CLARK HERTZ - SENIOR EDITOR, CANADA
JAMES & LINDA DARBY
The stock market was in the doldrums, but spirits were high as thousands of high-end audio aficionados and music lovers came to see the newest and the best the audio industry has to offer. We took over 1,000 pictures and hundreds of pages of notes to bring you the best of the best.
This year’s fifth annual RMAF was bigger than ever with many new products. With over 360 listed exhibitors showing off their best at two hotels it was a challenge to take it all in over the three day weekend. The new trend was to go with computer sources, but vinyl enthusiasts held their ground with turntables everywhere.
Everything was represented from IPod accessories to megabuck super systems. A seemingly endless Cornucopia of bounty was presented with the unusual and bizarre commanding the most attention. Speakers once again held top spot for weird and wonderful with electronics placing a close second.
Montegiro Lusso Komplet turntable
A new turntable from Germany - only $45,000...
By far the most fun at the show was listening to these horns, the $8,000 1000 ARRAY BG
3-Way Floorstanding Speaker from JBL. Only see two drivers? Note the silver spec at the top of the horn - it's a super tweeter.
The pulse-pounding sound of these took us back to the recording studio days in the 70's. These would be at home in any disco in the world.
The clean bass these put out at 110 db levels was phenominal.If you love rock, alternative and electronic genres, these will definitely rock you!
Driven by big Brystons, they were too bright, but we'd love to hear these with tubes.
Speaking of horns, there were lots of them. These are single driver speakers by Rocky Mountain Audio. Check these out.
The designers deliberately used cheap components (like lamp chord going to the speakers) to show how good these can sound with less than hi-end electronics.
That's a lot of woodworking for $9,750/pr! We have a review scheduled around January.
Oh yeah...there's smaller size, too. Surround sound anyone?
~BIZZARRO AUDIO ~
from the audio X-Files
Evanui Signature by ViV Laboratory's single-driver horn-loaded loudspeaker ($60,000/pair).
Koichiro Akimoto pulled out the small single driver to show how it floats with no surrounding support.
The Italian company Pathos’s new Synapse tube preamp introduced in April 2008 was shown with bizarre styling. Its future/retro look reminded us of a classic car from the 50’s with fins. It is a two stage preamplifier using zero feedback and is dual mono with dual power supplies and grounding. It has three balanced inputs, three RCA inputs and two sets of balanced outputs.
One woman told us these were her favorite at the whole show. Hmm.....
Ryan Scott is designing and making speakers to be speakers will be sold through Balanced Power Technologies.
The standmount monitors are named "Cirrus"
Check out those hand made layers in the Cirrus cutaway!
Pretty amazing stuff and some of the better sound at the show for $2,600/pr. Congrats Ryan!
The speaker on the right is the ‘Equinox’ which uses a Beryllium tweeter and Usher woofer … it’s priced at $1695. Ryan said, "I refer to them as a Tiny Dancer beater for $1000 less, better cabinet and better crossover components … and identical drivers".
We'll have a pair of the Cirrus and Equinox for review soon.
Danny Richie shows off the $799 X-static speakers he designed for AV123
driven by the top tier Dodd preamp we reviewed recently, as well as Dodd tube amps.
Jeff Joseph (Joseph Audio) and his next to the top $18k RM55LE speaker
NEW EMM/Meitner DAC2 SE - $9,500
High quality Japanese tubes from Triode - showing their new 300B monoblocks
That's our favorite TW Acustik Raven turntable on top
LSA showed their excellent Statement integrated amp we recently reviewed and Statement monitor speaker
Dr. Mark Waldrep of AIX makes the best high-rez audio & video surround sound discs in the world.
He was promoting his new Itrax.com hi-rez download site and his music server (below)
The Mozart 96/24/5.1 channel HD Music Server
First that plays stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 surround in Hi Rez
Some of the best sound at the show was produced by this new smaller version of the Sason granite speaker
from Ridge Street Audio we reviewed last year. Many improvements including more bracing, better wire, crossover moved outside the cabinet.
The sound was significantly better than the original version we reviewed. Outstanding
While there was quite a bit of analog at the show, by far the best sounding vinyl was heard over the
Strain Gage cartridge and preamp system by Soundsmith, even though it was played over their small bookshelf speakers.
He is also producing a new line of LP's that benefit children
Dragonfly - $1,500 Monarch - $2,000
We have been after Peter Lederman to send us a Strain Gage system for review.
When I jokingly asked him who we had to have sex with to get a review
he unhesitatingly pointed to the picture below...
The AudioSpace 300B Reference 3.1 integrated seen here just arrived for it's world's first review.
Look for our review soon.
Our Russ Gates recently reviewed these The GINI speakers
We also recently reviewed a 75 wpc power amp by Peter McAlister
His custom made tube amps are excellent. More McAlister reviews coming.
We haven't reviewed this new table by designer Conrad Mas of Avid,
but we plan to!
Also vying for Best Sound at Show are the Baby Grand's by open baffle guru
Carl Marchisotto at Nola Audio. Stunning. We're looking forward to a review pair.
This is Big John Tucker, the genius at Exemplar Audio who designs first class components for reasonable prices.
He also modifies things like this DAC by Xindak. We have the stock model in for review now and waiting for John's version.
The big Verity LOHENGRIN II's, one of our picks for best sound at the Montreal show, were perhaps the most disappointing sound in Denver. Driven by only 15 wpc, they were lackluster and very limited in volume and dynamics.
Xindak was represented well by high value tube amps, cd players and DACs.
Our review of the MT 1 integrated (right) will be published next week
Who says electrostats won't play loud or go low? 100+ db levels, flat to 20Hz. Amazing sound from Roger Sanders who not only builds the speakers, but the amps (below) to drive them.
We're looking forward to our first Sanders review.
Gingko was showing their new ClaraVu 88 Monitor - $3,995/pr
Krell showed the completed "Modulari Duo" speakers we showed you in prototype form at CES.
Smashing looks, aluminum cabinets and woofers...but we heard better for $65,000/pr
Jacob George displays his marvelous $7,800 Rethm Saadhana
Looks and sounds much more expensive
Our first look at his new smaller model
The new TERES 260 with better platter and rim drive
Scheduled for review as soon as one is available - and not pre-sold! $4,300
Dusty Vawter was showing his new Class D monoblocks (below) driving the impressive AV123 LS6's
Read our review of the LS6's
500 watt Class D monoblocks
We found the bigger LS9's in the AV123 room at the Hyatt, driven by Gary Dodd amps
We're told the LS9's may actually be shipping soon...we've had ours on order for a year...
Projec RM10 Turntable- impressive for $,4000
No, it doesn't come with remote control...
Similar look as the Project, but the Brinkmann Balance costs $21,700 + $6,300 arm
$300,000 Marten Coltrane speakers? Well, you do get 4 cabinets....
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