RMAF 2012 Show Report (Rocky Mountain Audio
Show Coverage By Steven R. Rochlin
Research is here at the RMAF 2012 with their
new Element Series power cords. There is an actively shielded air dielectric,
which they call Air String, and different elements are applied such as copper,
tungsten and silver. They say it gives a musical flair to the unit.
is ever so British with their RP6 turntable ($1990) with their Exact 2 moving
magnetic cart that is a unibody design.
drivers and crossover.
subsidiary has their new iFi
micro series and seen here is the DAC ($299) that handles 24/192 via USB and
has volume adjustment. Naturally it is async, etc as you'd expect from AMR and
the amplification is all Class A. They plan on making the iFi a line of
phonostages and much more!
Signature had their Thunder turntable
($13,000) without arm. This is the first turntable they have manufactured with
their 'Silencer Platter 3' design, which is claimed to be one of the most
significant improvements in their turntable designs. A 70mm solid aluminum
chassis forms the base of the turntable, on which up to three arm attachments
can be fitted for either 9" or 12" tonearms of any make. The 50mm
thick platter is driven by its remotely sited motor and AlphaDIG electronic
Why yes, today was run around like a chicken
with its head cut off day as i was way behind schedule because the show
has grown so large! So what was i to do? Well, grab the MIL boots and 'kick
it' big time at the RMAF 2012.
Coincident Speaker Technology had many
of their highly prized tube amplification products plus their smooth and fast
sounding speakers too. The sound had wonderfully extended highs and imaging
was very impressive. Wish I had more time to listen more, but damn I am
running way behind in my
schedule as this show has grown into a monster! They have uprated the Total
Victor speakers with new aluminum woofers to the same as their highly
acclaimed Golden Ear Award winning PureReference Extreme.
Miyagaima Zero MC mono cartridge ($1995)
it said to be the best mono cartridge according to the company rep.
Music Hall had their usb-1 ($249) and
the turntable matt is $50 extra.
Aperion Audio has their new Aris
wireless speaker system ($499) allows users to simply grab their smartphone,
tap an app and choose tracks from any device within the home network. Love the
retro-futuristic curve of brushed metal and yes it handles Hi-Fi via Wi-Fi, so
you can send any digital music on your network to any place you want to
Boulder is a smart company as their 1021
disc player handles Ethernet networked audio and they have an app for tablet
control ($24,000). It is 32/192, which is software
controlled. No off the shelf stuff here, especially at this price of course.
Pass Labs amp and Kimber Kable
join forces and speaker are the Sony ES prototype, which will be
finalized around January 2013.
Levinson amplifier driving JBL’s
Everest hornspeaker ($66,000).
The Funk Firm's LSD white turntable ($1995) is
really trippy and includes tonearm, whilst the clear acrylic turntable called
the Saffire ($5,000) does not include tonearm.
If there was an award for the coolest cats in high-end for
manufactures, the bro's at Zu Audio would surely be in the running.
Here is their Union ($2000) and Definition MM VI ($12,700).
Silver Circle Audio has their world premiere of the
model Tchaik 6, which is named after his symphony ($9500). It has magnetic
induction technology to ensure clean power deliver to high end audio
Audio Note had the Tomei Kensei single-ended tube
amplifier ($58,000) that uses a new German-made 211 triode. For driver duties
the 6v6 is put to good use and the output transformers are half copper and
half silver. Audio Note's room always seems to be smooth, musical and
VAC was rockin' the RMAF 2912 with their Sigma 160i
integrated amplifier ($9990). This beauty produces 86 watts per channel and
has a really sweet looking illuminated logo. It also has a MM as standard (MC
optional) phonostage too so vinyl junkies are all set with this baby. There is
a true line stage (with optional balanced inputs), so it is not just a passive
line stage feeding the tubes. VAC's Sigma 160i "incorporates a separate
rectifiers and power filters for the preamplifier sections for greater purity
and stability" says the company.
Gershman Acoustics’ new Avantgarde small
floorstander ($10,000) seen here in sensuous Ferrari apple red. A truly
stunning color and if they sounds like the other models, this is sure to be
another winner for Gershman Acoustics!
Resolution Audio's Cantana ($6500) has asynchronous
mode and a slot-loading compact disc drive. Of course there is an Ethernet
link and it can easily handle UPnP libraries. Digital inputs include S/PDIF,
AES/EBU and TosLink). Analog outputs are both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA.
It also can be controlled via the company's iPhone/iPod Touch remote control
The new Von Schweikert model 44 ($22,000 in passive,
$25,000 with powered sub) is their new floorstanding model. The company's
European engineering partners helped design a complete transducer set that is
precisely matched to each other in transient response speed and low
distortion. The cones are highly damped and have a linear frequency response.
Von Schweikert's newly developed 6" full-range driver cone is made
of composites of cellulose acetate pulp, acrylic plastic, and carbon fiber,
while the tweeter is a similar organic material with a soft plastic coating.
To provide extreme rigidity, the new 8.8" woofers are formulated from
ceramic-coated alloys of magnesium and aluminum, which is damped with a layer
of electrostatically applied oxide powder. Very impressive for a speaker at a
relatively reasonable price.
United Home Audio had their reel to reel in Phase 11
version ($20,000) and has 11 RF suppression, the best tape heads, etc.
Nirvana had their 9500 computer ($25,000)
JPS Labs is breaking out with their new company
called Abyss Headphones. Their first model is called the AB-1266
($5000) and is a planar magnetic design that took many months to design and
fine-tune. I spent much time listening to them and they were the best open ear
deign I heard in the CANJAM section of the RMAF 12012 event. They sounded
remarkable not just for typical acoustic jazz, which they indeed did very
well, but also electronica, rock and West coast hardcore rap to extreme volume
levels. Even with such ‘abuse’ they stayed clean and full frequency. Must
also say they were being driven by the Cavalli tube embedded hybrid headphone
amplifier ($3250) that uses the 6922 with no coupling caps. DC coupled front
to back to create what they feel is a blended sound.
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