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RMAF 2007 - Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2007 Report / Coverage
RMAF 2008 Show Report
(Rocky Mountain Audio Fest)
Article By Ron Nagle
Page 2

This is the room with the Scaena Iso Linear Array Speaker system. This system is capable of painting a panoramic sound stage with unrivalled precision. This is what you might expect from a line source tower freed from a box enclosure. It is capable of rendering music with speed and pinpoint precision. The stage appears boundless with all the depth, width and height information present in the recording. The Demonstration system was the model 3.2 speaker. The tower stands 60" tall uses 12 midrange cone drivers, 9 planar ribbon tweeters and in the back of the room are 2 large cylinders each one with an 18" woofer. Up front is a Scarlatti DCS transport and DAC, power comes from a VTL X400 stereo amplifier with Nordost Odin speaker cables. This 3.2 system has a MSRP of $54,000.   P.S. Thatís yours truly on the left side in the photo standing next to the co-designer Mr. George Bischoff.


As usual the McIntosh people are near the top of the heap. Lighted front panels on every component can certainly draw your attention. The were showing a system comprised of   a pair of the new MC2301 tube power amplifiers ($15,000) supplying power to the multi driver XRT-1K line source tower speakers ($35,000). Up front I got my first in person look at the McIntosh MT10 turntable. Uniquely the translucent acrylic platter is illuminated so that it has a soft glow in the dark appearance and there is a lighted speed-read out dial on the front panel. The system as I heard it was sourced from the $6000 MS750 music server or the MCD500 SACD/CD ($6,500) player with a RAM storage chip, volume control and digital inputs. After hearing the Mac system I am beginning to think that speakers comprised of many small drivers rather than three or four larger cone drivers can produce sound that is closer to live music.

I think I will wrap up the show report be touching on a few items which stand out because they are unique in some way, either new or innovative, or super expensive.


Three Speaker Systems That Fall Into The 'Big Bucks' Assault On The Art Category

Audio Imports in the Larkspur room displaying massive German Triolon Excalibur Horn tower speakers with a center firing ionized air tweeter only $192,000 a pair. Modern sculpture that talks to you, I wonder what my wife would say?


The KEF Muon Reference speakers are other worldly monoliths that came to visit Denver. You are not likely to see another pinched waist mirror finished aluminum speaker costing $140,000 very soon. These four-way, 79-inch high, 235-pound beauties are formed from molded 6mm sheets of aluminum and contain a total of 8 drivers each. Seven drivers (there are two in the back) are 9 7/8 inches in diameter with separate crossovers and the center Uni-Q driver is both a midrange and tweeter. They are a limited edition with production limited to a 100 pairs. Designed is by Ross Lovegrove (I love suggestive British surnames). I was informed that they had sold ten pairs so far; sound was pretty good in a cramped space.


Lets not over look what maybe the hit of the show the Focal Grand Utopia speakers in the Audio Unlimited room. These all out transducers weight in a 580 pounds and cost a mere $180,000. For that price you get concert hall dynamics and sound staging. A pair of Boulder 2050 mono block amplifiers supplied power. The music source was either the Boulder 1021 combo disc player music server or the Clearaudio Statement Turntable.


Lets take a closer look at the Clearaudio Statement Turntable it is something to behold. Massive and weighing 770 pounds the linear tracking housing for the arm and the magnetically driven platter are kept level by magnetic suspension and an internal gyroscopic system then for good measure add a 176 pound pendulum counterweight. I did not ask the price, I was afraid too.

If anything can convince you that vinyl recording is not passť than this has to be it.



Three Last Items, Filed Under The Heading 'Of Things Odd Looking'

Raal Requisite Omni Direct Loudspeakers. What you see in the photo is a cast bronze base ball with a stack of drivers in a pole configuration. I canít comment on sound quality.


The Evanui Signature Speakers made in Yokohama City Japan, The literature says the word Evanui means 'vanish' in Latin. A single three-inch driver on top of a stack of 63 carved Apitong plywood layers. Again I really canít comment on the sound. But does anyone remember Al Capp and his cartoon creatures the Shmoos? Well if you do than you may remember they multiplied like crazy and they taste just like ham.


From the country that invented Pizza I call your attention to the Montegiro Lusso Turntable. What you see is a stack of alternating aluminum and black acrylic plastic disks in the shape of an inverted cone. The three surrounding cone bases support a two-speed belt drive motor and two outboard tone arms. All the sections are free standing and are movable the whole magilla is anchored by its 176-pound mass, I didnít get a price.


At long last tired and sluggish from the Mile High altitude I found time to suck in some mint-scented oxygen to chase away that dull pain between my eyebrows. What more can I say, itís the best U.S. show every dyed in the wool audiophile really should see it.

Semper Hi-Fi


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