• The Computer Audiophile
    The Computer Audiophile

    RMAF 2012 Defrag

    thumb.pngRocky 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 :~)

     

     

     

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    dCS ex.png - Vivaldi Disc Player, DAC, Upsampler, Clock

    Wilson Audio ex.png - Alexia Loudspeakers

    VTL ex.png - TL-7.5 Series II Preamplifier, TP-6.5 Signature Phono Preamplifier, Siegfried Reference Monoblocks Series II

     

     

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

     

     

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

     

     

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    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?

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    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.

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    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.

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    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

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    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 :).

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    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.

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    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 :~)

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    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.

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    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.

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    Thank you for your prompt response. Your reviews are the ultimate reference for me and frankly, I do not have the budget to afford such a system but I want it compared to EMM Labs DAC2X, for instance.

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    The music server you ascribe to BMC in the photos Chris is actually an Antipodes Audio DS1. We have been making music servers for four years now, first off making customised Windows and Mac based servers and for about a year now, Linux based servers. As for being a newcomer, almost everyone is fairly new to music servers, but we have been in the high-end audio business since the 90s and first began exporting to the USA in 2004. We have, at a guess around 500 US-domiciled customers and many more in 22 other countries. We have not pushed the music servers in the US much yet simply because while our standard power supply is universal voltage our units with regulated linear supplies are 230v only at the moment with the 115v version about 2 months away.

     

    The DS1 is one of 6 servers in our newly announced line-up being released in the next few months, and the one in the picture employs the SOtM PCIe output card with the SOtM battery supply powering it. We are the agents for SOtM in New Zealand.

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