We covered 99% of the rooms at RMAF…but first Denver…
My favorite drug starts with the letter “W.” It ain’t what you’re thinking. Although the Mile-High City is known for their cannabis-infused everythings, my heart belongs to whiskey. My poison of choice is a nice glass of Springbank 21 single malt. As far as American single malt, Stranahan’s is well respected in this space. They’re also known for their multi-night lines for their annual Snowflake whiskey releases. It all started when Jess Graber made an effort to save George Stranahan’s barn from a fire. They connected over the Colorado outdoors and whiskey and the rest was history. We visited their distillery on South Kalamath Street and opted for their tour. Their mastery of the process is evident from the giant temperature-controlled stainless steel fermenters to the barrels with #3 alligator char. We also got a sneak peek at their new Sherry line. The meticulous attention to detail and passion for whiskey is realized in each bottle. I would highly recommend this tour whenever you’re in Denver.
The other chamber of my heart belongs to burgers. We have a ton of options in Los Angeles (Golden State being one of my top picks) but it seems like all signs point to Cherry Cricket in Denver. There was no wait, great homey atmosphere, fantastic service, and most importantly, a damn tasty burger. Unlike most burgers these days, you could taste each layer from lettuce to sauce to meat.
To top off our explorations around town the first night, we were also able to catch Chicago at the convention center. They’ve still got it!
I understand it’s tough for some of these rooms to sound their best but those who go to great lengths to treat the room are rewarded with attendees who spend more than 2 minutes in the sweet spot. Many of the rooms were overly harsh and a few unbearable but I don’t feel it’s entirely the fault of the exhibitors. Vendors who were forced to place absurdly giant speakers in a tiny room, you are surely forgiven. Therefore I opted for more audio porn over audio impressions 🙂
Unlike most show coverages, I’m just going to caption photos. I’ll add more details over the next few days.
Thank you for the Kind words about our room being the biggest surprise! Quicksilver amps as an important part of the system! The Spendor speakers are A4 not D4 – they are a fun captivating speaker. Sorry we did not have any components with zirconium !
I’ve corrected the typo. Thank you for setting up such an enjoyable listening experience. 🙂
Beautiful photo’s, thanks!
Amazing show report – so many pictures!
Agreed, Stereophile writers are so full of themselves with their blathering prejudicial adjectives, which room, music or presenter didn’t strike their fancy, not giving systems a chance to redeem themselves, lousy photography, plus the endless model numbers and price listing’s make for a difficult translation of experience.
Your approach is uplifting and positive for it’s been said “a picture tells a thousand words”.
I appreciate that David. I think these show reports are complementary across all the other publications. We’re just trying to paint an insightful picture for our readers. Luckily I don’t have “assignments” and post whatever I think will bring more value to my readers. I personally feel it’s difficult to isolate which component you’re hearing in the room. I could make a speaker sound warmer or brighter with a swap of a power cable. That’s why the Synergistic Research and Nordost demos were so enlightening, adding/removing one component at a time. This also applies to headphones. However, when a system sounds great notwithstanding these show conditions, that’s when I zoom in. 🙂
Great photos! I appreciate all the details as well. I hope you don’t mind if I repost a few with credit.
Be my guest, Will! Really enjoyed the ZOTL10 Mk.II at this show and your headphone amp with the ZMF headphones and HD650s at a previous show. I believe it was a San Diego cable booth.
I was at the show and thought the best speakers were the Lumen White, Monitor Audio, Tekton DIs, Revels, and the B&O powered speakers. The Micromega all in one system was very impressive. Thanks for the nice show report.
Thanks, Rob. I spent a bit of time in the Micromega room as well. Impressive sound for such a minimalistic setup. He also demoed the effects of the IsoAcoustic Gaia(?). The Lumen White had a realism I didn’t hear in most rooms.
Just to say sincere thanks for all your efforts – the best coverage of RMAF so far.
I do some reviewing myself (for 6moons) and I would love to have been there myself, but the 4.5k miles that lie between Glasgow and Denver proved a flight too far, at least this time around.
Interesting too to see Gryphon touching down in the States. I worked at their sole UK dealership for six years so I know the brand inside out. Also, it’s always nice to read about Tannoy sounding good in far flung places, because the factory is just a ten minute stroll from my front door.
Finally & coincidentally – we share a favourite in Springbank 21; seriously it’s been my #1 dram for many years. Although I more often ‘make do’ with the 15yr old if funds are tight, which is to say usually!
All the very best.
Hey Bill, you know what they say, great whiskey palates have great ears. 😉 I was impressed with rich textures of the Gryphons at the show. Tannoys have a similar sweet and meaty tone. Never been to Glasgow but you’re very close to ALL the whiskey action. I’ll plan a trip to Scotland one of these days. Let me know which show you’ll be attending next and we’ll hang.
Any trip to Scotland and I’ll happily be your whisky guide, absolutely. And if I do make it to the States I will definitely give you a shout. Keep up the good work. All the very best.
Your observations and kind words for the Merging Technologies room reflect some of the same comments we received from many music lovers as they visited our room. Thanks for taking the time
On behalf on VANA, the North American Distributor for Audio Physic, thank you for visiting our room and pointing out the beautiful Avantera III Loudspeakers:)
and the CODEX!