The Daemon integrated amplifier from Jeff Rowland Design Group has to be one of the most overbuilt pieces of equipment that I’ve ever seen. This 100 pound behemoth’s case is milled from solid aluminum and puts out 1500 watts per channel into 8 ohms. Go down to 4 ohms and the power jumps to 2500 watts per side. The 7″ x 5″ touch screen is the main interface that controls volume, source selection, you name it. It has the full gambit of analog and digital inputs, including asynchronous USB (HDMI input is optional). It can accept sampling rates up to 192 kHz and DSD comparability is available via USB. The price you ask? A skosh over $39,000.00.
The Nola KO 2 open baffle loudspeakers sounded incredibly spacious on the jazz and vocal tracks that were being played. Price of admission: $14,000.00.
The Zu Audio Soul Supreme loudspeakers ($4500.00 a pair) being powered by Peachtree Audio’s new Sona amplifier and DAC ($2000.00 for the pair). The amp is rated at 150 watts per side and it was just making those speakers sing! First time I’ve heard ZU Audio speakers before, and I hope it wont be the last!
The G1 GIYA loudspeakers may look like they belong to a court jester but their sound quality was no joke! Lovely room filling sound with plenty of tight, solid bass. These $40,000.00 speakers were powered by a pair of Kaluga monoblock amplifiers from Mola-Mola ($18,000.00 each).
Sony had a nice little display of portable hardware in the CAN-JAM area. Of particular interest was the exploded parts view of their Hi-Rez portable player and the bare milled aluminum parts that make up the player and external DAC chassis.
The $50,000.00 Wilson Audio Alexia loudspeakers powered by about $200,000.00 worth of electronics from Constellation Audio. It’s amazing what can be had with just a little “walking around” money!
The T-1.5 Reference horn speaker from Classic Audio Loudspeakers sounded silky smooth powered by a pair of massive tube monoblocks. Check out the lovely wood grain.
A pretty amazing custom configurable turntable, this one with dual tonearms. It had some sort of magnetic suspension combined with an air bearing and most likely a flux capacitor somewhere in there!
A family portrait of the Vintage Direct GrooveMaster turntables by PBN Audio.
Some more pictures of the Final Audio headphone booth and their selection of finery. I never tried IEMs without foam tips before but Robert and I both listened to the little Piano Forte X model and they did sound sweet. They also have the build quality of fine heirlooms.
Uh Piero, did you leave your Burmeisters in Denver?
The CAN-JAM room. Headphones and portables galore!!!
For those who want to get their hands dirty in this hobby, Akitika might have what you’re looking for with a selection of kits to build a pre-amp and power amp. The PR-101 stereo preamp kit (with remote) costs $450.00 with optional phono input for $79.00 more. The GT-101 stereo power amp kit costs $299.00. The amp puts out 50 watts per channel into 8 ohms and is stable with 4ohm loads. Parts quality looked good and the folks at Akitika are all to happy to guide you with parts upgrades should you desire.
Robert with Jason Liao of OPPO getting a walk through of the updated media control app for the company’s players.
Stopped by Legacy Audio’s room where Robert is seen chatting with owner Bill Dudleston. There were some expectedly wonderful sounds coming from the Legacy V series loudspeakers.
This is the Jeff Rowland Design Group demo room. It featured a pair of YG Sonja speakers ($73K/pair), a Bergman turntable ($28K), an Oracle CD transport ($15K), and the Jeff Rowland Daemon integrated amp ($39K). The components were connected by approximately $40K in Nordost speaker cable. The Daemon integrated amp provides 1500 watts into 8 ohms and 2500 watts into 4 ohms.
As if the first Apex Audio room wasn’t impressive enough, the next Apex Audio demo room featured a pair of Focal Grande Utopia EM speakers which retail for $198K a pair!
Apex Audio was showcasing an ultimate listening room featuring a pair of Focal Stella Utopia EM loudspeakers which retail for $97,500 a pair. The room featured over $750,000 in equipment and had such luxuries as a $55,000 Transrotor Tourbillon turntable and over $60,000 in TARA labs speaker, interconnect and power cords. After show specials would be available.
My favorite demo of the day was from Darin Fong, the owner of Darin Fong Audio LLC. He was showing off his Out Of Your Head software which uses virtual speaker technology to recreate the sound of up to 7.1 channels using only a pair of headphones. The software runs on both Mac and Windows and uses a software driver which processes the original audio soundtrack. The result is a virtual reality where you hear the sound of a listening room in the privacy of your headphones. He was playing the latest Transformers movie and it sounded fantastic.
To take things one step further, Fong Audio has sampled many of the premier speaker systems and listening rooms (e.g. the AIX Recording Studio), and the software replicates the sound of that speaker system or room for only $25 per venue. This is a bargain considering the cost of many of the high-end systems including many of those shown at RMAF. For those of us that can’t afford these luxury systems, this may just be the next best thing.
Out Of Your Head software can be purchased for $149 and each additional room or speaker preset is $25. A trial version is available. I am definitely going to checkout the demo. The thought of listening to a multi-channel system on the flight back home is definitely intriguing.
Australian headphone company AudioFly transformed a guitar case into a display for their AF series in-ear monitors. The AF120 ($249.99) has dual hybrid drivers, the AF140 ($349.99) has a hybrid triple driver, the AF160 ($449.99) has three balanced armature drivers with crossover, and the AF180 ($549.99) has four balanced armature drivers.
There were so many companies at CANJAM that some had their displays in the atrium areas of the Marriott in full view of the hotel rooms. This display from German TA-HiFi and ELAC used speaker boxes to frame out part of their display. The TA stands for Theory and Application and the company has been around since 1978.
Secrets’ Carlo Lo Raso was having way too much listening to the VPI Avenger turntable with floating magnetic platter at Bob’s Devices. The Avenger retails for $15,000. I am not sure if that look is his reaction to the price or to the wonderful sound coming from the turntable.
Reference Recordings was showcasing and selling their collection of wonderful music.
It was great to see so much vinyl available for sale including new releases like this soundtrack from “Mad Max Fury Road”. This movie sounded amazing in Dolby Atmos and now the soundtrack can be enjoyed on a turntable near you.
If you need a great turntable to go with those PBN Audio pre-amps, checkout these Vintage Direct GrooveMaster turntables from PBN Audio. Each GrooveMaster is based upon a restored and rebuilt Denon DP Series direct drive turntable. Pricing ranged from $5,500 – $9,500 depending on features and finish.
PBN Audio Systems was showing some of their pre-amps. The Olympia PXi phono pre-amplifier features Caddock resistors, two transformers and eight filtering chokes to extract every detail from your phonograph. It retails for $22K without the power supply. The Olympia LXi pre-amplifier has a similar design and is also priced at $22K.
RMAF has something for everyone including the DIY enthusiast. This is the TU-8500 Tube Preamp Kit from EK Japan. It is sold by Canadian firm VK Music. It uses low noise OPamps in the phono equalizer amp circuitry and uses two 12AU7 (ECC82) tubes in the line amp stage. It can be paired with the TU-8200 tube amp kit. The kits come with all the components and casing and VK Music can help customers select premium components to suit individual taste and budget. Pricing starts at $495 USD for the TU-8500 and $725 USD for the TU-8200.
Chris Walker and Andrew Jones from ELAC America were discussing the prototype of their new embedded Roon music server. The product will have the capabilities of Roon without the need for a PC. Full details will be coming out at CES in January.
Oppo was showing support for the TIDAL music streaming service. A major benefit of TIDAL is the ability to stream lossless CD quality music. The feature is included in the latest beta firmware for the Oppo 103,103D, 105 and 105D players.
This is the flagship Sonorous X headphone from Final Audio. The headphones are completely hand made in Japan and retail for $4,999. They sound amazing with sound extending well beyond the ear-cups and would be best paired with a headphone amp.
Oppo Digital is demonstrating the PM-3 headphone ($399) and the HA-1headphone amplifier ($1199). The PM-3 is going to be available in blue and red in the near future. The PM-3 is designed for portable use and can be paired with the HA-2 portable headphone amp and DAC ($299).
Headphones have become so popular that RMAF includes a separate CANJAM section showcasing all things headphone.