Rocky Mountain Audio Fest.
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DO they have products for sale at RMAF or is display only?
I would recommend going to the Southern California/ LA area, as they probably have the most stores in one basic area. I can't recommend any one store by name, but SoCal does have many remaining Hi End stores. Do some research!
Call up ahead of time and see what they say.
I second the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. You may be surprised at your response to some of the really expensive systems you hear. So two ways to save money. Lots of items on sale and if you trust your own ears and not the hype you should be able to find speakers for far less that sound just the way you like.
Come by and visit our room in the tower. RM 914
I think that the recommendation to attend RMAF is a good suggestion. Dealer inventories and demo stock is very light because of the economy; you will be lucky if you can see or hear all of the specific brands and models you have listed in a given geographic area.
While Southern California is a good choice, I think that the San Francisco Bay area might be better (note - I live in SoCal). There are more high end dealers in a smaller area in the Bay Area, and Southern California dealers are, let's say... unique in their approach to customer relations and sales. This is not a universal pan of SoCal dealers - Brooks Berdan, for example, is a great guy and treats his customers well.
I made a trip to RMAF last year from the UK and had a great time. Take the time to look around Colorado, some stunning scenery. The show had a friendly atmosphere, perhaps because it is run by an audio society.
I chose my last speakers there, Daedalus DA-RMas and am very happy with them.
Do'nt leave a trip to long. I may be wrong, but I think 2012 is the last year it is gauranteed to continue. Organising the show must be a great burden to the Colorado Audio Society, particularly after the sad loss of Al Stiefel, the instigator.
You wo'nt regret it, I promise you, I really wish I could be going back this year. If you are looking for speakers, I recommend you listen to Daedalus too. Lou usually has his own room with the Ulysses floorstanders and Modwright nearby, who last year, were using the DA-RMa standmounts, which I ordered at last years show. They really are stunning to look at, being made of solid hardwood with a wide range of woods, not veneered MDF. They sound as good as they look, transparent, excellent dynamics, easy to drive at 95 to 96db. Because they are sold direct, no dealers markup, they are great value too. Lou, the manufacturer, is excellent to deal with too.
Why not post a reply when you've been and give a report back on the speakers you have heard.
Here is a short report on my RMAF 2010 visit.
First Id like to thank everyone who recommended this. It was a great show. People were great, and it was very easy to have 1 or 2 tracks (or more) played from a mix CD we brought with us. Based on the number of questions we got on the material I am expecting Damien Rice and Anthony & the Johnsons sales to have an increase next month. We had some good discussions with fellow participants, vendors and distributors etc.
My wife arrived on Friday and had scoped out many rooms before I arrived on Saturday afternoon, so we were able to hit the ground running. We got to hear a huge range of equipment, too much to remember, but here were the highlights for us and general observations.
A surprising amount of Mac notebooks, Mac minis and iPads.
A large amount of reel to reel tape
We are not Jazz fans, really dont like it, and this put us off entering many rooms though we always returned later to see if they had switched material. We probably missed a number of rooms because of this.
Some high end systems really failed to impress. This could have been the rooms but for us, the high end speakers that on the day(s) were very poor included the Magicos Q5 and the TAD Reference Ones. On one day we heard the Sonus Faber Elipsa being driven by what seemed like some sort of iPod dock and it was just awful, the next day it was much better (I dont remember the source) but it was still lacking
We liked the Acapella horns, the Revel Ultima and Salk speakers.
Listened to the Marten Design Coltrane and it was beautiful though costs approximately $80K and the rest of the equipment was similarly priced. We played a few track s on them and they sounded wonderful. Based on this experience we tried the $20K Marten Design Getz, it was nice but just didnt quite do it for us.
Enjoyed the RM horns and the people were very entertaining
We enjoyed the Wilson Audio Sophia IIIs and the Sashas. There were a number of them around the venue, some setups very better than others, though for the most part all sounded good. Our favorite was the DOSHI Audio (Jhor amps) coupled with the Sasha.
We listened to the Daedalus, they look great. Unfortunately the Ulysses was playing rock at too high a volume when we dropped by so it was difficult to stay. They seemed to fall apart on some sections though that could have been the room. We hear the DA-RMas elsewhere and they sounded better.
We are focal fans and own the Micro Utopia BE speakers so it was nice to hear the Maestros but we were particularly pleased to see and hear the Focal Viva Utopias (serial # 000002) which are more reasonably priced at $25K. They were not fully broken in but still sounded good and are very interesting visually.
Ive already started to forget details but it was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone in the future.