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RMAF 2019 Show Report -- Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest 2019

RMAF 2019 Show Report Part 6 
Show Report By Rick Becker

7th Floor At RMAF 2019


Saturday, September 7th


  As we entered the long lobby of the Convention Center on Saturday morning, it was clear that Marjorie had whipped her crew into shape as the registration desk was minimally backlogged... or perhaps everybody had purchased a three-day pass and showed up all at once on Friday? Ron and I went our separate ways again today and I returned to the 7th Floor.



7th Floor (Continued)
Entering Room 125 it was hard to miss the tall model Forty-10 speakers from MC Audiotech. It's a two-way design with the top being a Spaced Array covering 100Hz to 20kHz — nearly full range, and the bottom being what they call a Folded Cube with dual high efficiency woofers covering 20Hz to 100Hz, making this a true full-range speaker.



Efficiency is high (96dB top, 93dB/W/m bass) but with 4 Ohm impedance both up and down they chose to go with two Pass Labs solid-state stereo amps, one for the Array and one for the Bass. Price for the speakers (with electronic crossover) was $35k and included delivery (and presumably set-up) in the Continental USA.



While the speaker cables didn't seem to be anything extraordinary, I suspect they were as the sound here was outstanding. Cabling was said to be Audience AU24 SX series and power conditioning was also by Audience.



Pictured here is Paul Paddock, entrepreneur, audiophile, and the man behind MC Audiotech.



On top of the Symposium Acoustics Foundation rack (which is modular and expandable) was a VPI Prime Signature turntable with JMW arm and Air Tight PC-1 cartridge. Below that was a Wolf Alpha 3server. The two items on the next shelf down were the VPI Analog Drive System for the turntable and a Luminous Audio Technology Arion ($6400) solid state phono preamp that is very highly regarded. Next shelf held a small unit that was likely the electronic crossover for the speaker, and a DSD DAC. And on the bottom shelf, a Pass Labs XP22 preamp with separate power supply. The Pass amps were an X250.5 on the left for the two bass units and an XA25 for the two Array units.

Music here was good enough to spend a few extra minutes listening, sounding a lot like an electrostatic speaker with a seamless transition to the full, rich bass. When I call this another of the Best Rooms at the show, I do not mean to suggest that MC Audiotech is the equivalent of the Fyne (at one-fourth the price) in the previous room, but in their size and price leagues, they are both well worth an audition. Robert Harley of TAS left the room at the same time and I turned to him saying "Sure sounds like 'cover material' to me." He flashed a big smile and said nothing. We'll see. They are in North Wales, PA, just north of Philadelphia if your curiosity runs high.



The large suite at the end of the hall (Room 105) was sponsored (at least in part) by Soundings, a major retailer in Denver. There was a large and attentive audience for the Vienna Acoustics Liszt speakers ($18k+), a 4 Ohm speaker with 91dB/W/m sensitivity, reinforced with subwoofer towers created by stacking three of the new REL Acoustics S/812 subs ($2900 each) from REL's mid-line series. These are daisy-chained together to minimize cable clutter and their skid-like "feet" provide clearance for the downward firing passive radiators. With their side handles they mimic the Reference line and additional upgrades to the driver and 800 Watt internal amps represent a significant upgrade over the previous model.



Subwoofer towers have become somewhat of a trend lately, presenting an impressive image of power to the owner, but they also block any view out the window. I would certainly investigate the cost & quality effectiveness of a mid-series tower vs. a pair of Reference line subs. Or one might consider putting more money in the main speaker. Coming back to Vienna Acoustics, similar to The Music and The Kiss models in the Klimt Series above the Liszt, the driver in the swivel cabinet on top is a Flat-Spider-Cone coaxial midrange and tweeter.



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