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RMAF 2006 Show Report
RMAF 2006 Show Report
By Ron Nagle
Page 3

  Noticeably nice sound coming from Green Mountain Audio in room1004. I stopped to listened to a pair of Continuum 3Rs speakers powered by Class D Flying Mole digital amplifiers. They were playing songs from the Diana Krall album, All For You. The DAD-M310 digital amps are rated at 180 Watts a channel and cost $995 per mono amplifier. The Continuum speakers have the mid and tweeter drivers mounted on a movable swivel bracket (makes sense to me) and sell for $17,000 a pair.


Room 1016 and 1018: This is the land of the big McIntosh Amplifiers and speakers. The speakers come in two sizes that was why they were using two rooms. Let me tell you about Room 1018. This is where they were showing the bigger $19,000 XRT 28 speaker towers and surprisingly they were driving them with two new old style bridged Mc 275 amps. Let me impart to you a few trivia tidbits, the Mc 275 has been around for decades and they still sell all they can make. Externally they all have looked alike but over these many years there have been upgrades and the version at the show was a Mark 4 amplifier using Kt 88's. The story that was related to me was that there were about a dozen Mac 275 amplifiers stashed behind the stage at Max Yasgur's farm. As they blasted music out over the 1969 Woodstock audience they were actually helping to write a page in musical history.

I went down the back stairs to the ninth floor stopping at room 9002. This room is presided over by the very talented Ralph Karsten of Atma-Sphere Audio. He heads up the oldest, 28 years old manufacturer of OTL (output transformer less) amplifiers. His demo M-60 Mk 3 60watt mono amps were hooked up to a pair of $2,800 Audiokinesis Storm Bringer speakers. At one point he demonstrated this systems ability to produce sustained honest 20Hz bass. This is something you won't see every day, deep subwoofer levels from 60 tube watts powering a 12-inch driver! I made a note to myself to ring up Mr. Karsten and try to pry a pair of those lovely M-60 Amps out of him for a review.


Thiel, VTL, Marantz room 9004. When I stopped in this room there was no music playing just a few loud conversations. I would like to call your attention to the new Thiel CS3.7 speaker. All the drivers use mirror bright aluminum ribbed geometry diaphragms. The top most drivers are an innovative combination tweeter and midrange. The lower two aluminum speaker diaphragms look like cake molds. I don't mean to be disparaging but the one in the middle reminds me of a Bunt cake. However the construction seemed to be absolutely beautiful. 
This is where I ended the Saturday portion of the show.

Post Script: Just let me share a little show story trivia with you. In the evening after I had something to eat I happened to look into the Iris meeting room on the ground floor.


Regaling all present and standing center stage was Mr. ART Audio, Joe Fratus. He was telling amusing stories about his Italian relatives, how they would mispronounce English words and phrases. This was a very welcome moment in time when the concerns of the day seem to slip away.


Sunday October 22

Started today on the second floor in room 2004 this was the AV123 show. Industry veteran Mark Shifter heads up this very interesting company. First of all it is primarily an American held company that manufactures speakers in China. And in addition they market Chinese made Onix electronics products. This company eliminates the dealer network by selling directly from their AV123 Internet site. The quality of their products are very good and their prices are hard to believe. At this show they débuted the Strata mini speaker in drop dead gorgeous Rosewood. It is a 3.5-way speaker standing 50" tall and weighing almost 100 lbs. It features a 1" planer magnetic tweeter, a rectangular 8" planer midrange, 5.25" midbass-coupler, and a 350 watt powered 8" mass loaded woofer. The show price for the Strata mini was $1,550. And the Internet price is expected to be $1,990. They have far too much product to cover in this report; their site is certainly worth a look.


Products I think deserve a second longer listen are Gershman Acoustics in room 2002 showing their $30,000 Black Swan speakers power by Renaissance triode mono amplifiers that retail for $39,000. Audio Unlimited dealer room 2009, Sound came from Wilson Sophia 2 speakers power was by Pathos of Italy and the source was Clearaudio Ambient turntable with a Benz Ebony cartridge.

Walker Audio room 2024 too damn crowded and to damn dark to get any pictures inside. But the one picture I did get was of Lloyd Walker sitting on the throne. Just kidding, he was showing me the four vacuum pumps he had placed out of the way in the bathroom. The pumps supply air pressure to his wonderful sounding $40,000 Proscenium Black Diamond turntable.


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