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RMAF 2012 - Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2012 Report / Coverage
RMAF 2012 Show Report (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest)
Show Coverage By Steven R. Rochlin

  The new Wavelength Audio Duetto v3 ($5000) is a 300B stereo tube amplifier and made its debut here at RMAF 2012. Tube compliment is a pair of 417a/5942, two 300B triode tubes and for rectification a 5AR4\GZ34. The unit may also be ordered as an integrated amplifier with digital and analog inputs! Frequency response has been measured by Wavelength Audio's Gordon Rankin to be from 12 Hz to 25 kHz with 10 watts of output. Most impressive indeed and still have my Cardinal X1 300B monoblocks at home, which have been with me for about 18 years(!). If that in and of itself does not convince you how great Wavelength Audio amplifiers are, then I have failed miserably. In this world of reviewer 'fave of the day' with each new issue (rolls eyes)... you know what i mean.

 

Vaughn Loudspeakers were here at RMAF 2012 with their top line Cabernet II ($9000) uses a five inch ribbon and a staggering 16 qty of 4" Fisted EN drivers (8 front and 8 rear). For deep bass there are two passive 12" woofer drivers. Impedance is 8 Ohms nominal, sensitivity is a 300B friendly 100 dB/W/m, and frequency response is from 44 Hz to 40 kHz. The cabinet is fashioned with Bamboo Ply for a very solid and non-resonant cabinet.

 

GIK had their great room acoustic devices in the Odyssey room, which also had he old VPI 3.5 TNT turntable. Odyssey had their new Suspiro phonostage ($1200) that has an MM and MC input plus all the usual adjustments and goodies for analog playback.

 

A nice assortment of  phono cartridges from Lyra.

 

The McIntosh Labs room was filled with gear and let me tell you what is missing in high-end audio nowadays. This is to other manufacturers; here is McIntosh MX151 that handles the latest in HDMI technology with full support of 3D video pass-through, built-in Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding with the Lyngdorf Audio A/S RoomPerfect room correction technology, Dual Zone feature allows users to play different media simultaneously in two separate rooms with independent program selection and control. A vast array of digital and analog inputs can be custom labeled and matched in volume level, assignable balance input and outputs, an analog phono section, bass and treble controls and optional processing up to 7.1 multi-channel using Dolby Pro Logic IIx or DTS Neo:6 all enhance the two channel audio experience of the MX151. The McIntosh's MX151's flexibility allows people like me with a homewide and network aware system to use web based GUI and interfacing with all third party control systems. Audio options for up to 12 channels, multiple subwoofers, or bi-amplification of speaker systems are all included in this unit. So yes, I can control this unit from a tablet or other control surfaces (Crestron, etc via RS232), it handles multi-channel audio, has room correction, etc. So far virtually every $$,$$$ high-end audio company that claims to be state-of-the-art I spoke with seems to not have a clue about tablet control for a true fully flexible audio system. And if they do, if you only heard what they said. Would love to name names, but let us keep the guilty out of this as the marketplace will decide their fate.

Why? Well, my affluent friends have their Onkyo unit ($700) with such things in their receivers, and the Onkyo $2000 unit handles bi-amplification, digitally tunable electronic crossover, is fully network aware with Internet radio and much, much more. Since I tend to hang out with a more youthful crowd that barely knows life pre-Internet, and they wanted me to check out some things for them so they can upgrade their systems, the high-end better wake up or be eliminated once all those old goats pass away. Wake up high-end and embrace the new technology many of my affluent friends desire. And by the way, I might buy the MX151 unless someone can e-mail me with something with such capabilities in my fully networked home (hardwire mainly, though some Wi-Fi and Bluetooth of course). Physical digital discs are dead IMHO and that of my friends. Ok, enough ranting here, much more to come in my November editorial where I just might name names of those at this show who poo-poo'ed such an idea, which McIntosh (and soon Emotiva) is making a healthy profit on thanks to other manufacturer's ignorance... or is it simply apathy for new technology or refusal to do development work? i wonder if these manufacturers use non-Internet flip phones and no FaceTwit, etc too? Heck, why even bother having a company website!  i mean, hell, may as well live in the stone age and buy a Motorola 8000H (lovingly called the 'brick phone') like i owned way back in, oh, 1984 or so! And by the way, was working for Heathkit in 1984 and helped run their BBS system. Do we want to go back to dial up 300 baud acoustic coupler modems and BBS systems too?

 

Yes this is the new Wilson Audio Alexia speakers ($48,000 pair) being driven by the VTL Siegfried Series II monoblock tube amplifiers ($65,000 per pair). Do I really need to tell you how this setup sounded? I mean, c'mon, what a great combo here and Wilson knows speakers and of course VTL makes epic and powerful tube amplification products.

 

Here we have the Serenity Acoustic Super-7 speakers, Dodd Audio's new battery powered EL34 monoblock tube amplifier ($20,000 and $2600 per pair respectively) and a $900 Dodd preamp. Smooth sounding and really pleasant to listen to. I love systems like this as in my home music plays for literally 10+ hours each day! Triode Wire Labs was used throughout and their 7 Plus wire. Consisting of an impressive 525 conductors, the 7 Plus cable is heavy constructed and excellent for large amplifiers and massive power conditioners.

 

Dodd Audio's new tube preamplifier ($6500).

 

Since quite a few of my online friends wanted to see today's outfit...

 

Cabasse speakers made a very good showing here at RMAF 2012.Very nice point-source multi-driver design.

 

Ayon Audio is here at the RMAF 2012 with all their great tube amplification units. Their new S-5 uses tubes and it network aware and has multiple digital inputs, color front panel and volume control.

 

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