Falcon Acoustics – My favorite experience at RMAF 2018 – The ultimate juxtaposition of LS3/5A monitors with an amazing story. Big thanks go out to Jerry Bloomfield for taking us on a journey.
Nola Metro Grand Reference Gold loudspeakers ($33,000/pr). One of two rooms where we mistakenly thought the subwoofer was included. Nice warm, sweet, and melodic tones with astounding soundstage width.
Wynn Audio never disappoints. Turntable: Thales TTT-Compact II $14,850 Tonearm: Thales Statement tonearm $21,090 Cartridge: EMT JSD-VM $5,000 Phono: Karan Acoustics KA PH1 Phono $15,000 Pre/Power Amp: Karan Acoustics KA-I180 Integrated Amp $10,000 Speakers: Kiso Acoustics HB-X1 with Hawaiian Koa finish $20,000 Accessories: Entreq Poseidon Ground Box $5,000 Cables: ZenSati Seraphim and ZenSati Zorro cables. HUGE sound from tiny speakers. Imaging was done to perfection. Amazing articulation and refinement over the entire spectrum. Very, very impressive.
Wynn Audio’s second room was even more spectacular. CD Player: Kalista DreamPlay One $43,000 Preamp: Karan Acoustics KA L Ref $17,000 Power amp: Karan Acoustics KA S400 $18,000 Speakers: Penaudio Legato Signature $11,000 Cables: ZenSati Seraphim and ZenSati Zorro cables. Aside from the Nola room, this was the only other room I mistakenly thought there was a sub in the room. My jaw dropped at the amount of bass these skinny, little guys were producing. It doesn’t stop there. It was one of those systems that had a nice balance of everything HiFi. A very unassuming setup but one of my favorites at the show.
USA Tube Audio. All new Ayon Audio gear with Lumen Kyara White speakers ($49,900) – Always a fun room. Ayon S-10 network streamer vacuum tube preamp ($8,300), Ayon Auris preamp ($10,500), Ayon Epsilon Gen 4 monoblock amplifiers ($18,000 each).
Abyss Phi CC ($4,995) with JPS Labs Superconductor HP cable.
Abyss Diana Phi – The best look for the Diana.
Real estate is expensive. We need more high-end speakers we could place up against the wall! Here we have the world premiere of the Larsen 9. The beautiful curved wood grain finish, top-of-the-line illuminator ScanSpeak drivers, Danish Jensen crossovers, and Furutech connectors – all contribute to a projection of sound, unlike many others. Very clear, precise, and enjoyable.
DeVore Fidelity Orangutan Reference, 4-piece loudspeaker system. A splendid balance of warmth and clarity. Pricing expected to be ~$80,000.
Parasound showing off their new JC 5 (which we’ve recently reviewed) with Tekton Electron SE ($4,000/pr) loudspeakers and Straightwire cabling. The Aurender A10 was on server duties followed by their new Halo P 6 preamplifier and DAC. Exceptionally smooth and clear sound with wonderful body and dynamics.
VIMBERG Mino loudspeakers ($29,000), TIDAL Audio Preos preamp ($32,900), Impulse Dual monoblocks ($33,000). TW-Acustic Raven AC-1 turntable ($15,500), 10.5 tonearm ($5,500). Transfiguration Proteus cartridge ($6,000). Antipodes DX Gen 3 music server ($7,800). Six-figure TIDAL DNA at a much lower price point.
Hemingway Audio showcased a pair of Tekton Design Encores ($8,000). At this point, I’ve been pretty impressed with the Tekton speakers. Unfortunately, I have Trypophobia, which means I’ll need some grills. Incredible sound from this room. Very, very quiet (I’m guessing it’s the Sound Application power conditioner), perfect imaging, very dynamic, and just addictively transparent. I’ll have to get some of their gorgeous cables in.
The only room with a Sound Application power conditioner – quite possibly the best conditioner on the planet. Starts at $20,000.
Bowers and Wilkins 800 D3, 3-way loudspeakers ($30,000). An elegant display with Simaudio Moon electronics. Didn’t spend much time in this room due to discussions in the room but had enough time to admire these exquisite looking speakers.
I expected a bright sound. I didn’t get one. Very silky, smooth, dense, and resolving from these B&W 606s.
Andrew Jones is demonstrating ELAC‘s new Navis wireless speakers ($2,000/pr). A pure analog signal path. No DSP. Supports Airplay 2, Spotify Connect, Roon, and Bluetooth. Are you embracing this movement towards active speakers? We’re starting to.
These Kanto Tuks pack a punch! Expected to be released early 2019.
Paradigm Persona B in pink…
Paradigm Persona B – On the brighter side of neutral, but fun!
Removable face plate on the Borresen 02 (starts at $45,000)…
Borresen 03 (Starts at $66,000) – 89 dB, 35Hz-50kHz, 4 ohms. A rich and liquid sound. Some of the prettier floorstanders at the show.
Borresen 01 (Starts at $30,000) – 2-way compact monitor. I love the design of these bookshelves.
Benchmark announces their LA4 preamplifier, DAC3 B, and HPA4 headphone amplifier. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with their latest offerings – including their AHB2 power amplifier.
Benchmark AHB2 power amplifier in dual mono mode.
Raidho Room – The new Scansonic HD MB-5B. Aside from the outer appearance, this MB-5B has new drivers, flow-optimized enclosure, and new linear phase crossover design. Euphoric, organic, and sweet.
We never heard the Rockport Cygnus ($62,500) sound this good. Must be that new Nagra HD DAC X ($65,000) or possibly the Nagra HD Monoblock amplifiers ($86,000). Or everything else. Interconnects, phono cables, and power cords were Argento Audio Flow Master Reference (FMR).
High End by OZ plays the Audio Solutions Figaro XL loud and proud. You get a lot of speaker (literally) for only $15,000. Percussions in particular sound powerful on this setup. A very densely melodic signature with sprinkles of transparency and detail.
These Alsyvox Botticelli planar-magnetics ($87,000) driven by Omega Audio Concepts electronics were a pleasant surprise at the show. It’s a 3-way with a woofer panel, mid/tweeter, and super tweeter. It exhibited perhaps the best balance of body, warmth, clarity, brilliance, and imaging. I was captivated by its imagery and ability to paint such an ethereal musical image. One Crazy Rich Asian even asked if they could ship one to Singapore. 🙂 I don’t blame him!
Canton Reference 3k loudspeakers ($15,600) with Esoteric electronics. Systems usually don’t get quieter or more articulate than this. I do prefer a warmer tone but appreciate the level of finesse and tonal clarity. There were fine layers of contrast and acuity that really made this system shine.
Zu Audio – Always bumpin’ some good shit.
Pass Labs XA25 – The centerpiece.
Gryphon Audio Designs debuts their new Zena Preamplifier (starting at $17,500). The system was noticeably clearer, quieter, and more refined over last year. And it sounded great last year. Musical, robust, and seductive. That is the nature of the Gryphon.
The Nordost room (and YG speakers) never sounded this good. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.
Those are some rare JBLs…
Purist Audio Design room was romantic, divine, and emotionally engaging. Difficult to point out any faults in this system.
No music playing when we entered the Legacy Audio/Raven Audio room – but damn, look at those monsters.
Joseph Audio – One of the most stunning floorstanders I’ve ever seen. The Joseph Audio Perspectives ($12,999/pr) fronted by Doshi electronics and Cardas cabling had warm, musical flow, with a subtle sophistication.
Analysis Audio Omega Full Range Planar-Ribbon Loudspeakers ($24,000/pr). Arion Audio HS-500 Monaural amps ($6,295/pr), LS-100 Line Stage ($3,495), JPS Labs power cords, VPI Avenger Reference turntable, RealTraps acoustic treatments, and PonTunes vibration control devices.
The Innuos Statement music server ($13,750). Check out our YouTube video for more info.
This is the best the Well Pleased AV room has ever sounded. Taking note of the Innuos Statement and Qln Prestige Three loudspeakers in the room – and it’s no surprise. One of the most transparent systems at the show. Aside from resolution, its imaging capabilities are world class.
Mr. Audio Bacon himself. An open-minded electrical engineer and software developer by trade. I have an obsession with the enjoyment of all things media - specifically in the realm of music and film. So much heart and soul (and money) go into the creation of this artistry. My aim is to find out which products get me closer to what the musicians and directors intended.