RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE

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RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« on: 11 Oct 2013, 04:54 pm »
Oh yeah, coming to you LIVE from Rocky Mountain Audio Fest!  Hahahah, I LOVE the first day of RMAF!  Looking around you can see the bleary eyed, slightly panicked look among a bunch of the vendors - a result of desperately trying to get good sound in crappy rooms under a crazy tight deadline.  And we are here to tell you (Audiocircle) just how well they succeeded!  (or not).

Jason and I woke up ready and raring to go.  Well, actually, Jason didn't sleep at all last night and I am not a FREAKING MORNING PERSON.  Which is ironic, since I am staying at Jason's place over the next few days so we can cut down on the time spent commuting to and from RMAF.  Jason has bunk beds, who knew?

2013 Changes
Biggest change this year in our process is our method for hitting rooms.  In the past we had a huge list of vendors that we felt compelled to hit and it took us sprinting from room to room for 3 days to get it all in.  This year, we have a much smaller list and we are going to try to hit them all today.  That will leave Saturday and Sunday for us to just roam the halls and look for cool shit.  Don't forget, if you know of something that is really cool, just let us know and we can try to swing by.  (And no, a 6 inch driver and a one inch tweeter in a box is NOT interesting!  If you suggest that, we reserve the right to reach through the internet and b!tch slap you!)

Same as last year - we have a CD with 5 pieces of music, each edited down to about a 90 second snippet.  First 3 selections are awesome classical stuff, last 2 are crappy Pop music (from Jason).  We walk into a room, drop in the CD, I listen to the first 3 tracks and comment on the sound while Jason takes pics, then I swap spots with Jason and he listens and comments on his tracks.  If it sounds good, we will post that.  If it doesn't, it doesn't.  If we happen to not like a room that has gear that you love, be an adult about it.  This is ALL subjective.  In fact you will notice that Jason and I don't even agree with each other, in the same room, at the same time!  So it's like I tell my 6 year old daughter - you get what you get, and you don't pitch a fit.

This year our music selection is:

Saint-Saen's - Danse Macabre (transcribed for Violin and Piano) - Shaham & Feltman performing.

Handel - Aria - Lascia ch'io Pianga - de Niese performing

Mahler - Symphony 5 - Bertini conducting

The Civil Wars - The One That Got Away

Tom Waits - Walk Away

OK, Jason is getting antsy and about to stab me with a fork.  So we are off!


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #1 on: 11 Oct 2013, 05:02 pm »
Tyson pretty much covered it. Hope you guys enjoy.


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #2 on: 11 Oct 2013, 05:14 pm »
Next stop we're going to get our press badges. I forgot to mention that I will be posting as Tyson sometimes today. So if he sounds more intellectually enlightened than usual that's the reason why.


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #3 on: 11 Oct 2013, 05:25 pm »
PEZ: The ceremonial getting of the press badge. Note the lobby and how crowded it is it is absolutely insane here already and it's only 11:30!!!!

Our very own Mike Galusha poses in the midst of all the craziness.


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #4 on: 11 Oct 2013, 05:32 pm »
2nd stop.

The definition of irony, buying an eyefi SD card putting it in your camera finding out it is incompatible for some reason so youhVe to plug and unplug it from the camera and iPad.


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #5 on: 11 Oct 2013, 05:45 pm »
PEZ: Silent auction system. Looks very nice.

Yes, this is the system to get for that dickish CEO or Corporate Saleguy in your life.  You know, the one that has a laptop with a wood trimmed cover.  Screw how it sounds, it'll look GREAT in that corner office!


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #6 on: 11 Oct 2013, 05:51 pm »

Tyson Notes

General Room Notes – First room of the year!  And we actually got in!  Usually the TAD room is super crowded.  But we started at the top of the tower and are working our way down.  All the other lemmings are down in the mezzanine, hahaha.

We can’t listen to our CD because there’s no CD player, but there is a very nice vinyl setup.  Starting with Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Bernstein and the NYPO. 

Sound is very good, as always in this room.  I am a big fan of concentric drivers, and not many people do it for some strange reason.  And ever fewer do it “right”.  TAD absolutely does it right.  There is a coherency and pace and micro dynamic capability that is just astonishing.  An downsides about this room?  Only a slight one – these are not warm sounding speakers, so if you want anything other than the truth, they are probably not for you ☺
Jason's notes
Zesto wywire tad. We are listening to vinyl only so our routine is instantly thrown off!!! The only way to start RMAF. :thumb: Stravinsky - firebird suite: very smooth and violin sounds very nice. Even outside of the sweet spot everything is nice and coherent. Dynamics are pretty effortless and clean. Tonality is spot on for my personal preferences. On larger dynamic passages they do get a bit strident but nothing offensive. I think they did a good job of taming much of that with the use of a decent amount of room treatment.

Dire Straits Communique. Now I'm in the sweet spot and let me tell you, it's deep and wide despite being relatively close to the wall. Track is Once upon a time in the west. Wow that imaging is superb!! Great groove factor on this track. The performance is very convincing. This is every bit of what I think people love about a good hifi system. Great stuff!


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #7 on: 11 Oct 2013, 05:52 pm »
PEZ Sshhhhhhhh traveling in style.


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #8 on: 11 Oct 2013, 06:16 pm »

Tyson Notes

General Room Notes – Salk Room!  Love, love, love the fit and finish on the Salk Speakers every year.  This year is no different – beautiful.  And the AVA gear looks great in it’s silver with blue LED’s.

Saint-Saens Violin & Piano – Man it really rips into that violin part with a lot of gusto.  Very nice.  Good flow and pace.

Handel Aria – Oh, the absolute acid test this year – Opera for the first time as a test track!  And the system is doing great.  If it’s poor then this can just rip your ear off, but here it just flows beautifully.  Nice!

Mahler Symphony – Nice opening horn call.  Macrodynamics area a little disappointing on the big orchestra crash.  Sounds a bit distant on this track.

Civil Wars – Ugh, Jason’s crap pop music.  I guess it sounds good – they singer sounds appropriately whiney and desperately trying for emotional depth.  Note – if you visit this room, get a front row seat, it sounds better than the back row. 

Tom Waits – Tom Waits is DA MAN!  System does a decent job of capturing his gruffness.  Smooths over the edges a little bit, makes him seem like he’s only smoked 100,000 cigarettes in his life, not the ONE MILLION that he’s actually smoked.  Instruments are a bit recessed on this track to.  More vocal centric.

Tonally sweet and smooth. While I like the rosey beautiful emotion that this system is capable of it certainly is less precise and more emotive. Civil wars is a great track to make these speakers emote and emote they do!

Tom waits: I feel this system smooths over some of Waits grit and gruffness in place of a more smooth sound. Not a bad thing by any means I like it, but not personally my cup of tea. These bigger rooms really need more treatment. That back wall really wreaks havoc vocal coherence and I think that's a bit of what we're hearing.

Well I would read this room as a B+ A-!


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #9 on: 11 Oct 2013, 06:30 pm »

Lava lamps and magic post electron somethings. This room has it all.

Tyson Notes

General Room Notes – Got the whole Lava Lamp vibe going on!  Even a couple of room treatments in the back corners.  Kudos!  These are crazy looking speakers.  The baffles closely mirror the shape of the drivers.  Seems like a great idea, should give them a real leg up in the imaging department.

Saint-Saens Violin & Piano – I was kind of wrong – imaging is pretty flat and diffuse.  Surprsing.  Good dynamics, but more of a “wall of sound” coming at you.  Not much depth on this track.  Good pace though

Handel Aria – Reverb on this track sounds artificial.  Instruments are really crowding out the singer.  On a good note, it’s a smooth enough sound that I’m not being driven out of the room by this track.  Can’t say that about every room.

Mahler Symphony – Dynamics – oh crazy good.  For such small speakers, these scale up like crazy.  The system sounds really great on this track.

Civil Wars – This track is recorded hot and compressed to sound “big”.  And it really does sound life sized on this system.  For such small speakers they sound  much larger than they really are.


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Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #10 on: 11 Oct 2013, 06:37 pm »
Would you guys be able to check the resonance Labs DAC equipments???



Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #11 on: 11 Oct 2013, 06:50 pm »

Tyson Notes

General Room Notes – No CD Player, so we are stuck listening to the record player.  A really freaking nice looking turntable!!  Holy cow,  it’s is amazing looking, with dual platters, spinning in opposite directions simultaneously. 

Sound, eh, OK.  A bit bright, a bit thin.  Very clear, but not my cuppa.  YG is really hit or miss.  Sometimes they sound amazing, sometimes they sound just good.  So far they are not blowing us away. 

YG always technically good, very nice speakers that don't offend in any major way. Honestly a lot of talking going on in this room so I'm going to keep comments to a minimum. They don't evoke some deep emotional response in me they perform way better than I would expect any speaker to perform in an untreated room, but leaves me wanting so much more.


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #12 on: 11 Oct 2013, 07:10 pm »

Tyson Notes

General Room Notes – Emerald Physics is always a favorite room of mine.  I love open baffle speakers and I love coax speakers and EP does both!  But, I have to be honest, every year they underwhelm me.  Fit and finish is usually not all that great and the overall sound is very “pro sound”-ish.

BUT, this year they look AMAZING.  They went with a BMW automotive finish and they look tough! 

Saint-Saens Violin & Piano – Hey, these sound very, very similar to my DIY speakers at home, and that is a GREAT thing.

Handel Aria – Ah, finally an actual soundstage.  Way, way smoother sound than last year. 

Mahler Symphony – Ah,  finally a big orchestra.  Best room at conveying orchestral size and hall space of anything so far this year.  And not by a little.  In such a small room with no treatments, that’s a pretty neat trick.

Civil Wars – Hey, it actually sounds like emo chick has real emotions instead of skim milk.  “Skim milk is water, that is lying about being milk”.  Gotta love Ron Swanson.  Love what these speakers do with the soundstage depth and sense of acoustic space. 

Tom Waits – Haha, I have to just laugh every time Tom Waits comes on.  He just the MAN!  Crystal clear sound, great tonality, and most importantly, all his rough edges are preserved.  Whisky and cigarettes abused over decades.  When this track is over you should feel like you’ve been in a fist fight.  And I do. 

So far, my vote for most improved room at RMAF.

Jason's Notes
Thus far this room is great! The finish on these speakers looks to me like luxury automobile quality. From what I'm hearing from Tyson's three tracks they sound pretty dynamic and I'm sure he is all about this sound. I know my buddy. Open box concentric drivers?!!?!? Oh ya he's all about this one.

Civil Wars: in a lot of ways this system is the polar opposite of the sound in the Salk room. Rather than the warmth and tendency to romantically editing things to sound sweet these tend to be a touch cold yet preserves the tonality and immediacy of the music. Bass is probably the most confident that I've heard today. I wonder if it's those subs they have

On the Tom Waits this is a much better match for the menacing timbre awaits presents. Though like all other OB speakers I've heard there's a slight disembodiment to vocals. Still great presentation.


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #13 on: 11 Oct 2013, 07:18 pm »

Tyson Notes

General Room Notes – Room treatment!   Great improvement over the stupid teacups they used previously.  And the speakers look very cool in their “Disney’s Black Hole – Maximillian” way. 

Saint-Saens Violin & Piano – Top end is crystal clear, but a bit prominent and a bit light on the mids and upper bass. 

Handel Aria – Ah, beautiful vocal presentation.  Highs overpower the rest of the spectrum a bit when she really leans into a note.  But otherwise amazingly coherent.  The tweeter driver is pretty damn incredible.

Mahler Symphony – Good sense of space on the opening horn call.  Things flatten a bit when the whole orchestra comes in.  Lacking a bit in weight in the cellos and basses

Civil Wars – Again, good sense of space.  Good sound.  Just not blown away.  The guy’s backing vocal is pretty lightweight.  Honestly I think they just need a bigger driver.  I’ve heard that before and it sounded phenomenal.  I’m willing to bet that a good sub would make these guys into world beaters. 

Tom Waits – From the midrange on up, these guys sound great, they just need a bit more oomph in the bottom to match those spectacular highs.

Jason's Notes

Civil Wars deep deep deep imaging just like every other year. Probably one of the more consistent performers at this show year over year. And this year they seem to have even stepped it up a notch. The one thing I never really liked about the German physiks speakers is the overall tonal balance is a bit on the lean side. Overall though matched with the rights electronics I could see this
Problem being rectified.

Walk Away while better than the civil wars track tends to suffer much the same issue. Just not enough body for my tastes and therefore emotionality is lacking. A bit.... German sounding perhaps?


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #14 on: 11 Oct 2013, 07:34 pm »

Tyson Notes

General Room Notes – The bigger brothers of the room we were just in.  Just as beautiful, but way more badass looking, because bigger.

Saint-Saens Violin & Piano – Interesting, as much as I loved the last EP room, this one is underwhelming me.  There’s a bit of a U shape to the curve of the FR.  At least to my ears, the highs are a bit exposed and the bass a bit prominent.

Handel Aria – Interesting, she is placed further back than in any other room so far.  But it sounds a bit distant.  In the last EP room everything sounded more present and bigger.  Which is odd, since those were the little brothers.

Mahler Symphony – Oh, scale very, very well on the big orchestral track. These speakers were made for Mahler.  The drums in particular have a lifesize weight and presence.

Civil Wars – Bad music reproduced really well!  Haha, I have a feeling that I’m going to strangle the first person that plays the Civil Wars around me after RMAF is over.  It’s so odd that the last EP room was so compelling and this one leaves me cold.

Tom Waits – Whoah, when Tom leans into a note it’s way too forward.  Time to go….

Jason’s Notes

Wyred for sound

TCW- definitely the best OP speaker I've heard today. Very full sounding I'm grooving to this room! The imaging isn't quite as good as some of the better rooms we've heard a bit compressed but those dynamics and bass!

Tom Waits double bass sounds much more like what it's supposed to be. Way more depth here. Waits is sounding the best I've heard today. Big big groove factor here too. Thus far I'm pretty sure this is my favorite system today which is surprising because as I just posted OP is usually not my thing. Big thumbs up emerald and wired for sound. 


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #15 on: 11 Oct 2013, 07:53 pm »
You guys are rockin' it!!!  Keep up the excellent work!



Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #16 on: 11 Oct 2013, 08:07 pm »

Tyson Notes

General Room Notes – Man this room sounds terrible.  Oh wait, there’s some Highland Park.  Yum!  Now its sounding MUCH better.  Who know that there was such a thing as audiophile Scotch ;)

Great fit and finish on the speakers.  Didn’t listen to our CD in this room, but we did get to listen to some opera on Vinyl.  Good sound without being overwhelming.

Jason’s Notes

For once Tyson and I agree. The only thing worse than the sound is them music they're playing.


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #17 on: 11 Oct 2013, 08:35 pm »
Great job guys!  almost as good as being there? (well, probably not)

One small request: could you try to identify some of the stuff in the rooms?  sometimes there's signage, but already I'm not familiar with some of the pieces.


Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #18 on: 11 Oct 2013, 08:50 pm »
I don't care what everyone says about you guys, your show report is always awesome.  :icon_lol:

 Looking reward to more of your posts!  I also love the skim milk line and can't wait to steal it and use in conversation. 

Bob in St. Louis

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Re: RMAF 2013 Day 1 - Tyson and Pez Coverage LIVE
« Reply #19 on: 11 Oct 2013, 08:53 pm »
It's been a while since any pictures were posted. What are you guys doing? Slackers.  :duh: