• RMAF 2012 Defrag

    Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2012 was stupendous. All kinds of new products including DACs and music servers were seemingly everywhere. Almost every room I entered contained at least one server or a device capable of file playback. There was a nice mix of Mac (Amarra, Pure Music, Audirvana), PC (JRiver), and Linux based servers. It's good to see that no single platform is taking over. Several companies were showing customized Mac, PC, and Linux solutions geared toward audiophile playback. The number of companies offering these servers increased greatly this year compared to the last few years combined. I'm unfamiliar with most of these companies and will need to do some homework researching each product. I wish there was more emphasis placed on service and education from the music server vendors rather than questionable hardware claims and misinformation, but I guess the industry must walk before it can run. My favorite sound of the show was produced by dCS, Wilson Audio, and VTL. A combination of speaker placement and excellent room setup, great gear, and magnificent music placed this room in a league of its own. I spent 20 to 30 minutes playing pure DSD files through the dCS Vivaldi stack. The sound was equal to or better than the best I've heard at an audio show in recent memory. When great care is taken during system setup great sound is possible as evidenced by dCS, Wilson Audio, and VTL. Finally I had a terrific time during my two seminars on computer audio and Blu-ray ripping. I really enjoyed meeting all the gracious CA readers and hope I cleared up a few items for them rather than caused more confusion :~)














    dCS - Vivaldi Disc Player, DAC, Upsampler, Clock
    Wilson Audio - Alexia Loudspeakers
    VTL - TL-7.5 Series II Preamplifier, TP-6.5 Signature Phono Preamplifier, Siegfried Reference Monoblocks Series II















    TAD Labs - C2000 Preamplifier, M2500 Amplifier, E1 Loudspeakers











    Nagra - Jazz Preamplifier, IV-S 1971 Tape Recorder












    Light Harmonic - Da Vinci DAC












    Mbl - Reference Series components, 101E MKII Loudspeakers, Aurender Music Server












    B.M.C. - BDCD 1, DAC 1, M1 Amp, Music Server, SOtM mBPS-d2s












    Miscelleanous




























    Comments 23 Comments
    1. Jsmith's Avatar
      Jsmith -
      It looks like the Bricasti room has Harbeths. It also looks like the Harbeth's have their grills off, which is not what Alex Shaw recommends.

      Were they actually demo'ing the system that way?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jsmith View Post
      It looks like the Bricasti room has Harbeths. It also looks like the Harbeth's have their grills off, which is not what Alex Shaw recommends.

      Were they actually demo'ing the system that way?
      Yes.
    1. jtwrace's Avatar
      jtwrace -
      I really fell in love with the TAD's. I see them in my future. :-)
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Great speakers from a great designer.
    1. ted_b's Avatar
      ted_b -
      Jason,
      I look forward to seeing Andrew and hearing TAD's (any TAD's frankly) anytime I go to these shows. I will be at CES, and a major milestone/to-do item is the TAD suite. Incredible speakers.
    1. Audio_ELF's Avatar
      Audio_ELF -
      Out of interest ... were there any new Music Server appliences or UPnP type streamers in evidence? I'm starting to wonder (with all the thoughts about video hardware infecting audio circuitry and influencing the output of computers that are starting to be discussed) if not dedicated hardware along the lines of Naim and Linn is not better though there are limits with these solution integrating the playback and DAC hardware.

      Eloise
    1. AudioExplorations's Avatar
      AudioExplorations -
      What is interesting to note is that from the various RMAF '12 recaps I have now read on ~6 or so different sites, every reviewer has a completely different take on which rooms sounded the best. Not that it is new information, but it really hammers down how subjective audio systems are.

      Regarding TAD, I too am a HUGE fan and purchasing the CR1's what the best decision I have made in my audio-life .
    1. accwai's Avatar
      accwai -
      That Audio Power Labs thing is just way over the top. Apparent they have a T-Shirts about that too.

      Andy
    1. roubaixpro's Avatar
      roubaixpro -
      Was there any word on when the new Aurender W10 and upgraded USB music servers are coming out or pricing?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by Audio_ELF View Post
      Out of interest ... were there any new Music Server appliences or UPnP type streamers in evidence? I'm starting to wonder (with all the thoughts about video hardware infecting audio circuitry and influencing the output of computers that are starting to be discussed) if not dedicated hardware along the lines of Naim and Linn is not better though there are limits with these solution integrating the playback and DAC hardware.

      Eloise
      Hi Eloise - I saw a few new devices capable of DLNA / UPnP. These were based on Stream Unlimited boards that also support USB drives. These units also support USB Class 2 audio from a computer. Pro-Ject, Audio Research, and dCS to name a few.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by AudioExplorations View Post
      What is interesting to note is that from the various RMAF '12 recaps I have now read on ~6 or so different sites, every reviewer has a completely different take on which rooms sounded the best. Not that it is new information, but it really hammers down how subjective audio systems are.

      Regarding TAD, I too am a HUGE fan and purchasing the CR1's what the best decision I have made in my audio-life .
      Hi AudioExplorations - You absolutely right about the subjectivity of this hobby. Plus, the sound in these rooms is never the same from minute to minute because people are moving in and out and jostling for position in the sweet spot etc... Fortunately I spent so much time in the dCS/Wilson/VTL room with my own music.

      For some reason I never put 2 and 2 together and noticed the CR1 photo as your avatar. From that angle I always thought it was a Sonus Faber. Guess I should look closer :~)
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by roubaixpro View Post
      Was there any word on when the new Aurender W10 and upgraded USB music servers are coming out or pricing?
      Hi roubaixpro - I talked to Charles from WideaLab briefly at RMAF. No mention of a release date for the W10. I know WideaLab is paying a lot of attention to the audio board and reworking it quite a bit. Even the W10 I have is out of date and needs to be upgraded once the final version is ready for release. I'd rather WideaLab spend more time on the W10 before release than release it and come out with an upgrade soon after.
    1. dmagnus1's Avatar
      dmagnus1 -
      Did you see any systems/rooms for less than $100K that sounded decent?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by dmagnus1 View Post
      Did you see any systems/rooms for less than $100K that sounded decent?
      Several sounded decent.
    1. djvitamind's Avatar
      djvitamind -
      I can't get those KEF LS50 monitors out of my head. Sounded wonderful and sure do look nice.
    1. DigiPete's Avatar
      DigiPete -
      Chris, any displays of high-end surround systems or indications interest are picking up?
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Quote Originally Posted by DigiPete View Post
      Chris, any displays of high-end surround systems or indications interest are picking up?
      Unfortunately not DigiPete.
    1. Paul R's Avatar
      Paul R -
      (grin) I had to grin at systems "under $100K" sounding "decent."

      -Paul

      Quote Originally Posted by The Computer Audiophile View Post
      Several sounded decent.
    1. spdif-usb's Avatar
      spdif-usb -
      Quote Originally Posted by DigiPete View Post
      Chris, any displays of high-end surround systems or indications interest are picking up?
      At least someone has picked up interest.
      As for sound quality, read some of the Emotiva reviews before you poo-poo this and claim just because it is multi-channel it can't be true high-end audio.
      RMAF 2012 Show Report By Steven R. Rochlin, Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2012 Audiophile Show Report
      They are planning to also release a new top-of-the-line-version of their soon to be released XMC-1, which will be called the RMC-1 and should be released in summer next year.
    1. perolator's Avatar
      perolator -
      Chris, when you will review the dCS Vivaldi? I'm checking and waiting.