(posted by The Ninja, written by Mrs. Ninja)
Sorry this has taken so long.... Sunday night I was called away in a covert mission going after the 12 ninja monkeys that had attacked "The Ninja" a few years back. During a basketball game he was attacked and he got away with a broken finger - this time I got away with a similar injury, a broken toe. Now out of my Percocet haze I can tell you my RMAF story.
For the first time in the history of RMAF "The Ninja" and I were not there for set up to tear down. In fact Friday of the show it was an out of body experience having the show going on without us. Bright and early Saturday we arrived and it was like coming home, we were where we belonged. It's nice to have a community that you belong to and that you have friends from all over the world you get to see. It's too bad we don't act more like a community more often. We can come together in crisis when a friend is in trouble and at the same time we can tear each other apart over the forums when anonymity is easy to hide behind.
So last year I complained about the snore fest of music and my cries went unheard. So I will again plead with the exhibitors to play something from the new millennium. The addition of this years SACD Pink Floyd 'Wish you were here' with James Guthrie presentation. Although how many times have we all heard pink floyd at a show? How about next time we get the new Pearl Jam, Pink Martini, Queens of the Stone Age, or the new Red Hot Chili Peppers. All of which come on vinyl or CD or downloadable. Whichever you medium of choice. So this whole idea you have to be living in the past for audiophile sound is crap. They were playing more happening music in the hotel resteraunt "The Lift" than in 99% of the rooms supposed to be playing good music.
First up Voxativ by Schimmel Pianos: Reviewed by Stereophile (August 2011) and thier review of the speaker was quite good. It's a interesting speaker without a crossover, especially for a girl like me who loves tinkering with a crossover. These speakers are really clean. Both "The Ninja" and I liked them to a point. The room needed room treatments but the gentleman running the room said, "I don't believe in them (room treatments)." Which is crap. The hotel rooms are a box of reflective surfaces and room treatments are required for everyone. Anyone who dosen't use them is not showing off the speakers, equipment and all the extras to the best they can. I would give the lack of treatments as a reason why the sound is really focused but go off axis and it became muddled. Not my cup of tea since I feel that unless you can use a speaker for critical listening as well as walking around in a party or cooking in the kitchen its not a speaker I want to spend my money on. Others shouldn't either unless you have enough for 3-4 systems in your home.
Props to Zu for playing something that could keep the dead awake! It drew you in from down the hall, which for a manufacturer it is what you want. Unfortunatally I like last years set up better. This years version reminded me of a old pair of Cerwin Vega's from the 80's we used to have in our garage that we used to play at block parties because you could hear them a half a mile away. They are perfect for men who want lots of power with little performance. Call it the sports car syndrome for men less endowed speaker version.
I also said last year that if you have business to take it outside the room instead of talking over the music in the room. It's rude and it just sucks for the rest of us to hear you behind us. So move it out.
Told by the booth babe at the door it was the "best sound at the show" Coincident was such a disappointment in the sound department. They should keep with the amps because they are beautiful, but I have a thing for tubes and the Einstienian look. However the room sounded bland and watered down. I compare it to the lowest common denomoner syndrome, trying to please everyone, you get nothing wrong but nothing right either. The Kendall Jackson Chardonnay of Speakers is the only way to make an annology. Not good so don't spend your money on it but if someone else brings it to the party it will work.
ESS at $19K had a little Chicago playing so kudos for that. I don't understand these speakers and won't claim to get how the folded something or other tweeter is, or the things in-line create a tuning fork something and why that is supposed to be good. Or how the di-pole woofer firing both forward and back (which I do understand) makes the speaker good or bad. I will just tell you they were overwhelming. The top end hurt my ears and it was easier on my head when off axis than sitting in the "sweet spot." I had a lot of people telling me how I had to hear this set of speakers and I can only imagine it was for the experience and not for the sound. I was supposed to be impressed by the engeneering but since I can't really appreciate it and the sound is the only thing I have to go on, I pass.
I know I am so complainy, so let me just say I was pleased as punch to meet the guys in the Polk room and to find how very nice they are. The Polks sounded great and I was happy to see the crossover displayed cause it means "The Ninja" and I will still be selling Polk upgrades for years to come.
The TAD room did have one of the best diddies playing, something called 'Going away to Ireland' and Andrew Jones is one of the nicest guys so TAD must expect his accent and good looks are what are going to sell these $37K bookshelves, add $3k for the stands. Granted I like the woven Kevlar drivers but pure gold drivers would not make a $37K price tag in my opinion. No matter how much I liked the speakers' sound and think they are one of the best new speakers I had heard this year. They are spendy, so I dub these the Best Overpriced Speakers of the Show.
I was very bummed Laufer Teknik brought the small square German Physics cause they just don't look very good even though they sound fantastic. Still my favorite!
This year was Danny Richie's year. His Super V's sounded and looked better than the past 2 years he had them here. The faux stone treatment looks a million times better than last years yellow ones. The whole system was battery powered on Gary Dodd's 15 watt amp minus the servo subs that had PI Audio Majic Buss power conditioners on them. Dave's treatments in the room plus a late night construction project (the only ones who seem to spend as much time treating the room as the equipment in the room) made this years room the best GR Research, Dodd, and PI Audio has had. Ruben displayed some cabinetry hat had me sold on some of Danny's N3's for "The Ninja" to build as our new system. Gotta keep adding new stuff right? I was happy for the eclectic music played in the room, but that jackass Dave did forget the Pixies in Albuquerque. Tisk. Tisk
But is this all RMAF is about? Rooms and rating them? NO. For some it's business, others it's pleasure, a hobby, time to see friends from around the world, others a chance to indulge in hearing some of the greatest systems that we would never hear otherwise. Is it dinners or drinks after the show where we get to talk openly with like minded in person and not over a forum? Getting to see those who we know only as a screen name and avatar. I am amazed that even though I know many in the industry, I only know a drop of the community. When will this community come together? For its survival moving forward, and recruting a new generation into the hobby? I hope soon. This year I saw us moving backwards. Less women, less children, again like in the begining when RMAF was for those of us who really were dedicated and true audiophiles but not open to outsiders. What a shame not to share what we know with more people so they to can enjoy what we have known and learned. Does it have to be 'you earn the right' to be an audiophile? Can we not teach it just so we have more people to share it with us? Something for all of us to ponder untill next year. Hopefully next year I will not have to miss any days again and all will be right in my universe.