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Rocky Mountain Audiofest Defies the Odds Act 2

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  • Rocky Mountain Audiofest Defies the Odds Act 2

    Two rooms stood out from the rest at RMAF 2016: Magico over at the Hyatt Hotel and Musical Surroundings at the Marriot. Different rooms and wildy different equipment obviously makes comparing sounds and faulting any individual component essentially impossible and an exercise in futility. Without doubt, however, both rooms provided some of the best sound that I've heard at an audio show in quite some time! That said, the Magico room had the edge when it came to low end and there was no question that the room really contributed here. When it came to the mids, the nod Vandersteen/ARC went to Vandersteen that was ever so slightly more transparent. Higher up, flip a coin.

    Garth Leerer of Musical Surroundings brought along lots of new analog toys to RMAF 2016. Among the highlights were AMG V12 turntable and DS Audio's latest DS Master 1 optical cartridge. This was capably supported by Audio Research's Ref. Phono 3 and Ref. 6 line stage. I did have to remark to Dave Gordon from ARC that I loved the size of the Ref. 6 readout. For us somewhat older folks, you didn't need the Hubble telescope to see the volume levels. Apparently, I'm not the only one who reacted that way according to Dave! Nor should the impact of the Audioquest's Niagara 7000 go without mention. Every time I hear it in a system, I'm impressed by the amount of sonic improvement it brings.

    It certainly wouldn't be sticking my neck to say that Vandersteen speakers have always been known for their naturalness. But Richard seems to have now been able to--certainly to some extent to coupling his Model 7 Mk. 2 (I seem to have missed the update) with the Vandersteen M7-HPA (High Pass Amplifier)--now combine that naturalness with resolution. The Model 7 Mk. 2s were also nicely complimented by Richard Vandersteen's new Model Sub Nine subwoofers too (price TBA). Where the Vandy 7 Mk. 2s really shone though was in the midrange. On something like the Jeton D2D, the system just was oh-so-delicate with Almeida's guitar yet could reproduce the shudder of the Brown's double bass. The same thing was true with Dream with Dean! And as always, the Vandy's kill it when it comes to imaging and dimensionality.

    It goes without saying that it's always hard to separate the sound of individual components in an unknown system. Putting my neck on the line here, I found the new DS Audio optical cartridge a real step up from the entry level model. Especially when it came to less colorations, more linearity, more resolution and just a less overall "tailored" sound. This is one cartridge would love to hear in my system--especially considering the price does include phonostage and cartridge. Maybe someday.

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    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
    -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
    -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    Magico, who was offsite at the Hyatt, had the added advantage of a larger room with better acoustics than most (if not all?) of the other exhibitors at the Marriott. The M3s are clearly the warmest sounding speakers that Alon has put together. It's not, however, because he's purposely voiced the speakers that way. No. It's more that new tweeters jused in the M3s just have less artifacts and don't distract the ear from the music (the new YG Acoustics XV tweeter also shares that quality too!). None of that hey look at me! Instead the ear is left to focus more on the midrange and the music as a whole.

    To boot, Magico's room sounded immensely better this year with the new M3 speakers/MPOD 3 point stands (Magico QPODs were used under all source products except the Kronos Pro turntable; MPODs were found underneath the QSUB15 and Soulution 701 Mono amplifiers)/pair of Q-SUBs than last year with the S7s. To be fair, though, the sound at RMAF 2015 was not at all indicative of the S7 speaker's potential. The analog front-end consisted of the Kronos Pro Turntable outfitted with the Black Beauty tonearm and Clearaudio Goldfinger cartridge. The digital front-end consisted of the Beatis Ref 2 Server and the new Berkeley Alpha DAC Reference Series 2.

    The electronics were no slouch either consisting of all top of the line Soulution gear including the massive Soulution 701 monoblock amplifiers aided by the Soulution 721 preamplifier and Soulution 755 Phono preamplifier. Everything was wired together with Tara Labs Omega Evolution SP speaker cables and Tara Labs Zero Evolution Interconnect w/ HFX Floating Ground System.

    First, a couple of comments are in order. To being with, this is the first time that I've seen or heard the Goldie mounted in the Black Beauty arm (normally one sees a ZYX or Air Tight paired with the BB arm) and this was a better match in my estimation. Now I might be slightly partial here but there are few cartridges out there with the resolution, dynamics and speed of the Goldfinger. The ability to resolve those fine inner details and nuances. With ease to boot.

    Two, the new Berkeley Alpha DAC Reference Series 2 sounded far better than the original model. The digital front-end didn't seem to have that iciness that I heard at Magicos or the show last year of the Series 1. A sort of forced, mechanical, washed out sound. In its stead was a more relaxed, fleshed out, relaxed and more natural sound.

    Three, I preferred the sound with the QSubs off. Hey, that was just me and doesn't mean the QSubs are bad. Yes, they added a little sense of space. I just thought, however, in this room, the subs tended to distract from one of the M3's strengths. That M3's trademark clarity, linearity, bite and definition in the mid and upper bass region.

    With the exception of the Scaenas, no room had a bigger stage than the M3s. No room had more solidity with less image wander than the M3s. They did say with the Jeton D2D just exhibit a little less clarity and transparency than the Vandersteen M7 Mk. 2. But obviously it's not fair to compare unless you are in the same room with the same equipment (hint, hint, that new ARC gear is pretty amazing!). On the other hand, the system really brought say the Jeton D2D or Dean Martin to life. The delicacy and body of the guitar. The feeling of Martin being there. Or the low end control and tonal resolution on Super Percussion.

    The Audio Alternatives/Vandersteen and Magico rooms were the two best rooms at this year's show and by a wide margin at both. Oh yeah. Maybe those analog front-end had something to do with it?

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    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
    -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
    -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

    Comment


    • #3
      I liked the Magico subs and it never occurred to me to ask Alon to turn them off. I thought they were very well integrated, but then I'm a sub kind of guy. These two rooms were in my top 4, but neither was my top pick. Of course if I would have spent more time in all four of my top picks, my order may have changed.
      SP-10 MKII table with custom power supply designed and built by Peter Noerbaek with an SME 3012R with Dyna XV-1S cartridge, VPI Avenger table with rim drive and JMW -12-3D arrm with Lyra Etna SL cartridge, Zesto Andros 1.2 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers with a pair of Def Tech Ref subs.

      Comment


      • MylesBAstor
        MylesBAstor commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes and most of all, it depends upon which day you listen to the system. Friday, Sat or Sunday. Friday is generally a waste of time though is the day they give the press a couple of hours to wander around and listen unhindered. I don't think that ranking matters as much as choices. Especially when we are splitting hairs sometimes.

    • #4
      <<Three, I preferred the sound with the QSubs off. Hey, that was just me and doesn't mean the QSubs are bad. Yes, they added a little sense of space. I just thought, however, in this room, the subs tended to distract from one of the M3's strengths. That M3's trademark clarity, linearity, bite and definition in the mid and upper bass region.>>

      Myles, our ears are identical. I loved the Vandy 7's midrange. The bass was boomy in there for me, but the room was really too small for that system. I also definitely preferred the subs off in the Magico M3 room for the exact reason you describe.

      Fun show it was!

      Comment


      • tom_hankins
        tom_hankins commented
        Editing a comment
        The bass in the Vandy room kept me from enjoying it as much as I have the model 7 rooms in the past.

    • #5
      Maybe I was spoiled in previous years by the combo of VAC electronics, Transrotor turntable and Focal speakers. Maybe it was the difference between analog and digital front-ends. Whatever it was, I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm this year for Apex Audio's setup including the Focal Stella Utopia speakers and all NAIM electronics system including NAIM Statement system amplifiers ($270K), NAIM Unitiserve SSD ($4600), NAIM NDS Reference Network Player ($13,000), two NAIM NAPS555-DR power supplies, etc. The sound for whatever the reason, never moved me.

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      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
      -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
      -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

      Comment


      • #6
        Originally posted by philb7777 View Post
        <<Three, I preferred the sound with the QSubs off. Hey, that was just me and doesn't mean the QSubs are bad. Yes, they added a little sense of space. I just thought, however, in this room, the subs tended to distract from one of the M3's strengths. That M3's trademark clarity, linearity, bite and definition in the mid and upper bass region.>>

        Myles, our ears are identical. I loved the Vandy 7's midrange. The bass was boomy in there for me, but the room was really too small for that system. I also definitely preferred the subs off in the Magico M3 room for the exact reason you describe.

        Fun show it was!
        I wonder what was playing for you to say that? The bass in the Vandy room was anything but boomy when I was in the room. It was tight and detailed. I had them play Show Biz Kids from the RLJ LP which starts off with a heavy bass line and it sounded great.
        SP-10 MKII table with custom power supply designed and built by Peter Noerbaek with an SME 3012R with Dyna XV-1S cartridge, VPI Avenger table with rim drive and JMW -12-3D arrm with Lyra Etna SL cartridge, Zesto Andros 1.2 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers with a pair of Def Tech Ref subs.

        Comment


        • MylesBAstor
          MylesBAstor commented
          Editing a comment
          Could have been they day. They reportedly didn't get the sound down until Sat. From what I read the line voltage was down to 107 V in the hotel and Richard retuned the amps. Heard PSAudio did something similar with their power regenerator.

        • tom_hankins
          tom_hankins commented
          Editing a comment
          The bass was sounding boomy to me on all three days? Friday they were having problems with power to the amps, Richard was going to work on it after they closed the room.

      • #7
        Harbeth/VAC/Acoustic Signature turntables was also located on the mezzanine level in the Tower area of the Denver Marriott Tech Center. Music here was played through a multi-national effort including British made and Fidelis AV imported Harbeth 3-way 40.2 Pro monitor speakers ($14,800) driven by US made VAC's Signature 200 IQ Amplifiers being run in monoblock configuration and producing 200 wpc ($14K each). The analog front-end consisted of also Fidelis AV imported and German made Acoustic Signature 3-motor, belt drive Ascona turntable weighing in at a hefty 176 poundsand ALPHADIG motor controller ($34K), their top-of-the-line and both extremely stiff and light 12-inch TA 9000 tonearm ($18K) and a modified Ortofon cartridge feeding VAC's Master Preamplifier ($27K) plus optional phono ($13K) and Master Preamplifier ($37K). Cabling consisted of Tellerium IC and speaker cables. The sound here was certainly clean, easy to listen to and midrange centric but a touch polite and smoothed out sounding. At the same time, the low was a little thick but it was under show conditions too. The system did nothing to annoy but nothing to make one jump up and say aha either! Kind of the trademark sound British sound.

        Acoustic Signature also had on dry display their new $2000 Primus table plus arm. The table uses a newly developed DC motor and external power supply, a back coated Aluminum platter to control resonances and a high precision TIDORFOLON platter bearing. This might be one table for those looking for their first high-end table to look at.


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        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
        -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
        -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
        -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
        -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
        -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

        Comment


        • #8
          Originally posted by mep View Post

          I wonder what was playing for you to say that? The bass in the Vandy room was anything but boomy when I was in the room. It was tight and detailed. I had them play Show Biz Kids from the RLJ LP which starts off with a heavy bass line and it sounded great.
          Cant remember what was playing, but I spent most of my time there Friday. Then a little on Sunday.

          Comment


          • #9
            I try and find at every audio show one room put together by relatively unknown exhibitor (s) with sound far above the norm. Now the Margules Group from Mexico isn't exactly unknown or a johnny come lately but it's been donkey's years since I've heard their wares at an audio show. Nor is the Margules Group from Mexico a johnny come lately. The Margules Group has been involved in the audio industry for now close to 100 years and is currently headed by Julian Margules, who has designed high fidelity audio components for nearly 30 years.

            The all Margules audio system consisted of their $12K 2.5 way Orpheus speakers featuring ceramic drivers, first order time and phase coherent crossovers, air coil inductors and ultra-fast capacitors. Driving the Orpheus speakers was Margules own $4900, full Class A, zero negative feedback, active servo circuit, 40 wpc (triode) or 80 wpc (ultralinear) U280 Black Edition Amplifier. The amplifiers are also strappable for mono operation. Rounding out the system was the $3700 SF220 zero negative feedback, low output impedance Black Edition preamplifier and $599 Magenta FZ47db zero negative feedback, all passive EQ, Phono Preamplifier. Records were played on Margules' $2770 Magenta TT-10 belt driven turntable/arm featuring a very low noise, completely isolated suspended motor an thick and low resonance machined platter.
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            What impressed me the most about the Margules room was its tube-like sound. Great soundstaging, instrumental dimensionality and separation, ease of presentation, sense of space and midrange richness. And we're talking in the neighborhood of $25K for the whole system (not including cables).

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            The real eye candy in the room, however, was the $26K Macotela integrated amplifier. This state-of-the-art, visual masterpiece, combines the visual design of the renowned sculptor Gabriel Macotela, and the latest audio engineering features of Margules┬┤ amplifier and preamplifier line. The Macotela integrated amplifier is a fully class A, zero negative feedback, switchable between triode (40 wpc) and ultralinear (80 wpc) modes with the flip of a switch (even while playing). Only 20 numbered pieces of this Signature & Limited Edition piece will be released for audio enthusiasts and art collectors.
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
            -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
            -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
            -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
            -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

            Comment


            • #10
              It never ceases to amaze me how many audio show attendees have never seen a record cleaning machine. It also never ceases to amaze me how many companies are currently manufacturing record cleaning machines. Just in case your not like me amazed by this observation, these record cleaning machines just fly off the shelves. Companies such as VPI, Clearaudio, etc. can't keep machines in stock.

              Yet there still appears to be room for more companies. Jason Walker debuted Pristine Vinyl's (from the UK) ViVac RCS2 Keith Monk's-like machine at RMAF 2016. The advantage of this style of RCM as opposed to a Nitty Gritty or VPI machine, is that the record cleaning nozzle never contacts the record surface and thus can't transfer dirt or other contaminants from one LP to another. Or damage the album. A nylon thread that won't absorb water (a new piece is used for each album) maintains the distance between the cleaning nozzle and the record surface; Jason estimates the nylon spool should last for roughly 1000 LP cleanings. The machines also features a separate arm for applying record cleaning fluid. Records take approximately three minutes to clean with the RCS2.

              Another nice feature of the RCS2 is its looks fitting nicely into most home environments. The plinth comes in a variety of wood finishes and the machine comes with a plastic dust cover, fluid and brush. Price: $2400.

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              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
              -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
              -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
              -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
              -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

              Comment


              • #11
                The new $23,790 Sperling High Mass Turntable L-3 and $12,450 Tonarm TA-1 tonearm (available in 9-13.5 inch effective lengths) caught my eye in the Whetstone Audio room.

                A CNC machine is used to mill the High Mass L-3 turntable from solid block of Aluminum. The platter is also milled from a special Aluminum alloy; in addition, special, interchangeable inlays (wood/acrylic/POM, etc.) couple the album to the platter to fine tune the sound of the turntable. The table also accommodates 1-2 tonearms using the same technology developed for the top of the line Sperling table. Arm changes take only minutes with this sytem. The drive system consists of a precise, tape driven, tension adjustment.

                The TA-1 arm falls into the high mass category and uses a 1.5 point magnetic bearing and magnetic stabilization. The wand is available in different materials including ebony, snakewood, panzerwood, etc. A 0.35 mV output, low compliance $8975 Fuuga moving coil cartridge rounded out the rest of the analog front-end.

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                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
                -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
                -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
                -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
                -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                Comment


                • #12
                  The two Jeffs--Jeff Rowland and Jeff Joseph--teamed up once again at RMAF to demo their wares.

                  Jeff Joseph brought along the $7000 Profile, a speaker despite its small size plays like a large speaker. Powering the Josephs was Rowland's 1500 wpc (no that's not a typo!) $39K Daemon integrated amplifier. The Daemon amplifier comes with a built-in DAC and additional offerings include an optional phono board, WIFI streaming module and plug in HDMI module.

                  The news here, however, was the Rowland's release of their new $8310 PSU Power Storage Unit. Rowland's PSU uses newly developed "supercapacitors," in this case 24 x 350 Farad/unit and takes approximately 4 minutes to fully charge. The PSU work with the Aeris DAC and Corus preamplifier and take the electronics off the AC line.

                  The sound in the room was good though suffered a little in comparison to RMAF where the source was digital compared to Axpona where the two Jeff's had tape and vinyl as music sources (of course there were a lot of other variables too).

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                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                  -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
                  -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
                  -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
                  -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                  -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                  -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                  -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                  -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                  -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
                  -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    The Boulder/Rockport/REL/Feickert/AudioQuest room located on the second floor of the Tower ranked as another one of the show's "super-systems." Featured in Room 2024 was almost $200K of Boulder electronics ($55K 2160 amplifier, $65K 2120 DAC, $60K 2110 preamplifier and $13K 1008 phonostage), Feickert Woodpecker table and arm and Ortofon cartridge, $62,500 Rockport Cygnus and $4K REL 212SE subwoofers.

                    The sound here was much better on Sunday than when I first sat in with Mark on Friday. On Friday, the system was a bit bright and grainy; by Sunday, the system has smoothed out and was characterized by its speed, smoothness and detail. One thing bothered me though whether I sat in the primo or other seats here. There was a serious lack of soundstage depth; the soundstage was almost two dimensional. I can only wonder if moving the speakers out from the back wall might have improved that aspect of the system's performance.

                    Note to self: How can this attendee sitting behind me possibly hear anything with a Bluetooth ear bud in one ear?

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                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                    -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
                    -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
                    -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
                    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                    -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
                    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                    Comment


                    • #14
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                      Constellation and Magico once again teamed up at this year's RMAF. Constellation brought along this year to Denver their entry level solid-state electronic line including the $9900 Inspiration 1.0 preamplifier and $11K Inspiration 1.0 stereo amplifier. Constellation's 100 wpc Inspiration 1.0 amplifier uses the same balanced bridge circuitry and N-type output transistors found in their more expensive amplifiers; the main difference is that the input and gain stages are on one circuit board in the Inspiration as opposed to different boards in their top of-the-line amplifiers. Source material was played back through the Meridian Ultra DAC that's capable of playing back material DXD, DSD and MQA encoded material. The speakers were Magico's new and entry level $16.5 S1 Mk. 2s.

                      Unfortunately this room gets an incomplete, not through any fault of theirs, but mine. (the show is just too large for one person to handle!) First, I was unable to get a good seat since every time I dropped by the smallish room was packed to the gills. Second, I really wasn't familiar with the digital source material being played limiting my ability to judge the sound. But from what I able to hear, the system was very clean, quick and detailed. More importantly, the sound didn't have that illumination of Constellation/Magico demos in the past.

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                      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                      ________________________________________

                      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                      -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
                      -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
                      -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
                      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                      -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
                      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        Three things struck me about the PS Audio/Scaena/MG Audio cable room. First, the size of the soundfield thrown by the $125,000 Scaena La Maitresse Ultime speakers was absolutely humongous! The sound was reminded me of a scene from the TV show (or movie) Stargate where an event horizon formed in front of the round "naqahdah" gate after the traveler's destination is dialed and a stable worm hole was established. Except here, the gate was two perpendicular spires nee speakers and instead of an event horizon, there was an illusion of a concert. Second, PS Audio wasn't taking any chances and every piece of gear was connected to one of their $4999 P10 Power Plant Regenerators. Turns out that wasn't such a bad idea as electrical problems plagued many other RMAF exhibitors. Lastly, Scaena was doing their utmost to show their speakers are truly full range and rival the sound that PS Audio had two years ago at RMAF using the Infinity Beta speakers. For which they succeeded admirably. The rest of the gear included PS Audio's $5999 DirectStream Memory Player, their $5999 BHK Signature Preamplifier and last but not least, $15K BHK Signature 300 power amplifiers.



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                        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                        ________________________________________

                        -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                        -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
                        -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
                        -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
                        -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                        -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
                        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                        Comment

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