DaveC's RMAF Reviews

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DaveC113

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Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #20 on: 14 Oct 2013, 07:28 pm »






Sanders, about the same system and setup as last year, which is excellent and one of the best systems at RMAF regardless of price. Great value for the money here, the entire system - source is about $14k. It doesn't provide the last word in impact or "slam" compared to some conventional speakers, and the speakers are very tall, which produced images higher up in the room, closer to the cieling. I think it would be good if the electrostatic panel can be lowered a bit, maybe the woofer section could be offset to one side? Also, they do not play test tracks brought in by attendees, which is a huge issue. Despite my nit picking, the system does a lot of things really well and is well worth checking out. This is one of my friend's favorite system and he is getting pretty close to pulling the trigger on it.











Scaena line arrays, WOW! Impressive system, and probably due to fewer visitors at the Hyatt the folks running the room were happy to play my test track. It's always cool when you can get a few minutes on a 6-figure system  :thumb:   And the system sounds impressive too, it's barely working to produce moderate volumes in a large room. The sound is not exactly to my preferences, but it erred on the side of smoothness and warmth, so it was a lot of fun to listen to and had a really non-fatiguing sound. It handled all my test tracks really well. It wouldn't be my first choice for a mega-$ system but it was very good.

persisting1

Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #21 on: 14 Oct 2013, 07:38 pm »
Wow. Great in depth  reviews. Thanks  :thumb:

DaveC113

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Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #22 on: 14 Oct 2013, 07:44 pm »


















Vapor... lots of pics because this room had some of the prettiest equipment at RMAF. The speakers are incredibly impressive, with cabinet work you'd expect to find on speakers that cost 6 figures. The Nimbus (larger speakers) and Arte-Forma SET amps were very impressive and did a great job on my test tracks. They are big speakers and sound like it, but are also refined and detailed as well. A great value for sure. The Joules were even better though... very clear and detailed, they just disappear in the room. Where I was sitting the Nimbus' bass seemed fairly clean, but the Joules had some issues with the room acoustics... even so, you could get a good idea of the differences between the Nimbus and Joules, and you have to forgive some set up issues at shows that would never be acceptable in a more permanent installation. Vapor also offers some more affordable stand-mount options, personally I would go with the Cirrus stand mounts and add a few 12" sealed servo subs to fill in the bottom end rather than go with the Joules, but I don't have a room big enough for the Joules anyway. Great value for the money and worth looking at if TAD is out of your price range...


DaveC113

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Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #23 on: 14 Oct 2013, 08:03 pm »




Linkwitz, I got to hear him talk a bit about his design but the room was full and I just heard a few minutes of some of his demo music. What I heard was impressive for sure. But I really don't agree with his design principles and theories 100%... my favorite speakers all happen to be in built into boxes.  :wink:





LRE Fourier. Interesting design that shows a lot of promise, although a little rough around the edges. Needs better components, especially the tweeter, but the presentation was very good. The way the backwave of the speaker was directed upward was unique and worked pretty well. The speakers were being driven by a cheap receiver and cd player which probably added to the somewhat unrefined sound, but overall I was really impressed with the design. It definitely needs some nicer cabinetry and parts, I hope this idea gets developed further as the owner is an acoustics engineer and is thinking outside the box with this design.

DaveC113

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Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #24 on: 14 Oct 2013, 08:22 pm »










dc10 audio. Very unique speakers... the horn also serves as a port for the box, and there is a wooden membrane that resonates with the music and is excited by the speaker's backwave, returning some of the acoustic energy and increasing efficiency. They played only some of my test track, but to be fair they were demoing the system with shorter clips of music so folks could hear a variety of material in a shorter amount of time... still wish I could have heard the entire thing though. What I heard was very good, they are competent speakers on all kinds of music, which they should be at $20k. The woodworking is amazing and the speakers are works of art, some of the nicest looking speakers at the show for sure. Lat year they showed some less expensive speakers that I liked alot...  and I like these too but at $20k you're getting into a very competitive market and if you can afford $20k you can afford $30k for a set of TADs.  :lol:  I wanted to come back Sunday afternoon to hear the bigger L'Instrument speakers but didn't make it as a friend was with me on Sunday and we only had a short time to visit rooms with speakers he was interested in purchasing. In any case, these are really nice speakers and well worth checking out.







A new electrstat super tweeter, the Enigma Coustics Sopranino, being demo'ed with already competent Magico V3s. Not cheap at $4k for a pair, but they sound great. I wanted to steal them and bring them over to the Audiokenisis room...  :P  Enigma also has a speaker, the Mythgology M1 that is a 2 way stand mount with the supertweeter, it was in another room and I did not get to hear them.

DaveC113

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Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #25 on: 14 Oct 2013, 08:41 pm »




I popped in here near the end of the day and I didn't play my test track and honestly don't remember much about the sound. I suppose I could make some stuff up though.  :lol:  Anyway, looks like the speakers were just removed from the fuselage of the NSA's new spy drone or something. Very cool industrial design for sure, sorry I don't have better info on the sound.









Wilson Alexandria XLF with Thor's Hammer Subs. This system was being demo'ed as a 20 minute show with carefully selected tracks that really show off the abilities of the system. And it was incredibly impressive... but not as good as TAD. I'd put them 2nd to TAD though, and that's saying a lot.


DaveC113

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Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #26 on: 14 Oct 2013, 08:57 pm »






Last but certainly not least is PranaFidelity. I stayed in here a while, as Jason and Pez just walked in, so I heard their test tracks, then played my own and heard a couple tracks Steve, the owner, put on that were really nice too. The speakers were under $4k, pretty unassuming looking stand mount MTMs... but the performance was extraordinary for the size and price. I was amazed at what this system could do, and it did it all really well. The electronics driving them are a little pricier,  the amp is ~$9k and makes 400W, maybe a little overkill... the pre ranges from $4500 - $9k depending on options. Anyway, these are a must-listen if you are considering speaker in the <$5k range along with Odyssey and Vapor...

So that's it for my coverage... can't wait til next year!  :green:

Don_S

Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #27 on: 14 Oct 2013, 09:11 pm »
Dave,

I thoroughly enjoyed your review.  Thank you for a great job.  I never miss the chance for vicarious thrills.  :thumb:

OzarkTom

Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #28 on: 14 Oct 2013, 10:20 pm »
No pics of the Varghn plasma tweeters? I heard that the Absolute Sound has requested a review pair,

Steidl Guitars

Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #29 on: 14 Oct 2013, 10:22 pm »
Great photos and comments, thanks.

But the two lines I quoted below?  Awesome.   8)

Speaker manufacturers selling speakers over ~$25k should acknowledge the vast superiority of TAD over their product and throw in the towel. Manufacturers selling less expensive gear should invest in a TAD system as a reference. 

DaveC113

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Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #30 on: 14 Oct 2013, 10:29 pm »
No pics of the Varghn plasma tweeters? I heard that the Absolute Sound has requested a review pair,

Of course I did, it's here: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=120514.msg1267302#msg1267302

Vaughn did a great job, certainly a standout room at RMAF this year.

@Don and Steidl, thanks!

Pez

Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #31 on: 14 Oct 2013, 10:33 pm »
Dave, superb coverage! great pics and even better info. I keep looking at some of that stuff and thinking 'was that the same show we were at?????'

rbbert

Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #32 on: 14 Oct 2013, 10:58 pm »
The biggest problem with the Sanders speakers is touched on year after year; they are probably the "beamiest" speakers known.  That combined with Roger's continued refusal to allow any music other than his own (and usually his specific choices) to be played makes it hard to really evaluate the sound of his system.

Pez

Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #33 on: 15 Oct 2013, 12:15 am »
That's exactly why we skipped the Sanders system all together this year.

DaveC113

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Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #34 on: 15 Oct 2013, 12:36 am »
Yeah... I have mixed feeling about the Sanders system for those reasons. It seems like people are trying to hide something when they refuse to play show attendees' music. And the beaming thing is certainly an issue for some... it isn't ideal. However, the system does a lot of things really well, especially for the price. My friend is planning on visiting Sanders' shop in Conifer, if I go with him I should have the opportunity to play other music... hopefully.  :scratch:

Duke

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Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #35 on: 15 Oct 2013, 01:30 am »
AudioKinesis, it was great meeting Duke and James, thanks for taking the time to play my test track and talk about your speakers. The Dream Maker system did everything really well, and some things incredibly well. In particular, the way it handled the live Bela Fleck track was one of the best at RMAF, it is a very loud, complex and cluttered track that really doesn't sound very good on most systems. But the Dream Makers unwrapped it and laid it all out with a depth of soundstage unmatched by anything I have ever heard before. The effects speakers is really well done and surpasses a typical bi/dipole to a large degree. That said, the tonal balance is not to my personal preference, it is laid back and a little on the dark side, where I prefer a bright/forward presentation as long as it's not harsh or fatiguing... something that isn't easy to do. The AudioKinesis speakers do not lack detail though, just my own personal preferences... I do think the highs are a bit rolled off at the extreme high end though. The room setup was good but not perfect, there were still some bass issue, but minor ones that did not detract from hearing what the systems can do. In any case, if you are looking for a system in this price range these are well worth putting on the short list.

Thank you very much, Dave!  I appreciate your not only spending a bit of time in our room but finding it worthy of comment here.

I agree with your assessment of the somewhat laid-back top end.  The top end is user-adjustable, and the untreated room seemed too bright to me for a more "flat" top end.  The Celestion compression driver used extends to an honest 20 kHz so it wasn't a lack of extension per se, it was a voicing choice that I made taking the room's acoustics into account.   With a bit more diffusion, I'd have adjusted the top end for a bit more energy, but under the circumstances I figured a flat top-end in a bright room would chase off more people than it would impress. 

DaveC113

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Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #36 on: 15 Oct 2013, 05:03 pm »
Hi Duke, well worth noting the top end is adjustable, I did not know that!  And you may be right about chasing people off, as I said I do prefer a brighter, more forward presentation in general.

JoshK

Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #37 on: 17 Oct 2013, 12:17 am »
Did you get to hear EMIA?   thought you might have dropped in there.

OzarkTom

Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #38 on: 17 Oct 2013, 12:41 am »
Of course I did, it's here: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=120514.msg1267302#msg1267302

Vaughn did a great job, certainly a standout room at RMAF this year.

@Don and Steidl, thanks!

Thanks Dave, I missed that. Here is a rave from Audio Beats on the Vaughn speakers. Said they were a True Best of Show sound.

http://www.theaudiobeat.com/rmaf2013/rmaf2013_vaughn.htm

DaveC113

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Re: DaveC's RMAF Reviews
« Reply #39 on: 17 Oct 2013, 02:19 am »
Hi Josh, what is EMIA? I guess if I have to ask I probably didn't see them room though...  :green:

Hi Tom, I think Vaughn isn't getting enough recognition for the system he brought. It was really good, especially the mids/highs...