My impressions of RMAF

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Tyson

My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #20 on: 12 Oct 2004, 05:14 am »
Sure, I'll be happy to elaborate.  It all started with the modded panny I own.  Basically I was very impressed with it the first few times I heard it in my system, dynamic as all get out, smooth as glass, neutral, quiet, very resolving.  It did everything "right" and was very "impressive" sounding.  But then I noticed as I had it in my main system for a couple of weeks I spent less and less time listening to music.  The all-digital panny just wasn't involving me on a musical level.  It took me a while to figure out what was going on.  There's a certain clinical-ness to the sound and a specific coloration (a certain harmonic thread-bare-ness) that I find bothersome about it.  Once I was aware of it I started to hear that on all digital amps I heard, some worse than others.

Now, specifically with the Modwright room, the sound had a certain "white noise" coloration that rode on the back of the music, and the sound again was somewhat threadbare harmonically, which I figured was most likely due to the digital amps (at least Dan said they were digital).  Anyway, if the amps weren't the culprit, then something else had to be, as I've heard those specific speakers sound very good in a different system.  My attribution of the problem to the amps was just an educated guess based on my admitted bias against the sound of digital amps.  I figured that would be more helpful than just making a blanket statement to the effect of "the sound in the Modwright room was not very good".  I don't want to do that because I'm sure most, if not all, of the equipment is excellent.  Hell, it may be just a synergy thing, and it just didn't produce a sound that I personally like.  Obviously others have commented that they thought the room sounded great.  I don't think they are "wrong" anymore than I think I am "right", it's all personal preference, and off-the-cuff impressions based on very brief demo time, and I hope everyone reading these posts realizes that.  In truth, the only way to really be sure what was causing the sound to not be pleasing TO ME would be to take the amps out and replace them, then replace the preamp, and then the source, until the sound filled out and solidified.  But of course all that would tell us in the end is that I personally didn't like it, which more than likely would have little to no bearing on whether another person would like it.  Whew!  It's a lot of work pulling your foot out of your mouth and your head out of your a$$ at the same time, glad I don't have to do it very often :-D

As for the whole digital amp thing, don't get me wrong, lots of people seem to love digital amps, I used to be one of them.  But I'm not anymore.

I will say that the panny does an outstanding job in my HT, where I don't really care about musicality or harmonic richness, but I do care about dynamics, clarity, and impact.  The Panny supplies all of these in spades and I love it in that role.

StevenACNJ

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My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #21 on: 12 Oct 2004, 09:41 am »
Tyson,

Thank you for your RMAF report. Made me feel a bit like I went to the show.

soliver

My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #22 on: 12 Oct 2004, 02:20 pm »
I thought the CI Audio mono amps were op-amp designs like 47 Labs or Scott Nixon's stuff.  

Good write-up Tyson, hopefully we can get some in the next few days from others fortunate enough to attend.

doug s.

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My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #23 on: 12 Oct 2004, 02:39 pm »
unless dan-n-dusty were using the yet-to-be-released cia digital amps, then the amps *are* in fact chip amps, like the 47-labs, etc...  no resemblance to digital amps.

doug s.

JoshK

My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #24 on: 12 Oct 2004, 02:53 pm »
Quote from: doug s.
unless dan-n-dusty were using the yet-to-be-released cia digital amps, then the amps *are* in fact chip amps, like the 47-labs, etc...  no resemblance to digital amps.

doug s.


They were.

doug s.

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My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #25 on: 12 Oct 2004, 03:10 pm »
Quote from: JoshK
Quote from: doug s.
unless dan-n-dusty were using the yet-to-be-released cia digital amps, then the amps *are* in fact chip amps, like the 47-labs, etc...  no resemblance to digital amps.

doug s.


They were.


they were *what*?  dusty said these are the present 40wpc analog amps...

doug s.

CIAudio

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My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #26 on: 12 Oct 2004, 03:18 pm »
The amps at RMAF were in fact the new D-100's, which are Class D switching amps. I don't know why people seem to think Class D means "digital" when it primarily defines efficiency. Some Class D's are digital, but those are amplifiers that have a digital input and use the amp circuit as for it's D/A.

BradJudy

My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #27 on: 12 Oct 2004, 04:12 pm »
This is an interesting write-up as it basically covers the rooms I missed due to time constraints (I tried to hit Odyssey, but they had started packing up by the time I got to them).

My favorite sound of the rooms I caught was the McIntosh XRT28, which was surprising because I've never been a fan of their equipment.  It was at least partially because they sounded excellent despite the room.  

In many rooms I could be found squating on the ground a few feet in front of the listening position.  Lots of the setups sounded much nicer nearfield, presumably because of room interactions.  

I agree that the Audio Federation room sounded very nice, but had one of the largest price tags at the show.  It seemed a little laid back, but that might have just been the need for a little more volume.  Tonally I thought it was right on.  

I liked the Tyler room.  I didn't hear my stuff in there, but the tape version of Scarborough Fair that was playing sounded very nice.  Maybe not a 'big' sound, but very refined.

The RM30s sounded very nice, although maybe a bit bright.  They were running as a trio when I listened and I didn't hear them in stereo.

I did get a chuckle out of the German metal music coming from Overkill audio - an unexpected genre.  It was interesting to see the wavebender drivers (is that what they're called?) in person.  

I wasn't very excited by Ocean Acoustics - I tried Natalie Merchant in there and it seemed a bit thin in the vocals.  

The Sonus Faber Stradivari were putting out a very nice piano sound when I was in there.  There wasn't a chance to play my own stuff at the moment and we ran out of time to make it back there before 4.  

I felt the AV123 RS1Ks sounded better the last time I heard them in a larger room.  I'm surprised about the bright highs comment from Tyson on this one though.  

I wasn't wowed by the RedRock/ESP room, but it wasn't my music so it's hard to say.  It definitely sounded very nice, but I liked other setups more.  I agree that it was a bit laid back.

I had heard the GR Research AV-1 in my own home before, so we kind of skipped over the AV-2, but stopped to check out the equipment and chat about Cryotweaks for a minute.  The LS was realizing the potential I heard at Jerry's.  Definitely a nice setup.  Unfortunately Danny wasn't in either room at the time, so I wasn't able to meet up with him like I had hoped.  I did get a chance to say hi to Gary though.  

I wasn't particularly moved by the Cabasse setup (ones with separate bass modules, not the setup in the Rowland room), but don't recall why at the moment.  

The main track I was using for the day was Orland Cachaito Lopez which has a combination of percussion, flute and bass.  A good variety of sounds with sections containing a lot of layers.  I think I played it down at Jerry's for the AlphaLS/RM40 comparison.  There was a huge variation in the prominence of the flute among systems, ranging from nearly lost to piercing.  I don't know what the sound was like at the recording, so I can't comment on how accurate each was, but it was an interesting experience none the less.  

On the piercing side were the Epiphany 20-21s (holy cow those are tall at 7.5' - see my pic in the other thread).  Other than that, they sounded quite good.  If I hadn't hit that room just as they were preparing to leave, I would have tried the 12s witht he same track.  

If you haven't seen the other thread, my pics are here: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=13621.msg117549#117549

Tyson

My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #28 on: 12 Oct 2004, 04:16 pm »
Regarding the Modwright room,
Maybe it wasn't the amps, maybe it was the linestage, maybe it was the CDP (although a tubed CDP seems the least likely to cause the slightly bleached out sound).  Maybe it was the cables.  Maybe it was placement (but I don't think it was, they seemed to be placed pretty well and the room wasn't bad at all).  My guess would be either the linestage or the amps as the likely culprit for what I heard.  

But, like I said before, I'm just one guy, and I did a quick 10 minute demo, so hopefully no-one takes any of these impressions (for any of the rooms) too seriously.  As I said in my first post, the only way to know how something sounds (and whether you like how it sounds), is to listen to it in your own system.  Synergy and preferences count for a hell of a lot.

Anyway, that's the last I'm posting on the subject, if anyone wants to talk about it further, please PM me.

Tyson

My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #29 on: 12 Oct 2004, 04:28 pm »
Brad, I missed you at the show :-(  

I did get to hear the Stradivaris playing some jazz, and it sounded very good from the upper bass through the high frequencies.  But when I was there they had a terrible problem with low bass.  This is probably something that would not have been noticable as much on a piano recording as it would have with jazz and an upright acoustic bass.  Again, I thought the sound was good, but nowhere near the "transcendental" experience that would be required to justify the system's price, IMO.  

Which brings me to another point, based on what I heard at the show, very few rooms "justified" their price from a pure performance standpoint, and even fewer offered "high value" equipment.  The VMPS room did (because I know what the 30's can do when not tethered to digital amps), the Odyssey rooms did (in spades), the GR-Research room did (both speakers and Dodd Tube amps were excellent), and the Usher room did.  Other than that I can't say I heard many rooms that offered very good bang-for-the-buck.  Granted I didn't hear all of the rooms, but this was my impressions of the ones that I did hear.

cixelsid

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My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #30 on: 12 Oct 2004, 04:42 pm »
I thought the Rowland/ Cabasee combo sounded particularly good. And no the Rowland amps certainly are not digital. Jeff R. was 'in-room' friday, and was as gracious and friendly as ever.

There was nothing 'wrong' with the Maggie's 20r's. It's just that speakers that big they aren't designed to be placed in a 12' wide room with a glass rear wall.

In the Avalon room the speakers were simply too far apart for proper imaging. The actual sound qualtiy when paired with the Boulder amps was astounding for a relatively small 2-way.

There continue to be significant issues with the top-end of the Alpha LA's. And nothing short of a complete redesign is going to fix that. Neo 8's just don't work as tweeters. A chat comparitively long with Ken Bates (Epiphany) was most enlightning in that regard.

One of the most interesting speakers was the Dali Megaline. Possibly the finest top end and midrange on the planet, combined with the worst midbass and absolutely no bottom end.

A completely unexpected surprise with the VRS Audio Systems music server. Completely blew away my preconceptions about using a PC as a source. The price of admission is a little steep, but in time that may mellow out.

Another pleasant surprise were the Lansing 'Hartfield' reproductions. Although not much bottom end, they were a most pleasant listen.

On a side note it was a hoot watching Steven Rochlin wander around in his usual color (Ferrari red, for those that don't know), but this time wearing a Nomex driving suit. He was making statements about needing to be 'flame-proof' give the nature of the internet .................

Spent time talking with Bruce Edgar, I consider that to be a treat given his age and health. A wonderful gentleman that just delights in his horns and audio in general......

Also quite literally ran into his royal majesty Robert Harley (he's too important to need to watch where he's going) .  It was hysterical to see how the dealers would cowtow when he came into a room...Funny thing is that he looks just like what he is, an english major, with no formal training in audio, electronics or engineering. That must explain why the stuff he prints is such nonsense.....

Anyway big time cheers to Ron Welborne, his wife and the gang at C.A.S. for creating this event. Hopefully this it will happen again next year!

Cheers,
Sid

KeithR

Why do we have this show?
« Reply #31 on: 15 Oct 2004, 09:15 pm »
I mean with 2 Stereophile shows a year, CES, and CEDIA what purpose was the show for?

I'm glad Denver folks got to hear some goods, but not like it's tough to get to SF Nov. 4th.

zybar

Re: Why do we have this show?
« Reply #32 on: 15 Oct 2004, 09:34 pm »
Quote from: KeithR
I mean with 2 Stereophile shows a year, CES, and CEDIA what purpose was the show for?

I'm glad Denver folks got to hear some goods, but not like it's tough to get to SF Nov. 4th.


Keith,

I think you had some different vendors at this show vs. some of the ones you mentioned above.  I know that many vendors were in Denver and not in NYC for the Stereophile show (since I attended both).

To be honest, what is the point of your question?

Does having another show (regardless of the location) cause an issue or problem?

I for one like the fact that these various shows are spread out across the year and across the country.  Frankly, I liked going to Denver vs. San Fran.

George

Tyson

My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #33 on: 15 Oct 2004, 09:57 pm »
Edited.  Must be in a bad mood or something, didn't mean to take it out on anyone.  Sorry.....

Double Ugly

Re: Why do we have this show?
« Reply #34 on: 15 Oct 2004, 10:10 pm »
Quote from: KeithR
...but not like it's tough to get to SF Nov. 4th.

Not tough?  For whom?

Think your position on the RMAF might be a bit egocentric?   :o

DU

lonewolfny42

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My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #35 on: 15 Oct 2004, 10:24 pm »
From the photo's I've seen, the Denver show looked more interesting to me than the last NYC show I attended (HE 2004). Much more on the "cutting edge" !!! :)
    I wish I had the time to attend !!!! :? [/list:u]

KeithR

quick explanation
« Reply #36 on: 15 Oct 2004, 11:46 pm »
UGH!  

I just had a long response and the screwy board software screwed it up!!!

Short of it:

-Odd timing with HE show a month away in a place that is relatively close to it
-many manufacturers same as CES or HE
-is there a particular specialty?  like VSASC (?) and horns/sets? smaller manufacturers?
-HE2004E was WAY down in attendance--both on consumer and manuf. level.  wondering if so many shows is part of the reason
-CES is my favorite and most fun, definitely should be on everyone's list to go to

Tyson

My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #37 on: 16 Oct 2004, 12:00 am »
Aren't the other main shows open only to people "in the industry", and not anyone/everyone?

audiojerry

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My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #38 on: 17 Oct 2004, 06:03 am »
cixelsid,
Was that your first post?
Very nice, and welcome to the Circle.

audiojerry

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My impressions of RMAF
« Reply #39 on: 17 Oct 2004, 06:33 am »
I forgot to than Tyson for such a thorough and insightful writeup.  Your comments on the SP Tech seem to validate my review of them, which I believe was one of the first. I told you guys how impressive they were, even though they were not a good match for my room or my amp, but Tyson's observations were right on.

I also share a similar view on digital amplification. Your point about the white noise background was something I've been experiencing also, but couldn't verbalize. And it's so true that once you identify an anomoly, it sticks with you and you know how to recognize it from that point on, but I've been very impressed with certain aspects of digital sound, so I'm still trying to keep an open mind.