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RMAF impressions

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Hi everybody, please add your RMAF experiences here. some of mine follow:


1-Vandersteen Model 7: with all Audio Research Reference gear, and a DAC 8 playing from USB, and a turntable. Sound was very, very good-These speakers have ultra low coloration, and dynamic freedom that is nearly unrivalled. The only downside is that one will not hear what they are really capable of outside of the sweetspot (I hung out in the room long enough to get the best seat for about 5 tracks). Once in the sweet spot, the speakers suddenly exhibit a laser like focus and sound spectacular. Anyone who is looking for a state of the art speaker, good for medium to large but not huge rooms, and can afford the price of entry, should put this speaker at the top of their audition list.


2-New Avalon "Transcendent" 2 way speaker, with Jeff Rowland electronics. A new speaker from Avalon is always a treat for me. This model fits between the Ascendent and Indra, and is about the same size cabinet as the Indra. A three driver, 2 way, it exhibited the room filling, holographic, enveloping soundstage that makes me love Avalons, along with a slightly richer sound (than the Indra) and a tad less midrange resolution (just a tad though). I suspect this will become Avalon's most popular model in the US. The slightly more forgiving nature of this speaker means it can be matched with a lot of gear, and that it also will be kind to less than the best recordings. For those that love true bass, it offers more bass response than other mid/low range Avalon models (Ascendent/Indra). If I was shopping for speakers today, this would be on my short list at ~$15K.


3-Wilson Sophia III. I got a good chance to hear a few of my own tracks on this one, and it definitely shows a lot of promise. Unfortunately, I was not so sure about the new Rega electronics used with it (I wish they had Audio Research in this room, as I am more familar with that sound). Note that the new Rega CD player has a USB input: the sales guy (from I think Audio Unlimited?) claimed that Rega chose an adaptive USB solution because it "sounded better" than asynchronous...hmmm, not so sure that explanation really works for me.


4-Audio Fonica, from Germany. I had a very interesting discussion with the designer of this gear, his english was good, but not perfect so I may have missed some details, but he was very enthusiastic, and seemed like a real "genius" designer. He had his new DAC, playing from a Weiss Vesta Firewire interface. His DAC was fascinating-it is a three box, dual mono, unit, with no integrated circuits! Everything is a proprietary discrete design. He uses no digital filter, and no analog filter, and he uses what he termed "analog upsampling" to convert the signal to a very high data rate. This guy is thinking completely out of the box. He claimed zero pre and post ringing, and zero phase shift-so essentially perfect D to A conversion, with the only artifacts being pushed up into the mHz range where they will not cause a problem for his amps (mHz range bandwidth). I did not ask about price, but it is clear seeing this gear that it would be very dear indeed. He will be adding async USB using a modified M2 tech OE board with complete galvanic isolation.

I was not familar with the speakers in his room, but I can say the sound was highly resolute, with very, very impressive transient response and clarity, while not being "edgy" or "digital" sounding in any way. Oh yeah, he was using XXHE for their playback in this room.


5-LessLoss-had a great time with LessLoss designer Louis Motek learning about his power cables, conditioners, and BlackBodies. For the tweaks among us, I suspect the BlackBodies may be just the thing to tame harmful EM spectral reflections in computer based systems. Certainly a tweak worth trying with very high end computer based systems.


6-PS Audio-I was dissapointed to see that PS did not bring the Maggie system from their listening room, and early on Friday the speakers they did have (some 15 year old Genesis protos) were broken. Things were fixed on Saturday, and sounding much better, but these speakers (I am familar with them) do not have the capability to reveal what the PerfectWave set up can sound like. I did have a lot of fun using the control app on the iPad, nice to be able to control everything (volume, phase, filter selection, library) from a single iPad. It was good to see that the Bridge was functioning flawlessly as well.


7-Aesthetix' new DAC, "Pandora" could be a great choice for those who wnat tubes somewhere in their system. It also appears to be a pretty fairly priced unit at $5K. It features an Async USB input using Gordin Rankin's Streamlength code for up to 24/192 resolution files, tube, zero feedback output stage, and very well sorted power supplies and internal shielding. This also offers analog volume control using switched resistors as an option (do not know the price of this option). I did hear the CD player version of this unit in a very high end Aesthetix/Hansen system and it certainly did not sound bad. I suspect the DAC will offer great sound, and feel this is a product Chris should try to get a sample of for review.


8-Nordost debuted their new USB cable by doing actual A/B comparisons to competitors. Most here know that I drink from the Nordost well already! Let's just say that when I get my USB/DAC interface figured out, I will be picking up the Nordost Blue Heaven USB cable in order to be sure my cable is not compromised. A fair price at $250.00.

Nordost/Vertex AQ have also advanced the new measurement techniques developed in conjunction with a UK military contractor (whose "normal" work is classified sonar system development) which they debuted last year. Anyone who does not believe the difference things like high end cables and vibration control make needs to take a look at their measurements-they have third party scientific proof now of the validity of their approach. The ramifications for all audio product measuring are huge with this new approach (which uses actual music signals rather than static test tones).

BTW, anyone who doubts the performance advantages of high end cables needs to witness one of Nordost's demos-one switch of speaker cabling from their Heimdall level stuff to their stratospherically priced Odin will change your mind forever about the inportance of cables in a system. Note that they were using affordable Sim Audio Moon level electronics for their demonstrations-not extremely high end gear (but, with very revealing Eben speakers).


That is all from me, just some things that stood out in my mind. I hope others will add their impressions here when the show is over, today I am off for a bike ride.


SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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I really didn't get why Vandersteen 7 is so highly reviewed; nothing outstanding for the price in that room.


I loved the Vivid speakers especially Giya in O'hanlon's room.


I was very impressed with the Weiss DAC202 with the sound application stuff which sounded much more natural and alive than any of the LP stuff I was subjected to. :)


Bruce Brown of Puget Sound was a pure gentleman. He even let me look inside of his Mass Core computer; I took a picture of it. With his Mykerinos and Pyramix computer system and Cary monoblocks, I could not believe how he was able to make $1,500 Usher speakers sound like $15,000 speakers. I am certain Usher appreciated it very much.


For me, the Evolution Acoustics were my favorite speakers mated with the Dartzeel integrated.





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Dear barrows,


I tried a Google Search about "Audio Fonica" but did not get the right results.

Do you have the informations about the homepage of this designer?


Thanks and kind regards




"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)


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As you can all see, I am very biased, since I already spent a lot of money on lessloss products (and I cant wait to get my hands on the new firewall).

I have three Blackbodies and they make a huge difference. At least for me and some fellow audiophiles. I took them to my favorite audio dealer for demonstration. One guy was stunned, the other didnt hear a difference. So even professionals hear different.

More important: does it have effects on computer audio. I have three and tried them in various configurations. They did have an effect, when aiming at the powersupply of my mini or the powersupply of my external hd. I cannot hear a difference when aiming at my mini (there is a difference, but it is small, says my brother who is a recording engineer). The effect on my speakers and the pre is easily heard and I like it a lot: clarity, clarity, clarity....


Right now I am trying Phonosophie glass activators on my mini and hd. They are supposed to reduce RFI. They are said to take up to 6 days to settle. This is day one, so I wont comment on this one any further except that they make a huge difference. If this is for the better, I will see in 6 days.




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I think Keith might have the correct name. "Trinity", the DAC and amps are triangular from above. Not sure where I got "audio fonica", sorry!

On the LessLoss room sound, all the gear was unknown to me from a sonic perspective, and most of the small rooms at RMAF are pretty bad. Louis gave me some Vodka, and we listened to some Bach with Anne-Sophie Mutter. I have this disc at home, I found the sound in the room to be very, very relaxed-actually too relaxed, as to be entirely damped down to where musical details were very subdued, or even buried. The system used a lot of BlackBodies, tons of LessLoss cables and power conditioners-I wondered if there was too much of the LessLoss effect going on, resulting in Less music! But, Like I said, I was not familiar with any of the gear.


SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for posting. It was fascinating and a pleasure meeting you and learning about your innovative components.


SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888 speakers-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Purple Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.  ISOAcoustics Oreas footers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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