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RMAF 2016 Show Report (Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest)
RMAF 2016 Show Report
Vandersteen, Audio Research, And The Audio Alternative
Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest & CanJam 2016
RMAF 2016 Show Report By Kemper Holt



  I made five attempts to get into the Audio Alternative room, only two were successful as it was SRO all the time. I made the most of my two visits and got in the sweet spot both times, once way up front nearfield, and the second time two rows back, dead center, both visits on Sunday when the voltage issues had been tamed. I didn't hear the Magico room across the street, so of the rooms I heard this one was my favorite. Voices were so real sounding, right in the room presence, transparent, and spooky. I heard Rickie Lee Jones' "Show Biz Kids" from It's Like This, her voice had body, and the cut was just wonderful. Some Stevie Ray Vaughn had a big "jump" factor with startling dynamic swings, great tone on his voice and guitar, and a bass line that was clear and had forceful impact, they could have played the whole album and nobody would have complained.

I heard a couple of tracks from Richard Thompson's Action Packed: The Best of the Capital Years, played on the AMG V12 table featuring the DS Master optical cartridge, marvelous! The system placed all the voices at the correct height, RLJ, SRV, and RT all seemed very believable as they were at appropriate heights, so clear and detailed, yet rendered with body and great tone to boot. The new unpriced Vandy sub was perfectly integrated and provided a solid, deep foundation which pressurized the room with ease when called upon. The soundstage was huge, wide and very deep, the 7 Mk IIs vanished, and placement was ideal. The last song I heard was "Magic Man" from Heart on vinyl, soaring vocals, great song, loud but effortless, I couldn't help silently singing along and tapping my toes, this is the system I wanted to take home.




The Audio Alternative and Musical Surroundings room featured Vandersteen Model 7 Mk II speakers ($62,000 per pair), Model 9 sub (TBA), Audio Research Ref 3 phono ($14,000), Ref 6 line stage ($14,000), Ref CD9 DAC ($13,000), Vandersteen M7 HPA high-pass amp designed expressly for the 7s ($52,000 per pair), AMG V12 Turbo turntable w/12JT tonearm ($22,000), DS Audio DS Master 1 optical cartridge ($22,500), AudioQuest Niagara 7000 AC conditioner and AQ cabling.






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