RMAF 2012 Show Preview Report (Rocky Mountain Audio
Preview Report By Steven R. Rochlin
Nagra is here at the RMAF 2012 giving the USA premiere of their Jazz preamplifier ($12,250 including remote control and Nagra custom made output balancing transformers). This new preamplifier is destined to be a successor to the company's Nagra PL-P and PL-L. Just like the Nagra PL-P and PL-L, the Nagra Jazz is a valve preamplifier re-thought with the aim of going further in every area of the design. Noise threshold level has been brought down to such low levels that the Nagra Jazz now no longer needs the battery-driven power supply according to the company. Nagra's new preamplifier draws its power from the high performance Nagra ACPS II external module. A brushed
aluminum case houses the Jazz and is the same size as the Nagra PL-P yet has done away with the connections mounted on the side of the case for the more normal rear connections. The Nagra JAZZ preamplifier has front
panel controls plus can be operated by a remote control (volume, balance, standby mode, mute, input select). Frequency response is from 10 Hz to 50 kHz with a distortion 0.01%.
Indy Audio Labs LLC, a designer and manufacturer of high-performance consumer electronics, will demonstrate it's recently launched
Aragon Iridium 400 watt monoblock($3999) and 8008 ($3999) 200 watt dual monoblock amplifiers. The Iridium is the flagship amplifier in a brand new lineup from the recently-revived Aragon brand that includes the Iridium-Left and Iridium-Right monoblocks along with the 8008 dual monoblock. Both units employ made-in-America build quality, fully-discrete direct-coupled signal paths, and robust, high-current precision power supply components. In addition, the Iridium incorporates thermal management and audio performance enhancements rooted in improvements in modern semiconductor fabrication technology. Furthermore, these new Aragon models boast advanced control and monitoring circuitry that allows Aragon components to be controlled directly via smartphones and mobile devices and to integrate readily with home automation systems and remote monitoring
Benchmark Media Systems is proud to showcase their DAC2 HGC ($1,995) at the RMAF 2012, which is their a new reference stereo preamplifier with headphone amplifier and PCM/DSD D/A converter. The DAC2 HGC packs more processing power and features in the same compact DAC1 series form factor. Under the hood, eight balanced 32-bit D/A converters are summed together to form a pair of balanced outputs. DAC2 HGC supports 24-bit/192kHz PCM as well as native DSD conversion. Other features include sample rate and word length display, UltraLock2 jitter attenuation, asynchronous USB Audio 2.0, polarity switch, home theater bypass, bi-directional 12V trigger, additional analog and digital inputs and outputs, digital pass-through, and high-efficiency low-noise power supplies. Benchmark is introducing Hybrid Gain Control (HGC), a system that combines active analog gain control, passive low-impedance attenuators, a 32-bit digital gain control, and a servo-driven volume control. These components are combined to maximize dynamic range while minimizing distortion.
The DAC2 HGC can be used in conjunction with any home theater or audio system. It can connect to a wide array of devices: iPad, music server, laptop, desktop computer, PS3, XBOX, digital cable box, HDTV, Blu-ray/DVD/CD player, Squeezebox, FM tuner, phono preamp, VCR,
The new DEQX Mate processor will show attendees at the RMAF 2012 how effective the unit is at speaker and room correction. DEQX processors correct the distortion that all speakers make – electro-mechanical devices that they are – with room compensation an added extra. According to the company, "They're unique in correcting frequency-response errors as other units do but also critical timing errors by adjusting thousands of frequency groups so they arrive on time." The DEQX Mate is an analog in-and-out, set-it-and-forget-it two-channel processor sitting between your preamp/home theater processor/receiver and power amplifier. It incorporates many features in the flagship HDP-4 Preamp Processor, the same audiophile-grade parts and new technology but in a discrete set-it-and-forget-it package. The DEQX Mate features a selection of balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) analog inputs and outputs and a new Zero Earth Leak High Isolation power supply. After correcting your existing speakers and room it also can integrate one or a pair of subwoofers into the
Thiel just alerted me that they are about to debuting their new CS2.7s! This unit succeeds the CS2.4 as Thiel's mid-priced Classic Collection speaker. Their new CS2 series learns a lot from the CS3.7 and they now use curved ply walls rather than flat MDF. Also, the coaxial driver is straight from the CS3.7 so you know it is excellent! Kathy Gornik, Thiel President, is also at the RMAF to answer any
questions from attendees.
Channel D will introduce their new Seta Plus Phono
Preamplifier ($5399) and Seta DAC Buffer ($2799) products at the RMAF 2012. The new Seta Plus Phono Preamplifier represents the continued evolution of Channel D's ultra wide bandwidth Seta "flat" phono preamplifier. The Seta Plus includes an updated, ultra low impedance and low noise rechargeable internal AGM battery power supply based on the original Seta phono preamplifier design.
Channel D's new Seta DAC Buffer is said to solve a critical problem with today's Computer Audio that occurs when driving power amplifiers directly with the output of a DAC: setting the proper system gain structure. The Seta DAC Buffer provides a sonically transparent, analog way of adjusting the attenuation of any DAC's output (in 6 dB steps from -6 to -30 dB), permitting using the DAC or computer playback software’s digital volume control in its optimum sweet spot (-10 to 0 dBFS). Unlike passive signal attenuators which would be used for a similar purpose, the high (2
MegOhm) input impedance of the DAC Buffer insures that electronic loading of the DAC's output is kept to a minimum, while providing a sonically transparent, ultra wide bandwidth (DC to 12 MHz) and low (20 Ohms) output
impedance to drive virtually any cable.
Estelon's new Model XB is much awaited addition to the Estelon X-Series. Sharing the similar E-lon shape with XA and X Diamond, and according to the company "it is a smaller speaker designed for smaller listening rooms while keeping the hallmark of Estelon loudspeakers - the exceptionally wide imaging, deep sound staging and thrilling life like dynamics." As for all the Estelon loudspeakers, chief among the physical design elements of the Model XB is the use of E-lon cabinet form. Having been developed and honed over a five year period, the E-lon shape is a result of choices of material and time-honored construction techniques. The technique includes a special casting process, the use of a proprietary marble based composite and the extensive use of sub-structural stiffening spars that break up resonance nodes. German made Accuton ceramic drivers are used such as the 8" Accuton bass driver uses a special ultra stiff ceramic sandwich dome. The 6.25" Accuton mid-bass unit is a sophisticated design with particular attention paid to the titanium voice coil former and the surrounding air gap to provide maximum freedom from dynamic compression. A new 25 mm high frequency driver has an ultra hard ceramic dome and no ferrofluid filling.
A minimalist crossover design with 2nd order crossover is used mainly for the natural sound such a design affords. All component parts used, as well as the application of specific internal wiring, are of the highest quality and were chosen through extensive listening tests based on subjective musicality. Internal wiring is from Kubala-Sosna. As for the cabinet's outer finish, after casting the proprietary marble based composite is allowed to age prior to the application of a multi layer internal resonance compound. Only after this time consuming process does the preparation of the surface of the cabinet commence. Manual labor hand sanding and sealing, layer upon layer, applied using an elaborate and time-consuming procedure. And finally the multiple coats of the lacquer finish is applied, then hand sanding accompanying each finishing coat. Final polishing to a mirror-like or matte finish in conducted. Frequency response is from 22 Hz to 33 kHz, impedance in 6 Ohms and sensitivity is
Balanced Music Concept
(B.M.C.) Audio is attending the RMAF 2012 show and introducing into the
United States. market their new AMP CS2 power amplifier ($8390). The AMP CS2 is notable for a built-in option that automatically changes it from operating as an integrated amplifier with B.M.C.'s exclusive Load Effect Free (LEF) technology into a stereo power amplifier with LEF by simply connecting it to a B.M.C. digital-to-analog converter (DAC). Power
delivery of this solid-state unit is two channels @ 200 Watts into 8 Ohms and 360 into 4 Ohms. B.M.C's AMP CS2 also features a full package of their exclusive technologies including LEF amplification, Current Injection (CI), and Discrete Intelligent Gain Management (DIGM).
According to the press release, "Used together, as in the Amp CS2, they lead listeners to a previously unheard level of musical transparency." Internally, short and pure signal path and no
global feedback ensure a very clean signal path. Users can take advantage of the built-in upgrade option by combining the AMP CS2 with a B.M.C. DAC, which transforms the CS2 into a stereo power amp, while retaining all of B.M.C.'s exclusive technologies.
Furutech will be introducing two new lines of extremely high quality RCA and XLR sockets in PCB and chassis-mount configurations. Furutech is known the world over for their quality and wide variety of OEM parts and cables. Furutech's entire series the FT-783M(G) male and FT-784 F(G) female XLR PCB-mount sockets feature α (Alpha) pure 24k gold-plated copper conductors set in a heat-resistant liquid crystal polymer resin with a
non-resonant nylon and fiberglass housing incorporating Furutech’s special Piezo Ceramic damping material. Chassis-mount XLRs include the FT-785M(G) male and FT-786 F(G) female sockets. The Piezo Ceramic damping material combine two active materials: Nano-sized ceramic particles and powdered carbon that's incorporated into the nylon and fiberglass housing. This forms an extremely effective, mechanically and electrically
non-resonant connector body. Unique to all FT-783 through FT-786 sockets is a special nonmagnetic stainless steel plate incorporated into the piezo compound using a Furutech patent-pending process. Furutech's FT-903(G) chassis-mount female RCA and FT-909(G) and FT-909(R) female RCA PCB-mount sockets feature 24k gold or rhodium-plated α (Alpha) pure copper conductors and a heat-resistant Liquid Crystal Polymer Resin housing. A plated lead-free copper alloy incorporated into the chassis nut damps resonance.
ADL (Alpha Design
Labs) has expanded their line of products to now include the H118 headphones and iHP-35 headphone cables in five versions. These will be featured in the CANJAM section of the RMAF 2012 event. According to the company, "The ADL H118 sound is balanced in a completely audiophile way. Scintillating tonal colors and textures, intimate and close harmonic interplay, the sense of space, the resonance of music itself creates an involving emotional experience...
you'll feel THIS CLOSE to the music!" The iHP-35 headphone cables are a high-quality must in the age of personal, portable electronics. The iHP-35 series is available in five versions to make the perfect connection. The iHP-35s feature silver-plated α (Alpha) OCC conductors treated with Furutech’s α (Alpha) Process consisting of deep cryogenics and demagnetization. The connectors on these high-quality headphone cables are rhodium-plated 3.5mm stereo-to-3.5mm stereo with a rhodium-plated copper alloy pin. The body gets the same attention; its nonmagnetic stainless steel and the iHP-35s achieve high noise isolation in their RoHS-compliant sheath.
Attendees at the RMAF 2012 can see the unveiling of
Legacy Audio’s latest creation, their Aeris ($15,900) large floorstander. This four-way technological powerhouse of a loudspeaker featuring an all new drive complement, ICEpower bass section and digital room correction. Legacy Audio's Aeris is the company's first to use their new dual Air Motion tweeter (an advanced AMT design). It features high power handling and high efficiency plus excellent
frequency extension. The titanium encrusted 8" midrange has an enormous motor structure imported from Italy. The lower frequencies are produced by 10" midbass and dual 12" subwoofers with a linear volume displacement of nearly 200 cubic inches. The bass section is powered by 750 watts of ICEpower
amplification and offers extension down to 16Hz. The included 24-bit DSP features balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA analog inputs and outputs, level control, and both S/PDIF coaxial and USB inputs. The speaker's frequency range is from 16 Hz to 30
kHz and sensitivity is 95dB/W/m. The Legacy Audio Aeris is available in a variety of
finishes to match virtually any decor.
Just got word Bel Canto will be at RMAF 2012 with their DAC3.5VB, VBS1, Phono3VB, REF500Ms and the company's new Link Converters. Bel Canto brings computer-based music files to audiophiles with three new Asynchronous USB Link Converters; the entry-level
mLink, moving-on-up uLink, and top-of-the-line REFLink. These new USB Link Converters isolate the music signal – and clocks – from the harsh, noisy electrical environments of computers and music servers.
Asynchronous USB decouples the critical audio clock from the music data just as you find in the pro audio world. As a result, the new USB Link Converters’ output noise and jitter is now entirely dependent on the quality of the clocks. Since the oscillators are now free-running and isolated from the incoming data stream, the Low and Ultra-Low Phase-Noise Clocks now available make an astounding
difference. They turn the uLink and REFLink into "essentially noise-free sources that... take the digital out of digital sound" says Bel Canto. The REFLink's ST Fiber output is convenient for anyone with a Bel Canto 3.5VB Mk II or users may run S/PDIF on BNC or AES/EBU to any other external DAC unit. The REFLink features
dual ultra-low phase-noise clocks and on ST fiber optic that achieves triple galvanic isolation.
many of you know, Enjoy the Music.com gave the world a sneak peek at the upcoming
CEntrance HiFi-M8 in preproduction form weeks ago within our Industry News
page. Now they finally have it in production form and will be showcasing it during the RMAF 2012. The CEntrance HiFi-M8 ($700) is a brand new portable DAC and headphone amplifier unit that "redefines the portable DAC product category" says the company. This new portable amplifier streams USB digital audio from smart phones, laptops and other digital sources, creating a playback system for on-the-go listeners. For further sonic flexibility, HiFi-M8 offers a number of tone shaping controls to EQ and customize the sound for best synergy with a variety of headphones. The HiFi-M8's powerful audiophile headphone amplifier supports in-ear and over-the-ear headphones. It also accommodates 1/4 inch unbalanced or balanced headphones for precision sound reproduction. Professional XLR connectors ensure robust performance for years to
exhibitors and attendees can visit the AXPONA representative and discuss their upcoming 2013 event in Chicago! AXPONA will be located in booth 4 directly beside registration. The Chicago event is scheduled to be held from March 8th through 10th and AFCLS freight will be there to answer exhibitor's questions about shipping and no cost drayage. Bes Nievera from Music Direct will be present to answer any questions about the marketplace and table displays. AXPONA is a
USA company in their 5th year and provides great locations, low prices, high traffic and great coverage for manufacture and dealers. Naturally this event will showcase the finest in audio equipment, software, have many live music presentations and of course educational sessions for attendees.
Purist Audio Design will be exhibiting its newest
line of cables: the Genesis! The Genesis series of cables is crafted with two important criteria according to the
company, they include "exquisitely detailed musical sound and a phenomenal price". The Genesis exhibits along with the 25th Anniversary at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest rooms will have their Genesis Interconnects (RCA and XLR), Speaker (Standard, Bi-Wire, and Vertical Bi-Wire), Digital
(S/PDIF and AES/EBU) and Phono (RCA, XLR, and Phono DIN) varieties plus Power (AC
power cable) varieties. The 25th Digital RCA Cable uses solid silver conductors, is 100% copper braid and Ferox 103 shielded and uses a dielectric material made of foam polyethylene. Capacitance is 34.77 pF/m and being a digital cable it has a precise 75 Ohm impedance. The wire has been
Cryomag'ed three times to enhance the
Stahl~Tek will be debuting their Ariaa
USB DAC at the Rocky
Mountain Audio Festival 2012. Hailing from the heritage of the Opus Series, the Ariaa
responds to the needs of the industry as Stahl~Tek brought on additional audio engineers.
These new engineers labored under the love of the craft to produce a work of art. Their goal was to matched both their desire for the purest audio as well as a more comfortable price point still within the reach of most audiophiles. The Ariaa is the result of their endeavor with proven engineering plus certain forms of testing were used that are not found within the general
industry. Hailing from the heritage of the Opus Series, the Ariaa features handling audio data up to 24-bit/192kHz, remote control with volume adjustment and full galvanic isolation of all outputs. Digital inputs include
I2S, S/PDIF, AES/EBU and USB 2.0 (asynchronous). Analog outputs include balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA. Frequency response is from 0 Hz to 100 Hz, signal to noise ratio is >127dB and dynamic range is >127dB. Dimensions are 17.63" x 15.73" x 4.19" (WxDxH).
Precision Audio & Video will have their RMAF 2012 exhibit room packed with great gear including the
Venture Ultimate Reference Speakers, the new FM Acoustics 125 monoblock amplifiers, FM Acoustics Preamplifier,
Weiss MAN 301 music player/archive unit, the Weiss Medea+FW DAC, Enklein power cables and FMS interconnects. These components are known to perform at the highest levels and this system is extremely well integrated according to Precision Audio &
Since Wisdom Audio's exhibit room at the RMAF 2012 is a bit too small to showcase their Reference Wisdom Series LS4
line sources, they will instead be using their new Sage Series L75 line sources. Wisdom Audio's planar magnetic drivers are designed and manufactured in their factory in Carson City, Nevada and covers from 275 Hz to over 20 kHz with no crossover in this vital range to get in the way of the music. An outboard, electronic crossover (SC-1) between the PMDs and their own woofer design ensures seamless integration.
The system has a 95dB/W/m sensitivity and thus may easily be driven by tube amplification. High quality, intelligently-applied room correction via the included SC-1
optimizes the sound to the user's listening room.
Fresh thinking from
The Funk Firm as they will be debuting their new integrated turntable! Funk's "Little Super Deck" ($2095 w/o cartridge) was designed from the ground up to be 'F5' easy. Overhang alignment and azimuth adjustment are easily done with one simple screw. Bias and its accuracy control both tracking and styli wear. Tracking force is applied via a calibrated sliding weight on the arm beam. The company says "this benefits not only by being easy to apply, varying the position of the weight actually helps the performance of cartridges, according to there tracking weight!" The "Little" in the product's name refers to the 16.3" x 12.6" footprint. The unit plays 33.3 and 45 via Funks' patented Vector Drive, which is Funk's three point drive that uses one DC motor and two 'slave' pulleys. A variety of upgrades are also available at an additional
During the RMAF 2012 the longstanding and highly respected manufacturer
Scan-Speak will have their new Revelator products. This includes the largest subwoofer ever made by Scan-Speak with a stroke of 13" and a high performance beryllium tweeter. Scan-Speak's new 32W/4578T00 is the most powerful and largest subwoofer ever designed by Scan-speak. With a large 3" voice coil, extreme long linear excursion and low resonance frequency it is designed for producing the deepest frequencies. It features a brand new type of paper-sandwich cone with a special foam filling technology (patented) giving the cone very high stiffness and relative low weight. The motor system has heavy duty copper sleeves for the reduction of eddy currents and minimizing the self-induction. The new Revelator Beryllium tweeter D2908/714000 is a highly efficient and high-power 8 Ohm 1" design. It features a new 120mm faceplate design as well. The faceplate is without visible screws on the front side for a smooth and clean visual appearance combined with an acoustical very transparent wire-mesh protection grille. As a bonus for DIY'ers Peter Noerbaek from California-based
PBN Audio has designed an exclusive three-way loudspeaker called
B741 (pictured). It features a 1" Beryllium tweeter, a 4" midrange and 2 x 7" woofer, all from our Illuminator line. Noerbaek has designed an innovative electronic crossovers and a handsome
The new Triode Corporation of Japan's TRV-DAC1.0SE will be at the RMAF 2012. This is a remote controlled 24-bit/192kHz asynchronous tube digital to analog converter with two high speed USB inputs. As vacuum tubes are a feature within many of their designs, a pair of 6DJ8 are used, one per channel, plus a 6N1 as power regulator. Decoding is done via the Burr-Brown PCM1792 and sampling rate converter is the CS8422. For great
flexibility, the unit has three S/PDIF inputs plus TosLink optical. Users can select Digital Signal Phase, the sampling rate converter and to have solid-state or tube output. Overall dynamic range is 100dB with a SNR of 92dB. Dimensions are 330 x 342 x 89 (mm) and weight is 15
Gershman Acoustics will be introducing the new Idol speaker as an addition to the Gershman Acoustics line of award winning loudspeaker designs. Gershman Acoustics research and design team's goal was to bring about a speaker that would be in reach of more people than ever, yet wanted to ensure the design would be more affordable yet rival competitor's designs of their 'cost no object' models. Gershman Acoustics felt that a carefully
implemented design incorporating new ideas and technologies was the only way to go. VRLT (Variable Regulation Line Technology) was developed and incorporated in the Idol. The result is i the speed and "deep smooth, detailed bass, life like Imaging, musicality and details" says the
Zesto Audio will be bringing their new Leto Preamp ($7500), which has a design philosophy focus only on the important components and add nothing that could compromise the signal path. The only active components are the vacuum tubes that, says the company, "create a warm musical sound". As the company's longtime audio engineer and producer has said, "I’ve worked with a lot of professional equipment. I always preferred 'true floating balanced' inputs and outputs because of their foolproof ability to isolate one piece of gear from the next. And that means lower noise for a strong, clean and quiet signal. Key features of the Zesto Audio Leto Preamp include input selection uses only electromechanical switching, wide frequency response from 10 Hz to 100 kHz, true floating transformer balanced Inputs and Outputs, Left and Right ground switches, recessed gold plated RCA and XLR connectors and an elegantly designed 16 gauge zinc plated steel enclosure. There are five inputs, three sets of single ended (RCA) inputs with an impedance of 100 kOhms. There are two sets of true balanced (XLR) transformer inputs with an impedance of 10 kOhms. Outputs include two sets of true balanced transformer (XLR) with an impedance 150 Ohms and two sets of single ended (RCA) with an impedance 150 Ohms. Dimensions are 17" X 12" X 5" (WxDxH in inches) and weight is 23
DeVore Fidelity will be introducing a new speaker in the Orangutan family, the O/93. It is a more-affordable sibling to the O/96 the company introduced last year. This new design employs a
streamlined woofer and cabinet. The overall design has a lower sensitivity yet retains the easy-to-drive high
Sonus Veritas will be at the RMAF
2012 debuting their KT120 based Class A differential tube monoblock amplifier platform called the Florence and the company's updated Modena DAC. The Modena
(pictured) has been upgraded to a dual differential PCM1794 configuration. Their products include the Venice phono preamplifier and its complimentary brethren the Genoa linestage preamplifier. The highest quality hand-selected components are chosen for these designs, including the use of the highly respected Lundahl transformers. All products offer both unbalanced and balanced outputs and there are a range of inputs available. The Venice boasts two phono inputs available with either RCA or XLR connectors. Further the Venice, like the Genoa and Modena offers remote control of many functions including gain. The Genoa includes six balanced and unbalanced inputs while the Modena
(24 bit PCM data path with upsampling to 192 kHz) sports four inputs (S/PDIF, AES/EBU,
TosLink optical, and USB). An I2S input is optional. Sonus Veritas designs and manufactures all its equipment in Apex, North Carolina and are made in the
At RMAF 2012,
Emerald Physics will introduce 11 new products! Are you ready? Well, here we go!!!
1) CS2P open baffle controlled dispersion loudspeaker. From
$2990 a pair. Single amp design for users who want high performance and do not want to bi-amplification. The CS2P uses our new EP tweeter and new external
upgradeable crossover as well as a beautiful new design. They come standard in dual stage automotive pure black or gray gloss at $2990 a pair. A gorgeous Tri-coat Black Shadow Pearl or Tri-coat Gray is a $1200 option. CS2P is
upgradeable w/DSP equalization and eventually to full
bi-amplification w/the DSP2.4.
2) Emerald Physics first three monitor speakers:
a) MS3, Isobaric design w/dual 7" woofers & triple chamber tweeter, $3000/pair $3600 w/xover
b) MS2, Two way design w/6.5" woofer & triple chamber tweeter, $2000/pr $2600 w/xover
c) MS1, Two way design with 4.5" woofer & dual Neo fabric dome tweeter, $1200/pair
Two-Stage Black Gloss is standard. Optional Tri-coat hi-gloss finishes available at additional cost.
3) Four power amplifiers:
a) EP100.2SE 125 watt/ch digital amplifier, Special Edition version of the 100.2
b) EP100.2 100 watt/channel digital amplifier with analog power supply $1600
c) EP60.2SE Special Edition version of the 60.2 with internal parts upgrades
d) EP60.2 60 watt/channel digital amplifier with analog power supply $900
4) Two USB DACs for computer audio:
a) DAC1 is a 24 bit/ 96k USB streamer with ESS Sabre DAC $199
b) DAC2 is a 24 bit/192k Asynchronous USB with ESS Sabre DAC $299
5) DSP2.4, Emerald Physics first digital Crossover/Equalizer $850
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