Just got home a little while ago and figured I'd write some thoughts and impressions on THE Show. This was my first audio event of any kind outside of visiting a local Salk owner to hear his SS8's so this was very fun for me to have the chance to go and hear quite a few speakers I only get to read about.
I'll first say it feels good to come home and know I don't have to spend any more money because the sound I already have is more than just fine, it's great. However, part of me realizes I could have spent far less to get really good sound thanks to that damn Andrew Jones
But I'm ok with that because I really like what I have. The show itself was run pretty well from the parking to the food and just in general the nice people I got to meet. Registration could have been a little smoother on Friday as it took over an hour standing in line to get my pass but once I got started I was in another world jumping from room to room.
The thing that surprised me the most I think was how many crappy sounding rooms there were. I had high expectations and maybe that was bad on my part but honestly I think there were only a handful of rooms I could say I could live with. I now know why Tyson and Pez and others tell the exhibitors to use room treatments because holy crap there was a lot of room issues going on.
I'll give what I thought were my favorite four rooms that I kept going back to because well everything else kind of sucked. Obviously this is just my opinion and I know I haven't heard everything but I'd like to think I have a decent ear so here it goes...
Salk E3's are everything that everybody says and that's one hell of a speaker. The bass is really incredible and the soundstage was oh so inviting. Jim played the Jazz Variant song and the excursion on the woofers was fun to see. As much as I liked what I heard I in no way feel like I need to sell my SS8's and buy the E 3's. Thank God! It made me realize I really like what I got and that's a good thing. Jim was super nice like everybody has said and it was a real pleasure to finally meet him. Fred and Rob were gracious to let me go through quite a few song choices when I dropped in and really everybody in that room was great to talk to.
Well I finally got to meet the man they call Klaus. Everything I've heard is true, he's crazy! And I like that he is. Klaus is one of of those people that even though you just met him, after 15 minutes you feel like you've known him for years. The GIK room with Klaus' standard Kismet speakers sounded absolutely fantastic. So clean and real with all the emotion that I now know why his room gets mentioned for best of show at RMAF. The room with the new speakers sounded great as well even though Klaus drew the short straw when it came to the shittiest room at the hotel. Just an odd shaped room to have to deal with but if there was anybody that could pull it off it was Klaus.
- Herron Audio
This was one of those rooms I could have sat in all day and never felt I was missing anything from the show. The word that kept coming to mind from what I was hearing was "effortless". It was so easy and natural that if there was ever a system that "got out of the way" it was this one. Keith Herron was absolutely a pleasure to talk to. Him and Dan Rosca ran the room and were always accommodating. The speakers were Audio Physic Avanti iii's and they played the Herron equipment beautifully. They played mostly Jazz and Classical but at the end of Saturday they spun some vinyl with Dire Straits Brothers in Arms and it sounded fantastic.
It's hard not to say that the star of the show was the Elac room with Andrew Jones going over his latest design with the B5 bookshelf speaker. I think any and everybody who went into this room was completely blown away by what they heard. I saw vendors from other rooms stop in only to pick their jaw up off the floor and retreat. It was that good. Maybe the low expectation of a $229 played a part but honestly it was so captivating and satisfying to hear these speakers that I didn't care what they cost. I don't know what Andrew has up his sleeve for the next series of speakers from Elac but if they're anything like these then I can say Elac is going to be a game changer in audio for years to come.
Out of Sparx Nevada these guys had a nice sound all around. Little pricey but they played Muddy Waters Folk Singer on vinyl so I was happy.
Sanders Sound Systems-
Spooky realism imaging. Most detailed speaker I heard.
Pretty cool speakers with built in absorption. No need for room treatments the way these were designed
From New Zealand these little guys were great. Small speakers with small electronics but big sound.
I'm sure there were plenty more but these came to mind first.
Overall I had a great time and I'm looking forward to another show, possibly RMAF.