RMAF 2012

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 14, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 15, 2012  |  8 comments
Dali’s Thomas Knudsen may look a bit shy, but he was quite proud of the show debut of Dali’s Epicon 8 loudspeakers ($20,000/pair). Hidden from view were Naim’s NAC 172 streaming preamp ($2895), CD5i-2 ($1795), NAP 250-2 ($5995), and the UnitiServe SSD ($3995) network server with bit-perfect CD ripping capability.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 14, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 15, 2012  |  0 comments
The natty Barnaby Fry, Philip O’Hanlon’s rival in the bow tie department, was getting good sound from a handmade-in-the-UK system, consisting of Rega’s RP6 Limited Edition Union Jack Version turntable, shown complete with cartridge and electronic speed control ($2095), Apollo-R CD player ($1095), DAC ($995), and Brio-R integrated amp ($895). Chord cabling held the system together (and a whole lot more), and fed signal from the electronics to MC’s twenty.21 ($2600–$2800/pair, depending upon finish), a stand mount monitor from the same Professional Monitoring Company that is said to help standardize the BBC’s studio sound.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 14, 2012  |  2 comments
The November issue of Stereophile was new at RMAF and free to Showgoers. We were kept busy all weekend replenishing the stock on our booth, which were literally walking away. But no prizes for spotting the enigmatic suggestion in Eric Swanson's cover photo of the VPI Traveler turntable.
Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 13, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 14, 2012  |  2 comments
“These blood-red eyes don’t see so good / But what’s worse is, if they could / Would I change my ways?”

So sings Dan Auerbach on “These Days,” the closing track from the Black Keys’ excellent 2010 album, Brothers. As Auerbach sings, achingly, slide guitar weeps, bells chime, bass guitar thumps along woefully, cymbals splash, and floor toms rumble. It’s a beautiful few moments of R&B-inspired pop music, flooded with heartache.

Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 13, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 14, 2012  |  1 comments
Living Sounds Audio was showing their LSA1 Statement Monitor ($2800/pair). Unlike the standard LSA1, which partners its 6.25” treated paper mid/woofer with a 1” silk-dome tweeter, the Statement uses a folded-ribbon tweeter manufactured by Aurum Cantus. In addition, the Statement has a revised crossover and features upgraded capacitors, resistors, and internal wiring.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 14, 2012  |  1 comments
I emerged from the elevator, to be greeted by the sound of a late Beethoven piano sonata being played with power and precision by a slightly built young lady. The artist, 22 year-old Fan-Ya Lin, was the winner of the 2010 Music Teachers National Association Steinway Young Artists National Piano Competition, and other awards. She studied at Weber State University where she was spotted by Kimber Kable prez Ray Kimber. Ray, who has always sponsored live music performances at RMAF, arranged for Ms. Lin to give recitals during the days at the show, with a big concert Saturday night. Fan-Ya Lin has a new SACD out on Ray Kimber's Isomike label: Emerging, featuring performances of Beethoven's "Appassionata" sonata, Bach's Toccata in c, and works by Chopin and Lowell Liebermann.

My thanks to Ms. Lin and Ray for reminding me how much further audio reproduction has to go before it could be mistaken for the real thing.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 14, 2012  |  2 comments
Across the hallway from the Xeo dem, on the fourth floor of the Marriott Atrium, Dynaudio and T+A featured two systems. The one I heard delivered solid, satisfying sound from Dynaudio’s Focus 260 floorstanders ($4900/pair) driven by T+A’s Power Plant balanced Vollverstärker integrated amplifier ($3100) and Music Player balanced multi-source CD player/DAC/streaming client ($4400). The latter can be controlled with T+A’s recently released Control App.
Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 13, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 14, 2012  |  3 comments
Fried Audio (“Speakers of Truth”), out of Pontiac, Michigan, is on the scene with the Bud Fried Tower ($2995/pair), a handsome two-way, transmission line design. Manufactured in the US, the speaker is available in 10 finishes and uses a Hiquphon ferrofluid OW2 dome tweeter and two 7” Peerless Exclusive woofers. It has a rated sensitivity of 88dB, a nominal impedance of 4 ohms, and a claimed frequency response of 35Hz–20kHz, +/-3dB.
Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 14, 2012  |  4 comments
KT Audio Imports put together a cost-no-object system, comprising: Eventus Audio Nebula loudspeakers ($65,000/pair), a large three-way design with a specified sensitivity of 91dB; Triangle Art (“Design for Perfection) Reference turntable ($16,500); NAT Audio Magma single-ended monoblock power amplifiers ($44,990/pair), rated to deliver 160W into 4 or 8 ohms; NAT Signature Phono phono preamp ($7800); and NAT Symmetrical balanced line stage ($8690).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 14, 2012  |  4 comments
I still recall, many years ago, being blown away by the sound of one of ProAc’s extremely musical monitors. The company re-emerged at RMAF 2012 to display the ProAc Response D40/R ($12,000–$14,000/pair, dependent upon finish). Hooked up to Sonus Veritas’ Modena DAC ($15,999), Genoa preamplifier ($15,999), and Florence KT120 monoblock power amplifiers (not yet released, price TBD), and sources unidentified, the system was producing excellent solid, full-range sound on a track from the Michael Wolff Trio’s 2 AM.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 14, 2012  |  5 comments
Dynaudio’s Michael Manousselis was having a ball showing the Xeo 5 ($4500/pair with transmitter and remote) and Xeo 3 ($2300/pair with transmitter and remote). With music sourced from a Mac mini, then sent up to 50’ via Dynaudio’s transmitter unit to the digital amps of up to three sets of speakers, the total-solution Xeo obviates the need for amps, preamps, DACs, interconnects, and speaker cables. Given all that, the sound is pretty amazing for the price.
Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 13, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 14, 2012  |  10 comments
I’m sure you’ll know what I mean when I say I hate “Lilac Wine,” even though I think it’s a beautiful, touching song. A girl once put it on a mixtape for me, and you know how those things go. Lilac Wine is sweet and heady like my love. Yadda yadda yadda. I can hardly stand to hear it. But I sat all the way through it, happily, yesterday afternoon in the Resonessence room.
Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 13, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 14, 2012  |  1 comments
I’ve seen many, many smiling faces at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. These two belong to Sound and Vision’s Mike Trei and CNET’s Audiophiliac, Steve Guttenberg.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 14, 2012  |  0 comments
The Sound Organisation’s Naim system inspired me to jot “very musical and complete” in my notes. On active duty were Naim’s NDS reference network player equipped with their top DAC ($10,995) with separate 555PS power supply ($9645), NAC202 upgradable preamp ($3295) with separate power supply ($2195), NAP250-2 80Wpc stereo amplifier ($5995), and S400 loudspeaker ($6495/pair in the finish shown).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 12, 2012  |  First Published: Oct 13, 2012  |  4 comments
So what if the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest doesn’t officially open until noon Friday? The Stereophile crew—L–R, Jason Victor Serinus, Stephen Mejias, John Atkinson, and Art Dudley—have met for an 8AM strategy session in the Marriott’s Atrium dining area. Omelets devoured and territory divided up by floor, we can finally sit back for a moment, smile, and savor our two hours before the big 11AM pre-show press unveiling of the new Wilson Audio Alexia loudspeaker.