Dudley will report at length in his December "Listening" column, their groundbreaking new approach to measurement, developed by Nordost and Vertex AQ in collaboration with military electronic-engineering consultant Gareth Humphrey Jones, has produced an entirely new method for measuring the audible effects of components on sound. We're talking not only cables, support platforms, and the like, all of which can now be unequivocally shown to affect a system's sound quality, but also CD players, amplifiers, and speakers.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 04, 2009  |  2 comments
Todd Garfinkle of M•A Recordings (right) has built an enviable reputation as one of the finest producers of quality audiophile recordings on the market. The repertoire is remarkably diverse. From performances of Bach organ music and the Chinese GuZheng to such one-of-a-kind gems as Buenos Aires Madrigal and the fabulous Será Una Noch albums, M•A Recordings are as notable for their diversity of instrumentation and repertoire as their full range sound.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 04, 2009  |  0 comments
For those of us with DACs that lack USB and/or FireWire inputs, getting uncompromised, full-range sound out of our computers is a bit of a challenge. There are a number of interfaces on the market, but most are slaved to the computer's inferior clock. I've tried one of these, and it conveys neither the bass nor the clarity of my transport.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 04, 2009  |  1 comments
It's hard enough to take a good photo when your subject is rapt in conversation. But when your subject is Michael Fremer, and his subject is Turntable Set-Up, the challenge is immense. Standing before a packed house of analog devotees, Michael was so animated, and so filled with information, that even my camera had a tough time staying still.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 04, 2009  |  4 comments
I was glad that Darren and Bonnie Censullo's Avatar Acoustics demmed four new products at RMAF, because they created a synergistic match that produced beautiful sound.