RMAF

Any of you fullrange folks attending the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver this weekend? Last year a few of us participated in thread discussing the speakers that had been exhibited, but it could be fun to get together at the actual show. I'll get into town sometime Friday night. I should be around all day Saturday (I might sneak off in the afternoon to watch the all-important Nebraska-Texas game), and maybe Sunday morning. My cell is three O eight, six 7 two, five 8 three 6. Feel free to PM me today or tomorrow, or just text me at the show.

Paul
Wild Burro Audio Labs - DIY Full Range Speakers
 

rjbond3rd

Member
2007-01-24 2:28 pm
Hi Paul, oh man, I didn't see this post until now. I was there on Saturday for 5 hours and I'm sorry I missed you.

Here are a few pictures for anyone interested.

Lowthers were well-represented. Lowther America had a room and you can see they've added a tweeter to their OB. (There were also two rooms showing Rethm Prisms with the tiny ~5" Lowther drivers which sounded great to me.)

Fostex was represented in the Vaughn Loudspeakers room. They have a very sophisticated floorstander with the FE208E Sigma, a ribbon tweeter, and then (I think) a 12" woofer and 12" passive radiator. They also have a bookshelf with FE168E Sigma and a ribbon tweeter.

One major surprise of the show (for me) was the Rithm speaker (see pic). It's a curvy, gently folded tapered TL and it packs a serious punch. Drums are just incredible. As you can see, it's a coax. They are very tiny in real life and I remain mystified as to how they could sound so powerful.

I had fun listening to the JBL Everest system but only with one-minute-ish excerpts of songs and so it wasn't a real listening experience. Bass was muffled in that room (der) but everything up top was sparkly clear.

Duke Lejeune's AudioKinesis room (waveguide + woofer bipoles) sounded excellent but it was a bit too much ambient sound for my personal tastes. His offset bipole configuration really did work in that room though (I did not hear the room modes booming).

One of the best rooms for me was High Water Sound with the Aspara two-way horns. Ahhhh, tone. The people running this room were serious music lovers as opposed to industry people. Vinyl seemed dominant this year, and there were lots of reel-to-reel setups as well.

Rants: why oh why do people play "no name" music at an audio show? Like over-the-top percussion tracks? Or new age-y stuff? Or stuff that is obviously "demo music"?

The majority of rooms just did not sound very musical. Volume too loud, screechy, harsh, painful. Some rooms paired really high-end source / electronics with un-distinguished speakers so it was hard to care.

One mystery to me: people don't want big speakers, but they end up running huge amps to power smaller, less efficient speakers. I don't get that, especially where the higher-efficiency speakers tend to sound better to my ears (though the lower-efficiency stuff might arguably be flatter).

Paul, what did you like / love at the show?
 

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rjbond3rd

Member
2007-01-24 2:28 pm
Hi Vix, maybe Jon ver Halen can chime in. His room was very busy and I didn't get to chat with him (really friendly guy, obviously a true music lover).

It looks like a very different woofer to me (I believe I've seen this or similar Lowther OB with Altec and Tone Tubby if memory serves). The field coil in back seemed to be the same size and shape, but cosmetically different (it looked like brushed aluminum vs. bronze patina).

The speaker is a real chameleon to me. It's very snappy. Someone told me the tweeter comes in at 10k or higher but it was evidently subtle to my ears (it didn't jump out). I would have tolerated a bit more bass and would love to hear those First Watt amps work harder :)
 
I wasn't there terribly long. I was there from morning to early afternoon on Saturday, but I needed to catch up and talk shop with a few folks, so I only got to a few rooms. I headed back late Saturday night for the "tonearm shootout" in the Galibier room.

Fullrangers were represented at the show, as were other "fringe" and "alternative" things to which I am drawn. While the show is still a "must-see" for those that can, it seems a little more mainstream than it was even last year. But I do enjoy hearing some traditional high end from time to time.

This year, I think I'll avoid commenting specifically on any thing I heard. I will say that I am always surprised by how different each room sounds. Folks don't just disagree about subjective details of the listening experience. From room to room, even the basic tonal balance often seems as different as night and day! I understand that show conditions are never ideal, but clearly there is very little agreement about how a stereo should sound!

Finally, I've been thinking for a few weeks that I should sell my vinyl setup. The show put those thoughts to rest. At least for awhile. I'm enjoying an old Ella pressing as I write.

Paul
Wild Burro Audio Labs - DIY Full Range Speakers
 
mp9, I am pretty won over by servers and DACs. I'm waiting for the right moment to get a dedicated PC of some sort for the system. Then I'll exchange the spif receiver in my Twisted Pear DAC for USB and be done with it. I don't know that wireless is for me. That being said, there were even more wireless solutions that I suspect will be the best choice for many non-perfectionist types.

I tend to avoid my vinyl rig out of laziness. I often have one or more projects that I am pouring labor into, so I generally lack the time and will to clean and play records. My friends who enjoy vinyl seem to derive great pleasure from the "ritual", but when I'm on the couch, I like music to come easily. RMAF reminded me of how good vinyl can sound. I also greatly enjoy seeing machines, which is one of the reasons I prefer tubes to IC's. It is fun to watch turntables work. As I grew up with CDs, I think watching a record spin and hearing the music come out seems more magical.

bigfishe, the "tonearm shootout" was basically a listening session. It was in the big Galibier room. IIRC, Daedalus speakers (3 way WMTTMW, high efficiency, great sound), Atma-Sphere amps, and a phono preamp that friends of mine designed. The tonearms were by Durand and Schroeder. The men themselves operated them. The problems were many. They used cartridges they already had set up, which is to say, they were different cartridges! The gain was different, and the stepped attenuators didn't allow great gain matching from arm to arm.

I arrived later than many, so I started well of the the side (it was packed for the first hour or so). By the time I sat in the center, I had enjoyed a bit of Dave Slagle's beer and tequila. While I think it was possible to hear repeatable differences between the arms, I am not experienced enough to know what was due to arms and what to the cartridges. Good times were had by most. (Some audience members attempted to take it a little more seriously than was warranted). The music and sound were great regardless of what was playing!

Paul
Wild Burro Audio Labs - DIY Full Range Speakers
 
>>> But I do enjoy hearing some traditional high end from time to time.

Me too. But i prefer to tinker, build and enjoy music the past several years. Perhaps someday i will settle back into a 'traditional' setup... if my hearing's not gone by then.


>>> Finally, I've been thinking for a few weeks that I should sell my vinyl setup.

To this day i regret selling my AR turntable! I still have all my records but nothing to play them on.

I have been thinking about those little netbooks lately (for around $250 - $350) to serve up my music. Cheap enough and can be connected to a DAC in the future.
 

mp9

Member
2006-06-07 7:00 am
To this day i regret selling my AR turntable! I still have all my records but nothing to play them on.
At least you sold it. About (+ or -), 10years ago i decided to clean some of the junk out of the basement and put my thorens td124 on the curb with the trash! It only kept speed half the time and i thought it was junk because the standard plinth was ugly looking. I had got it at a yard sale for $5 back ~1982 and thought it was antiquated compared to the newer thorens i saw in the stores. Was i ever wrong:eek:
 
...clearly there is very little agreement about how a stereo should sound!
Wild Burro Audio Labs - DIY Full Range Speakers


That was one of the main impressions I went away with this year.
Not just that there were major differences from room to room,
but e.g. there were rooms I found unlistenable, (even with earplugs, and my wife just stood out in the hall making faces-- trying to read details on some of the highly regarded/reviewed equipment, used in the exact combination's raved about in forums), while other people were sitting back, enjoying the music...
"good sound" must be very subjective...
 
That was one of the main impressions I went away with this year.
Not just that there were major differences from room to room,
but e.g. there were rooms I found unlistenable, (even with earplugs, and my wife just stood out in the hall making faces-- trying to read details on some of the highly regarded/reviewed equipment, used in the exact combination's raved about in forums), while other people were sitting back, enjoying the music...
"good sound" must be very subjective...

I noticed a lot of things,but one that stood out was BASS.
Everyone seemed to be emphasizing the bass of their speakers, often to a degree best left to the thumper cars in the street.
Sometimes it was good and tight, often just too prominent, and other times just overblown. The rooms that got it right were a delight, but there weren't all that many.
Good bass should blend in seamlessly, not stand out and offend....
 
Yes, way too much low quality bass for my tastes
(but I've become used to front horn loaded 15s for mid-bass, and tapped horns below).
And too hot, and/or scheeechy treble.

Makes it hard to reply to "want to know if it was an improvement from the previous years Lowther open baffles..." etc.
Several of us did think this years Lowther obs may work well for rap though ?
Hot highs sounded better w/ tweeter filtered by a couple layers of TP; spoken voice was clear, and the slow, boomy (to my taste) bass would fit in...
I definitely liked last years version better, sound wise, and esthetically (I like the bronze patina look much better than the nickle/chrome look. Maybe for the front bumper of an old caddie, but in a living room? and the bracketry...
again, different tastes for different people.
 
Nothing changed since i talked to you in the hallway.
was fresh on my mind then, but let's see what i can remember...
"Overall sound quality," "musicality" (which as deb sez, means nothing, other than a word to describe what someone subjectively likes, and can't explain coherently in "real" objective terms...) would have to be High Water Sound.
I thought that room had "it" going on much more than any other;
hard to listen to the gear, i kept relaxing & enjoying the music...
Amberwave's 304TL amp, looks pretty cool, merc vapor & transmitter triodes, pretty good sound for a PP, although I do like the 304TL SET breadboard i've heard before better.
Eleven horn display in the lobby (but i'm biased on that one).
Experience Music phono stage-- He already made my favorite phono stage, but the new "box" is just so over the top.
Walker turntable; beautiful piece, I feel a lot better than the amps/speakers used.
Played a Mahler piece i brought, some pieces were "missing" compared to what i'm used to @ home, but some parts were just "better" too.
As Deb said, it was the first time she heard something where you could tell where the limitations were.
Galibier room comparison; as above, and i really liked a couple of the LPs Frank brought/played during the comparison Sat night.
Artemis room; again, Very impressed w/ turntable (and big time on the last day, w/ dave's experimental field coil cartridge!), but the speakers-- I dunno?
Tape-- deHavilland room, the comparison of tape to cd...
Yeah, i agree that there's as big a jump up from vinyl to tape, as there is from cd to vinyl.
 
Lowther RMAF

Hi,

Can anyone provide more info about the rest of Lowther Open Baffle? The pic of the rear side, the woofer used, amplifiers, crossover points/slopes...
Sorry If am asking too much, just want to know if it was an improvement from the previous years Lowther open baffles...

Thanks

Yeah, I suppose I could. The woofer is a 15" Rythmic servo sub, kicking it at 80 Hz. Supposedly flat to 16 hz, but I did not have the organ music to try that.

Tweeter is a Visaton TL 16H. Simply 2uf cap coupling, a couple of resistors to match efficiency (both the Visaton an the Lowther Field Coil were 99 dB/watt, but the Visaton was 8 ohm, and the Lowther 15 ohm)

The comment about bass is an interesting story. Day one while setting up the bass was adjusted so that low bass matched. However, the room had a big rise at 30 hz, so the mid-bass from 30 to 80 hz was lacking. Late Friday we fixed this problem, and got pretty flat response across the whole bandwidth. Much nicer at that point. But if you came early, the mid-bass was MIA.
 
Yeah, I suppose I could. The woofer is a 15" Rythmic servo sub, kicking it at 80 Hz. Supposedly flat to 16 hz, but I did not have the organ music to try that.

Tweeter is a Visaton TL 16H. Simply 2uf cap coupling, a couple of resistors to match efficiency (both the Visaton an the Lowther Field Coil were 99 dB/watt, but the Visaton was 8 ohm, and the Lowther 15 ohm)

The comment about bass is an interesting story. Day one while setting up the bass was adjusted so that low bass matched. However, the room had a big rise at 30 hz, so the mid-bass from 30 to 80 hz was lacking. Late Friday we fixed this problem, and got pretty flat response across the whole bandwidth. Much nicer at that point. But if you came early, the mid-bass was MIA.

I was there saturday morning and cant say I recall the Lowther room.
In many rooms the Bass was fine, even very good, but I also felt that many pushed it too hard and it was a stand out feature, which I really don't think it should be. The bass is part of the music, not a separate bit that is emphasized. I think that there was a tendency to push it a little too far, very far in a few cases. I want to walk into the room and think "wow, check out the music" not "damn, that's some bass!"