RMAF 2015

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Herb Reichert  |  Oct 11, 2015  |  0 comments
After I thought I had finished posting our coverage of the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I realized I still had a number of photos taken by Herb Reichert for which we had no accompanying text. So here are some brief notes from Herb to accompany those pictures.—John Atkinson
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 09, 2015  |  5 comments
As the Stereophile Contributing Editor who has attended more Rocky Mountain Audio Fests than anyone except John Atkinson and Michael Fremer—that's me in the center—I've been entrusted with writing the show wrap. (John, it should be noted, deeply regrets that the magazine's production schedule made his attendance impossible.) But this time around, rather than simply relying on my own impressions, I posed questions to and gathered impressions from both my fellow bloggers, Sasha Matson (left above) and Herb Reichert (right above), and no fewer than 25 exhibitors.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 09, 2015  |  9 comments
Wilson seems to not only have a lot of dealers—Shadi’s Santa Monica-based Audio Salon is one—but also possesses a most intelligent marketing strategy that leads it to honor requests for loaner loudspeakers when it feels the products they’ll be paired with at shows are up to snuff. In this case, were they ever! Alongside the Wilson Sabrina loudspeakers ($15,900/pair) in the Audio Salon room were singing components of very different price points. . .
Herb Reichert  |  Oct 09, 2015  |  1 comments
During these shows, I tend to move through the halls like an invisible force is pushing me. For each room I take a picture of the sign, walk in and do a fast calculation about where to get the best photo of the setup. Then I introduce myself to the proprietor and ask for a sheet with prices and the names of the gear being demonstrated. Then I listen, collect more data, and ask a few questions. After about the second or third question I say, "Thank you. Bye . . . gotta go! I have 50 more rooms to cover." Rolling, rolling, and rolling . . . keep them doggies rolling. But always I try to make time for people in the halls who say they read my writings. Two of those readers I chatted with asked if I had heard the new Spatial Hologram M4 loudspeakers ($1295/pair). They thought the Spatial room had the best sound at the show. I admitted I hadn't. Promised I would. And, I am glad I did.
Sasha Matson  |  Oct 09, 2015  |  7 comments
In scouting the lay of the land for the last day of RMAF, my fellow expedition members told me I must hear the demo Nordost was presenting. Late on Sunday afternoon I finally caught up with the Nordost team in the Humboldt Peak room at the Denver Marriott. This year at RMAF Nordost was showcasing their new, as the Munich Show last May, Supreme Reference Range Odin 2 cabling.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 09, 2015  |  0 comments
Oh my, what a difference a few feet can make. I am talking, in this case, about the 6'7.8"-tall, 573.2-lb Focal Grande Utopia EM loudspeakers ($195,000/pair), each of which houses a 16" woofer, an 11" midbass driver, two 6.5" midrange drivers, and a 1" pure-beryllium, inverted-dome tweeter. This loudspeaker throws one of the largest and most realistically proportioned soundstages I have ever heard. When playing my SACD of Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra performing Mahler's Symphony 9 (Channel Classics), the Grand Utopia EMs were actually capable of suggesting the huge scale, dynamic extremes, and sheer volume that a full Mahler orchestra can produce. Which is no mean feat.
Herb Reichert  |  Oct 08, 2015  |  0 comments
VANA’s Kevin Wolf (right) with AudioStream.com's Michael Lavorgna in the hot seat

Kevin Wolf and VANA Ltd. represent a group of distinctive high-quality/high-value audio products that are mostly right up my aesthetic alley . . . at the Denver RMAF, Vana was debuting the new Audio Physic Avanti loudspeakers ($8000/pair) and they looked and sounded brand-new, top-of-the-heap excellent.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 08, 2015  |  0 comments
Ah yes. Through the audio jungle I thrashed, through sound both thrilling and threadbare, until, having totally exhausted the alliteration resources of my thoroughly thumbed thesaurus, I alighted upon the thoroughfare of Thrax. Once there, I threw all literary pretense aside, and thrillingly cried, "Thanks be to Thrax!"
Sasha Matson  |  Oct 08, 2015  |  0 comments
There are rooms at hi-fi shows, and then there are rooms. Kubotek/Haniwa were hosting the "Harry Pearson Memorial Concert" in Room 1122 of the Denver Marriott. I had seen information in advance, but it took me a moment to realize that I had walked into a unique event. It was a bit like viewing hours at a funeral parlor, but instead of a casket, arranged around the room were a selection of the legendary Harry Pearson's actual 3000-LP collection, which he bequeathed complete to Dr. Tetsuo Kubo, designer and president/CEO of the Kubotek Corporation, based in Osaka, Japan.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 08, 2015  |  7 comments
When there are over 150 exhibits to cover at an audio show, as there were at RMAF, I usually have no choice but to skip entertainment. But when Joe Reynolds of Nordost told me that I "must" hear Irish songstress and songwriter Eleanor McEvoy, whose initial work as a symphonic violinist segued into work as a session musician for U2 and Sinead O’Connor before she concentrated on songwriting and performing, I vowed to briefly stick my head into the Aspen Amphitheatre, grab a photo, and stay for part of a song.

Then I heard McEvoy, the composer of the title track of A Woman's Heart, the six-artist compilation that became Ireland's all-time best-selling CD, begin to sing her own music. . .

Sasha Matson  |  Oct 07, 2015  |  3 comments
By the time I went to book a room for this year's RMAF there was no room at the Denver Marriott inn. Perhaps the same thing happened to Magico, as we both ended up one long suburban block away at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech. Which was nice for me, in that it allowed me to get a breath of fresh air between listening bouts.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 07, 2015  |  4 comments
Voxativ may be one of the only companies in the high-end whose equipment list is designed as a flow chart. The visual presentation seems entirely apt, given how beautifully music flowed through the eye-catching and soul-pleasing Voxativ 9.87 system loudspeakers with its AC-4d wideband driver and bass extension ($34,900/pair).
Herb Reichert  |  Oct 07, 2015  |  2 comments
When I first met Jeffrey Catalano, he used an AR-XA turntable, a Fisher 500C amp, and a pair of AR-1 loudspeakers. Nowadays, he always has a world-class super system. I love listening to records with Jeffrey and I always feel bad that my show reporting only lets me stay a short while in his High Water Sound room at a show.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Oct 06, 2015  |  2 comments
Andy Carr, Marketing Director of the UK's Cambridge Audio, introduced two of the company's systems: a CX series system that included Cambridge Audio Aeromax 2 bookshelf speakers ($649/pair), and an 851 series that used Aeromax 6 floorstanders ($1299/pair). Both speaker models incorporate Cambridge Audio's BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator) drivers and dedicated subwoofers. Playing a FLAC file of Eric Bibb's "Rocking Chair" through, I believe, the CXN upsampling network music player ($999), the lower priced system ($2700 total + XLO cabling) produced really nice, smooth sound that felt just right for grabbing a beer, settling down, and mellowing out . . .
Herb Reichert  |  Oct 06, 2015  |  9 comments
RockyFest Award Alert!

Best Sound: Vincent Bélanger
Best-Sounding Component: Monsieur Bélanger's 200-year old cello
Best Choice of Music: www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsdaTVKmjdY
Most Impressive Audio Demonstration: Audio Note UK