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RMAF 2015 Show Report
RMAF 2015 Show Report - Day 2
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest
Report By Rick LaFaver

 

  Day 2 of RMAF 2015 comes to a close and after another round of exploring I have not yet found the end of the wellspring of great audio experiences. Several hours of CanJamming and several hours of jumping room to room and a few more lessons have become self-evident:

1. CD is dead. I hate to say it but I think I have seen maybe four CD players running in rooms, the four players I saw were top of the line like the custom transport only edition of the Oracle Audio CD player in the Jeff Rowland Design Group room along with the debut of the 2.5KW monster integrated in the Daemon integrated ($38,900 targeted release for Q4 2015). This Integrated also featured an integrated DAC capable of double DSD, and an optional phono and HDMI input cartridge.

 

2. Vinyl killed it. Almost every room featured a turntable of some sort or another, and those without a turntable had elaborate media server/streamer solutions. The final nail in the coffin seemed to be in the Sony room (whom co-created the CD format with Phillips) there was not a single CD player in sight. There was, however, a great DSD media server and a pretty nice turntable yet no CD player to be seen. I guess it had a good run, but perhaps there is only room within the market for one physical media, and vinyl seems to be it.

 

On To Highlights Of Day 2...

Pikes Peak Room: Peachtree Audio And Zu Audio
I like Peachtree Audio and think their amps have great value proposition for many people in the market. They deliver a great price to performance ratio and you should strongly consider listening to one in your space. Now for a little honesty, I have no idea what the hell equipment was playing in this room, there were some Zu Audio speakers and headphones and what not, yet Michael Shrieve was playing. Yes THE Michael Shrieve for Santana, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, playing along with some Ed Sheeran track and some collaboration work he has done with Amon Tobin (a percussionist I clearly need to learn more about). He played, spoke, and cranked up some tracks he had become a fan of. I was having a bit of a moment here at RMAF, so sue me. (Editor Steven's Note: Wait, you mean you're enjoying music at an audio show? Oh hell no, we can't have any! ;) )

 

Room 2024: Vapor Audio, Verastarr, Resolution Acoutsics And LampizatOr
The Vapor, Verastarr, LampizatOr room was one of the best acoustically-treated rooms at the show with panels and diffusers from Resolution Acoustics ($42,721 worth). The room featured the debut of LampizatOrs new Golden Gate balanced DAC ($19,800) and Vapor Audio's release of the production version of the Perfect Storm White ($45,000). This system had the tallest and deepest soundstage at the show, as instruments danced throughout the scale of an easily 10' tall by 14' soundscape. The enormous scale, along with a stunningly accurate tonal balance and low distortion even at higher than normally comfortable volumes, made for a unique experience. I kept asking the gentleman with the remote to crank up the volume until we got to the level of a live performance. With all of the aforementioned characteristics it was like sitting front row at a venue. The singer was dancing across the stage, the drums had the live visceral feel of a drummer sitting right in front of me (It was like I was back in the room with Michael Shrieve). This was a must see room and has to be considered one of the Best In Show. I didn't get a chance to ask about the LampizatOr DAC, but it appeared to be running some very exotic tubes so this may have had something to do with the level of refinement within the system as a whole. I would love to hear it in my own system!

 

 

Conifer 1: Constellation Audio And Wilson Audio
The Constellation Audio room featured a pair of cherry red Wilson Audio Alexias ($53,000 per pair) and Constellation's new Centaur 2 ($80,000 per pair) beastly 500 watt monoblock amps debuting at RMAF 2015. The Centaur 2 was a redesign of the still current Centaur amps adding triple the output capacitance, and this was clearly evident on a dynamic and drum heavy Lars Erstrand cut. If you own Wilson speakers and aren't getting the life out of them you might have hoped, the Centaur 2 would be a great tonal match to liven up Wilson's house sound without coloration. I have to get my hands on that Lars Erstrand cut, especially because of the way the drums were recorded so very differently than any jazz performance I have heard before. The drums were way back and off to stage right, with the Alexia loudspeakers placing them effortlessly; even with deep kick drum passages.

 

 

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