Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2014 Show Coverage - Page 5 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #41 of 51 Old 11-02-14, 08:24 PM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2014 Show Coverage

If you attended the 2014 RMAF and did not stop by the Vapor Audio/Antipodes/Allnic Audio/Verastarr/Running Springs/GIK Acoustic exhibit, then you missed a big part of what these shows are about. Those that did not attended RMAF, this is one big reason why you would want to!

The system, anchored solidly by Vapor Audio Joule Black loudspeakers, gave one of the best performances of the show, as has become the norm for exhibits from this manufacturer.

Random tracks of music were played, the Antipodes DX media server controlled by Vapor owner Ryan Scott's mobile phone, with the signal passed to the Allnic D5000 DHT DAC and Allnic T2000 integrated amp. Verastarr cabling tethered the juice while the Running Springs Dimitri Power Conditioner kept tabs on the electrical power. The cumulative effect was balanced and ultra smooth, with correctly sized images playing on a life sized stage. A simple description of the sound, with all the attributes that a great sound system should deliver, yes? But it is the trademark Vapor Audio all-day-long listening smoothness that tends to keep one planted in their seat, putting off chores and sleep, that differentiates their loudspeakers from the crowd.

The Joule's RAAL 140-15D Amorphous Core ribbons and 7" custom Audio Technology midranges are kept within their comfort zones by a single cap and coil. The Audio Technology 10C77 loaded into 10:1 Tapering Transmission line bass cabinets can be tuned to individual rooms by the addition of newly introduced room compensation networks. Insisting that looks match the sound, Vapor Audio refuses to make an ugly speaker. Absolutely gorgeous cabinets, with bomb shelter solid stacked ply construction and proprietary damping treatment, ensuring the enclosures add no sound of their own.

Displayed to the side of the room were the new Tuonare. Striking design with Vapor Audio DNA, this is their first loudspeaker for retail dealerships.


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Wayne's Comments

I gave the Vapor Audio Joule speakers a thorough workout. This was done partly because it was clear that they would stand up to the scrutiny. I have yet to find an area of disappointment worth mentioning in any of the Vapor Audio speakers I have listened to in the last year at three audio shows and in Dennis’s living room.

Broken Bells, Perfect World, the Joule speakers had a very smooth high end. Imaging was very good and the focused kick drum was very punchy.
A Nickel Creek track was presented with a very large soundstage and all the acoustical instruments had a physical presence in the room, as did Mindy's Smith’s voice on I Know the Reason. Male and female vocals were especially enjoyable.
The bells and cymbals on Todd Rundgren’s Compassion were very precise and revealed how cleanly and effortlessly the RAAL tweeters extended to well beyond the range of hearing. Tonality overall was very accurate, very even, with a high end perhaps minutely more forward than I was expecting, but not off-putting in the least. The Tower of Power brass section absolutely sizzled on Fanfare/You Know It, and the baritone sax sounded cooler than in person.
Atoms for Peace, Before Your Very Eyes, the bass was tight, tight. Definition and clarity were excellent.
On Todd Rundgren’s Pulse, the sampled xylophone was punchy and accurate.

Although I have preferred some Vapor Audio speakers over others for the subtlest of reasons, I have never met a Vapor Audio speaker I would not be delighted to own and show off in my listening room. The Joules would be welcome there indeed.

"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #42 of 51 Old 11-03-14, 10:35 PM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2014 Show Coverage

I popped in to room 1100 for a quick listen to the latest from Duke LeJeune. The AudioKinesis Zephrin 46 uses the Late Ceiling Splash configuration developed by James Romyen. The Zephrin 46 is a smaller, one piece version of the Dream Maker LCS.


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Wayne's Comments

The AudioKinesis room was the first I visited on Saturday, the second day of the show. The Zephriin 46, an MTM design, immediately grabbed my attention because of the very wide, very deep, very natural soundstage it was producing. Like another pair of speakers I reviewed recently, the Zephrin 46 has a set of rear drivers for the purpose of projecting soundstage reflections off the front wall of the room.

The result was a thoroughly enaging soundstage with fairly tight imaging. I heard wider soundstages at RMAF, but the depth and fullness of that from the Zephrin 46 was in a class of its own. Clarity was excellent, The horn-loaded tweeter produced no horn-like sound whatsoever. Lows, mids, and highs all worked together as a single sonic entity, I love the way a good MTM design can accomplish that.

It was easy to tell that the Zephrin 46 had been set up with care. A piano track allowed them to show off each note individually in a very tactile manner. A snare drum had a big, focused punch on each strike.

"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #43 of 51 Old 11-05-14, 09:18 PM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2014 Show Coverage

"Truly holographic, best bass I've ever heard, I want these speakers". That is how my notes start off for the Emerald Physics/Underwood Hifi/Wyred 4 Sound/DSPeaker room.

The system featured the Emerald Physics EP4.3 open baffle loudspeakers, run by two Wyred 4 Sound EP100.2SE amplifiers, and fed by the MS-1 Server and DAC-2DSD SE. Low end was massaged gently by the DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core room correction/preamp. I was shown the before and after room measurement graphs, gently is the correct term here. Very little help was needed, the room response was fantastic to begin with. Unusual for Emerald Physics was the Special Edition passive crossover used in place of the typical active crossover/bi-amp configuration.

Cycling through Daft Punk, The Eagles, James Taylor, Diana Krall, and Alison Krauss, it became clear that this system does all genres well.

Although completely balanced from top to bottom, tonality is nothing special. Not the sweetest highs, no "magical" bloom in the midrange, no pounding subterranean bass. What was special is how lifelike the music was presented to me.

Imaging was spooky real with the best soundstage layering I've ever experienced. Air between performers gave an excellent sense of left and right, front and back. The realism of a performance taking place in actual Euclidean space recreated so well, it gave a sense of being there, or "there" being brought to me!

Complete system price, minus server and DAC source, is only $6795, and certainly the best bang for buck I've ever experienced. One of my favorite rooms of the show.

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Wayne's Comments

The Emerald Physics EP2.7 gave us an excellent imaging and soundstage performance. The soundstage extended far wider than the speaker spacing, and was completely natural. Imaging was very sharp and focused, and completely stable.

The EP2.7 drivers include two large woofers, and a concentric mid/tweeter driver on top. Getting dipoles to behave and deliver solid imaging is not always easy, and subtle design or setup issues can be at fault. No such problems were in evidence with the EP2.7. Imaging was solid and sharp with no transient hick-ups on odd tones. The EP2.7 were among a handful of the speakers at RMAF that delivered the music by way of a sound field as natural as… well, as Mother Nature herself, all with superb clarity and tonality.

"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #44 of 51 Old 11-08-14, 05:47 PM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2014 Show Coverage

Jeff Merkel of Merkel Acoustic Research and Design is a Home Theater Shack member, and used Room EQ Wizard to dial in his exhibit for the show.

While the DIY speakers did a great job showing off Merkel's experience, the exhibit was mostly about the room, or rather, how to get the best out of a room. Jeff teaches physics and acoustics at the University of Colorado, and does consulting and seminars related to room acoustics.

I came in just as Room EQ Wizard was getting fired up!

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Here is a video of Jeff explaining room measurement and the benefits of REW.


"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #45 of 51 Old 11-08-14, 06:54 PM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2014 Show Coverage

I poked my head in at last year's 2013 RMAF, but the room was packed and I was unable to get more than a few feet inside the door! I made a mental note to stop by this year. The Volti Audio/BorderPatrol Audio Electronics exhibit was talked about all over the Denver Marriot Tech Center and considered by most every attendee a "must stop by" room.

The Volti Audio Vittora is a two piece speaker system with external crossover, the top horn handling everything from 400 Hz on up, and the folded horn bass bin providing the foundation from 400Hz down to 50-60Hz, depending on the room. The optional matching sub fills in the bottom octaves. Signal control and amplification were provided by the BorderPatrol Control Unit EXT1 line stage and the 20wpc S20 EXS amplifier. Source was a custom CD turntable and DAC, and if I recall corrwectly, there is no brick wall filtering or oversampling on the DAC.

Greg Roberts asked what kind of music I like to listen to as he queued up Steely Dan "The Things I Miss the Most", which was fine with me. Donald Fagan's voice starts off raspy, working it's way into Fagan's trademark nasality, mid song. The 104 dB sensitivity Volti Vittora loudspeakers allowed small details such as this to shine through. I had to ask if the matching subwoofer was on, the disappearing act was so complete I was unable to locate it's position in the room by ear.

Ellis Marsalis "Have You Met Miss Jones" was wonderfully reproduced, the piano sounding very realistic as it filled the room. The soundstage wasn't huge, as the room was small and seating was against a wall, but images popped up in life size, simulating performers on a crowded stage, appropriate for the small room that we were in. I would LOVE to hear this system in a larger room.

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"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #46 of 51 Old 11-23-14, 08:42 PM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2014 Show Coverage

TIDAL has been generating a lot of buzz, lately, and I had the opportunity to get an early taste.

Listening through the Electrocompaniet electronics and Nordic Tone Model 11 loudspeakers, I was treated to high quality audio/visual streaming that makes me consider getting this service at home. $20/month gets you over 25,000,000 audio tracks and 75,000+ music videos that are just a click away.

The Nordic Tone Model 1 uses Scan Speak and SEAS drivers, housed in a sand cast aluminum cabinet. Over $1 million (U.S.) in R&D assistance from the Norwegian government helped bring this loudspeaker about. The sound was quite enveloping, I looked around for surrounds, but there were none.


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"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #47 of 51 Old 11-30-14, 03:21 PM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2014 Show Coverage

I ducked into Room 577 for a gander of the Triangle Art turntables.


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"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #48 of 51 Old 11-30-14, 03:40 PM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2014 Show Coverage

Room 550 was a REAL treat. I got the opportunity to sit in Paul McGowan's chair, the sweet spot right next to Arnie Nudell, and listen to their PS Audio/Infinity gear. The Infinity Beta IRS were Arnie's last creation for Harman/Infinity.

Wow, I would love to have a pair of these loudspeakers. A top 3 2014 RMAF room, to my ears.



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"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #49 of 51 Old 11-30-14, 03:54 PM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2014 Show Coverage

In Room 9026, I got my first look at the beautiful Dan D'Agostino amplifiers.


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"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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post #50 of 51 Old 11-30-14, 04:55 PM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2014 Show Coverage

The Blanca Peak room had an insanely (for the majority of us) over the top setup. The Focal Grande Utopia EM loudspeakers alone are $195,000.

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"I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit." - Bill Hicks
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