RMAF 2010 - What do you want a report about?

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diyAudio Editor
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So I'm here at the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival, which is probably the biggest audio show in the USA. I think it has been so successful because it is somehow a lot of fun. Low key and with so many exhibitors, you are always rubbing shoulders with industry guys, so you get to "talk shop" and get the back story.

It just occurred to me that some of you might be interested in a particular piece of equipment or company, so review the list here of the exhibitors and mention if you want me to got to a room and give my very subjective impressions here.

I can't promise to make it to a room, and I won't be able to spend much time in any particular one, and because hotel rooms aren't very great places to audition audio components, and because each room has different components supporting the piece of equipment in question, my impressions will be just that, general observations. But it might still be fun..

here is a list of the exhibitors:

Rocky Mountain Audiofest 2010

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Take lots of pictures... what will be most interesting will likely be unexpected.

A cull from the listing. Of highest interest in bold, some with specific comments


Abbingdon Music Research
Aspara Acoustics
Channel D Software Pure Vinyl
dCS America
DEQX Pty Limited 24/192 yet?
EERA CD Player
First Watt Surprises
Grant Fidelity the W30, we did all the pre-manufacture circuitry
Intact Audio
Jolida, Inc. the little PP EL84
Jumping Cactus Loudspeakers - with a name like that...
Lowther America
Madisound Speaker Components pictures of the new SEAS FRs
Monarchy Audio
Pathos Acoustics
PI audio group, LLC
Podium Sound
Reed Tonearms
Rethm Loudspeakers
Skiing Ninja Systems
Soundsmith strain guage / modded Grados
Stillpoints LLC
TAD Loudspeakers
Teres Audio Inc
Thales Tonarm
TW-Acustic new "budget" table
Vaughn Loudspeakers
Virtue Audio
WADIA budget power DAC, 2nd gen iTransport?
Walker Audio
Weiss Engineering
Win Analog
Wood Artistry
diyAudio Editor
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For sure the Orion, although in the past I feel that it has been poorly served by the rooms here. Still, it will be interesting to pick up differences between the previous and new. Also I need to remind him that he promised to bring a pair to the Burning Amp Festival in S.F.

Jan Didden, Bob Cordell, Peter Smith and I are going there as a group this afternoon.

Peter has a thread with his impressions here:

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SEAS is supposed to show two new drivers, anybody seen them?

From their site:
Autumn is upon us, and here at SEAS we are now preparing for the next big event within the HiFi-world:

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in October.

We will be launching two brand new drive units of which we are very proud, and very excited to show you all.

Curious? We won’t say more until the show opens.

We will solve the mystery of the breathtaking sound experience.
diyAudio Editor
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OK, the TAD speakers I heard didn't sound so great but there was supposedly another pair on the main floor which I didn't find. They were supposed to be near, or part of Ray Kimber's huge room. I did hear Ray's room with the same Sony speakers and Pass amps as two years ago, and it sounded great again. Actually greater because he was playing that Mozart piano music that Peter (Pjay) commented on in his Day 1 post. It was interesting to hear that from him as I was very tempted to get that set also as it does sound superb. I guess I didn't have $100 to spare, but I may crumble tomorrow..
Also as he said, The Joseph Audio room sound very good with the correctly scaled speaker models, but I was also impressed that the supporting equipment was minimalist. Not the huge amount of stuff like the transmitter tube amps I had heard in their room in San Francisco years ago.. But I need to check what it was..oops

I found the Quads to sound very good when I went by.They are of course open baffles which generally don't do well in these rooms. I know them pretty well and just like their sound. The music wasn't particularly loud which was great, but big box speakers are usually able to handle big dynamic range better. The SEAS surprise is the new, cheaper 8" full rangers with whizzer cones. Like the previous model that were pushing $1000/ pr, these had a particularly rich sound that I have found unusual in full range, efficient drivers. Maybe just a frequency response thing. And these are to sell in the $130 each range I believe.

I never love the Hansens, they just seem too austere for me, but I generally do like the Focal Grand Utopias, which some don't I know...

Burmesters were fine.

It is so true that the music being demoed makes all the difference. The Lowther room with First Watt amps sounded mediocre one time to me and very good the next. Makes your head spin..

I heard the Rethm loudspeakers with a ribbon tweeter on a stand next to each one. Turns out the tweeter was the much awaited bipole ribbon from RAAL. They had it crossed over with a single cap and combo was very good IMHO. I wish I had heard the Rethm's before without the tweeter, but from the treble and resolution I am sure the tweeter was helping a lot.

Monarchy was represented, but only a static display on a table. That was too bad as they are in South San Francisco, quite close to where I live, and I would have liked to hear their stuff. Silverline is also from the Bay Area. All I got to hear were their smallest model, a mini-monitor sized thing. Don't know the price but it sounded very good with a small tube amp. They seemed pretty efficient- don't know how they pulled that off..

So to do it right you need to bring your own music, and spend a lot of time in each room that seems promising. I had too much on my plate and just did the shallow thing..
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Seas fullranges in the 130$ range? Wow, that sounds interresting!

Since playing around with an old pair of Coral Flat II's, I've allways had a drawing towards this irrationally, yet fascinating concept for sound reproduction.

However, forking out lots of $$$ for a pair of Coral BETA's or the Exotic fullranges was something I could not justify, but with a new affordable alternative in the Presitge range, this might change... This could well be a ticket for Seas in to a broader DIY-enthusiast market compared to the high priced exotic line.

Can't wait to see it! :)
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