Anyone going to the Rocky Mountain Audio show 10/6

Discussion in 'Events & Happenings' started by Bahamayellow, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. Bahamayellow

    Bahamayellow Active Member

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    The Rmaf show is going on next weekend. Just wondering if anyone's going. I'm going. I like seeing stereo equipment that costs more than my house lol. It's good to see current trends also.
     
  2. soundmig

    soundmig AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Bahamayellow .... I will be going along with a friend who is also an audio nut.
     
  3. Bahamayellow

    Bahamayellow Active Member

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    Cool will be interesting to see what they bring. I also like the forums there if they are interesting.
     
  4. soundmig

    soundmig AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Yes, the various seminars / forums can be quite good. I've found that they often help to elucidate some of the "why's" in audio. That is that those from the business side sometimes explain why some things that make no sense to us Hobbyists are the way that they are. As always I will be keeping an eye out for those affordable gems that give a solid glimpse into the high performance world of audio. Company's like Schiit, iFi and HSU sometimes have pretty low dollar gear that is surprisingly "high-end" in performance. I'm not one to spend Tens of Thousands of dollars (let alone hundreds of thousands) on audio equipment. As such the show is great in that it allows you to hear that high-end gear and then put the performance of high value (low dollar) gear into perspective. Of course, the room acoustics are not always that good .... but it is a pretty "real world" situation in that the rooms are not "specially designed" for audio purposes. Anyway ... its always an entertaining three days.
     
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  5. soundmig

    soundmig AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    OK so I went to RMAF once again this year. The crowds seemed smaller this year - not good.

    There was a lot of good sound this year, but there was also more than the normal number of not so good sounding displays too. I would say that about 70% of the set-ups (regardless of total $$$) were too bright for my tastes.

    As I mentioned above, I tend to look for high value equipment. There were a couple of items that seemed to fit that bill. The $5000 "affordable" system room was quite pleasant. It featured Music Hall electronics, Dana Cables and Aurum Cantus Speakers. The $1800/pr Aurum Cantus speakers (M-103SE) were surprisingly extended on top with a good midrange "flesh" to the sound and some believable heft on the bottom - quite nice, musical and very surprising. All of the above are available through Audiophile Direct. The new "higher priced" Andrew Jones designed coaxial models from Elac were also impressive at the price point. The floor standers are $5K/pr and the stand mounted version is $2.5K/pr. - very impressive for the money.

    While not budget speakers, the newest Revel speakers (prototypes) I believe are model F228's??? Kevin Voekes (sp?) (designer of many famous speakers) is on the design team and was demonstrating them. The Revel's were fantastic. I'm not sure of the price, but one of my audiophile friends said they are in the $10K range (if so that's a bargain).

    Other rooms that I though sounded good where: the Acoustic Sounds/Sony room; Air Tight/Accuphase/Piega room; Assistance Audio room (North American Distributor of BMS speaker components); Audio Limits/Audio Den/Thrax Audio room; Crescendo Audio/Dynaudio/Rogue/Ayre room (new Dynaudio Contour 20 demo); EMM Labs/Sony room ($$$$? - if you have to ask!); GamuT room (big smooth sound!); Harbeth/Vinni Rossi room (30.2's sang here!); Joseph Audio room; Kevro (Monitor Audio) room (silver 300's sounding very nice @ $2K); Legacy Audio Room; PureAudioProject Room (Open Baffles); Raidho Acoustics Room; The Bob Carver Company room (capt. Bob was there!); the Vandersteen/VAC room; Zu Audio room (new Druid VI); Xact/Schroder/Zu room (Schroder linear tracking pivot arm - was very cool) (Sound was visceral). There were others that were nice but I failed to note them in my program book.

    There were a couple of disappointments relative to my experience in previous years. The Acoustic Zen speakers were inexplicably bright this year ... I don't get it as they didn't sound that way last year. I was also a bit disappointed in the overall presentation of sound in the Schiit/Salk room. While it sounded very good, it was just too bright which made the midrange "body" drop out .... maybe my ears were off at that point of the show???

    I was visually impressed by the E.A.T. turntables (at nearly affordable prices) but didn't get to hear them. Anyway, it was a fun time as always.

    If you get a chance to go to one of these shows - do it!!!

    If you want more detail on anything above I'll elaborate to the best of my memory. Keep in mind these were auditioned in "show" conditions mostly with somewhat unfamiliar music .... and its just my opinion of what I "heard" at the time I visited the room. Your experience may well have been different - and that is fine :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
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  6. Hajidub

    Hajidub He's a beast! Subscriber

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    Can't read without paragraphs...lol....sorry.
     
  7. soundmig

    soundmig AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Is that any better?
     
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  8. phantomrebel

    phantomrebel Serial Tapist Subscriber

    Thanks for the review Soundmig. I was going to go again this year but didn’t really want to drive the 3 hr. In retrospect, I probably should’ve since crowds were low. I wanted to see some of the analog tape exhibitors and a few new turntables on my list. A few people I’ve only spoken with by phone or email I would have liked to meet as well.
    Next year for sure!
     
  9. soundmig

    soundmig AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    There was a good amount of analog tape in use at the Show. The GamuT room used it to great effect (amazing sound), and the Acoustic Sounds/Sony room was playing an Acoustic Sounds Tape (imagine that) on a Stellavox R2R - and it sounded amazing. There were a lot of turntables in use also - mostly to very good effect. Hopefully you can go next year! I'm sure the 3 hour trip is a bit of a haul - maybe you could go in Friday morning (show starts on Friday at noon) and grab a hotel for Friday night. Friday is pretty light since a lot of locals are "working", so you can cover a lot of ground during those 7 hours. Go Friday Noon to 7 and Saturday 9 to 6 and you could see everything that you want to see - I think.
     
  10. Bahamayellow

    Bahamayellow Active Member

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    Thanks for the write up. I was there as well and took a listen to a lot of rooms. I liked how a lot of rooms didn't play their normal elevator music that puts a person to sleep. Some rooms were putting their systems to the test with drums and fast paced jazz. And had some current music from this year. What a concept. Here are a few pics I took.

    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
     
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  11. 7.62

    7.62 Gearhead Subscriber

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    Man, I had to do my grandfathers 100th birthday or I would have been there. Sure would have been nice to meet you guys. I’m going next year. It’s been a huge bucket list for me.

    Thanks for sharing !
     
  12. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Well RMAF is pricing themselves out of the market. In talking with some companies at AXPONA, they said the problem is the Hotel is away from the airport and you have no control of your equipment (they pick it up and move it to the hotel - + cost) also they charge double what AXPONA does. This is killing RMAF.
     
  13. soundmig

    soundmig AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Most everything in the Denver area is a long way away from the Airport .... ughhhh. They are building a big hotel/convention center complex near the Airport entrance/exit - maybe they can move RMAF over there??? It would certainly be more convenient for everyone (including me)! RMAF didn't look to be "Killed" (not yet anyway) from the Vendor point of view as there were tons of those - but the consumer attendance was lighter this year. There were some obvious missing companies (like Magnepan and Hsu). I would imagine that, as consumer attendance declines, the Audio Companies will be less willing to spend the bucks to attend and that would be sad. I've really enjoyed having this show in our area for such a long time. I won't ever buy most of what is displayed as it is far too expensive to justify, but its nice to have the opportunity to see and hear many of the "best" available equipment offerings. If Axpona survives and RMAF doesn't - I guess I'll have to make an annual pilgrimage to the Chicago area instead.
     
  14. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    RMAF is still double the price of AXPONA (for a vendor AXPONA is 2500 USD and they can deal with their own equipment. At RMAF you pay 5K and then pay the people to gorilla your equipment around - they will not let you deal with your own equipment until it is in the room - this pisses the Vendors off - you also have to wait until the movers can get to your equipment). The people who own RMAF are using as a cash cow. The people from AXPONA want to make it the biggest audio show in NA (think the Munich show).

    I think what will happen is there will be shows on the coasts (LA and DC) and then AXPONA.

    Like I said, vendors are sick of RMAF because it is too expensive for what you get (the big vendors are saying that too). I know some personally, that is why I am saying this.
     
  15. soundmig

    soundmig AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm not disagreeing with you, I'll just hate to see RMAF go away if it does.

    Also, I just saw on Stereopile's site that Magnepan did have speakers there in an Aurender room that I didn't bother to go into ... oops!
     
  16. biscuithead

    biscuithead Me likes the eargasm retroplasm... Subscriber

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    I missed it. I am actually impressed with myself for forgetting about it... maybe I'm getting better:dunno:.
     
  17. racca

    racca Active Member

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    This year was my 4th time attending RMAF. Attendance seemed down from 2014, which was the last time I went. It did feel like there were more younger attendees, which is always good. Definitely fewer exhibitors this year. I think I overheard that there were 40 fewer rooms than last year. Given the info botrytis shared, this isn't surprising. The hotel redesign did not do RMAF any favors. A lot of the rooms now have very awkward shapes, with unmovable furniture and the large A/C columns.

    I didn't attempt to visit every single room; there isn't enough time to really sit down and listen to everything. I've tried to do it before and it's not worth it. This year I went with the intent to visit some specific rooms to talk about specific brands, and then to wander a bit and look for really good affordable gear. The ones I most enjoyed:

    Harman Luxury Audio Group: This was mentioned before, but they were showing prototype Revel Performa3 F228s, which are due out later this year with a list price of $10k. Now, I am biased towards Revel, as I run a pair of M105s myself, but I thought this was easily the best sound at the show. I also took advantage of having Kevin Voecks there and spent a few hours on Saturday and Sunday picking his brain about a wide variety of topics, from speaker design, to room acoustics, to how their subwoofers are designed, to the acquisition by Samsung. It was hugely informative, and the show gave me access that I would never have had otherwise.

    Schiit/Salk Sound: I'm again biased here, but for the money, this was a damn fine sounding room. I spent a good amount of time in here poking and prodding at the electronics. There is a Schiit Saga and Freya among my future purchases. I find it hard to argue against the amount of value they provide for the money. Salk isn't my favorite speaker company, in large part because I don't care for ribbon tweeters, but the woodworking is impeccable.

    Technics: I had heard conflicting reports on how good their new bookshelf speakers were. They're good. They're really good. And while I'm currently not using vinyl in my system, if I ever do get a turntable the SL-1200GR will be on my short list.

    Vanatoo: I knew nothing about this company going in. I had seen their speakers listed on "best computer speakers of 20XX" lists. If one of the company owners hadn't been in the hall and asked if I wanted to hear some active speakers, I may have skipped the room. They were showing their new Transparent Zero speakers, which put out a huge amount of sound for their size. They were demoing the speakers with and without a subwoofer, and the subwoofer is an absolute necessity for anything other than nearfield desktop use, but for the size and the money they were phenomenal.

    AudioEngine: The Vanatoo speakers sound better overall, but the AudioEngine HD3s are about the same size and provide more flexibility. My use case for computer speakers is a bit of an edge case -- I want to be able to hear the outputs from two computers simultaneously. The HD3s would let me do that, and have a built-in headphone amp. I will be purchasing a pair of these at some point.

    Elac Audio: I didn't care for the new Adante speakers. I'm not convinced that placing drivers in vented boxes behind passive radiators produces any real tangible benefit, and might even be detrimental to bass quality. But the rooms showing the Debut and Uni-Fi were both great fun.

    There are many others that I enjoyed to some degree. I thought the Wilson Alexia 2s in the Wilson/Nagra room were pretty good, but for $50k+ they damn well had better be. Zu Audio's room was fun, as always. I check in with the XactAudio guys every time I go, and they were great to visit with.

    And, as always, there were some rooms that were truly bad, and a lot of rooms that were just plain boring. Overpriced and boring, for that matter.
     
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  18. Bahamayellow

    Bahamayellow Active Member

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    i liked the technics room also. I thought the room sounded better than last year. I would love to do a comparison between my 1200 and the new ones would be interesting. I thought they could have picked some better artists to showcase the turntable. Kind of blue sounded great while the other records sounded dead. The clear audio and new Rega RP6 would sound pretty good for the same money. All these are around 1700. I have 2 nice 1200s but going for something different next year. The Rega RP3 or RP6 is what my eye on. I wouldn't be opposed to the clear audio or EAT EITHER.

    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
     
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  19. sanford12

    sanford12 Old Stuff New Stuff As long as it's Good Stuff Subscriber

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    Some photos from 2015 and short opinion.
    Brother and I both looked at each other and went WOW!!! Best of show for me
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    Runner up. Unassuming but a killer system. Blues in Orbit on vinyl was a jaw dropper
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    This one surpised me. Very good.
    [​IMG]

    Terrible
    [​IMG]

    Meh
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Wildcat

    Wildcat Spring ain't here... Subscriber

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    I was close by, but on a vacation and it was not in the plans. Had I planned things a week later, I could have swung it for a day. RMAF is still a bucket list show for me. Nice to see the photos here!

    RMAF is losing attendees like others because there are now a few too many shows out there, and vendors can't afford to display at them all. This has been discussed in the audio press. I mean, how many do they have in California now? And on the east coast? And, how close together are they on the calendar? A couple are almost back-to-back. AXPONA is OK for what it is, but I'm still not impressed that many actual manufacturers (or their reps) are not there, only dealers. For some of the rooms, I would like to meet some of the people behind the products, not some dealers who throw together a mish-mash of whatever they sell, and only know the bullet points and prices of the products, not the technology behind them. I still go because it's close by and I get to meet up with friends and acquaintances, and the price of admission is not bad at all.
     

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