This year RMAF was held at a new location, the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center near the Denver airport. Holy crap this place is HUGE. Like Vegas casino huge. I absolutely DWARFS the old Marriott in the tech center.
Right off the bat, there's a ton more room for vendors to spread out. This is a VERY good thing. It means you don't have to worry about the guy next door cranking it & bleeding through to your room.
Also, the electrical system was way, way better. I mean, this hotel is basically like a mini-city and has just way over-built everything. I'll start off with a few pics to just try to convey the SCALE of everything. Like, for example, there was a river-sized waterfall. Indoors! And a real, actual train car. Indoors! And the roof is WAY above you. The sports bar is in a massively huge space. OK, here's some pics:
OK, on to stereo stuff. RMAF was in 2 main areas - the towers, from floors 3 through 11 and the Ballroom area in the convention center area. Friday we hit floors 8, 9, 10, and 11. I took a bunch of pics, of every room we hit, but I'm just going to post stuff that I think either looked really cool or that sounded really good (or both).
Warfedale towers sounded really good! I have no idea how much these things cost or if they're an audiophile darling, but they really started the day off well. This actually ended up being the 2nd best room we heard on Friday.Pez: I really enjoyed the house sound of the Warfy room. IIf I had to summarize the house sound I'd say clean and inviting. They did no wrong and came off as a speaker eminently worthy of an audition.
Manger Audio, with their bending wave midrange driver. Looked really cool. Sounded good, if a bit diffuse. Love that they're pushing the technology side of things.Pez: What can I say, I'm a sucker anything daring and new in the industry. These did not fail to intrigue me. In another room I think these speakers would focus very well but given the limited space I felt like the soundstage and imaging were diffuse. That said, they are on my radar for further sessions in different setups.
Sony room sounded good too! Actually Sony is one of the few companies that does a really good job with closed headphones. Lots of companies do really good open back headphones, but not many get the balance right with closed cans. These sounded great, as did their portable players.Always one of my favorite stops. Great setup this year. I listened to the NX *something something*507 and was blown away by the sound quality and the overall fit and finish of this unit. Much more user friendly than the uber high end offerings from Sony, AK, and many other DAP makers. This DAP is one you actually wouldn't mind totting around. I can't wait for it's release in January!
Focal room sounded pretty bright/rough, as usual, but man they are just so freaking sexy looking I can't help but post a pic.Meh... Nuff said
Raihdo room, again the speakers look dead sexy, and if possible it sounded even worse than the Focal room! Oh well, moving on.Just too much overhang and lack of control. The room could have used treatment, they definitely are designed for a larger space
The Paradigm room had these super cool looking speakers and 2 subs on each side with triple woofers per sub, so a total of 6 sub drivers, in addition to the big bass drivers in the speakers themselves. Oh yeah, the room was seriously pressurized when the bass hit. The rest of the sound was OK, good but not great.I rather enjoyed the para dig-em room. Bass BASS BAAAAAASSSS!!!!!! Fun to listen to and sexy to look at.
Prana Fidelity. At last, a GREAT sounding room. I have a strong bias against any speaker using ceramic midrange drivers because they always sound too crispy for me. But not here. Buttery smooth. I mean smoooooooottttthhhhhhhh. Loved, loved, loved this room. And the stacked baltic birch was a nice aesthetic choice too. I believe they were fully active, with the amps built into the base of the speakers themselves. Easily my favorite room for day one. OK, I'll shut up now & let Jason comment. For me this was the winner for day one without peer. Absolutely loved the look of the speakers. The cabinets clearly had a ton of thoughtful design behind their construction. The real beauty was in the wonderfully smooth midrange magic and stately air around the performance. Dead Can Dance sounded splendid on these speakers. Absolute must if you're at the show.