RMAF 2014: the Atkinson Beat
Danish manufacturer Gamut has had a patchy history in the US, with a succession of distributors, none of who could establish the brand here. But Gamut has now set up a US-based distributor, who will likely have more success. Gamut's head of engineering, Benno Meldgaard, premiered the new RS5 two-and-a half-way speakers ($31,900/pair) at RMAF.
RMAF 2014: More From Mr. Reichert
Sometimes now, when I am walking room to room wearing my Stereophile badge, I feel a lot like "Babe in BoyToy Land"that felt especially true in the DEQX room. I am listening to a pair of Magnepan MG1.7 loudspeakers powered by a Plinius amp (I am friendly and experienced with both of those products and can imagine what they should sound like together in a normal room), together with JL subs below 160Hz. But wait, what I am really experiencing is the result of the DEQX PreMate+ and HDP-5's digital "witches' brew" of loudspeaker/room calibrations and corrections. DEQX's latest preamp/speaker calibration technology linearizes the speaker and system in-room frequency response. And yes, this technology can and did provide the satisfying effects that flat in-room frequency response always provides. Namely, more wholeness, continuity, and increased naturalness of tone.
RMAF 2014: A Serene Sunday Morning
GoldenEar's Sandy Gross may be an audio legend of sorts, but it was not until the last day of RMAF 2014 that I finally met the man and discovered two things: 1) His Triton One loudspeakers ($4998/pair) are amazing-sounding, especially given their price, and 2) He is an absolutely delightful individual.
RMAF 2014: Tidal Alert
The big newsthe really big news at RMAFwas the "before winter" US launch of five-year old Tidal of Oslo's full CD-quality, (lossless 1411kbps) music streaming service. Demonstrated in a fine sounding room with Electrocompaniet equipment, the sound was convincingly good when we cued up a track from pianist Leif Ove Andsnes' recording of Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto. (More on the sound in another blog, where Hegel was using Tidal's service to source music for their room.)
RMAF 2014: Reichert ongoing . . .
Entering the PS Audio room, I felt like a Yankee fan waiting to meet Derek Jeter. I got to speak with audio legends, Paul McGowan (PS Audio), Arnie Nudell (Infinity/Genesis), and one of my old-school engineering heroes, Bascom King (Audio magazine). And . . . I got to hear vintage audio-salon chestnuts like the Eagles' Hotel California, played through a NOS pair of Infinity IRS Beta speakers. (If they were mine, I would have got their designer Arnie Nudell to sign them right there on the spot!) Getting to hear an old song played through vintage speakers via brand new, leading-edge electronics seemed very revealing of how far we've come and where we are nowdesign-wise and audio aesthetic-wise.
RMAF 2014: Meet The Beatles
For John Atkinson, Michael Fremer (above, eating up a rare platter), and myself, RMAF 2014 ascended to a higher dimension with the opportunity to compare pristine pressings of three tracks on original Beatles stereo LPs with their mono equivalents in the new Beatles mono box set. To say that the stereos, which were provided by music lover Shane Buettner of Brinkmann USA and Vandersteen, paled before mono remasters is an understatement. The stereo tracks sounded like a hack job embarrassment.
RMAF 2014: Final Thoughts from Tom Norton
It was no surprise that PSB/NAD had one of the best-sounding rooms at the show. PSB's new Imagine T3 loudspeakers (about $7000/pair, available by the end of this year) sounded both natural and dynamic. They each have three 7.25" woofers operating in a cabinet less than 2 cubic feet in volume. That would appear to be too small to properly load three woofersuntil you hear them. A 5.25" midrange and a selected version of PSB's well-known 1" titanium-dome tweeter round out the driver complement.
RMAF 2014: Serinus on Saturday
My biggest surprises at RMAF were delivered by lower-priced systems that sounded mind-blowingly good. One of the biggest delights came from the new Emerald Physics EP-X three-way dynamic dipole loudspeakers ($1795/pair, or $2595/pair in the marbleized Rosewood finish shown in the photo). These small floorstanders, which were designed by Mark Schifter in collaboration with Dan Mullins, have a sensitivity of 93dB, and an amazing frequency range of 34Hz20kHz. Shown at T.H.E. Show in prototype form, they made their formal production debut at RMAF.
RMAF 2014: Music & Seminars
I have always thought it important for audio shows to feature live music, so showgoers can recalibrate their ears. Thanks to Ray Kimber, who flew in Canadian pianist Robert Silverman, RMAF attendees could do just that. Robert, who had recorded the complete Mozart sonatas on SACD for Ray's IsoMike label a couple of years back and who also appeared on five Stereophile CDs, performed a series of mini-concerts on Saturday and Sunday, as well as a full recital Saturday evening.
RMAF 2014: Reichert on Sunday
Many times, I've said these shows are really about people, learningand secret clubgear-head fun! I believe visiting rooms, listening for a short while and then assigning absolute virtue and value is fool's play. But! But! But! Early the last morning of the show I got a call from Steve Guttenberg raving about the sound in the Linkwitz Lab's room. Immediately, I threw on my pants and went there to investigate.