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RMAF 2017 Show Report (Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest 2017)
RMAF 2017 Show Report
Von Schweikert Audio, Audionet, GTT Audio Video, Spatial Audio, Vinnie Rossi, And Anticables
Show Report By Kemper Holt


Von Schweikert Audio, Audionet, And GTT Audio Video
Hiding away in the "back" room, a very simple system was setup, deceptively simple. A pair of Endeavor E-3 Mk II speakers ($8,000/pr) were in use, just like the pair at my house. GTT supplied a pair of Audionet separates, the Plank Redbook CD player ($18,800) and the WATT Integrated Amplifier ($18,800). Once again MasterBuilt Audio cabling was employed and some ASC Tube Traps provided room conditioning. Although the E-3 Mk IIs looked like mine, the system was performing on an elevated plane compared to my home system. Aside from the room, only the electronics and cables were different, and they were making a noticeable improvement from what I'm used to hearing.


The pace was better, bass and dynamic swings were improved, voices were more real, the whole system seemed to be a couple of notches advanced from mine. London Grammar was stunning here. This was a real eye/ear opener as to how much better a system or speakers can sound with the addition of top shelf electronics and cables. I can only hope Leif, Damon, and Bill will want me to hear these improvements at my home and I'll be able to recreate this superb sounding system in my listening room. If you were wowed by the VR-55 Aktive / Audionet MAX system and didn't get to the back room, you missed out on a simple but involving system. 



Spatial Audio, Vinnie Rossi, And Anticables
If you appreciate the sound of an upright bass or drum kit without any "boxy" colorations, Clayton Shaw has a speaker for you. Actually he has many good designs at all price points, but at RMAF he was showing off his newest OB offering, the Spatial Audio X2 Modular loudspeakers ($9,620/pr) the red version here. Clayton combined a horn loaded AMT driver that takes over at 800 Hz with a 15" Acoustic Elegance woofer incorporating a 40 lb motor in an Open Baffle configuration, and a passive crossover is employed for single amp requirements. This minimal system had all other audio duties taken care of via a very special front end, a Vinnie Rossi LIO "Super Integrated" amplifier ($12,995 as configured), which was like a loaded baked potato. The LIO SI included a direct heated triode linestage, high current MOSFET amplifier at 25 Wpc into 8 Ohms, and the new DAC 2.0 sporting dual flagship AKM AK4977EQ chips, all off line powered by Vinnie's ultracapacitor power supply. Paul Speltz's AntiCables connected everything, every room where Anticables were utilized sounded terrific, I think the new Level 5 speaker cables are exceptionally good even with the higher cost driven by the metallurgy involved, gold and silver.


Clayton's room was one of those where I just wanted to relax, kick back, and listen to music. I heard startling dynamics, rich harmonics, deep bass without overhang or bloat, nice instrument separation, and a huge wide and deep soundstage allowing the speakers to completely disappear. Vocals were focused and the correct height, the stage started about 3' behind the plane of the X-2s, upright bass was tight and real, sax had the perfect bite, and voices showed live like dynamic shadings. Drum kit had great impact and realism, orchestral music showed off the soundstage to be wide and layered deep, with beautiful string tone. If I didn't have to cover the show, I would have spent a lot more time here, just enjoying the music.



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