RB, I live in Denver and have only attended RMAF 2014 previously. I loved the show in 2014 although I was a total newb, still am, but I really liked to explore and discover all the new products. This year, year 2, I also found that I wasn’t as wowed. I don’t know if that is because I have been spending too much time on Audiogon reading about products and scouring Audio magazines.
My quest this year was to find some speakers for my system. I had previously found Constellation for my amp and my preamp and PS Audio for my DAC and Power supply.
I did my research in advance and was excited to listen to Magico, Nola ( a no show) and Raidho. I was fairly set to buy the D1.1 based on what I had read and hearing the D1 in 2014 with Constellation. I was disappointed to learn that Raidho only brought their D4.1 speakers ($110K). While they sounded great, even though they were in a small room, I wasn’t looking to spend that much money. I then listened to Magico S1’s. I personally found them to thin in the bottom. I then went onto to the Magico S3’s. I really thought they were the 1’s based on what I had read. Synergistic did the presentation and they were focused on showing all of their aids. I believe the speakers were too big for the room and they sounded muddy down low. Like I said, Raidho sound good even though they were in too small of a room???
I did fall in love with a new manufacturer to me, Voxativ. So much so that I bought his show setup and loaded it into my car Sunday. I am even getting rid of my Constellation amp/preamp since his speakers are best served with tubes. While the show wasn’t as exciting with new products I did enjoy discovering some new things to me. I had a nice conversation with Andrew Jones of Elac and Chris Watkins (last name?). They have developed an amazing little integrated amp for $700 that blew me away. Paired with their $1,500 speakers I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I commended them on bringing high quality sound to the masses. I trust we will continue to see amazing value from this company.
Another company that I am researching was Fern & Roby. The owner, Christopher is a super cool guy (used to live in Boulder) and lives in Virginia. He is making some great sounding and looking turntables among other things. I plan to acquire one of his next month once my bank account recovers from the other items ;).
Overall, I agree the show didn’t have the same excitement as 2014. Maybe it is the economy, the election or we are just coming down from a overly ambitious period of development in the industry. Regardless, I have never been happier with the sound of my system than I am today. I will return next year and set proper expectations.
Finally, I enjoyed being able to speak to all the designers/founders of these companies. Holger from Voxativ, Paul from PS Audio, Christopher from Fern & Roby, Andrew from Elac and so on. I like buying from people and supporting small businesses. Anyway, back to my nice wine and the music.....apologies for the long post, slightly drunk..