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RMAF 2017 Show Report (Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest 2017)
RMAF 2017 Show Report
Tweak Studio, Acoustic Sounds, IsoMike, Kimber Kable, WattGate, emm labs, Nordost, Gryphon Audio, VAC, And Tannoy.


  One of my fave retail industry guys, Arnold Martinez of Tweak Studio, is having a great time at the RMAF 2017 show. Tweak Studio offers everything from Burmester and Hegel to OPPO and ELAC. If you need tweaks, Arnold is a great go-to guy!


Every audiophile knows about Acoustic Sounds, and their sister Analog Productions plus Super HiRez downloads. Chad Kassem's upcoming 20th Anniversary Blues Masters At The Crossroads is only a few weeks away! If you can, it is well worth attending. As a side note, Enjoy the Music.com produced for you a live stream from their Blues Masters At The Crossroads 2014 event, which we offer highlight videos of full performances online ad-free at this link.


IsoMike with Ray Kimber is one of those demos you must hear during any show. This is especially true during RMAF as they have a wonderfully large room filled with top-line gear and multi-speaker setup. My wife/Muse Heather and i sat down for a listen. Forget whatever my impressions might be, which would say very high sound quality, as Heather felt it was perhaps the most realistic sounding system during RMAF 2017. In fact she even went so far as to look for the piano within the room! It sounded that real!!!


Kimber Kable new Axios cables have so much going on within them that it is hard to know where to start. It could be the way they interlace memory wire so the cable keeps its shape yet is flexible. It could be how during manufacturer they use special heating/cooling to relax the wire/cable for better use/sound. It could also be the hand-made nature where each cable is crafted right at their factory in Utah. Whatever the reason, Kimber Kable's Axios headphone cable series looks and sounds great.


WattGate by WBT are specially-made electrical outlets for those who desire the very best electrical connection to their Hi-Res Audio gear. Have been using their sockets for many years with excellent results.


Emm Labs reference digital-to-analog gear designed by Ed Meitner, which was also featured during the IsoMike demonstration, are for both audiophiles and recording/mastering engineers alike. "When Sony needed to transform SACD from an intriguing concept into a sonic reality, they turned to one of the world's leading experts in digital converter design: Ed Meitner". Judging from the many reviews online there is no doubt that emm labs is perhaps one of the best DACs available today. Their new / upcoming products including PRE reference pre-amp plus soon to be released update to our reference DA2 were being touted during RMAF 2017! Along with this, a full stack of our reference gear plus both the reference MTRX and the new shipping MTRX2 were running within their exhibition room. Other gear at RMAF 2017 includes DA2 reference stereo D/A converter ($25,000), TX2 Reference CD/SACD transport ($25,000) and DAC2X V2 stereo DAC ($15,500). For amps, they had MTRX2 pair of monoblocks and MTRX ($85 and $130k respectively, plus the PRE Reference pre-amp ($25k) and PRE2 stereo pre-amp ($15k). It's not all digital as Oracle's impressive Delphi MkVI second generation turntable handled vinyl LP playback, cables were an excellent variety of Kimber Kable Select (power, speaker and interconnects). There were four Sony SSAR1 speakers for IsoMike surround sound. Check out our world premiere, and Blue Note Award earning, review of the emm labs XDS1v2 with MDAT2 CD / SACD Reference player / converter at this link.


Nordost was offering a generous 20% of some of their products during the RMAF 2017 show. As a leading cable producer for high-end audio enthusiasts, they offers a wide selection of excellent cables, power/ground tweaks, equipment footers, etc. You can learn more about Nordost from our CES 2017 live video stream at this link.




Gryphon Audio system and new 125 Wpc stereo integrated amplifier, which is a smaller version of the Diablo 300 integrated amp with 32-bit/384kHz & DSD DAC option i reviewed last year. In fact the 300 Wpc stereo unit earned an Enjoy the Music.com Blue Note Award in September 2017 and the 125W version will surely deliver the same high-end sound quality, yet at a lower price point for those who do not need 300 Watts per channel stereo. While i've been a fan of Gryphon Audio for many years, it is great to have them back within the USA and offered by distributor On A Higher Note.


Heather loves the look of VAC gear! High-end audio need not be yet another black or silver box, and VAC proves this with a 'sunset' style logo says my Muse Heather. The sound was stunning, aided by big Tannoy Kingdom Royal Mk II loudspeakers ($96,000 per pair). On display was their VAC Renaissance phono stage ($9900), Renaissance Mk V line stage ($9990, internal phono option adds $3000), and VAC Signature 200 iQ stereo/mono power amp ($14,000 each). A Transrotor Rondino Nero turntable with 5012 tonearm ($14,000 and $5500 respectively) handles vinyl LP duties. A variety of Shunyata cables rounded out the system. The VAC / Tannoy room at RMAF 2017 sounded spectacular and we had fun meeting Chief Engineer Kevin Hayes of VAC. Check our our recent review, and Blue Note Award winner of the VAC Renaissance Preamplifier Mk V with MM/MC phono stage at this link.



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