Glad someone else was impressed with the cost-no-object Audio Note room. I also found the Audio-Note-on-a-budget room quite entertaining. One among a few rooms that caused me to break out in a big smile.
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The pervading answer in so many threads around here these days is to not actually answer the question, but instead muddle everything around in the "there is no best" thinking. I don't get behind that at all. For one, it kind of destroys the purpose of serious audio discussion in the first place.
In my opinion, there is a "best". It's called Audio Note.
Though I didn't attend RMAF this year, I awarded it my Best Of Show for 2008. Truly, it wasn't even close. Mike did a superlative job.
This year, I bought an Audio Note CD player, and though it's one of their midline machines, it's by far the best digital I've ever owned.
But, of course, all of this happens to just be my opinion...
The Audio Note room at RMAF '09 was impressive with a spectacular soundstage spanding side-to-side with a speaker against the corner of each front wall in a fairly large room. No expense was spared in cables with Nordost Odin cabling. In spite of the wide (and I mean wide) soundstage, there was no depth. Otherwise, a dynamic presentation but you would expect that for the price.
The Examplar roon was also impressive with Exemplar tube electronics along with David Berning monoblock amplifiers.
Nice to read about Bob Spence and his new Elation horn speakers. Cables were by Chris and Melissa Owen of Clarity Cable.
Audiogon Bill Thanks for all the effort, I find it hard enough just getting around all the rooms. Now I see comments about rooms I appear to have missed.
I liked the Audio Note room as well. Yes the amps are insanely expensive,, but the speakers start at a reasonable price. I have seen them paired with the entry level Meishu integrated and they still sounded pretty darn good.
Looking at the cheaper rooms, I liked the LSA room a lot, Moscode with Von Scheikert speakers and Modwright with the Daedalus Da-Rama's. I have the latter on order, so I know that at least one order was placed at the show.
This was my first and last RMAF, too expensive to get across from Europe. Others at the show commented how light the attendance was. I wonder if any exhibitors could comment on how succesful the show was commercially. Basically if little business was done, there may be a smaller show next year.
The RAAL tweeters are indeed fantastic. I'm using the 140-15's in a highly modified pair of Infinity Renaissance speakers. Compared with the EMIT planar - there's no comparison. Actually they might just be the perfect tweeter but you need a great crossover and tweeter amp. I use Mundorf SIO caps and copper foil inductors. The Mundorfs are also DC biased to 35V which raises the bar into stratospheric resolution territory.