RMAF 2012

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Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  1 comments
In the Music Hall room, I also met Alissa Vassilkova, whose father, Alfred, is the founder and lead designer of Estonia’s Estelon loudspeaker company.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  1 comments
I never thought that yet another listen to Rebecca Pidgeon's "There is a Rose in Spanish Harlem" would hold my attention, but, on the set-up from Avatar Acoustics' Darren Censullo, the recording sounded irresistible. I was especially seduced by the system's compelling warmth in the midrange and correctly proportioned bass. But really, everything in this room sounded really good.
Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  3 comments
Merlin Music Systems’ Bobby Palkovic is having a better time than ever, and you could tell by the sound in his room, which was remarkably tuneful, engaging—neither too forward nor too laidback—and, most of all, fun.

“I like to take things to an end, and now I’ve gotten to a point where I’m beyond happy,” Palkovic said of his Master VSM loudspeaker ($13,600/pair), which are now wired with Cardas Clear cable.

Adding to Palkovic’s pleasure is his new relationship with digital music:

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  3 comments
Emotiva, the Tennessee-based company whose Chinese-manufactured components have been providing a genuine taste of the high-end to large numbers of audiophiles, previewed their all-new pro line. The combination of the Stealth DC-1 24/192 DAC ($699) and Stealth 8 powered Studio Monitors ($1499/pair), due by the end of the year, was making great sound for the price.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  3 comments
It was nearing the end of the day of the first day of the show, and I hadn't covered nearly enough exhibits to ensure blogs for every room on floors 4 and 5, plus a number of others that I had agreed to cover. That, I figured, was why I found myself increasingly breathless as I ran from room to room, listening to less and less music before jotting down a few notes and heading out the door.

Then I entered the Coincident Speaker Technology room, heard some gorgeous music, and realized the underlying reason for my near-frantic pace.

Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  3 comments
Jason Victor Serinus also mentioned that Rega has released their popular RP6 turntable with a new Union Jack finish. Here’s a closer look.
Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  6 comments
It’s no surprise that Sam Tellig likes Harbeth’s Monitor 30.1 loudspeaker ($6490/pair in rosewood; seen here on Resonant Woods stands) as much as he does. (You can read about that in our November issue.) The speaker is handsome, understated, and it just looks right. Driven by Bret D’Agostino’s Bully Sound Company BSC-60s, a 60Wpc power amp built around a 1300VA toroidal transformer, the Harbeths sounded right, too. Bricasti’s M1 DAC ($8495; a favorite of both John Atkinson and John Marks) accepted signals from a Music Vault Music Streamer ($2495). Tellurium Q cables tied everything together.

What else was in the system?

Oh, yes: The Stein Music Harmonizers. And, I almost hate to tell you this, but:

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  2 comments
I don't know if it's a case of careful component and/or cable matching—Wilson Audio, after all, favors VTL electronics and Transparent Cabling, and Spectral always dems with its own, MIT-manufactured cabling—or just better engineering, but my experience of Teresonic single-driver loudspeakers has shifted dramatically for the better over the years.
Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  5 comments
The people from TweekGeek (“Funny Name, Serious Audio”) have a great thing going. They’re starting the Knights of the Listening Room, “a group of friends where audiophiles can share their audio systems…”
Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  5 comments
“For a speaker manufacturer to not recognize the importance of room interaction is either disingenuous or willfully naïve,” said Wisdom Audio’s Jon Herron, during his demonstration of the tall, slim L75 loudspeaker ($18,700/pair) and its outboard SC-1 crossover ($6500).

At the time, I was marveling over the system’s full-range, large-scale, dramatic sound. I found myself looking up in the air, feeling as though I was seated in a concert hall or movie theater, surrounded by sound.

Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  3 comments
John Atkinson insisted that this cowbell had something to do with his daily seminar on recorded sound, but I suspect that he, like most people at RMAF, was just having a good time.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  1 comments
What more can be said about Audioengine's flagship self-powered loudspeakers, the A5 ($399/pair) and A2 ($199/pair), than has already been said? We currently use the bigger babies for sound on an antiquated TV in my husband's man cave, aka "the cottage," and they're astounding for the price. The speakers were showing off thanks to several prototype Audioengine products that are still in the development stage.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  14 comments
Although I was only able to stay long enough to snap a few photos and hear moderator Ken Kessler’s (Hi-Fi News) downer of an introduction, Friday evening’s post-show panel included, from left to right, HiFi Plus editor Alan Sircom, recording engineer Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio Specialties, Kathy Gornick of Thiel Audio, Michael Fremer of Stereophile and AnalogPlanet.com, Roy Hall of Music Hall and "why don’t you join me for a shot," and Kessler himself. Dan D’Agostino of D’Agostino, Inc., founder of and former designer at Krell, turned up after I had shot my photo.

John Atkinson adds: Kessler’s thesis was the high-end audio industry is dying by its own hand; that if it is to continue to exist, let alone thrive, high-end audio has to emulate the example of the luxury watch, pen, and car industries...

Stephen Mejias  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  8 comments
In the big Pikes Peak room, I heard a big, full-bodied sound that gave a gentle sparkle to electric guitars and rich texture to voices.

The system:

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 17, 2012  |  0 comments
Gingko Audio demmed a more than chump change system, some of whose components' names showed that imagination is alive and well in the high-end. Playing a VPI Traveler turntable ($1400) with Grado Prestige Gold ($200), Gingko Audio Cloud 9T ($349), and Gingko Audio dust cover ($279); Jolida Fusion preamp ($1500), Wells Audio Innamorata amplifier ($6000), Music Culture Technologies MC501A USB CD player ($3995), Gingko Audo ClaraVu 7 full-range loudspeakers ($6990/pair), DanaCable Black Max 88 speaker cables ($2995), and Gingko Audio Platformula rack ($2995), bass sounded decent, but a recording of Gustav Mahler's Symphony 5 that the exhibitor chose otherwise sounded bright and glassy.