I got to about 50 rooms. I really really liked the Exemplar room on Sat afternoon. Even in a crummy room it had a lot that sounded right to me, where as most of the rooms did not. I got to hear Emerald Physics speakers for the first time. They were playing there new 2000.00 spkrs. I think it was my first experience with open baffle design. I thought good value for the money. Saw Rick Shultz explain magnetic signal induction. I still don't understand it. Maybe the explanation was intended that way. But nice of Rick to share that with whoever showed up. I liked his enthusiasm. Really a great event, for me probably one of the best of it's kind.
Some more thoughts... most systems seem to be engineered to sound like refined stereos and not to approximate live music. This is seemingly true for even the 300-400K rooms. That is, almost every room had a stereo image placed dead in between the speakers where, if there was a trio with a singer, the singer, the piano, and the bass were all occupying essentially the same physical space (right on top of each other and dead center). This is, of course, not at all realistic. It does not matter how rich the tone, how detailed the sound, how dynamic the presentation --- if the image is like that (and it was in almost all the rooms) then what you have is something that is instantly recognizable as different from a real stage (where the piano is 6 feet to the left of the singer and the bass 5 feet to the right).
Also, many systems --- again even 300+K systems --- were very detailed and lacking in fullness, life, and soul. Without naming names, three of the biggest most advertised speaker brands had rooms that were characterized by refined, detailed, unrealistic and lifeless sound --- cool looking, big and flashy... but not overly musical.
That said, some comparatively inexpensive systems were quite nice (as were a few meg-systems --- the Muraudio and YG acoustics were nice --- not sterile, analytical and had good sound stage more akin to a stage than to a refined stereo (more life like).
I made it to a bunch of rooms on Saturday. The music selection was notably bad this year in my opinion. I was demo'ing the new vinyl of Roger Waters Amused to Death and played that in about 15 rooms that had turntables. My favorite sound was in the Zesto room, with a Merrill-Williams turntable running through a Zesto Andros phono stage to a Zesto preamp and the new Zesto monoblock amps, powering a pair of Kharma speakers. That room sounded great and I liked that at least most of the equipment there wasn't over the top expensive like some rooms. I would post my pic of that one here if I knew how.
I was impressed again with the Sanders setup, although I wish I could play some of my own tracks to see how they sound on that system. It sounds pretty amazing with their demo tracks, though.
Vapor Audio was good again and had happy hour at the end of the day, which was a nice bonus. I don't know if it was the setup or music selection in the NOLA room but it did not sound good when I was there. Very loud and overbearing sound.
I was also quite disappointed by the sound of the White Album in Mono which they played in its entirety with the new VPI top of the line turntable, a mono cartridge, and some Joseph Audio speakers. Very shrill on the high end and fatiguing to listen to, which of course could be from any number of things, but whatever the cause, it did not sound good to me.
I also enjoyed the Gamut setup. I wasn't familiar with that line before this show (Danish I think?) and I liked what I heard. I saw a lot of gorgeous turntables (Triangle Art, Pear Audio, Saskia, and Merrill-Williams), but of course it's difficult to gauge a turntable when you can't control any of the other variables or A/B it against another turntable.
Those are the things that stood out to me from the show. It seemed more crowded this year but that may be because I usually go on Sunday. But I had a great time overall and will be back again next year!
Robsker - I didnt attend the show but have similar feelings on the trend with some super high end name speakers and systems I have heard at dealers. Precision bulldozes musicality. My best guess is some people enjoy sound more than music. To each his own.
This was my first show. I was there on Friday and Saturday. The poor selection of music is what really stood out to me.
The most musical rooms to my ears were the PS Audio and Jeff Rowland systems with YG Acoustic speakers. They were detailed, had great tonality, and the speakers totally disappeared.
A great show unlike New York show which looks like pure crap!!
Went to NY show it was PURE CRAP!!!!!
I didn't attend the show but I'm surprised to read that many rooms had a mono type soundstage. I've never had any problem getting good imaging. Even my $20 computer speakers, which are about 20 inches apart and a couple of feet from my ears, spread the instruments across the space between them.
As for the music played, maybe the vendors have heard enough of the Diana Krall complaints and decided to go in the opposite direction.
This NY show was not so good. A new show record was set for the percentage of rooms in which I heard Dark Side of the Moon and Hotel California.
So apparently DSOTM and HC didn't impress anyone even more than in years past. You might expect that if things were truly progressing the "old standards" might get some new life breathed into them? Apparently not.
Now the burning question: Were there any magnets featured in the show? Rumour has it magnets is where the future of hifi rests its fate.
So, given that these shows often involve playing timeworn warhorses, I had a business idea. You know that business that will take your ashes and mold them into a vinyl record? My recollection is that they inscribe goth, synth, dark music of unknown (presumably bought out) origin. What if, via appropriate licensing, your ashes could be converted into your favorite track from your favorite band? A money maker for the industry and you spend eternity listing to the same record!
Even RMAF, the topic of this thread seemed to be lacking buzz on this site this year compared to years past. What's up with that?
anybody smoked pot at RMAF?
Mapman, perhaps we really are dying off more quickly than we are being "replaced."
Or maybe in lieu of dying, more have just found what they were looking for these days and have less interest in all the rest.
That applies to me to some extent. I am still always interested to see and hear whats our there but not desperate or in great need anymore.
Czar, that could well account for it as well. :^)
...at least time not wasted if you need to travel
I went this year. Consumer attendance seemed at least 25% lighter than my last visit in 2013. With the large headphone show in a separate dedicated banquet room, it has really become two different shows of markedly different demographics: one young and thriving, the other on a steady fade. I won't say which is which...
Young people can more easily afford and manage good headphones that sound not too bad these days even off a common iphone.
I wonder if any happened to wander to teh dark side of teh show and get hooked by all that soundstage and imaging their headphones lack.