It's amazing how two people can react so differently to the same thing. I felt that the Lancshe speakers with Ypsilon sounded veiled and dull. It was a system that fell real short of the best in terms of resolution, staging, and accuracy (considering the price point). It didn't sound anything like real music while a few systems at RMAF came real close. I frequently attend live concerts and that's my reference.
What other rooms did you hit beyond the ones mentioned above? The album you used is my favorite DCD of all time. It's amazing!
I found there were allot more average to poor sounding rooms in comparison.
I would ad the Nola's & ARC gear combo, was sounding great.
Yes I agree both Focal rooms with the Grand's were a disappointment - I have Vac 450 Statements and Sig pre myself so I'm very familiar, have mine paired up with MBL's and destroys what I heard there - makes it sound broken.
Lancshe, nice but as you mentioned one needs to change the tweeter, the tweeter is degrading along the way while listening and will cost ... replacement needs to be done by a qualified tech - sorry but have no interest in such a speaker.
Raidho speakers, ya I agree but someone mentioned a much higher list price - are you sure they were only $8K including stands - if so in comparison to anything else I listened to at the show these would represent the BEST bargain.
I found the High Water room very musical and relaxing also but lacking body, system just wasn't convincing.
Vandersteen 7 set-up, went in three time and was underwhelmed every time so reading your assessment seems to be the only room we really differed.
Agree on the Wilson room, blah!
I visited the Nordost demo room where they had Rowland and Magico S5's paired up and found the demo they were doing was pretty fair showing the differences in their cables, this system was sounding pretty nice also and put at the top of my list.
I was pleasantly surprised with CANJAM, I see this being the fasted growing area within the audio market place - I dropped by Friday but spent most of my day on Sunday because it was dead attendance wise so I was able to listen to every vender and what they were representing manufacture wise and combo possible. I wasn't planning on getting another can for my AK240 but after hearing the beyerdynamic T5p's paired up with it I just had to have them, real ear opener experience.
AK240 is a marvelous portable devise, I have mine loaded with dsd albums including the additional card total which provides 384GB of memory and paired up with these T5p's is just a great match.
Only think that disappointments with these cans is they don't have detachable cables.
I did get some Silver Dragon cables with 2.5 connection for my dap so I'll be using what they refer to as the balanced section of the dap, so far in comparison to my stock ones that came with my Shure SE846 inear's I'm not noticing much of a difference, Drew mentioned 50 hours and then will hear.
Also have a new Black Dragon cable with 2.5 connection on order for my Sennheiser HD800's, really like these cans but they are much harder to drive than the T5p's, hopefully going balanced which is suppose to provide a little more head room will do the trick. I did initially hear them with a adapter from 1/4 to 3.5 and liked - I'm not looked at listening to crazy levels.
I was disappointed with the over all sound of the Stax 009's, I really wanted to like and did listen to numerous combo's. One headphone that stood out was the Abyss, very nice sounding.
Best part of the show for me was meeting "members from different forums" finally putting faces to their monikers - making new friendships and the after show get together with great food and lots of stories to share and laughter.
Thanks for taking the time to post your detailed impressions. IF any others have the time I'm sure there are many like me who would like to know what the average Joe thought about stuff at this show.
The Lansch speakers are way out of my league budget-wise but have some innovative technology going on with them so its always interesting to hear the results. Good things tend to trickle down over time.
We had 'Into the Labyrinth' in high definition on our server. I did not hear anyone playing Dead Can Dance other than myself in our room.
Phil (the OP): very thoughtful post. Out of curiosity, were you using an original pressing of that record or the MoFi re-do?
Philb7777 , thank you for your impression's.Its good to hear from knowledgable listeners.
Just wondering why you are thinking about new speakers.
Bill Hart,Everytime I view you systems pics I want to jump into my car and drive up there for a listen.
Problem is sometimes its two in the morning.
Gold, 'c'mon over. I'm around. I think you have my email. I've been focusing on records more than gear, but have really ramped up the cleaning thing in the last year or so, along with lot's of old, cool pressings.
Love to have you visit.
Right now, listening to Catapilla self-titled UK Vertigo Swirl- a thoroughly strange record. Sort of like an older Miles/Coltrane free form jazz thing, with Iggy Pop type vocals, memphis horns and Crimson as the core band. Glad I took my meds. :)
I went to practically every room. Heard Rowland and YG, Atmasphere and Classic Audio, Zu in their room and Xact Audio room, Raven Audio and Burwell and Sons, Gamut, etc. Tried to hit every room over the three days. I'm sure I missed some rooms, but not many! By the way the Raven Audio/Burwell and Sons (tube and horn based) was also really really good. The Burwell and Sons loudspeakers were $80K though! Ouch!
Atmashpere - I was actually in your room when DCD was playing I think. Room was crowded and I didn't ask to play my vinyl due to those two reasons. Your amps were gorgeous by the way. Just wasn't much of a fan of the Classic speakers in the room. Again, just my taste and certainly no reflection of the quality of gear. By the way - I was very impressed how you guys kept your room open and jamming well past show hours!
Whart - I have both an original pressing of Into the Labirynth and the MoFi one. I took the MoFi one to RMAF. I also have both of Brendan Perry's solo LP's. Both are great!
Goldeneraguy - I love my Eidolon Diamonds - I have had them almost 10 years and was just getting the itch to look around and see what's out there in loudspeakers. I haven't considered loudspeakers for almost a decade. I certainly won't be selling mine unless I can find something substantially better for similar money - that loudspeaker may not exist - but its fun to look!
For all: the MoFi DCD Into the Labirynth record on side one is a great three-song combo to demo gear. Track one has great ambience and soundstaging and with great gutteral bass excerpts, track two had a great male vocal and cymbal work and track three is an acapella feamle vocal with great dynamic range.
Check out Cathedral Speakers for something somewhat similar in concept to Burwell and Sons for about 1/10th the cost. I've heard them at CAF in recent years and liked them very much.
I forgot to mention another room that shocked me: PranaFidelity. They were running reel to reel and vinyl. They had some mid-sized monitors on stands in there and I could have sworn based on the sound quality that the speakers were well north of $10K. Super dynamic and musical. They rocked! And best of all: $3,950/pair. If I had a budget of under $5K for loudspeaker and wanted some monitors for my room - I would start the search with PranaFidelity.
Philb7777, thanx for your detailed impressions of RMAF2014. Last year they had the Lansche 7.0 - a mighty tall speaker standing at 7-feet! - and also driven by Ypsilon electronics. The sound was really fantastic - probably the best of the 2013 show IMO.
good feedback on the Vandersteen7 speakers - a lot of people have dissed this brand but it's good to read that their sonics did get you going. They are one of the very few time-coherent speaker manuf.
Did you get a chance to visit the DEQX room? (DEQX is an expensive & sophisticated DSP software to make your speaker time-coherent. And, yes, time-coherence in a speaker is very important towards your listening pleasure - 100% sure of this).
Did you get a chance to visit the Odyssey Audio room?
the Coincident room?
the Sanders Sound System room which had the 10D or 11D electrostatics?
the AudioPhysik room?
the Olive Audio with Guru speakers? (atleast that was the 2013 combination)
what did you think of these rooms?
Hi Phil , Best of luck and have fun on your speaker journey.
I hope you didn't feel slighted when I addressed Whart's system on a post to you.
You have put together a fantastic system
It's just that i've become a horn guy.
Enjoy your music and thanks again for your thoughts
It's amazing how two people can react so differently to the same thing. I felt that the Lancshe speakers with Ypsilon sounded veiled and dull.
I don't think you read my post correctly -
* firstly I was talking about the Lansche 7.0 & not the Lansche 5.1
* secondly I was talking about my experience from 2013 - last year.
Read that post again. thanks.
I heard the DEQX room and fankly it wasn't very impressive. The host kept switching back and forth between DEQX and non-DEQX sound so quickly it became annoying. I'm not sure I heard any difference when using it and not. I definitely agree with you on time-coherence though. It was just probably not a very good demo.
The Odyssey and Conincident rooms were very nice - not memorable enough for my top 5, but I definitely thought the sound was very good in those rooms.
Sanders Sound and German Physik's rooms were OK - but nothing spectacular. Both had lots of air, but little else for me.
I think I missed the Olive Audio room with Guru speakers. Doesn't ring a bell....
Goldenrayguy - no slight at all! Two of my best friends have Avantgrade Duo's - one with EAR gear and the other with BAT. Both systems sound great! I can see why you love horns - dynamics top notch!
Larrystain - it is indeed a subjective experience. I loved the Lansche room. Nothing really came close for me. But that is why these shows have over 200 rooms (flavors) to choose from!
Yeah the NOLA room was good. One thing I figured out though is near the end of the day, I am so fatigued and listened to so many systems, I could come across some fantastic ones in the late afternoon and might not know it. The same systems may sound great when I am fresh in the mornings and recharged.
I sensed the Focal / VAC room was for the VAC's desperately trying to come out of those speakers but were not allowed. Certainly the VAC's sounded much better than the Soulutions next door.
That Nordost demo room was really cool. The Nordost guys did a very good presentation on cables and how they make a difference in sound. And did they ever demonstrate it as well as isolation importance. I'm now a true believer!
I missed out on seminars and meeting people from other forums as I got caught up in my first show by all the rooms. I regret it - next year I am making a point to meet some of the forum members who have been such a great resource for myself over the years.
Dev - yeah the Raidho X1 minis were $7k along or $8k with stands. The larger D1 monitors were $26K with stands. I thought, in that room, the X1's sounded better!
JMW - I can't remember the ESP room. Think they were showing with Pear Audio. Sorry - just can't remember what sound they were getting in that room.
Larrystain - which rooms did you like best? Just curious on another perspective.
Thank you Philb.....I heard Lansche speakers back at AXPONA 2011 in 2011 paired with BMC Audio gear (player/transport, DAC, pre-amp, amps) and the combination was one of the most transparent and best imaging I've heard in a big room that was itself a challenge. Just goes to show, everything is sensitive to synergy and the right combination of things. Thanks again for everyone's comments and impressions of the show and the gear!
I wasn't impressed with RMAF this year. It felt there were less vendors and less people. From what some vendors told me is that there is just too many shows to attend.
I really liked the room with the TAD speakers that were doing the mono demonstrations. I also liked the Hegel room, the integrated sounded really good with a lot of functionality.
The wavelength room sounded great as well as the Usher room. Odyssey room sounded very good especially with the new release of Wish you were here.
There were quite a lot of rooms with very expensive equipment that sounded terrible or lackluster.
I would say after reading numerous post that this year's RMAF show was a failure!, many members have reported the same as you have Rbstehno, they said the speaker and room set-ups were terrible, really was un-prepaired for the show in time for opening.
I'd like to see more shows like this but perhaps on a smaller scale and various ones with various vendors that tour to various cities over the course of the year. Maybe this would provide a good alternative to teh demise of B&M shops in many areas and provide more people an opportunity to hear things that they might enjoy that they might not otherwise.
Having the same show in the sme location year after year would seem to be somewhat counterproductive. SPread the wealth with other areas more I would say. That sounds like a bigger win with growth potential for more that way.
I agree with Mapman. The Pacific Northwest is a wasteland as far as shows are concerned. The B&M stores are limited with the same tired brands.
This was my first audio show. It felt like Disney World times Christmas plus a unicorn on a skateboard. I had previously heard only half a dozen systems besides my own, and this was the chance to hear a hundred and fifty more. Others reported that the show seemed to be losing its luster, but for me that point was more than moot. If you saw an out-of-place threesome of young-ish dudes, I was the one with the handlebar mustache.
I love to study subcultures of all sorts, and this was my first true immersion in the audiophile population. As I explained to my wife on the phone one night, there are two kinds of people who go to audio shows: 1) Awkward introverts in their 50s. 2) Awkward introverts in their 60s. (To be fair, though, I should mention Asian dudes in their 40s.) Seriously, that first elevator ride with fellow audio geeks was painful. At this shindig, no one could even make banter for half a minute. _Crickets_. We sound-nerds are quite a peculiar lot, and I wouldnÂt want to have it any other way. :-)
My buddies and I took a decidedly non-scientific approach and just wandered the halls in a loose attempt to hit every room that we could. We tried to spend 2-3 songs in any room that did not suck. Here are my personal take-home observations:
I may now safely declare that I am a Tube Guy. A little roll-off at the frequency extremes is acceptable to my ears; the hardness and sterility that solid-state amps can bring to bear are not. I heard great transistor sound from a Dan DÂAgostino integrated driving the Wilson Duet monitors, and from several rooms with Ayre amplification; however, vaunted setups featuring Boulder and Jeff Rowland power left me unimpressed.
The two speakers that are haunting my dreams now are the new Volti Alura and the Vapor Audio Joule. I was entranced to learn that Vapor killed at last yearÂs RMAF with a Nimbus model priced below $7k Â and was deflated to watch the price of said Nimbus jump this week to $12,600.
I made a sampler CD entitled ÂTrust Me On This.Â Instead of listing tracks and artists on the sleeve, I gave each song a vague descriptor and asked hosts to pick one according to their mood. It furrowed eyebrows every time I presented it, but invariably they would begin to smile at my selections and play a couple more.
Went into the Wilson/VAC room and felt a very pretentious atmosphere. Peter McGrath was playing crazy-dynamic orchestral stuff and blew a tube on the left monoblock. That was fun.
We found a small manufacturer of full-range drivers called Audio Nirvana. He had a 15Â with a whizzer cone and huge copper phase plug, leashed to a $995 pentode amp, and it was mystifyingly good for the price, as in top 10% of all rooms.
Hegel makes a sanely-priced integrated/DAC unit. Hooked up to some less-sanely-priced Magicos, it sounded fantastic. DevialetÂs more-expensive integrated/DAC powered a couple of tiny bookshelves that pressurized their medium-large room enough to make my jaw drop.
It was a blast to drink from such a firehose of soundwaves for a full weekend. We have already declared intent to return in 2015. Kudos to Marjorie, her staff, and our fellow attendees for making this one of the most outrageously fun vacations IÂve ever taken.
I agree, that so many of the big, heavily favoured, expensive speaker companies are underwhelming, to say the least. I have never heard a system with Magico that I have liked, including an ultra expensive one with Dartzeel monoblocks and speaker cables, the demonstrator proudly said, cost more than most speakers systems!! You would want to boast about that.
Wilson, I have found tolerable with ARC amps
Focal are always bright with etched treble
and so on and so on.
I went to RMAF 5 years ago and came away with Daedalus speakers, I have had no regret buying. Did you hear those Philb7777, perchance and if so, what were your impressions?
In general, I would say you are going to struggle to better your Avalon speakers, a brand I really do enjoy. Good luck in your search.
Interesting observations. I was there all three days and heard the Lansche room three times....it didn't do it for me.
I agree the Raidho room with Constellation sounded excellent. My favorite was the big Focal/Soulution/Transrotor/AirTight/TaraLabs room. Was consistently good.....but like many have said, no room was "great, blow me away".
Like you said, the VAC/Focal room was a bit of a head scratcher. When they were using the Esoteric CD player as a source, it sounded quite good. But when they switched over to vinyl and the vac phonostage, it was mushy. Ironically, this same/similar room at CES was an absolute knockout.
The Polymer room was definitely not my cup of tea. Also, I'm not sure I agree with you on the build quality. They look like a high school shop project gone wrong to me. Seeing rivet holes and screws is not my idea of ideal build quality. Sonically, I found them boomy and two dimensional as well. For $60,000, I would expect at lot more in terms of sonics and build quality.
Did you get a chance to hear the Ryan speakers? I thought for $5000/pair they sounded darn good and the build quality was quite good as well.
It was also fun to hear the Infinity IRS Beta speakers in the PS Audio room.
I went with a large group of friends this year, so no matter what the rooms sounded like, we were destined to have a good time!
I didn't have a room this year so I was able to do lots of listening.
The Chapman room was one of my favorites. Very relaxing while still being involving. Not expensive either, under 6K for nice floor standing transmission line speakers.
The new Wilson Benesch Square 5's were being used in room 9022. Roy Gregory was doing a seminar on cartridge optimization and used the Square 5's. These new speakers sounded and looked really good.
Angel City Audio demo'ed a proto type speaker that sounded very good. Floor standing two and a half way if I recall and under 6K. Lot of speaker for the money.
The Lancshe speakers sounded pretty good but the seating was at least 15 feet back so very hard to tell. They didn't hurt my ears which is a good.
The Harbeth room sounded nice as well.
Brian Zolner had a very, very nice sounding room with his M1 Dac and new M28 mono block amplifiers. Playing through the Tidal Cera. Very high resolution without fatigue.
The Horning speakers sounded pretty good but again the seating was 20 rows back. I would have preferred to sit about 10' back with those speakers.
I don't necessarily blame the rooms or the set ups. My opinion is that too many speaker companies mistake detail for resolution making them bright and forward. I enjoy high resolution but that should reign in the midrange adding richness and depth and not focused in the highs.
More traveling high end audio roadshows might be just what the doctor ordered for high end audio.
As long as each show effectively caters to local clientele. Not everyone can afford the best. So make them more so vendors can show and sell their entire lines, not just their cream of the crop for bragging rights for outlandish cost.
Of course, if done right, there would be excellent sound and value offered at many price points. An more sales accordingly one would think.
Am I missing something?
Mapman - that is a great idea about travelling road shows. Almost like a tour so to speak for manufacuturers to go to the larger cities in the US. Not sure about cost effectiveness for them but it seems if the sold one pair of demonstrating loudspeakers it would probably more than pay for itself. Sell two pair and you are profiting on the tour!
David12, I did hear the Daedalus loudspeakers in the Modwright room. Frankly it wasn't very good. Very hi-fi and somewhat lackluster. I heard from someone in the room that knows the Modwright brand very well who said Daedalus and Modwright were not a good match for each other. Also the set up was from the corner of the room - not long or short wall. Maybe a set up issue?
Based on my limited exposure to-date, I suspect Daedalus and Avalon are inherently different flavors of sound, not likely to be confused.
Philb7777 have you heard the Rockport speakers? That may be a speaker that can better your Avalon's.
Mapman - Daedalus and Avalon's do sound quite a bit different. Different sonic goals by the designers is what I would gather.
The Daedalus in the Modwright room wasn't very transparent and sounded 'thick' if you will. I was convinced it might be room set up as things didn't look quite dialed in to my view.
Goose - as a matter of fact, the Rockport Avior was exactly what I had hoped would be at RMAF. Alas, it wasn't nor was any other Rockport loudspeaker. My nearest dealer is in Omaha - around a 6 hour drive from Tulsa. I am planning on going there soon and schedule an appointment to listen.
Again, I love my Eidolon Diamonds. It's been nearly a decade with them and I am just curious what else is out there after I recently changed my front end and electronics too.
there was no Wilson/VAC room with Peter M - you must mean VTL
Mbovaird, Focal/Solution consistently good, I would say okay at most, the stage never surpassed the outer edges of the speakers, performers were at most 2D - boring, yawn! Tonality was sterile in comparison to the Focal/Vac room. I agree the Vac room sounded better when not playing vinyl - something possibly wrong with the set-up. Brent felt it was the cables throughout the system holding it back.
What I don't understand is if their prior set-up was so marvelous why in the heck not just leave well enough alone and duplicate it all over again - win win for everyone.
If one looks the numbers "cost of gear" in both of these rooms expectations are much higher "mine anyways" and they should sound allot better than they did.
Damn the little Raidho's were more convincing - ouch!
Philb777 if you have a chance to listen to the Rockport's please post your observations. I have lessor Avalons and have been wanting to hear the Atria's or Avior's, but no dealers anywhere close.
Completely agree with Dev, 100%!
Will do Goose. I hope to either visit the Omaha dealer in Nov or early Dec. If not possible then, it might be late March/April.
I have attended RMAF every year this far and I agree that this seemed to be a disappointment. On Saturday the halls were empty, in the past you had to struggle to get from end to the other, attendance was way down. I noticed Friday as I was waiting to buy my pass (normally I pre-buy on line) I realized that the pre-registered lines were empty. That was the first indicator. The vendor rooms were good but usually very few people in each. As far as my favorites, I think the ZU speakers made the biggest impression and I was pleased to hear the Revel's for the first time. SVS had great demo for HT on a low budget, for 1500-1800 you could really have a good sounding HT with great impact. Used vinyl was down as well and way overpriced. Why buy used when some re-releases are $10 more?
All in all this was the least amount of time I have spent at the show. But yet I will attend next year because it is still to close not to.
We wanted to upgrade our normal room to a ballroom this year but there was never even a return call or email from RMAF management so we scraped the whole show and I'm glade we did.
Thank you all for taking the time. I was unable to attend (want to every year but my work this time of year makes it difficult) so this gives me my "fix", plus the videos on some of the other sites.
Hi Philb7, I don't think that it is about flavors. If I had been happy with just subjective results like what is engaging and fun to listen to then I would be in heaven with my Klipsch LaScala speakers. But the sound that I am getting has very little to do with live music and at the highest end of audio, systems are capable of coming quite close. These are systems that unfortunately I can't afford.
I thought that the VAC room with Focal speakers was remarkable both on vinyl and digital. The sound was a bit bigger than life but after a while you might think you are at the live performance.
The Polymer system was also superb,I forget what electronics were used but these were some small solid state amps. It didn't have the warmth or smoothess of the VAC and Focal but the resolution and transparency were the best I've heard. I felt like I could hear much deeper into the recording. I wonder what these speakers would sound like on good tube amps and vinyl.
Another system that took me there was the room with TAD CR1 monitors. Don't recall the electronics there either but this system was a bit less expensive than other two and it had a spectacular presentation.
Larrystain - The Polymer room was superb? Surely you must mean the girls and not the sound! I went to this room several times across three days and it was boomy, two dimensional and just plain bad sounding. $60,000? Give me a break. I heard $5000 Ryan Speakers that mopped the floor with those.
Just not my cup of tea I guess. But like the OP said - the Polymer room was definitely a "most underwhelmed" for me.
Larry, I respectfully disagree. I think it is actually very subjective at times. And it depends on our listening preferences we gave developed over time.
I thought the two big Focal rooms were bad. Certainly bad for the price point. In both rooms the soundstage was 2D and in between the speakers. Everything seemed compressed with little air. I'll say the VAC room was better than the Soulution room, but not by much. Down the hall, the Focal/Aesthetix room was even worse. But again, that was my take on these rooms and I'm not surprised that others would love them. I thought the Lansche room was spectacular, but others have posted it was dull and lifeless. I really think, oftentimes at this level, beauty is in the ear of the beholder.
But the girls were easily 'best of show' in front of the Polymer room. After you went inside it was a letdown though.