RMAF 2018 was a show of product debuts, multi-channel music, active speakers, history, and the constant push forward in HiFi. RMAF will be relocated to the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in 2019 – only a few miles from the airport. Not sure what this will mean for the exhibitors and attendees – we’ll see.
We spent more time getting to know the exhibitors at the show, listening to music, and just grabbing food and drinks around town. Although hotel rooms are terrible for sound, 99% of the rooms we visited sounded pretty damn good.
We covered most of our impressions in this videos so we’ll be just filling the gaps here. If you haven’t done so already, check out our video coverage of the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest! Make sure to subscribe as we’ll be creating more content very soon.
For now, we’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
High Fidelity Services debuts the Verity Audio‘s Statement Monsalvat System. At 99 dB sensitivity and 663 lbs a pair, this system is Verity Audio’s cost-no-object, musically uncompromising project. It took 10 years – but it was worth it. In addition to the speakers are Verity Audio’s own six-channel preamp and amplifiers. There are quad-15″ woofers at each of the two corners – which could also be laid out horizontally. This blankets the room with world-class, full-range sound that’s difficult not to appreciate. A system value of $1,115,405.
Gobel High End‘s Flagship – The Epoque Aeon Reference loudspeakers ($220,000). At the core, we have the “Carbon Excellence Aeon” bending wave driver – which aims to recreate the most natural sound. To achieve homogeneous sound dispersion and low-frequency stimulation of room modes, there are 12 custom built Gobel Aeon 7-inch long throw aluminum bass drivers. Backed by CH Precision M1 amplifiers, L1 mono preamp, X1 power supplies, D1 transport, T1 master clock, and C1 dual mono DACs. Systvaluedlue at over $600,000 USD. The tonality was more on the transparent, cooler, and articulate side of the spectrum. A sonically technical achiever.
Aaudio Imports brings on an Aurender N10 music server, HB Cable Design PowerSlave Marble MKII power distributor, and Stage III cables. The Wilson Benesch Resolution speakers ($69,500) are driven by pricier Ypsilon Hyperion Mono amplifiers, PST 100 MKII Valve preamp ($37,000), and DAC 1000 Valve DAC ($24,500). System value – ~$360,000. The best this room has ever sounded.
MQA Live at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest – Fun times listening to a live performance by the Misha Mullov-Abbado Group in high-res. I look forward to streaming more concerts in real-time.
Second time listening to these JBL L100 Classics. I really do enjoy the look of the acoustically transparent orange foam. Just a musical pair of speakers. Instead of listening critically, you’re just enjoying the music.
Hoger from Voxativ enjoying some Synergistic Research reel-to-reel…
Auris Poison 8 (~$10,900) – 4 way, 3D loudspeakers. Handmade from natural materials – genuine leather and walnut wood. 91 dB efficient – only a minimum of 10 watts required. Beyma 8″ bass driver, ribbon tweeter, and custom Italian mid driver. There are a dedicated backloaded tweeter and 3D switch on the backside. A gorgeous design.
Only $20,000 for 6 ft – The Synergistic Research SR25 Limited Edition power cord.
Sonus Faber celebrates its 35th anniversary with the Electa Amator III ($10,000, includes marble stands). Gorgeous 2-way with an elegant yet contemporary finish. Great, organic sound from this package, especially for the price.
Voxativ debuts its new 30Wx2, T805 SET Integrated Amplifier ($27,900) and field-coil edition 9.87s. Hoger was kind enough to demo the awesome motorized volume knob on this pure Class-A beast. One of the most eye-catching, and ear-catching setups at the show.
ATC SCM50SE active loudspeakers ($66,000) fronted by ATC’s CDA2 MkII transport, preamp, and DAC ($4,249). I recently reviewed their tiny SCM7 V3 and was thoroughly impressed. These monsters have a much larger sound but still preserves the solidity and “acoustic-gravity” I really enjoy. It just pulls you into the intent and essence of the music.
Anne Bisson has such a wonderful voice. The demo with her song playing off the ~$1 million Focal Grande Utopia EMs setup was close. It wasn’t quite warmblooded enough but naturally analog and resolving – and incredibly immersive. You’re still able to capture the essence of her vocals.
Dragonfire Acoustics Mini Dragon System – Very interesting DSP-calibrated planar magnetic speakers. Impressive sound for such a simplistic package.
Kimber Kables doin’ their thang.
Morrow Audio always representing at the shows.
We had a wonderful time chatting with Dave Morrison from IsoAcoustics. They make some of the best isolators in audio land – I use their Apertas for my nearfields. These GAIA speaker isolation platforms are huge – and impressive.
IsoAcoustics demonstration – The differences were obvious.
SPL Phonitor 2 and friends!
Focal Kanta N3 ($12,000) – A fun and bombastic sound for the price – with an attractive design to boot. We’re sold!
PS Audio DirectStream P20 Power Plant
Arnie Nudell’s last prototype singing into the PS Audio room. A wonderful experience.
Espirit Audio – This ethernet cable is priced at ~$2,000…whew. We gotta hear it.
Apertura Audio Armonia loudspeakers (88dB, 8 ohms, 37-30,000 Hz). The Lumin amp wasn’t in the room when we arrived but we were able to give Lumin’s new flagship network music player – the X1, a good listen. We’re hoping to get a review unit in soon.
The sexy new power supply for the Lumin X1.
The best connectors for your DIY projects – Furutech.
We need more 8-outlet power conditioners…
Furutech launches their new e-TP86E(G) passive power distributor. First off, kudos to the 8-outlets. With all this progression in digital audio, we just need more outlets! The footprint is also another plus. It has 8 x Furutech FI-E30(G), 16A high-performance gold-plated Schuko sockets and an FI-06(G) IEC inlet.
The HRT Stage speaker system. I’ve heard these speakers plenty of times and will be reviewing them very soon. You’re in for a treat.
Furutech NCF Boosters – adjustable lifters. Review coming real soon.
Scot Markwell from Elite Audio Video Distribution puts on another impressive demonstration. This custom array of HRT Stage VIII speakers ($650/pr) will melt you in your seat. There are 8 pairs in this setup. Dual REL S/3 powered subwoofers ($2,000 each). Kuzma Stabi R turntable ($8,595), Manley Labs Jumbo Shrimp line stage ($3,995), Plinius Audio SA-201 stereo 200 wpc Class AB amplifier ($6,545). Furutech DPS-4 power cords, e-TP86R power distribution (4 x GTX NCF), and more.
These Wilson Audio TuneTots were beyond impressive – regardless of size. So damn dynamic and naturally smooth. Textures, details, imaging…you get it all. One of the best listening experiences at the show. If you couldn’t tell already, we’re huge fans of the Wilson sound. Octave V80SE 120W tube integrated ($10,500), Ayre Acoustics CX-08 CD player, and EAT C-Major turntable with EAT Jo No. 5 cartridge, E-Glo S phono preamps, and LPS power supply. Cardas and Shunyata cabling.