Report from Rocky Mountain AudioFest

First day at fest...Heard some pretty good sound...speakers from PSB (new Symphony line), Tyler Audio, Acoustic Zen (new Crescendo is really good), Wilson Benesch were most memorable. Also appreciated chatting with reps from Audio Research, Acoustic Zen, PSB...and members of audio press (Jonathan Scull). BUT, overall, sound is WAY too loud for anyone who cares about his hearing or evaluating sound. And, there was a surprising amount of truly bad sound. Also, it seems like the only music being demo'd was percussion tracks and cuts by any number of women with an acoustic guitar. At the end of the day, my ears hurt and I had a headache and reaffirmed my feeling that the ONLY way to evaluate equipment is in my home...Maybe my impressions will be more favorable after a cocktail and some aspirin. Cheers to all!
Try the cocktail and aspirin before listening next time - maybe the red wine tweak, which always makes things sound better ;>) Thanks for the report.
My 2cents from the show which I must say Is a great way to spend $10 at a nice venue with nice friendly hi-fi buffs. I thoroughly enjoyed It although 6 hours Is not enough time to listen and see most of the gear on show on the friday, which Is shame as there is an awful lot to see Speakers my ears liked. The most Impressive 'midrange' from the show was the Apogee Acoustic speakers.They were open and had real timbre to the Instruments and voices that Is hard to find. Bass was very light though. The Thiel CS3.7 was also making nice noises. AudioKinesis 'Dream maker' was also giving out some nice blues. I like the Metro Ribbon again this year same as last year. The Talon's were nice sounding. I like the new Improved Aspara horns that was Instantly noticeable from last year, new and revised crossover. They sounded nice on easy going music on vinyl, but didn't cut the mustard with Michelle Shocked on cd. The Tyler audio was ok to. Wilson Maxx2 were lovely sounding. The speakers that I didn't like where the new B&W, way to bright on top. Some weird offering from Germany MBL, that were sort of like 'Darleks' from Dr Who.They were also too harsh for my ears. I was really looking (being a horn lover) to listening to the Acapella's. They both (Triolon & Campanile) were a huge let down considering the off the planet prices for the masses. The Triolon's did make a solo Violin sound lovely and real though. The Campanile I didn't like at all, I am sorry to say. It was maybe Dire Straits being played that was problem, but why blame the cd eh?
Show got off to a good start found some good used LP's and got in some listening time. Although I didn't get to every room I hope to return Sunday. The system that I think was most impressive was the Audio Alternative room with the
Vanderstein 5a's and the Ayre MX R Amps and the all new Ayre Pre-Amp. My understanding was that this is the one and only in existance right now. But with Grand Prix Turntable and Lyra Colossis (spelling) Cartridge, I am not sure that I have ever heard a better sounding Turntable.
The Ayre Amps and Pre-Amp were major contributors I am sure. The other room that caught my ear was the Mark Levenson and Wilson Sophia Room what a great performance.
The other lasting impression was made in the McIntosh Room with their new speakers truely smooth from top to bottom.
All one man's options of course.
supplement to the above...Thiel 3.7's are indeed wonderful in the mids and high but do not have the low extension and control of the 3.6's. The Apogees' midrange, especially, is very nice, powered by AR's HD220. Audio Unlimited's demo of Focal 1037be with Boulder 1000 electronics and Tara Labs cabling was detailed and sweet throughout all ranges, maybe a little light-footed, but very pleasant. Vandersteen 5's were outstanding imagers and, honest-to-god, Beatles' "Yesterday" never sounded better.

Note: I mostly steer clear of systems too big for an actual house. Making a violin sound bigger than a cello crosses from sound reproduction to sound reinforcement for me. Also don't spend more than a few minutes listening to quirky stuff that looks like a lamp.

Best give-away: 8520 Audio's eponymous bottles of hot sauce, which they also used as trestles to keep equipment/cables off the ground.

Most surprising disappointments, to my ears, your results may vary: Marten's which sound good, but not $200K good; Sonus Faber Elipsa's, which sound good but not $20K good; Usher 718be Tiny Dancers, which may be a lot better than the harsh music they were playing.

Finally, thanks to Mitch2 for the cocktail/aspirin tweak...the second day is going better...
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This is the first show I've been to since the late 80's. Now I remember why I stopped going after only two. Still, I've enjoyed the social aspect of it. Great to finally meet Albert Porter. It's astounding how bad some of the most exotic and expensive gear in existence can be made to sound through the intervention of a hotel room. Albert told me the building is not grounded and the AC is fluctuating around 109 volts to make matters worse. There have been some standouts for me though. The Ayre/Vanderstein system would be in my top 5. Quicksilver is finally manufacturing the 300B amps I've been loving for years - the midrange is magic. I was really impressed with the Innersound / Sanders room - amazing imaging way beyond the edges of the speakers. I wasn't as wowed by the big guys who require a second mortgage to join the club...some were impressive, but none really grabbed me by the balls and made my short hairs stand on end as I might expect from something of that caliber. I'm very impressed with the Bel Canto Ref1000's paired with Pioneer speakers here. They aren't perfect, but they do a whole lot right. That's all for now...I'm on overload and need to take a break.

i thought the best sounding rooms were the mbl, and the wilson audio powerd with bat. a little disappointed in some of the little hotel rooms, thought it made for terrible auditioning. sonus faber i thought got short changed in particular, because ive heard those elipsa speakers sound great at the dealer.i did go in particuler to hear the simaudio evolution gear. when i got to the room they were playing some other gear (i didnt catch the brand) through the new thiel floor standing speakers. i wasnt blown away. not thinking much of the thiel, i returned an hour later to hear the simaudio gear playing through the same speakers,WOW! im sold . so all in all i had a great time , may even go back tommorow.
I agree with Jrw40 about the Mbl speaker room, and Audio Unlimited's room with Wilson speakers with BAT electronics. I'd also add the Kharma room with MBL electronics, and the Apogee Acoustics room. For bang for the buck, the Apogee room was the hands down winner.

To Gawdbless, if you thought the Apogee room was lacking bass, make sure you ask them to play one of his demo tracks (I think it's the second track of three) which shows just how much bass those Duetta Sigs can put out. I was truly impressed.
Would likem to hear more about the Pioneer.Anbd was the Diamond B&W to bright for others as Gawdbless mentioned?
chazzbo, the new pioneer S-1EX were being powered by belcanto gear.the sound was very good, the room was crowded when i was in but wothy of a serious audition.also was surprised by the dali speakers,better than expected.
Thank you for posting about the volume. I felt that same way; in fact, this is what I posted at the Asylum:

OK, so I went to RMAF on Friday and there's been something that's been bugging me about it for the last two days. Why is it that all the manufactures seem to do their demos at volume 11? I swear, when I left that day I had a headache.

To me, a demo has always been about hearing resolution and detail, about hearing something in a familiar recording that I've never heard before. I don't need to be the girl in the chair like that old Maxell tape ad to get that.

I've been thinking about heading down again this afternoon, but I'm not sure I want another headache. Audio manufacturers, take note; volume doesn't equal jaw dropping.

As for rooms, the MBL room as always sounded fantastic. I liked Roger Sanders' room, though I'm not convinced by his argument about how much power stats need (I have a Rogue Stereo 90 on my Logans and think it sounds great.) The Aesthetix/Focal room was nice too.

The BAT/Wilson room sounded excellent. I was disappointed in the Boulder/Focal setup though. For all the raves I've heard about the 2008 phonostage, (and given the costs of the gear) I was curiously unimpressed.

I stopped by the Cary room and also left disappointed. It was the first time I'd heard Cary and nothing really jumped out.

Was really bummed that CJ and Logan weren't represented, nor was VPI beyond a minimal presence with an Aries 3 in one room.
Just got back from day 1 and 2 and have to agree with the original poster- the sound was generally way too loud with the exception of a few rooms (Quicksilver and Audiokinesis, Atma-sphere). The best part of the show for me at least and the first real opportunity to really listen and relax was unquestionably the Roy Gregory/ Richard Foster analog set-up seminar. Man was it excellent and eye opening with respect to the absolutely critical aspects of VTA et al. Small and I mean small adjustments mean everything and a 20,000 turntable and phonostage can sound quite ordinary if not for meticulous set-up. Suddenly those protactors and such seem very very much worth the price and anyone having the expertise to set-up tables as well as these guys.
Rao Audio just launched their company on the first day of the show. VERY nice sounding room in my opinion, for what it's worth. What did other attendees think of Rao Audio?
Was anyone else as impressed as I was with their room?
Great frikkin' show, I thought.

It's clear from the posts above that mileage varies considerably. In no particular order, there were some of my favorites (note: I tend to favor smaller systems, generally don't care for horns or single-driver speakers, and I missed some rooms):

Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grands driven by Primare. First time I've liked VA speakers and I liked these a lot.

Quads driven by new Moscode 402.

The Power Modules (Belles) room, where their amps were powering Usher 718 Be (the Tiny Dancers) and a pair of floorstanders from Sonics (which I much preferred to the Ushers).

Audio Note. We listened to everything including Clutch and the system delivered the musical goods unfailingly every time. I'm giving AN serious thought.

Scaena loudspeakers with the Memory Player. These are the follow-up effort to the Pipedreams and strike me as much more successful. I felt the bass modules were not integrating too well but the system was beguiling in many respects. Not sure how much the Memory Player was a factor in that, however.

(By the way, lots of computer audio at this show.)

Harbeths with Resolution Audio and DNM electronics.

JM Reynaud Offrande Signatures with Blue Circle electronics. I spent a long time in that room. Great sound and they were playing terrific music.

The new Von Schweikert Anniversaries, which are a redesigned, hot-rodded VR-4 Jr. Very nice. They were built to mark Albert's 50th year designing speakers (he started when he was 12 but he sure doesn't look 62!).

Wilson Sophia2 with ARC Reference gear. Man, I thought that ARC gear had a wonderful sound.

I liked the Pioneer speakers as some others have mentioned, but not sure I'd partner them with all Bel Canto electronics .

Cool turntables: Artemis Labs was showing a prototype turntable that has the very simple, wood plinth look I like. I want one. Also the Once TT from Australia (oh, that room -- Paragon -- showing ATC, was also nice). On the other hand, the Grand Prix turntable is not sufficiently impressive looking to justify its price, IMO.

Other cool: the Proclaim speakers, which are three independent spheres sitting on movable arms and attached to an external crossover on which you can set levels independently for each driver. On the one hand, it sounds like a recipe for terminal audiophilia nervosa. On the other hand, it makes a fair bit of sense. But you can achieve much of that through digital room correction. I have to wonder how easy it is to do a good job of setting these up manually. They sounded pretty good, though. Excellent bass.

Biggest disappointment for me: the Beveridges.
Drubin, the Proclaim speakers were my standouts when I went to NYC audio show in idea that you wonder why more speakers dont have that feature.
I thought the Wilson Maxx sounded spacious and real. Does anybody find the Sophia 2 and Watt Puppy 8 boxed in? I came to the RMAF expecting great things from Wilson Audio all around, walked away with such extreme difference of opinion for the Maxx versus Sophia and Watt Puppy. I think both Watt Puppy and Maxx were driven by BAT, while Sophia by Levinson 436.
Yipean-I didn't stay long enough In the Apogee room to really have as long a listen that I would have liked. Way to much to hear, but long enough to know I liked them very much.Thank you for telling me what model It was also as the room was very dark with just a light behind the speaker. Nice. Friday Is a very short day only 6 hours of listening! I would dearly love to spend the whole 3 days, maybe next year. Judging from the threads there were loads of rooms that I missed that had great sounding gear(boo). Still It Is a great way to spend 6 hours as It Is a truly great show for the money and with guys/gals that actually wanna talk hi-fi.Had a great chat with Duke from here and also Mr Tyler to name a few. Trouble Is also when one starts chatting, that eats up valuable listening time. I don't know If anyone noticed how many rooms seem to have speakers that were around the 7-9k mark. Anyone else notice or was It just me?
I was also glad that the hotel put up signs for us to use the stairs to get to other floors, which was good as last year there were no signs and It was a calculated gamble to use the stairs and I was not sure about being able to get back on the floors without walking down to the fire exit on the ground floor. The MBL room that people say sounded good I thought It was to bright, maybe the speakers were to close to the listening seats?, If my memory serves me correctly.
I didn't think music was being played to loudly generally. Needless to say after all I heard I shant be rushing out to change my current speakers for speakers that will surely cost lotsa moolah, although the Maxx's were sure nice, now where can I get 26k from hmm....(relax dear I am only kidding). I can't remember If the nice chap In the Maxx room told me the cd player was $40k or that the amps and cd player were, does anyone know the prices please? Roll on 2008!

Just back home to Seattle from three days there with my friend, Peter. Had a great time overall, and it got better from day two as I had more enthusiasm hearing a greater number of better sounding rooms. There were still plenty of compromised rooms, but I guess I didn't let them damp my enthusiasm as much. The highlight for me was in meeting some great folks there. Peter and I shared a van to the airport and a nice conversation with Arnie, one of the founders of Audiogon, who was very responsive to some of our constructive criticisms of recent directions the site has taken and left us with hope that some things may change in the near future. Got to spend some more time with Albert, who is as fine and fun a person, and as much a gentleman as one might imagine from his contributions here. Too many nice conversations and great folks to recount.

As far as the exhibitors, we somehow managed to save the best for last, though certainly not intentionally. In second place for me was the Daedalus / Art Audio system. At the top of my list, was the last room we listened in literally shutting the room down as we lingered for as many cuts we could get them to play. The MBL room playing their larger speakers was truly breathtaking. Utterly astounding and the closest to the illusion of live music in the room from virtually any corner of the room. Effortless. I'm glad we took it in last as it would have made everything else a bit of a disappointment in comparison.

There are a few more rooms I enjoyed listening to, among them, in no particular order, some of the memorable ones for me from today were:

A.R.T. Loudspeakers from Scotland
Proclaim speakers
Blue Circle
Studio Electric Speakers and Amp
Quicksilver (back again)
Vanderstein/Ayre (back again)

Overall for the weekend (we did not get a chance to listen in every room...not even close), top 5 for me:

1. MBL
2. Daedalus / Art Audio
3. Proclaim / Red Rock Audio
4.(Roger) Sanders / Innersound
5. Pioneer / Bel Canto

I had a great time, but I think this will last me another ten years or so before I need to try it out again. I look forward to reading other's impressions.

I thought the Wilson Maxx sounded spacious and real. Does anybody find the Sophia 2 and Watt Puppy 8 boxed in?

I was surprised that I liked the sound of the Sophia 2, as I'd heard it before at a shop and did not like it at all in that setup. The Maxx2 did not grab me, though I don't recall whether it was sounding "boxed-in". It was one of those rooms that I did not spend much time in. My objection to a whole lot of the rooms is that they sounded overdamped...somewhat muted and restrained. This almost always was in systems using the short wall of the room, for some reason. Mike Sanders told me that there room started out being much to bright and lively and that they had to work to tame that. They were in one of the larger rooms which were in the minority. Two of the rooms I liked best, MBL and Sanders/Innersound, seemed to use little or no room treatment at all. The Sanders/Innersound system used very narrow speaker placement straddling one of the room corners. His speakers couldn't have been more than 4-5 feet apart yet they were imaging monsters frequently rendering images well beyond the outer edges of the speakers. The Proclaim also used a corner-straddling setup, as did a few others.

Yes, there was too much to hear and not enough time, I'd agree. A few other good rooms I'm reminded of by other's posts...and I'm sure I'm still leaving some others out:

Audiokinesis and Apogee both had me engaged and sitting more than just a minute and tapping my toes. Ralph Karsden (Atmasphere) was telling us about a new single-driver speaker from a Japanese manufacturer that had an active electromagnetic (hope I'm getting that right), ultra-efficient driver. We tried, but never found the room in the tower. Did anyone hear those speakers and or can recall the name? Ralph could not recall the name, but thought it was on the 10th floor. He seemed very impressed by the design as he'd been thinking of doing the same thing himself.

The impressions here are a good illustration of how subjective all this stuff really is. A room that may have one person completely engaged may send another turning tail for the next room. On more than one occasion I went into a room where someone was leaving commenting how great the room sounded, yet when I went in what I heard there did not thrill me at all.

Regarding the 'too loud' and 'bad sound' problems at the show, here's my take. Most speaker manufacturers, it seems, wanted to bring their flagship model. These are typically large. As in 'far too large for a tiny hotel room.' In general, I found the rooms that sounded really good were using speakers that were at least reasonably suited to the room size.

Standouts for me were Selah Audio, North Creek / Advanced Ribbon Technologies, Analysis Audio, and GamuT. The first two represented high value; the second two were higher performing, but far, FAR more expensive.

Underwhelmed by the MBL / Kharma room and the Acapella / Einstein room. Both had quite good sound, but when you consider the price, I was unimpressed. And both setups were in suitably large rooms and well-treated, leaving little room for the 'show conditions are difficult' defense.

Had fun at the Nordost cable demo, where different cables were swapped out to demonstrate the improvements as you move up in their line. As I've said before, any non-believers are deaf or lying. Whether $16,000 is best spent on a 1m set of interconnects or 1,000 CDs is an entirely different issue =)

My findings only, of course.....
Hey, anyone notice the two blind guys bumping around the hotel? One of them was me, the other was our friend Guidocorona. I was shocked by all the Wilson speakers in that I liked them a lot and had never before liked any I've heard at dealers. The Sophias, I thought, sounded great in the too-small Audio Research room. The Maxx and WP8s were nothing short of spectacular, IMHO.
Favorites for me were the Thiel 3.7s driven by Simaudio electronics and the two Soundings rooms with Vienna Acoustics speakers well setup. The Ask-the-Editors forum with the TAS crew was also fun. It was nice to meet them as nice, normal, if such can be said about audiophiles, guys.
Pscialli - I did notice one blind gentleman on Sunday, although I don't know who it was.

I too found the Wilsons to sound exceptional. Never really liked them much before, but the Maxx and Sophias were very impressive.
Did anyone hear Nick Doshi ALAAP preamp, presented by Paragon Audio, with ATC speakers and Once Analog TT?
I'd be curious to hear opinions?
Unfortunately, I couldn't attend myself.
No one so far has mentioned my favorite room---the Symposium/Emotive Audio room. The combination of the Symposium ribbon tweeter/planar magnetic panels/transmission line subwoofer with Emotive tube electronics and Symposium platforms and racks was a total winner to me. The music had a spine-tingling clarity and realism, even with cd. The speakers won't win any awards for good looks, but I would dearly love to have a set in my music room.


whoever enjoyed the sound in the apogee room i have a question:

was the exhibitor a gentleman who restores apogee speakers
, or is apogee back in production ?
I have a leaflet from the room and their heading is 'Truesoundworks'. They have pricing for the bass panels, Mid+tweeter, midrange, tweeter, but for ribbon pricing one has to call Apogee Acoustics. The models they do are; Caliper, Duetta, Diva, Scintilla and a 'Full range'.
Contact details
Tel:775 267 4244.
Thats all the Info I have, dunno If anyone more clued up than me knows anything else.
Apogee is back in limited production...the new model is called the "Apogee Duetta Encore" ...I think?

I forgot about the Symposium/Emotive Audio room. I loved that room!

Maril555, I visited the Doshi/ATC room. Nick is a delightful guy. They had the Active 100's playing and the Once TT, which I mentioned above. Great sound in that room, not surprisingly.
Graz in Australia now has the Apogee brand name and has a couple of models, the most recent being a brand new from the ground up/ more powerful magnets Duetta Encore which was supposed to be at the show but didn't make it in time. Rich, who was at the show, was displaying a rebuilt Duetta with Graz ribbons, essentially a new speaker/crossover but with the old Duetta frame and magnets. Rich at the info from Gawdbless above would be the one to contact about Graz new speaker and /or rebuilds of the older Apogees.
Hi RMAF'07 attendees,

Has anyone heard Danny Ritchie's latest speaker designs at RMAF? His GR Research LS-9 speakers were partnered with Red Rock amplifiers and his LS-6 speakers were partnered with Gary Dodd's amplifiers. Any feedback on these two speakers? I was not able to attend this year and I am curious as to how the GR Research speakers sounded to everyone. Thanks a lot!
For info on new Apogee Acoustics speakers:

For replacement ribbons:

For rennovation of your present Apogee speakers:
>> 10-16-07: Peepoy2
>> Hi RMAF'07 attendees,

>> Has anyone heard Danny Ritchie's latest speaker designs
>> at RMAF? His GR Research LS-9 speakers were partnered
>> with Red Rock amplifiers and his LS-6 speakers were
>> partnered with Gary Dodd's amplifiers.

Yes, I did hear the LS-6 paired w/ Dodd's 280W/ch monos. I personally thought that the sound was pretty good. I cannot give any more definition to my explanation 'cuz there was standing room only when I walked in & I was onto 1 side. The sound was very good where I stood. Can't comment on the timbre/tonality, etc.
RMAF 07 – My Favourites:

Horn Loudspeakers:
The Cogent Horns fed by Chris Brady’s electronics & Teres Model 360 TT. Very life-like, no horn shout & superb PRaT. I kept coming back to this room whenever I’d take a break. That told me something about the sound.
The Classic Audio Reproductions came a very close 2nd. The had all the same attributes as the Cogent Horns but the Cogent was better to my ears.

Planar/Metal Ribbon Loudspeakers:
Hands down – the Apogee Acoustics Duetta speakers fed by all Audio Research gear. Rick Murray & his team did an excellent job re-finishing that Duetta Signature speaker in an automotive finish. The sound was totally dynamite. I was smitten!

Integrated Amplifiers:
Hands down – the Luxman 30W/ch playing thru Vivid loudspeakers demo’d on the Mezzanine floor. This was a kick-butt (pun intended) class-A amp that could bring the house down SPL-wise. Besides the bass quantity, the overall sound was excellent. It was not just the bass.

Here there was no clear winner for me as I liked several designs –
The Raven AC 3M,
Thom’s/Galibier Gavia,
Redpoint’s Model A in Dan Wright’s room,
The very unassuming TT in Berning’s room w/ that Allaerts MC1B cartridge (loved the sound of this cartridge!),
The Super Scout Master w/ the strain gauge cartridge,
Chris Brady’s Teres Model 360
just to name a few.

I got several opportunities to hear a Schroeder tonearm & I liked it each & every time I heard it. I think that I heard a Reference model every time except 1-2 times when I heard the Model 2. There was correctness about the sound thru it & it was always rich & full-bodied. Great arm!

Complete Systems:
Here again there were no clear favourites for me. I heard a lot of excellent amplification -
* The Art Audio Vivo sound is stuck in my head. Maybe it was the ModWright – ArtAudio combination that worked superbly with each other?
* Another sound that is stuck in my head is the new Berning Quadrature Z $30K power amps. The sound of these amps is simply excellent & without fault. I spent a good bit of time w/ Allan Bhagan talking about the ZH270 & the latest Quadrature Z amps. We had a very amicable long chat (Thanks very much Allan! ).
* The Mark Levinson-WA Sophia was another great combination. I surprised myself by actually liking the Sophia sonics!
* The ARC HT200-WA Sophia was yet another great combination.
* I’ve already mentioned my viewpoint on the ARC HT200-Apogee combination.
* Yet another great sounding system was the Shanling-Selah Audio Galena (a slight bass boominess – the room?) because it produced great sound for an affordable amount of money.
* The McIntosh room down in the Lobby area. We heard some tracks from Chris Botti’s album & a track from an album called “Vertigo”. Also several tracks played by the person demo’ing the gear (I did not get his name but it looked like either was a McIntosh employee or a long-time dealer).
* The Gershman-Clayton Audio room sounded very good to me. Very life-like & with music flowing effortlessly. Terry Rossen & Ofra Gershman very personally running the demos.
* The Art Audio-Dadaelus room was very good sounding. They were using a Bluenote Koala CDP. On the day I visited they had the 845 mono driving the larger Dadaelus speakers. Very musical, emotional. Other than the track that was playing when I came in which was bass heavy that showed me that the 50W/ch 845 were no bass slouches, we played tracks from The Michael Wolff Trio “2AM”.

I heard some great digital gear spanning from Wadia’s 581SE to more modestly priced Oppo & Original players.
I also really liked the Squeezebox in stock & modified form (as in ModWright’s room).
The player from Nova Physics was yet another great music server.
The Abbington Music Research CDP also sounded good. It was surprising to see just how many rooms had the AMR CDP!

Cone/Dynamic Loudspeakers:
Green Mountain Audio’s Calypso was my favourite. You all could say that it is a biased view ‘cuz I own Green Mountains myself. So be it!
I heard several excellent cone/dynamic speakers but the Calypso sounded the best & the most life-like of them all and that too w/ very modest electronics & an older Sony CDR source.
Did anyone here happen to listen to my prototypes in the BPT room - 9014? You'd remember if you did, the only red speakers at the whole show :-) If so, I'd love feedback ... good or bad. I only heard good from people I talked to, maybe everyone was just being nice.
Bombaywalla, Just to clarify the Redpoint in Dan Wright’s room was a Model SC = "Spoiled Child" not a Model A.
I have already posted on another thread my impressions of the Acapella speakers so will not bore you with a repetition. I would like to mention one particular room that I felt was exceptional in that it finally seemed to capture the promise of a full range, cross-overless, single driver speaker. Joe Cohen of Prana, Oyaide, Acrolink fame (Lotus) was showing a number of Feastrex (probably mispelled) single driver speakers. One in particular (the 9") was damaged on the way to the show but the builder was present and able to repair it. The cabinet (a proto-type arrived late and the speakers were up and running late Friday and did not initially sound like anything special. By Saturday they were making lovely music. I have heard and ocassionally loved Lowthers but never thought that they were truly full range. The Feastrex 9" drivers in what appeared to be a ported enclosure were absolutely lovely. They had some of the best, most impactful, tightest controlled bass that I have ever heard if somewhat limited in absolute extension. Joe played a Japanese drum record which I would usually dismiss as boring. In this instance, the sound was rivetting. Although the Wilson watt Puppies have never been my personal cup of tea, they have always with the right amp been an excellent speaker to produce drums and other percussive instruments with very steep waveforms. The Weastren beat the Wilson in this area by a handy margin. They were equally good throughout the midrange and most of the treble (a place that single drivers seem to normally have a problem). Again, struck instruments such as triangles were excellent. Female voices and piano were also lovely. The speakers were being driven by Lamm ML2.1 amps, an Abbington CD player (seen in many other rooms and always sounding good), Joe's Prana gabling and various tweaks fromAcoustic Revive. By the way, these speakers employed field coil drivers, i.e. rather than permanent magnets, the magnet was hooked to a power source and the flux stength was adjustable. The bad news is that these drivers are handbuilt in relatively small quantities from expensive materials and retail at $35k per pair which includes the enclosure. For me this was one of the best sounds at the show.
>> 10-17-07: Audiobugged
>> Bombaywalla, Just to clarify the Redpoint in Dan
>> Wright’s room was a Model SC = "Spoiled Child" not a
>> Model A.

thanks for the correction Audiobugged.
Hello Turbofc3s,

I heard The Red Speakers in room 9014 and liked them quite a bit. They were very dynamic and open-sounding, and I didn't hear anything that sounded "wrong" and spoiled the illusion. I wanted to stay longer in your room, but had very limited time away from mine. What is their projected price range? And... what is their official name?

Other speakers I liked included (in no particular order) Sonic Weld, Tonian Labs, Tyler Acoustics, Cogent, Selah, Classic Audio Reproductions, GR Research, Acoustic Horn, MBL, Gershman Acoustics, Daedalus, and Emerald Physics (disclaimer - I'm now a dealer for the latter). I'm probably forgetting some, and there were many rooms that I didn't get to. I was on the same floor as Jim Salk and Bastani, for instance, and didn't get to their rooms. Arrrrgh!

This was my fourth RMAF and overall it was highly enjoyable, as always. In this neck of the woods (Denver) it seems audio enthusiasts are far and few between. So, it was nice to commune with brethren of like mind. Speaking of which, it sure would be nice to have a few more of the fairer gender about, especially when you're crammed like sardines in a tiny room with 20 other middle-aged men. Did anyone else notice the demographic: almost without exception the attendees were white men 40 - 60. Why aren't the "kids" interested in at least seeing/hearing high-end equip???

I found about 40% of the rooms playing drums, tech sounds and anything but music. 20% of the rooms were playing nothing. I REALLY wanted to hear the Merlin speakers as their following is so devoted. The attendant decided everyone needed a lecture...even when he finally decided to play something.

I also get the impression reps want to show off when they have an interested party by speaking so loud no one else can hear what is playing. Would it make more sense to simply step outside to discuss the details? Are they afraid someone will steal something? or damage their equip. Ego before courtesy, I suppose.

Enough ranting. IMO the best ballroom setup was the two years Avalon demo'd their 5.1 system with the organ music. I live for moments when I can be part of the music rather than listen to it and this equipment/sound was transcending.

I cannot believe no one has mentioned the Guru speakers. Itty bitty little monitors that I defy anyone to identify as such if they were positioned behind a cloth panel. Incredibly good sound and at $2k (show special) the hands-down value leader of the event.

Best sound at show for me four years running has been a tie between the Karma Grand Ceramique sp? and the mbl speaker room. Most realistic, you are part of the sound experience, for me.

I’ve never been a panel speaker fan but the Apogee Duetta's were outstanding. Big, open, realistic. Could have used another sub or two.

Sure would like to hear the Maxx2 speakers when they sound good. I know they have the potential to but so far, no go at this show. As others have said...too loud.

Nordost room - does anyone else agree the rep likes hearing his voice more than anything else. Every year there is less and less music in that room and there is some fine equipment in there.

I love this show and appreciate the time and effort it takes to make it happen.
Just a note about the Apogees. The room needed to be far larger for the planar to create the bass that is possible. I have my rebuilt Scintillas 6 feet from the backwall. In the setup you heard, I agree that the bass was lacking.
Mdhoover: Rao Audio just launched their company on the first day of the show. VERY nice sounding room in my opinion, for what it's worth. What did other attendees think of Rao Audio? Was anyone else as impressed as I was with their room?

Did you take any brochures or contact information? I can't google a web page for them.
Hey Duke, thanks again for coming down to listen to my creation ... and thanks for the kind words. The dynamics especially have spoiled me already. I've never had anything this dynamic, it's addictive!

We don't have a name yet, but they'll be sold through BPT. And the projected price is just a hair under $3000/pair. A lot of people told me I should charge much more than that, but I'm in a fortunate position of not really needing to make money off them ... I just want to do something fun and cool!

BTW Duke, I still think yours was one of the top 10% of rooms there. I'd give yours the edge over Emerald Physics too, their tweeter has some grain to it, especially if the volume is turned up. Your tweeter felt much smoother. Bravo Duke!
Refering to Rao Audio:
"Did you take any brochures or contact information? I can't google a web page for them."

I thought I had taken some literature but apparently not. At least I couldn't find any in the red WBT bag. I also tried to Google them, even trying as a search term and had no luck either. Sorry.
Walked in not knowing prices of anything, the MBL suite to me was awesome. Really liked the Mcintosh room they had those MC501's hitting 500 watts quite easily, Stevie Ray Vaughn was very much alive in that room.

I had never heard quad's before, that was an unexpected surprise, such clarity but not pushed in any one directions.

The Reimyo room was I think my favorite, I think :-)

I love Nordost, but the Odin's weren't my bag, though I can see what they are doing. 15,000 owwww!!!!!!

I wanted to hear what Accuphase sounded like but the Wilson room looked like they were just using it for a transport. I had never seen one before and they exude class, and the drawer movement was so high tech smooth, I just had to wonder what the player sounded like.

The whole thing felt like a Dorm room party with out the alcohol. :-)
Refering to Rao Audio:
"Did you take any brochures or contact information? I can't google a web page for them."

I thought I had taken some literature but apparently not. At least I couldn't find any in the red WBT bag. I also tried to Google them, even trying as a search term and had no luck either. Sorry.

The name is Rau Audio. I had it spelled incorrectly (oops, my mistake). Anyway, here's the site's url:

Here's a link: