The 14th RMAF once again benefited from Colorado's sunny weather and the show enjoyed beautiful warm temperatures all three days. The renovated Marriott looked spiffed up nicely, the elevators worked overtime the entire show, and the exhibitor rooms were distributed with care making navigation easy. Taking into account the rooms I was able to visit (nobody can listen to all the rooms), I felt that overall it was the most uniformly good sounding RMAF yet. Manufacturers are getting used to the new room obstacles, and more than ever are using room treatments to their advantage. I was invited to a great dinner Friday night with some local and not so local friends, enjoyed the sensational after hours party that Greg Beron hosts on Saturday night spinning R2R tapes that included the Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore East which was particularly fun, and after the show vacationed in Colorado for another 10 days visiting friends and staying in Breckenridge for a few days.
Acoustic Zen, Convergent Audio Technology, And Sound Science
They let me play my test CD here and the sounds were spectacular, in particular the bell strike in "No Sanctuary Here" by Chris Jones came from above and behind the speaker unlike every other system where the bell is stuck on the tweeter. All genres shown on this system, big deep stage, wide dynamic swings, and the piano was very realistic sounding percussive while aurally showcasing rich harmonics. Neal is the Front Range dealer for all these brands and is located just south of Denver.
Well Pleased A/V
The QLN Signature 3 loudspeakers ($7,000/pr) are a refinement of a three-decade old design bringing a mature product up to date with the latest Scan Speak drivers, cabinet advancements, and crossover technologies. An important component with monitors are stands, these were from Sound Anchor weighing around 100 pounds. From Hungary Mark used a Qualiton A50i integrated amp ($7,500), tubed Push Pull at 50 Watts. Italy sent an AQUA Formula xHD DAC ($14,700) incorporating the latest xHD kit, new algorithms for the ladder dac and new USB receiver treatment. The top of the line Innuos Zenith SE server ($7,000) dished out music, and Paul Speltz' Anti-Cables laced it all together including his latest gold and silver Level 5 speaker cables. I need to mention that every room with Paul's cables exuded detail and musicality, and they will all get top marks.
The system just excelled at every phase of making music, the QLNs completely disappeared producing one of the most convincing soundstages at RMAF, very wide and deep, the room was smaller than the apparent size of the stage. Voices were the perfect size and height, in the room presence, male vocals without a trace of heaviness, female vocals clear without being strident. This was only the second room to place the struck bell in Chris Jones' "No Sanctuary Here" cut away from the speaker, the QLNs had it above and behind them. It was as if there were no speakers in the room, only musicians. The other audiophile boxes were checked as well, detail, dynamics, tone, etc., but the most compelling feature I found was how much I was enjoying myself, either with my test CD, or the music Mark wanted me to hear, I could have stayed all day hanging out just enjoying the music!