Rocky Mountain Audio Fest-2018--pictures and comments

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#1
Doshi-Joseph Audio--589 (Crested Butte)

saw Myles and Dre there early Friday playing tapes they each brought. very musical system with Doshi electronics, Joseph Audio speakers, and Studer RTR deck. the tapes were 'tasty' sounding and I liked the room. lots to like.

Doshi-2.jpg

Doshi-3.jpg
 
Likes: Skylab

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#2
Aqua, Innuos Electronics and LinnerberG speakers, Well Pleased AV was the presenter--Room 581---quite compelling sound at modest prices. of course, I know the Aqua Formula dac well.....this is the new version.

top level clarity and refinement. impressed with the amplification.

innos.jpg
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#3
Acoustics Arts, German Physiks speakers, vdH Cartridge---room 551----no doubt German Physiks speakers can sound good in almost any tiny room. I think this vdH cart was the Red Crimson.

Physics.jpg
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#4
Botticelli Planars---room 551. worked well with the music they played. has potential but i'm no planar expert. not cheap though.

550.jpg

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bot-2.jpg
 

Ron Resnick

Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
#6
Great reporting, Mike! Thank you!
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
#8
I saw that the four-piece Verity Monsalvat system is on display!
 

GMKF

VIP/Donor
Aug 15, 2017
319
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Munich
#9
I saw that the four-piece Verity Monsalvat system is on display!
I hope they bring it to Munich at some point so I can have a listen.

Mike did you hear the Göbel System ?
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Co-Owner, Administrator
#10
*Monsalvat (I hope they bring it to Munich at some point so I can have a listen)

Mike did you hear the Göbel System ?
Ditto that. I would love to get your thoughts of Elliot's Gobel system room
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,072
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#11
Ditto that. I would love to get your thoughts of Elliot's Gobel system room
3 times so far, better every time.

This morning heard some vinyl which was very good.

Don’t think the room or set up is doing them any favors.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#12
Thanks, Mike.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on these Italian speakers, at some point: http://www.chameleon-audio.com/en/sigma-acoustics-orchestra

These have been mentioned by a couple friends at RMAF thus far.
Was impressed with the sound and build quality. A beauty. Small room and small music so provisional judgements, love to hear them in a larger room and they could be very good. Will post pictures later when I can.

Italians really build neat stuff.
 

c1ferrari

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May 15, 2010
2,025
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#14
Aqua, Innuos Electronics and LinnerberG speakers, Well Pleased AV was the presenter--Room 581---quite compelling sound at modest prices. of course, I know the Aqua Formula dac well.....this is the new version.

top level clarity and refinement. impressed with the amplification.

View attachment 44046
Thanks for the report and pics, Mike. :)
Any idea of the room treatment(s) in this room :confused:
I don't think I've ever seen something like what's in the corners.
 

edorr

WBF Founding Member
May 11, 2010
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#15
Few highlights to report at opposite ends of the price spectrum.

During my first visit, I though the Verity Room (total setup $1.1M) was the best audio I heard in any showroom, show, home EVER. When I went back the 2nd day, it occurred to me the sound was maybe projecting a magnified image (too big) of the music, on small ensemble music. Still, magical and redefined the state of the art in my opinion.

The $2,500 Elac andante produced sound to die for. Not sure to what extent the $30-$50K (I believe) worth of electronics feeding them played a role, but if I ever had to downsize to a 4 figure system, these would be my speakers of choice.

The showcased $7,500 "audio solutions" build in lithuania (not sure what model) speaker could give the usual suspects in the $15-$25K range a run for the money in my opinion.

The sound produced by the diminutive leema audio Xero ($2,000) was sheer magic.

And then there were a number of rooms with $200 - $500K setups that were absolutely unlistenable (I won't mention any names). I guess they will attribute it to show / room conditions....

In conclusion, some breakthrough in price performance and the absolute state of the art, that will eventually have incumbent big names scrambling for survival is they don't keep up with innovation.
 

audioguy

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
2,723
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Near Atlanta, GA but not too near!
#16
And then there were a number of rooms with $200 - $500K setups that were absolutely unlistenable (I won't mention any names). I guess they will attribute it to show / room conditions....
When I attend these shows, and I hear some of the really awful demo rooms, most of the time it is reasonably obvious why. Plus, if there is more than just one system that sounds OK in a room, then why can't most everyone. If the speakers are not meant to be in a tiny room, then show them passively. As the saying goes, "there is no second chance to make a good first impression".

Yes, I was with a manufacture for 10 years where we showed at CES or THE Show, and I know what a pain it is to get reasonable sound. But it is doable. We brought along our own passive room treatment and, of course, very careful room placement.
 
Mar 8, 2018
1
1
3
#18
I don't post much, but I wrote a report on another forum, so some may find it interesting here...

I went to almost every room. Overall, it was a decent show. I’ve been to many shows over more than a couple decades so it really takes a lot for something to standout or be memorable.

Some things were memorable just on a visual basis....but only one room was memorable on both sound quality AND visually....

1. Alsyvox speaksers and Omega electronics

Nothing else was really close soundwise, but it’s a personal preference. I prefer line arrays/ planars ribbons versus all these point source speakers shouting at me.

Visually, they were beautiful and the electronics were exceptionally designed (internally and externally). The server (not hooked up) actually served as base of a stand which was innovative. They didn’t even bring their top of the line CDP which is amazing looking. Red cables were like arteries going to the equipment -- although it kinda looked like a crime scene with all that red behind the gear.

If I were to rank things that were visually memorable...

1. ESD horns
2. 100lb outboard $20k crossovers with Deulund capacitors for Troy Audio horns
3. Wilson Benesch using Isobaric clamshell for bass
4. Salk speaker finish quality

For those that like horns or conventional point source speakers, I’d give a shoutout to these rooms.

1. High Water Sound - It’s not my cup of tea, but I can appreciate what they were doing and their audience. Played great music and I understand they sold their $60k demo speakers. They were tucked in the corner and really made their room like a retreat and unique. You felt you were in somebody’s apartment listening to good music together. Nobody was talking...just listening...which is a positive sign.

2. Elac - They consistently embarrass all these mega dollar rooms with superior sound at reasonable prices. It’s not just good for the money...it’s good period.

3. Audio Solutions speakers - The second Highend by Oz room had massive 250lb speakers that would appeal to the Magico crowd. I felt these were superior with a unique location of the tweeter below eye level. The thing that stood out most is that they were only $15k, which is still a lot of money, but most 250lb speakers nowadays start at like $50k or more.

4. Audiokinesis - I know Duke from back in his days living in NOLA. Great guy and his speakers never sounded better. They don’t shout at you like most point source speakers and don’t sound as boxy. They give a more realistic and natural presentation. You feel like you are listening to music versus speakers. He probably needs to work on making them sexy looking to entice the mainstream, but those who value good sound will appreciate what he is doing.

5. Nou speaker drivers - I was surprised by this room and the technology behind their drivers. Something to keep an eye on.

6. Kanto - A very nice all-in-one active speaker, DAC and even a phono stage for the teen/college crowd. Picking one up for my daughter. Their biggest model is no joke for ~ $700. The super cheap ones around $350 are less impressive, but great for tight budgets.


Other things that caught my attention....

1. 64 Audio Tia Fourte in-ear headphones - I’ve never heard ANY headphones sound better period. Those headphones with a simple cell phone sounded FAR better than virtually any room at the show. It wasn’t even close. It’s amazing what can be achieved with headphones nowadays, and you also have the advantage of taking the room out of the equation. I’m now an owner of these headphones and couldn’t take them out my ear the entire flight home from RMAF. Pricey but where else can you get this performance???

2. Kirmuss - I’m not even a vinyl guy, but this guy was interesting to talk to and tireless in doing demos of his record cleaner. You got to give props to guys that will tirelessly explain their product, give details, and not just sit back doing nothing. He was also offering to clean/restore any record you brought him. I learned a few things which is rare after going to decades of shows and visiting countless rooms. Decent price on his product too. I actually picked up a set of his speaker cables just for kicks. I’m not even a big cable guy, but Jena Labs made a similar design that was the bees-knees back in the day, but it cost > $5k. These were super reasonable, and I got them even less than the show special.

3. Reel-to-Reel content by Nagra and Joseph Audio rooms...also Alsyvox did master digital tape demos

I can answer questions about other rooms, but I don’t like to say anything bad about a room (except for snake oil stuff like SR). Show conditions are tough...plus it’s far too hard to make conclusions unless you spend a lot of time and get the sweet spot.

I will say though that PS Audio's speaker is clearly not ready for primetime yet, so it was baffling why they were showing it. It wasn't even visually finished yet and looked to be glued together the night before the show.
 

Attachments

Likes: Duke LeJeune

edorr

WBF Founding Member
May 11, 2010
3,150
0
36
Smyrna, GA
#19
I don't post much, but I wrote a report on another forum, so some may find it interesting here...

I went to almost every room. Overall, it was a decent show. I’ve been to many shows over more than a couple decades so it really takes a lot for something to standout or be memorable.

Some things were memorable just on a visual basis....but only one room was memorable on both sound quality AND visually....

1. Alsyvox speaksers and Omega electronics

Nothing else was really close soundwise, but it’s a personal preference. I prefer line arrays/ planars ribbons versus all these point source speakers shouting at me.

Visually, they were beautiful and the electronics were exceptionally designed (internally and externally). The server (not hooked up) actually served as base of a stand which was innovative. They didn’t even bring their top of the line CDP which is amazing looking. Red cables were like arteries going to the equipment -- although it kinda looked like a crime scene with all that red behind the gear.

If I were to rank things that were visually memorable...

1. ESD horns
2. 100lb outboard $20k crossovers with Deulund capacitors for Troy Audio horns
3. Wilson Benesch using Isobaric clamshell for bass
4. Salk speaker finish quality

For those that like horns or conventional point source speakers, I’d give a shoutout to these rooms.

1. High Water Sound - It’s not my cup of tea, but I can appreciate what they were doing and their audience. Played great music and I understand they sold their $60k demo speakers. They were tucked in the corner and really made their room like a retreat and unique. You felt you were in somebody’s apartment listening to good music together. Nobody was talking...just listening...which is a positive sign.

2. Elac - They consistently embarrass all these mega dollar rooms with superior sound at reasonable prices. It’s not just good for the money...it’s good period.

3. Audio Solutions speakers - The second Highend by Oz room had massive 250lb speakers that would appeal to the Magico crowd. I felt these were superior with a unique location of the tweeter below eye level. The thing that stood out most is that they were only $15k, which is still a lot of money, but most 250lb speakers nowadays start at like $50k or more.

4. Audiokinesis - I know Duke from back in his days living in NOLA. Great guy and his speakers never sounded better. They don’t shout at you like most point source speakers and don’t sound as boxy. They give a more realistic and natural presentation. You feel like you are listening to music versus speakers. He probably needs to work on making them sexy looking to entice the mainstream, but those who value good sound will appreciate what he is doing.

5. Nou speaker drivers - I was surprised by this room and the technology behind their drivers. Something to keep an eye on.

6. Kanto - A very nice all-in-one active speaker, DAC and even a phono stage for the teen/college crowd. Picking one up for my daughter. Their biggest model is no joke for ~ $700. The super cheap ones around $350 are less impressive, but great for tight budgets.


Other things that caught my attention....

1. 64 Audio Tia Fourte in-ear headphones - I’ve never heard ANY headphones sound better period. Those headphones with a simple cell phone sounded FAR better than virtually any room at the show. It wasn’t even close. It’s amazing what can be achieved with headphones nowadays, and you also have the advantage of taking the room out of the equation. I’m now an owner of these headphones and couldn’t take them out my ear the entire flight home from RMAF. Pricey but where else can you get this performance???

2. Kirmuss - I’m not even a vinyl guy, but this guy was interesting to talk to and tireless in doing demos of his record cleaner. You got to give props to guys that will tirelessly explain their product, give details, and not just sit back doing nothing. He was also offering to clean/restore any record you brought him. I learned a few things which is rare after going to decades of shows and visiting countless rooms. Decent price on his product too. I actually picked up a set of his speaker cables just for kicks. I’m not even a big cable guy, but Jena Labs made a similar design that was the bees-knees back in the day, but it cost > $5k. These were super reasonable, and I got them even less than the show special.

3. Reel-to-Reel content by Nagra and Joseph Audio rooms...also Alsyvox did master digital tape demos

I can answer questions about other rooms, but I don’t like to say anything bad about a room (except for snake oil stuff like SR). Show conditions are tough...plus it’s far too hard to make conclusions unless you spend a lot of time and get the sweet spot.

I will say though that PS Audio's speaker is clearly not ready for primetime yet, so it was baffling why they were showing it. It wasn't even visually finished yet and looked to be glued together the night before the show.
I totally second your call on Elac and Audio Solutions setting the price / performance reference. I made and posted the same observation. It is reassuring to know that if I ever go broke and have to liquidate my system, I can get phenomenal sound from a $2,500 pair of Elacs.