Rocky Mountain Audio Fest - RMAF - Show Report 2015 - Page 4 - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #31 of 31 Old 10-11-15, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Wayne Myers
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Lincoln, NE
Posts: 4,838
Re: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest - RMAF - Show Report 2015

In Summary:

This marks my 5th audio show in the last 3 years reporting for Home Theater Shack. I started out at my first RMAF visit feeling I needed to run from room to room and catch as many as possible. Our reporting style has relaxed somewhat while also becoming more focused in that we now, for the last 2 shows, have reported live from the event. That puts a completely different focus on our time, and while in some ways it puts more pressure on us, we have also found ways to relax and enjoy the experience more than we used to, focusing on the quality of our reporting rather than the quantity.

At the beginning of a show, I feel quite overwhelmed by the number of rooms and exhibitors at the show. I feel that way every time I arrive at a show like this, especially RMAF. But somehow we managed to get through it and do our best at picking the must-experience rooms and catching the ones that matter most.

A few things I noticed at this show:
  • Speaker setup efforts seem to be improving. At my first RMAF I complained to fellow travelers that it seemed in almost every room I had to find the ideal listening spot for myself, and it was usually well away from where the prime listening chair was located. I think I only did that once this visit. Perhaps they are catching on. I fully realize that setting up for a show in a motel room is far from an easy situation. Still, speaker setup seems like the single most critical part of show preparation. I am glad to see it receiving more attention than it seems to have in the past.
  • I enjoyed vinyl sounds more at this show than at previous events. Perhaps the exhibitors are putting more effort into finding quality recordings than in the past, but in almost every room where vinyl was played, it was not a distraction, and in a couple of cases it was simply delightful. While Dennis and I did not agree on our favorite vinyl source rooms, we both had experiences that transported us and were to us special listening experiences.
  • There are so many variables, between equipment variations, room setup and treatment variations, and the exhibitors have a lot working against them. You almost have to put on blinders when you enter a room and purposely tune out the kinds of annoyances that they have to work with and focus on what really matters about a set of products. I don't know about Dennis, but I think I am getting better at that.
  • Loose lips sink ships. Interpretation: A few misplaced words can make a huge difference for a manufacturer, especially one that does not have deep pockets. This forces us to be careful what we say and how we say it. At the same time, honest and fair reporting is absolutely a must for our readers, and both Dennis and I are dedicated to delivering nothing but the most accurate information we possibly can, with a degree of sensitivity as to how it can affect a manufacturer.
  • It might seem that all we are here only to listen to the speakers. That is not the case. It is true that the speakers will inevitably be the most influential components in most rooms, simply because they cause by far the biggest variation in sound from room to room. And while it would be easy to only report on speakers, we do our best to dig a little deeper and tell about other equipment as well.
  • There is a temptation to feel like you have heard it all after a few audio shows in a row. It forces us to keep an open mind and pay attention in a different way. It is fun to be surprised, and if you keep your mind and ears open, there are plenty of surprises at a show like this. That is what I go for. And that is what I enjoy bringing to the readers.
Wayne’s Personal Favorites:
Coolest Audio Experience: The Kimber Cable, EMM Labs, MartinLogan IsoMike Recording Demo. It was one of those you gotta hear it to believe it experiences, set up in uncompromising fashion.
Most Impressive Headgear: The HiFiMan HE1000 and the Audeze LCD4 headphones, each its company’s planar-magnetic flagship model, were standouts in delivering exceptionally clean, flat, revealing midrange, extended highs and lows, and unbeatable comfort. Which would I want? How about both?
Favorite Turntable/Preamp: VPI Industries Avenger turntable with three 3-D printed tone arms, and Dynamic Sounds Associates 3-input Phono Preamp, Dennis preferred the vinyl magic in another room, but this is the one that spoke to me.
Favorite Little (under $50k) Speaker: Vapor Audio Nimbus. I have confessed my love for the big-brother Perfect Storm, but the Nimbus, originally along for the ride and only getting into a room to play when other speakers ran into difficulties, managed the most complete and near perfect vanishing act of any attainable-by-mortals speaker I heard at the show. David Copperfield would have been proud.

That is it for this year. From Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2015 in Denver Colorado. Dennis Young and Wayne Myers signing off until next show. Happy listening.

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