Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2017 – Day 2 Coverage
JWM demo room
Mark Levinson Demo
Here is a lineup of the Fern & Roby vinyl gear.
Nagra, Wilson Audio and Kronos turntable.
NAD was having a vintage listening party. Groovy baby!
audio physic speakers, EAT turntables and Moon electronics.
Elac was demoing a full 5.2.4 Dolby Atmos system in a separate room. These are the already quite popular Uni Fi speakers. I was impressed with what I heard though up-firing speakers are always a poor substitute for in ceiling speakers. Only $4,200 for the entire system.
I finally made it by to listen to the new Focal speakers. They are a definite improvement over past models. I love all the totally cool finishes too.
Here is the PrismSound Callia DAC and headphone amp. We are working on getting a review unit of this amazing little product.
I had a great visit in the D’Agostino room. These are all massive cost-no-object components. So what is it exactly that you get from them? I’ll tell you what you get, transparency and scale are the first two things that come to mind as I sit here listening.
The only room treatment I saw were some cushions along one wall. Despite that, this was in many ways one of the better rooms so far. In my view it shows how a meticulous set up and speaker placement are the first key steps to unlock the magic in the music. Color me mighty impressed.
The system featured components in the D’Agostino Progression line. The preamp had an optional digital module that can decode signals as rich as 4xDSD. The remote operates via Bluetooth for extended range. The power supply is in a separate chassis. The analog section features zero negative feedback and the highest quality volume control I have ever heard of.
The amplifier was the Progression stereo model. It is conservatively rated at 300 wpc and doubles each time you halve the load down to 2 Ohms.
The system also featured the innovative Stromtank which is a 2,500 Wh rechargeable battery pack to power your system off the grid.
Finally, the speakers were the Martin Logan Renaissance ESL 15A which has a 15″ wide ESL panel, dual 12″ subs and dual 500W amps for the woofers in each channel.
I also visited the DEQX room this afternoon. They have partnered with Legend Acoustics for what they refer to as their small monitor system.
Speakers are the Small Reds ($8,200). The preamp/processor is the DEQX HDP-5 ($5,995). The power amps are three channels per box, one for each driver. The amp model is DEQX A250x3 ($2,795/pr).
This system relies on an even more advanced DEQX processing that applies correction in the frequency and time domains. I do not have the space here to go into any level of detail on this, but I can say that this is a very extensive, high-end technology that makes obvious improvements to the sound. I will be working to get some review samples (if not this entire system) for a complete review.
Technics was showing a lineup of their latest releases. I didn’t get a chance to listen to the system but I am planning to get their super cool integrated for one of our Secrets reviewers soon. Not only is this box packed with all the latest digital capabilities including streaming, it is also powerful and really cool looking.
I wanted to get by the Linn room to do a quick audition and I found this young lady singing for the crowd, Tiffany Austin.
Nice display of Clearaudio turntables, some found playing in various rooms. The beautiful and affordable Concept in Black.
I was very impressed by my brief stay in the room with Krell driving the Focal Sopra No. 3 speakers ($19,999 for the pair). For Krell, the Vanguard Universal DAC at $4,500 and the Duo 300 Stereo Amplifier at $9,500. I thought it sounded solid, and very dynamic.
Celebrating 45 years in business, NAD dusted off some vintage gear swapping new for old during some listening fun. The new C 328 Integrated Amplifier with 50 watts at $549 compared to the 1970’s 3020.
But I was very interested in the new C 558 Belt drive turntable at $499 fitted with an Ortofon OM10 phono cartridge.
Big (enormous) speakers require big amplifiers, check out the ML Neoliths with the Audio Research 750 watt Reference 750 SE monoblocks.
As a big fan of Parasound gear owning several pieces, just prior to the show I’d heard of the new JC 3 Jr. Phono Preamplifier in what is described as “John Curl’s ultimate value-engineered phono preamplifier”. If you can’t swing the JC 3+ price tag at $2,995, how about half at $1,495. While they played digital music in the room, I asked that they switch to vinyl and use the new Jr. It sounded amazing through the Parasound Integrated Amplifier.
I was very anxious to hear the new Persona 3F, 3-way floorstanding bass reflex speaker with a beryllium dome tweeter, priced at $10,000 for the pair. I was not disappointed listening to them powered by the new Anthem, ARC-enabled STR Integrated Amplifier at $4,499. Smooth and articulate was how I remember the sound!
This was my goosebumps room, I could have stayed all day and ordered in. The No515 turntable, the No585.5 Integrated amplifier with phono stage, and the No519 Audio Player. Still in prototype the Revel Performa3 F228 BE with the special beryllium tweeter and new waveguide.
Bryston for the show introduced and played the new BP-17 Cubed preamplifier. In the system is the BDP-3/BDA-3 digital player and DAC and the white (white is definitely the hit color at this show) Middle T active loudspeaker which has an outboard crossover/DSP component in the BAX-1. And lastly the Cubed 3B amplifiers. A must stop by for anyone at the show, I’d love to crate it up and bring it all home.
Jeff Joseph never disappoints with his demonstrations and his Pearl 3 in white looks fresh and stylish. Even made live Eagles sound full and rich, partnered with Doshi Audio; V3.0 monoblocks, V3.0 R/C line stage and even a V3.0 tape stage for the reel-to-reel also demonstrated.
Paul Barton giving a seminar on his research for Voicing Headphones through his development of ROOMFEEL. Given his association with the NRC in Ottawa, Canada, Paul discusses his experiment last year in the anechoic chamber. I was one of ten that participated where four room eq curves were scored based on preferences.