Zu Audio room with Peachtree Audio. Peachtree Audio brought to MAF 2017 their new integrated amplifier with Wi-Fi. For their 10th anniversary they reintroduced the decco125. The new decco125 ($999, or $1199 with Wi-Fi) has higher amplifier output plus is more advanced than the original. "SKY" is Peachtree's new wireless ecosystem, which provides streaming from TIDAL, Spotify or your favorite streaming service. Peachtree's SKY Direct mode even lets you play music right from your phone when no Wi-Fi is available. Zu Audio, always one of my fave rooms due to their sweet tune choices, were using their Druid MK VI ($10,000) in the main system, and Soul Supreme ($5000) or Omen ($1000) for the smaller system at the rear of their room.
Dantax Radio A/S, aka Raidho Acoustics, had the always awesome Rune Skov giving an excellent demonstraition of their Raidho XT-5 floorstanding speaker. Beuing a very large company, Raidho employs custom / proprietary driver designs. There's a wonderful sound via the ribbon tweeter that extends the highs gloriously! And then we have to add in their Ceramix units, as Raidho's X-5 Series uses the latest developments of both, but the bass and mid drivers offer "a step-change in performance over previous versions". Huge engineering and development efforts have been able to maximize power handling of their driver motors. Must admit the rooms had dazzling dynamics and fast, clean sound.
Nagra Audio always, and i do mean always, brings some of the best sounds at any show. Is it their setup magic genie, or simply producing some of the industry's best gear that simply works wonderfully? No matter what the cause, the outcome is a room i could forget about the 'show' and just enjoy the music! Almost two decades after the launch of Nagra's PL-P preamplifier, their new HD PREAMP is said to be the company's most ambitious preamplifier ever. The volume control is a patent-pending technology that allows perfect level matching with a much more transparent sound compared to potentiometers and switch resistor technology, because there is no attenuation of the input signal, just an automatic selection of a tap on the Nagra custom output transformers. Other gear within the room included their HD Line of products, with speakers being Wilson Audio Alexia Series 2, Kronos PRO turntable, Black Beauty arm, EMT cartridge, Kubala Sosna cables and Modulum racks.
Within the Technics room was a good demonstration of MQA. i'll cut to the chase and simply say i never had a chance to really sit in and hear their system. MQA... IMHO anything that gets streaming music companies to offer CD quality or higher is better than the current lowly 256kbs AAC or 320kbs mp3 is a move forward. Technics does make some mighty fine gear, with some of their products being aimed squarely at the high-end audio enthusiast. Of course MQA may have been discussed and heard, yet many people love Technics and their new 1200 series and soon-to-be-available SP-10R.
Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems is another exhibitor that always impresses, and RMAF 2017 was no exception. Am sure many of you know about our world premiere review of their Momentum Lifestyle integrated amplifier with DAC /streamer that earned our Blue Note Award for 2017. We also recently reviewed the Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Momentum Phono Stage Preamplifier ($50,000 and $28,000 respectively). In addition, they had the Progression Stereo Amplifier ($22,000) which drove a pair of Martin Logan Renaissance ESL 15A speaker ($25,000 per pair). Rounding out the system is a dCS Rossini, Stromtank S5000HP and S2500 battery power unit ($39,000 and $19,500 respectively), and it was all wired by Audioquest cables. My listening notes say the jazz music sounded especially live, real, with just the right balance of accuracy with excellent timbral balance and harmonics. Great sound, great room, great companies!
Prism Sound is at RMAF 2017 with their Callia USB audiophile DAC / preamp and dScope Series III system for testing ($4995). Designed and manufactured exclusively in the United Kingdom, the Prism Sound Callia USB DAC and digital audio preamplifier is tailored for listening to music. Callia employs their optimized signal path, clock circuitry, ARM Cortex processor and USB platform from Prism Sound's pro range. So yes, it easily handles 384kHz and DSD128. It also has a high-current, low-impedance headphone output too!
Convergent Audio Technology (CAT) room had their SL1 preamplifier mated with the hefty JL-7 Black Path Edition monoblock tube power amplifier ($35,000 per pair). Also in the system was a Music Vault, Mergining BADAC, Capitole Classic CD player, and the lovely Acoustic Zen Crescendo MkII floorstanding speakers. Sound-wise, solid tight bass and good imaging, with mids and highs being nicely balanced aurally.