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RMAF 2019 Show Report -- Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest 2019

RMAF 2019 Show Report Part 1
Show Report By Rick Becker

Truckin' To Denver


Truckin, up to buffalo.
Been thinkin, you got to mellow slow
Takes time, you pick a place to go,
And just keep truckin on.
— Grateful Dead


  If you haven't mellowed slow by the time you've come to the Ambassador Bridge after short-cutting through Canada, the US Customs will help you out. With nine lanes open at US Customs (not including the Nexus fast lane) it took me almost an hour to get back into the USA after crossing this bridge that handles 25% of the goods shipped from Canada to the United States. Next time I take the southern route and make a pit stop at the Rock Hall in Cleveland.



Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been.
— Grateful Dead

Passing vintage cars from back in the days of mono LPs and hipsters on Harleys that haven't changed much from that era, either...




...feelin' kinda like Don Quixote as humanity struggles to transition from fossil fuels to renewable resources as I cross the more progressive state of Iowa.



And in the even flatter land of Nebraska, I come across a Brontosaurus towing a Fiat 500 for better fuel consumption when they reach their destination.





All roads were leading to Denver, except this one, which was a shortcut to Boulder where I stopped to visit PS Audio to get a listen to the legendary Infinity IRS V speaker in their reference listening room and check out their digs. The first time I had heard this speaker was at a show in New York City, way back in the day.



The room was packed with sardines camping out in the rows of chairs and I was lucky enough to get some standing room at the back wall. The sound was pretty spectacular back in the day and my tour host, TJ, whose official position at PS Audio was Customer Service Rep, was kind enough to let me spin through numerous cuts from my compilation CD. Paul McGowan has seriously updated the electronics of these speakers. (Notice the black box behind the right tower.) What I heard in the PS Audio listening room was truly spectacular oh those many years ago.

Briefly, the front Infinity towers are the main speakers designed as a line source while a rear pair of woofer towers is placed just to the outside of each main speaker. The shorter black towers seen against the front wall are diffusion / absorption devices that prevent any nasties from bouncing off the wall. With a reference rig of such stature, with very old speakers such as these, they have set a pretty high bar for developing their own line of new speakers.

PS Audio's first, and smallest, model AN3 speaker was heard at AXPONA 2019 earlier in the year. My opinion (and the consensus of some others) was that it needed a lot of work. After hearing the Infinity IRS V, whose sound I loved, but whose form factor I cannot live with, was even more anxious visit the PS room at RMAF — especially after all the hype that was being put out about it.



I thanked TJ for the extensive tour of their operation. He was not only very knowledgeable about the company and most things audio; he exhibited a positive exuberance that was typical of virtually everyone I met at the shop. His role at PS Audio will undoubtedly skyrocket in importance as they are currently reining in all USA sales to become a factory-direct seller. Best of luck, young man, at selling direct versus having a proper dealer network.



This being Wednesday, the day before Press Day at the show, I motored out of Boulder up into the mountains for a view, a restaurant, and a lake to wash two days of sweat off my body. Even though it was after Labor Day, it still felt like The End of August at the Hotel Ozone. (Read: Hot and dry with fire restrictions). And like we always say, it's not a vacation until we hit a dirt road.



As all the lakes were either in restricted campgrounds or on private lands with foreboding signs around them, I motored on to the gambling towns of Black Hawk and Central City. Motoring further up the hill, I revisited some of the grateful dead where Linda and I had parked the Hotel Tracker on previous journeys.



With night falling quickly on the Front Range I rolled down I-70 into Denver, taking up residence for the night at the Cherry Creek State Park just south of downtown. After losing 50 cents at a shower stall that didn't work, I waited until a German gentleman from Stuttgart finished before finally washing off the dust from herding tractor trailers from Chicago to Colorado. Life was good once again.



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