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RMAF 2012 - Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2012 Report / Coverage
RMAF 2012 Show Report (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest)
Show Coverage By Steven R. Rochlin

  Synergistic Research is here at the RMAF 2012 with their new Element Series power cords. There is an actively shielded air dielectric, which they call Air String, and different elements are applied such as copper, tungsten and silver. They say it gives a musical flair to the unit.


Rega is ever so British with their RP6 turntable ($1990) with their Exact 2 moving magnetic cart that is a unibody design.


ScanSpeak drivers and crossover.


AMR‘s subsidiary has their new iFi micro series and seen here is the DAC ($299) that handles 24/192 via USB and has volume adjustment. Naturally it is async, etc as you'd expect from AMR and the amplification is all Class A. They plan on making the iFi a line of phonostages and much more!


Acoustic Signature had their Thunder turntable ($13,000) without arm. This is the first turntable they have manufactured with their 'Silencer Platter 3' design, which is claimed to be one of the most significant improvements in their turntable designs. A 70mm solid aluminum chassis forms the base of the turntable, on which up to three arm attachments can be fitted for either 9" or 12" tonearms of any make. The 50mm thick platter is driven by its remotely sited motor and AlphaDIG electronic control.


Why yes, today was run around like a chicken with its head cut off day as i was way behind schedule because the show has grown so large! So what was i to do? Well, grab the MIL boots and 'kick it' big time at the RMAF 2012.


Coincident Speaker Technology had many of their highly prized tube amplification products plus their smooth and fast sounding speakers too. The sound had wonderfully extended highs and imaging was very impressive. Wish I had more time to listen more, but damn I am running way behind in my schedule as this show has grown into a monster! They have uprated the Total Victor speakers with new aluminum woofers to the same as their highly acclaimed Golden Ear Award winning PureReference Extreme.


Miyagaima Zero MC mono cartridge ($1995) it said to be the best mono cartridge according to the company rep.


Music Hall had their usb-1 ($249) and the turntable matt is $50 extra.


Aperion Audio has their new Aris wireless speaker system ($499) allows users to simply grab their smartphone, tap an app and choose tracks from any device within the home network. Love the retro-futuristic curve of brushed metal and yes it handles Hi-Fi via Wi-Fi, so you can send any digital music on your network to any place you want to listen.


Boulder is a smart company as their 1021 disc player handles Ethernet networked audio and they have an app for tablet control ($24,000). It is 32/192, which is software controlled. No off the shelf stuff here, especially at this price of course.


Pass Labs amp and Kimber Kable join forces and speaker are the Sony ES prototype, which will be finalized around January 2013.


Levinson amplifier driving JBL’s Everest hornspeaker ($66,000).


The Funk Firm's  LSD white turntable ($1995) is really trippy and includes tonearm, whilst the clear acrylic turntable called the Saffire ($5,000) does not include tonearm.


If there was an award for the coolest cats in high-end for manufactures, the bro's at Zu Audio would surely be in the running. Here is their Union ($2000) and Definition MM VI ($12,700).


Silver Circle Audio has their world premiere of the model Tchaik 6, which is named after his symphony ($9500). It has magnetic induction technology to ensure clean power deliver to high end audio components.


Audio Note had the Tomei Kensei single-ended tube amplifier ($58,000) that uses a new German-made 211 triode. For driver duties the 6v6 is put to good use and the output transformers are half copper and half silver. Audio Note's room always seems to be smooth, musical and inviting.


VAC was rockin' the RMAF 2912 with their Sigma 160i integrated amplifier ($9990). This beauty produces 86 watts per channel and has a really sweet looking illuminated logo. It also has a MM as standard (MC optional) phonostage too so vinyl junkies are all set with this baby. There is a true line stage (with optional balanced inputs), so it is not just a passive line stage feeding the tubes. VAC's Sigma 160i "incorporates a separate rectifiers and power filters for the preamplifier sections for greater purity and stability" says the company.



Gershman Acoustics’ new Avantgarde small floorstander ($10,000) seen here in sensuous Ferrari apple red. A truly stunning color and if they sounds like the other models, this is sure to be another winner for Gershman Acoustics!


Resolution Audio's Cantana ($6500) has asynchronous mode and a slot-loading compact disc drive. Of course there is an Ethernet link and it can easily handle UPnP libraries. Digital inputs include S/PDIF, AES/EBU and TosLink). Analog outputs are both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA. It also can be controlled via the company's iPhone/iPod Touch remote control interface.


The new Von Schweikert model 44 ($22,000 in passive, $25,000 with powered sub) is their new floorstanding model. The company's European engineering partners helped design a complete transducer set that is precisely matched to each other in transient response speed and low distortion. The cones are highly damped and have a linear frequency response. Von Schweikert's newly developed  6" full-range driver cone is made of composites of cellulose acetate pulp, acrylic plastic, and carbon fiber, while the tweeter is a similar organic material with a soft plastic coating. To provide extreme rigidity, the new 8.8" woofers are formulated from ceramic-coated alloys of magnesium and aluminum, which is damped with a layer of electrostatically applied oxide powder. Very impressive for a speaker at a relatively reasonable price.


United Home Audio had their reel to reel in Phase 11 version ($20,000) and has 11 RF suppression, the best tape heads, etc.


Nirvana had their 9500 computer ($25,000) .


JPS Labs is breaking out with their new company called Abyss Headphones. Their first model is called the AB-1266 ($5000) and is a planar magnetic design that took many months to design and fine-tune. I spent much time listening to them and they were the best open ear deign I heard in the CANJAM section of the RMAF 12012 event. They sounded remarkable not just for typical acoustic jazz, which they indeed did very well, but also electronica, rock and West coast hardcore rap to extreme volume levels. Even with such ‘abuse’ they stayed clean and full frequency. Must also say they were being driven by the Cavalli tube embedded hybrid headphone amplifier ($3250) that uses the 6922 with no coupling caps. DC coupled front to back to create what they feel is a blended sound.


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