A few systems heard at the Rocky Mntn. audiofest

I sure didn't hear them all, and I'm not about to say that my fave is the show's best system, but here are a few observations.

1. Most rooms I didn't even walk into as they were either too crowded or were playing diddeebopper trash that I RUN away from.
2. The Intuitive Design speakers room was playing an acoustic-bass recording that sounded EXCELLENT. It was closely miked and the bassist was doing lots of whacking and clacking, and the bass really did sound real. Didn't hear anything else there. Their literature reads as if their 2 systems will be QUITE expensive.
3. Herron was demoing prototypes of new, big speakers and subwoofers, and the short piece of the Reference recording of the Rutter Requium sounded VERY good.
4. North Creek's new Advanced Ribbon Technologies Division was playing their new Metro hybrid ribbon system. Only about 3' high, it used a single MR/treble ribbon and a 7" vented woofer. The system had almost no bottom-octave energy and a little too much treble for my taste, but it sounded VERY coherent. Too bad it'll retail for some $7 - $8K/pair.
5. Bruce Thigpen of Eminent Technology was demoing his new Thigpen Rotary Woofer (TRW) system. This thing is going to be a hit with well-moneyed home-theater fans, as it'll generate high SPLs with VERY little distortion at frequencies as low as ONE Hertz! Several of us heard continuous tones at 16Hz.; below that I felt rather than heard the energy. At 2 Hertz it was flapping the room's door about an inch peak-to-peak! 'Only' $13K.
6. The only ABSOLUTELY GREAT-sounding system for me was AvantGarde's Duo horn-based system, driven by Thor tubed preamp and amps. WOW!!!!!! I've never heard big, expensive, horn-based systems before, and it literally had me in tears with, again, the Rutter Requium. I played a lot of my CD of the EMI/Boult Holst Planets, and I was truly amazed at the tonal naturalness, soundstage size, imaging specificity, etc.
Golden ears and Plelko,

Respectfully, I must disagree with your assumption. I did bother to sit and listen in many rooms and wasn't given an opportunity to choose the software. I'm not sure what these folks were trying to accomplish except showcase some sonic attributes of their gear but they were not playing music. My impression is that many vendors were reluctant to offer up real world music which covered a large frequency range. So, I was trained by the very people that wanted to sell to me to not bother sticking around.

I'm very sympathetic to the setup constaints these folks faced in these smaller rooms. Perhaps the source material used was a result of failing to overcome the room problems. The thing is, those that did know how to overcome these issues were fearless in what they presented to the listener. These were the rooms that I enjoyed most.

I could be wrong but it seems that many vendors were unprepared for showing their wares. That's not the listeners fault.
Hi Lugnut,

I'm glad to hear you were well enough to make it to the RMAF, and I hope you enjoyed it.

My experience is that there are very few rooms at CES events where I have not been able to go in and ask them to play a CD that I had.

You said that you were not "given the opportunity to choose the software", which is ambiguous. Does that mean you asked and were refused, or that no one offered you the opportunity, which is an entirely different thing. One has to speak-up if they want to play something.

The only time that this is difficult is when the room is being exhibited "presentation style", like the way Jeff Joseph does it. But even he will let people throw a disc n the player between "shows". I know there are exceptions to the rule, but most rooms will let you play a CD.

I have seen more intolerance in room visitors at shows, the guys that peek inside, shake their head and walk away like they are some kind of expert or something. (What were you looking-for anyway?) Or the goofs walking down the hall bitching about the type of music playing in a room after not even hanging around for more tha a minute to see how things really sound. Or the narrow-minded twits who think Classical music is the ONLY type of music, and absolutely refuse to stay in a room that plays anything else, and are rude enough to say-so and everybody around hears it.

These shows are great - our chance to hear almost everything in one place. If someone is REALLY interested in hearing things that they have not heard before, and compare them to other components, this is their opportunity. How many times do we read threads on Audiogon, where people are offering their "opinions" and advice, informed or not, about the difference between different components? Here is a chance to actually take some time and listen.

So why avoid a room just because you don't like the music playing? It'll only take a couple of minutes to wait it out, and then try something yourself!
Mr. Behr, I want to thank you for your response to our demo. It was a joy to have you in our room. I love to see people get emotionally engaged with the music. You seemed to truly enjoy it.
Golden ears,

Thanks for the support for my visit to FMAF. As perhaps you can guess I was not in a position to assert myself. Not even in this thread. My post honestly said it all.

Having spent a lifetime earning my living in retail sales I know how to behave if I want to peddle something. I also have a profound understanding of sales behavior when one is less than confident in their product or themselves as salespeople.

For myself the over-riding factor in not being assertive (beyond my physical limits) was there were plenty of other rooms to visit where my needs were satisfied. Perhaps at a different time I would have worked harder to get them involved in my interests.

I'm not upset with anyone there showing gear. These were just my honest observations. I did not shake my head nor bitch about the music being played within earshot of anyone and I certainly don't consider myself any kind of audio expert. I got as much out of this event as I wanted. Nothing more, nothing less.

One point where even my critics will support me is that Lugnut is never ambiguous. If I take the time waiting to sit in the sweet spot, with my wife no less, and no interest is shown in me as a potential buyer then I guess I'm guilty of being less than physchic in answering questions that are not asked of me. If one is in sales it behooves them to understand, meet, greet, qualify, demonstrate and close unless the customer is supposed to be responsible for everything.

There is nothing more ambiguous than standing there having nothing to say to a customer. But then, perhaps I'm a dinosaur.