2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members

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Bob in St. Louis

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Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #100 on: 15 Oct 2008, 10:52 pm »
Yea, thanks Ryan. But I'll quite while I'm ahaid.   :wink:
Otherwise you and Chris Hoff (BPT) will take me out behind the wood shed and beat me like a...  :deadhorse:

Bob

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Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #101 on: 15 Oct 2008, 11:30 pm »

Also, I was really surprised at how many people would walk into a room, LOOK at the gear and just walk out, never listening to a note. I swear it struck me as the strangest thing. In any room I visited there would be 5 people in 30 minutes who did this - at least. I guess their expectations weren't met when they LOOKED at the gear. Weird. At least to me. I would just ask what was up and at least listen for a while.




The two reasons I do this are: 1) after 3 shows in a row I have heard a few of the systems before and 2) if the room was crowded I tried to stop by another time.
Sooooo many rooms, sooooo little time.

Lin

AB

Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #102 on: 16 Oct 2008, 12:34 am »

AB - so are you the guy who brought his wife on Sunday?  Or am I thinking of the wrong person?  It definately did change sound all on it's own from day to day, every component had something that was still breaking in.  I'm still shocked at how well those $1 per watt amps sounded.  Maybe next year we'll just stick them in some massive case with lots of polished brass and bolt heads  :icon_lol:

That was me, probably. Not many wives around the Marriot during Audiofest.  :D

And your room will forever be remembered as the room "with the candle".

ltr317

Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #103 on: 16 Oct 2008, 01:33 am »
Here's my take on the show:

General Impressions:  A mix of old and new technologies: squeezebox vs analog turntables and tape decks.  There were quite a few turntables at the show.  Analog is making a minor comeback.  There were even two or three reel-to-reel tape decks.  A lot of rooms were using a stock or modified squeezebox as the source.  Generally, the sound quality was better than the CES, T.H.E. show, and Stereophile shows that I attended in past years.  There were some unusual designs, especially with loudspeakers.  Many loudspeaker cabinets were clad in exotic and expensive wood veneers, and the finishes on most of these were exquisite.  

I didn’t have enough time to experience every room (estimate 80% of exhibits), but of the rooms I attended there were nine or ten systems that stood out for me.  I have and have had both tube and solid state equipment.  My audio preference/taste tends to be slightly warm of neutral tonally, but at the same time enjoying good detail and resolution.  The reader should bear that in mind when reading my comments that follow.  

Very Expensive: The system that “rocked my boat” the most was Swiss Da-Vinci electronics driving Scottish A.R.T. loudspeakers, imported by the Tangram audio group.  Listening to CDs, what I heard was an absence of digital glare and electronic artifact that I normally experience in almost all digital playback equipment to a lesser or greater degree.  While that in itself is commendable for the listener who likes the “analog sound,” what sold me was the amount of detail and resolution I was hearing from track after track of the demos I played.  The system blended warmth and musicality, with enough resolution and detail, to recreate a presentation that I was listening to the performer(s) live, and not an electronic device.  I played “Labour of Love” by Frente (Angie Hart), and “Falling or Flying” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and “Wheels on Fire” by the Magic Numbers.  All three vocals sounded as real as I have ever heard them.  Ed Cramer (fellow Acer) played a Dayna Kurtz and Noah Jones duet, and a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song and had the same reaction.  The Da-Vinci turntable produced equally satisfying results.  

Expensive: To my ears, two other systems sounded top-notch: 1) the Merlin loudspeakers, Joule Electra electronics and Cardas cable room; 2) Avalon loudspeakers, VTL electronics, and Cardas cable room.  They both gave a more hi-fi presentation than the Da-Vinci/ART system but both systems were still a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.  The Merlin/Joule/Cardas combo was slightly closer to neutral than the Avalon/VTL combo.  Both Ed and I played the same songs that we used in the Da-Vinci/ART system.  The Audio Notekit room was closely behind these two systems, and had the best dynamic range of any system at the show.  I played the first four minutes of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.23 (Appassionata), performed by Mari Kodama, which has the greatest dynamics (from soft to loud) of any cd in my collection.  I almost fell out of my seat when it went from very soft to extremely loud.  I’ve never heard a greater dynamic difference before in any system.  Vocals were not as real sounding as the previously mentioned systems though still very nice.  

Relatively Expensive: There were several very nice sounding systems:  1) Roberts Acoustics/Vincent electronics had great punch and bass impact, great with the rock selections Ed and I played. 2) ACI/Korato/GIK/DH Labs room had a well balanced and musical sound.  Very engaging sound.  3) Selah Audio/Moon Audio had extremely good treble and mid-range.  Vocals sounded great generally, except for an occasional slight brightness.  I think the room cause that though. 4) VMPS/Boulder Cable/GIK room sounded similar to the ACI/Korato room.  Well balanced and engaging sound.  There were a few other rooms that sounded really nice but I forgot to take notes:  Salk/Van Alstine , Studio Electric/Benchmark Media, Triode Corp.      
    
Affordable: Virtue, the $249 Model One amp is a great value.   Jolida had a reel-to-reel deck and played The Doors, “The End” which sounded great with their equipment.  Grant Fidelity had good and musical sounding equipment in their room.  

The most disappointing system/component: Kef Muon loudspeaker.  It sounded bland no matter what music was played.  Maybe the room was too small for such a large speaker.  I don’t know.  I had heard a smaller Kef speaker at the NYC Stereophile two years ago, and I thought it was one of the best speakers at that show.  

The most unusual:  Evanui Signature loudspeaker by Yokohama Baysidenet.  ET has landed.  The sound was okay, but I didn’t hear any real bass.  This is not surprising since only a single 3” driver is used without a surround and housed in a bowling pin shape cabinet.  For $60,000 though, I want bass!  Workmanship is top notch.  It looks like it takes many labor hours to construct the cabinet.  

Paul



I found some loose show notes, so I’ll add this to my earlier post:

I’m not usually a fan of horns because of the cupping effect, but I didn’t experience that in the Avantgarde/Audio Aero/Brinkmann room.  The system was quite open sounding and seemed tonally balanced.

The Orion/Linkwitz Labs room was really nice soundstage wise.  These speakers have a large sweet spot.  I was sitting on the side, listening to a classical selection provided by someone sitting in the middle seat, and was impressed that I could hear the different sections of the orchestra in the right locations, as if I was sitting in the middle instead. 

The Pure Vinyl room was cool.  They make software and phono preamps which transfers LPs into CDs.  You can actually see the LP spinning on the Apple monitor.  I have one of the transferred CDs and I’m amazed by how it sounds so analog, compared to a standard CD.  This is a must have software if anyone is planning on converting their LP collection to CDs.       

Occam

Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #104 on: 16 Oct 2008, 01:33 am »
Sterophile gave kudos to Mike Garner's (TweekGeek) room with the Analysis panel speakers.


http://blog.stereophile.com/rmaf2008/101208silence/?

Quote
Physicist Jack Bybee of Bybee Technologies has now licensed his quantum purification nanocarbon technology to David Caplan's new company, Bybee Wire. Distributed by Laufer Teknik, the new Bybee Wire cables and power purifier include Bybee devices that clean up quantum mechanical noise at the sub-atomic level.

To these ears, the Bybee products made the happiest sound in the Tweek Geek room. There, Analysis Audio Omega speakers ($22,000/pair), which actually needed more room to breathe than the room allowed, Modwright SWL 9.0 preamp ($2500), Spectron Musician 3 Mk.II monoblock amplifiers ($7195 each), Bybee Wire AC Conditioner ($4500) and two AC cords ($2995 each), Stereovox Reference interconnect ($1995), and Elrod Remote Sense speaker cable ($1500) produced impressive full range orchestral sound that was very fast and clear. It also produced wonderful clarity (if not the most detailed presentation) on vocals. The system was silent enough to easily reveal differences in recording technique on recent CDs by two exceptional male choral groups: Chanticleer's wonderful new Mission Road, and Cantus' John Atkinson-engineered There Lies Home. Need I say which recording won the engineering award?

According to Mike Garner, it was actually my (as yet unnamed) $799 power cords with integral power conditioner that powered those Spectron amps.

Everybody knows :lol: that Kaplans with a 'K' are far superior to Caplans with a 'C'.

Regards,
Paul (Kaplan with a K)

mgalusha

Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #105 on: 16 Oct 2008, 01:53 am »
According to Mike Garner, it was actually my (as yet unnamed) $799 power cords with integral power conditioner that powered those Spectron amps.

Everybody knows :lol: that Kaplans with a 'K' are far superior to Caplans with a 'C'.

Regards,
Paul (Kaplan with a K)

Paul,

Yep, your cords were feeding the Spectron amps and I'm sure they were helping them to perform their best. I figured you could name them Occam's Lazer - The power cord that set's your AC straight. :D

I should have tried on the source, maybe I can convince Mike to bring one over.

mike

Occam

Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #106 on: 16 Oct 2008, 02:36 am »
Yep, your cords were feeding the Spectron amps and I'm sure they were helping them to perform their best. I figured you could name them Occam's Lazer - The power cord that set's your AC straight. :D

I should have tried on the source, maybe I can convince Mike to bring one over.

mike

Mike,

Wow! That's a great name. May I please use it?

Mike Garner hasn't had a chance to evaluate the source version of the cord/conditioner yet (the one with the fuse).  I think you'd like them. The most frustrating part of this whole process of developing a conditioner, has been the realization of how much of an impact the cord and connectors have, regardless of how effective the conditioner may be. After many an hour of evaluations and experimentation, I found a combination that not only gave (IMO, as well as among others) a lower total end user price as well as better performance than other alternatives. I'm considering offering the cords without the built in conditioner for those components that actually deal with conditioning issues internally, like my CAT preamp and your modded DCX9624.

Occam's Lazer Dang, I like that!

Many thanks,
Paul

stereocilia

Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #107 on: 16 Oct 2008, 03:26 am »

AB - so are you the guy who brought his wife on Sunday?  Or am I thinking of the wrong person?  It definately did change sound all on it's own from day to day, every component had something that was still breaking in.  I'm still shocked at how well those $1 per watt amps sounded.  Maybe next year we'll just stick them in some massive case with lots of polished brass and bolt heads  :icon_lol:

That was me, probably. Not many wives around the Marriot during Audiofest.  :D

And your room will forever be remembered as the room "with the candle".

I brought my wife, too.  She enjoyed it...to a point.  By Sunday morning she'd had enough and split for the mall.  Apparently, she later had a conversation with co-workers in which she played the role of audio expert; she surprised herself at how much she'd gleaned from exposure to the audio scene.

mjosef

Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #108 on: 16 Oct 2008, 05:40 am »
Quote
According to Mike Garner, it was actually my (as yet unnamed) $799 power cords with integral power conditioner that powered those Spectron amps.
Are you saying that your pc/conditioner operates on the sub-atomic level? Just how far down are we talking about here?  :lol:
Congrats, even if you didn't get the credit as per Stereophile.
Occam's Lazer...catchy name by the way.

woodsyi

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Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #109 on: 16 Oct 2008, 01:37 pm »
Quote
Rethm Saadhana:  I was really looking forward to these speakers but something was off in the room when I was there.  I must have been the room as the bass was flabby.  With mushy bass, the mids and highs just don't click in.  I would love to have heard these in a better room.  They are not as big as I envisioned.
 

Just curious when you heard these speakers. There was an issue early on but was taken care and the system really came around. This was one of the rooms in which our Musica Bella Purity preamp debuted in.

Bill,

It was Saturday morning.  I did not know you had your preamp there until the day was over.  I tried to go back Sunday but I couldn't make it.  I have been wanting to listen to Rethm for a while and I was looking forward to a great sound.  May be I was expecting too much.   :|  Anyway,  I don't think it's your preamp's fault.  I didn't see any room treatment in the room and the speaker positioning seemed a little odd but what do I know about horns.  I would like to hear them again when they are set up for good sound.  I would like to hear your preamp too.  I am sure it's good if the past performance is any indication. 

BobM

Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #110 on: 16 Oct 2008, 03:13 pm »
I spokw with Wes yesterday about his Hansen show experience. I haven't seen much discussion here about the sound in that room. Stereophile had a picture (with big Wes standing there looking like a bass trap) and a great sound comment that was buried in the many pages of coverage on their website.

Wes thought they may have been overshadowed because the big Clearaudio TT and Focus speakers were in the room next to him. So, any comments on the Hansens?

Bob

mgalusha

Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #111 on: 16 Oct 2008, 03:17 pm »
Mike,

Wow! That's a great name. May I please use it?

Mike Garner hasn't had a chance to evaluate the source version of the cord/conditioner yet (the one with the fuse).  I think you'd like them. The most frustrating part of this whole process of developing a conditioner, has been the realization of how much of an impact the cord and connectors have, regardless of how effective the conditioner may be. After many an hour of evaluations and experimentation, I found a combination that not only gave (IMO, as well as among others) a lower total end user price as well as better performance than other alternatives. I'm considering offering the cords without the built in conditioner for those components that actually deal with conditioning issues internally, like my CAT preamp and your modded DCX9624.

Occam's Lazer Dang, I like that!

Of course. I have actually been meaning to email you about that, it came to me either Friday or Saturday. It's amazing how much crap one can think up while sitting in a chair talking about audio for 9 hours. :)

mike

AB

Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #112 on: 16 Oct 2008, 03:39 pm »
I spokw with Wes yesterday about his Hansen show experience. I haven't seen much discussion here about the sound in that room. Stereophile had a picture (with big Wes standing there looking like a bass trap) and a great sound comment that was buried in the many pages of coverage on their website.

Wes thought they may have been overshadowed because the big Clearaudio TT and Focus speakers were in the room next to him. So, any comments on the Hansens?

Bob

I loved the Hansens.

AUDFILE74

Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #113 on: 17 Oct 2008, 12:47 am »
Hi gang, i had the privilege to stop by the b-p-t room two days in a row with extended listen on each.

day one impression.: the first thing i noticed was the clarity and accuracy of the raal ribbon. this is the first time i can say that i heard high that were extremely detailed and yet non-fatiguing. i felt the mid-high blend and transition was not clicking,and i wanted a touch more juicy/warmth  but there was a good overall tonality. ryan already heard my take at the show so this is no surprise to him. i did fall in love with the midbass. it matched my cd pretty well. when i played tonal bass (upright, acoustic, percussion) there was no problem. when i played the lows it did not bottom out but it rolled off and grcefully showed it's limits. it did have an ability to pop you with it's impact . that was good.  so day one was about an 8 out of 10 due to the  midhigh issiues i mentioned earlier.

day two. all the previously mentioned good parts, were there. and then the warmth and mid/highs seamlessness locked in. a little change like that made the sound more lifelike and enjoyable. break-in can make a big diff. then they also addd the subs from the other system. then i felt like it was money. it scored a 12 out of 10 because it just gotme in my goodspot. if it ain't broke then don't try to fix it.  good job ryan and chris.  :green:

i also need to make a quick edit here. the other constant i felt i noticed, from day 1 , was the ability to react to each track with appropriate soundstage and imaging.i'd call it scaleablilty.  i played everything from large orchestra to evgeny kissin playing mussorgsky solo, to a female vocal wit piano accompaniment. it did a great job handling the spatial changeup i played.  so when the system broke in on day 2, it ALL clicked and sounded phenomenal.
« Last Edit: 17 Oct 2008, 04:44 am by AUDFILE74 »

goldlizsts

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Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #114 on: 17 Oct 2008, 02:16 am »
I spokw with Wes yesterday about his Hansen show experience. I haven't seen much discussion here about the sound in that room. Stereophile had a picture (with big Wes standing there looking like a bass trap) and a great sound comment that was buried in the many pages of coverage on their website.

Wes thought they may have been overshadowed because the big Clearaudio TT and Focus speakers were in the room next to him. So, any comments on the Hansens?

Bob

I was very briefly in the room, said hello to Wes, and sat for a few minutes while he entertained play requests.  Then, it got busy, and I never put my requests in.  For that 5-10 minutes or so in there, I liked the Emperors.  I thought it had good transparency.  That's about all I could/should say I guess about this most brief encounter.  Afterthought - I'm not sure if I may have found it to be a tad on the bright side, since I like warm and fuzzy but not muddy kind of musicality.  I later did try the room again, but it was packed with people again.

On the other hand, the Emperor carries a $60K tag.  I later heard the new Vienna Acoustics floorstander (what was the model?) and was very impressed.  I probably would take a pair of the VA @$27K before I'd buy a pair of Hansen.  Not that I don't like the Hansen, just that I think the VA is a better value.  The VA has its mid driver mounted on top, and it's moveable so the setup can be better tuned/set up.  Gimmick?  Probably not.

This is my perception, personal, not meaning to offend Wes and/or the Hansen folks.  Besides, I am not familiar with the other electronics connected to these speakers, I can be all wrong.

Vapor Audio

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Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #115 on: 17 Oct 2008, 03:18 am »
Hi gang, i had the privilege to stop by the b-p-t room two days in a row with extended listen on each.

day one impression.: the first thing i noticed was the clarity and accuracy of the raal ribbon. this is the first time i can say that i heard high that were extremely detailed and yet non-fatiguing. i felt the mid-high blend and transition was not clicking,and i wanted a touch more juicy/warmth  but there was a good overall tonality. ryan already heard my take at the show so this is no surprise to him. i did fall in love with the midbass. it matched my cd pretty well. when i played tonal bass (upright, acoustic, percussion) there was no problem. when i played the lows it did not bottom out but it rolled off and grcefully showed it's limits. it did have an ability to pop you with it's impact . that was good.  so day one was about an 8 out of 10 due to the  midhigh issiues i mentioned earlier.

day two. all the previously mentioned good parts, were there. and then the warmth and mid/highs seamlessness locked in. a little change like that made the sound more lifelike and enjoyable. break-in can make a big diff. then they also addd the subs from the other system. then i felt like it was money. it scored a 12 out of 10 because it just gotme in my goodspot. if it ain't broke then don't try to fix it.  good job ryan and chris.  :green:

Hey Steve, thanks so much for posting your thoughts!  And it was a pleasure meeting you at the show.  We didn't know each other before the show, but I'm honored to have earned you as a fan. 

That day 1, I remember it well ... we talked down in the lobby afterward and you said to me "that midrange just wasn't happening".  That struck me as strange since I just wasn't hearing what you were.  But then day 2 I came into the room and it was very different sounding, V-Caps all over the place and other stuff breaking in will do that!  After about the first 30 minutes of listening day 2 it was apparent how much more body and richness there was.  And it really didn't hit me till you came back later that day and said how much better it was, but I thought to myself "that dude's got some good ears".  Seriously my man, come over anytime and help me voice stuff out!   :thumb:

AUDFILE74

Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #116 on: 17 Oct 2008, 04:27 am »

Hey Steve, thanks so much for posting your thoughts!  And it was a pleasure meeting you at the show.  We didn't know each other before the show, but I'm honored to have earned you as a fan. 

That day 1, I remember it well ... we talked down in the lobby afterward and you said to me "that midrange just wasn't happening".  That struck me as strange since I just wasn't hearing what you were.  But then day 2 I came into the room and it was very different sounding, V-Caps all over the place and other stuff breaking in will do that!  After about the first 30 minutes of listening day 2 it was apparent how much more body and richness there was.  And it really didn't hit me till you came back later that day and said how much better it was, but I thought to myself "that dude's got some good ears".  Seriously my man, come over anytime and help me voice stuff out!   :thumb:

 thanks ryan, but i still have a ways to go as far as being a golden ear. i just felt like that's what i heard

FredT300B

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Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #117 on: 17 Oct 2008, 11:06 am »
My biases followed me to the show, and I probably missed a few good rooms because when I stuck my head in I saw something that turned off the connection between my ears and my brain. Case in point, when I saw those little Virtue Audio Audiophile.ONE Tripath amps in the lobby I mentally commented "Oh, anther wimpy little 8 watt tripath amp". But a friend who was with me at the time was looking for something for her office system and wanted to hear them, and I reluctantly followed her up to the room where they were in use. I remember sarcastically asking her if they were available in pink. Turns out they are well designed and are built with some pretty good quality parts (amazingly good for the $249 price), they have an output stage that does about 45w/ch, and they sound very good, but they aren't available in pink.
After hearing them I registered for their raffle and I actually won an Audiophile.ONE!   :bounce:

http://store.virtueaudio.com/Default.asp?Redirected=Y

lonewolfny42

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Re: 2008 RMAF Show Coverage From AudioCircle Members
« Reply #119 on: 20 Oct 2008, 10:21 am »
Hi Ryan,

Positive feedback comments:  Nice stuff reasonable price.

http://positive-feedback.com/Issue39/rmaf083.htm

Regards

Rod