RMAF 2017

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Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Themes. I do enjoy a good theme and for me there were 3 major themes woven through RMAF 2017; room setup (I know, not very sexy), DSP (I know, not very sexy), and fun (very sexy).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Let's see: DeVore Fidelity speakers? Check. totaldac? Check. Anything from Tone Imports? Check. Guys who know how to set up a room? Check. Good friends? Check. Great music? Check. Lots (and lots) of laughter? Check. What more can I ask for?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
I always enjoy my time in Gordon Rankin's room because a) I always learn something, b) he plays real music, and c) he gets great sound. "Did you hear Gordon's room?" being a common refrain. Gordon was showing his new Secant DAC ($5000) with a system powered by his tube amps and the Plasma Signature speakers ($20,000/pair) from Vaughn Loudspeakers.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
"I'll take Manhattan." A while back, I was asked if I'd like to review the Mytek Manhattan II DAC ($5995). My response was that Herb Reichert's review had just come out in Stereophile so it seemed a bit busy. I first read Herb's audio writing back in the Sound Practices days (I own a complete set), followed him to Art Dudley's much loved and missed Listener Magazine (I own a complete set), and online. Herb, and Art, are the reason I write about hi-fi (blame them ;-).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Vince Galbo of MSB is yet another great setup guy and RMAF 2017 was no exception. MSB was showing off their new Reference DAC ($39,500, MQA USB input module +$1595, Femto 33 Clock +$9950) with the MSB M204 mono amplifiers (lookers they are), and a pair of YG Acoustics Mosaic Genesis speakers ($72,800).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Another must-hear room at every hi-fi show is Joseph Audio. Proprietor Jeff Jospeh is yet another professional who knows setup (and speaker building) and perhaps of greatest delight, music. While there were some Playback Designs Sonoma gear in-room, it was tape that won the day.

Favorite line of the show from Jeff,

"Please refrain from touching Ms. Mitchell during the performance."
Yea, it was that good.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Fort Collins, CO dealer Audio Alternative put together a fine sounding system comprised of VTL electronics, Vandersteen Audio speakers, and Brinkmann front ends.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
I first met Vinnie Rossi back in 2006, the year after I first reviewed one of his creations, in a little number I called a "Road Tour".
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
We're looking at a complete DEQX system; DEQX HDP-5 preamplifier/digital linear phase crossover/frequency & group calibration and room compensation/Roon certified end point, DEQX A250x3 monoblock 3 channel amplifier, DEQX/Legen Acoustics ISR active monitors ($16995/system). Frequency response is a reported 100Hz - 10kHz (+/- 0.5dB anechoic).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
"One devil of an amp!" Sorry, I couldn't resist. The Gryphon Diablo 300 Integrated Amplifier (€ 17.600) at RMAF 2017 also contained the PCM/DSD DAC module (1x USB, 2x SPDIF, 1x AES, 1x Toslink) which can pass PCM resolutions up to 32/384 and DSD128 (via USB).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Real "MEN" use room correction? The McIntosh Laboratory room was directly across from B&O, so I had DSP on the brain. The MEN220 ($5000) was in-use in the Mc system, which allows for 8 preset 'Room Perfect' settings while also offering Custom-EQ and 2-Way Crossover capabilities.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Lampizator's new statment DAC, the Pacific, made its debut at RMAF 2017. The version on display included the balanced/Preamp options (€ 28.000) which gets you a remote for volume control.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Stereophile's Kal Rubinson reviewed the BeoLab 90 from Bang & Olufsen and concluded, ..."I exhort every caring music listener to listen to the BeoLab 90 and hear what is now possible. It's that good." The BeoLab 50 ($39,170/pair) are the 90's little brother but they house much of the same technology. The 50's are active speakers + DAC (24/192) and employ sophisticated DSP for in-room correction.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
I like my hi-fi like I like my coffee? Bel Canto's new EX line trickles down from their flagship Black series. We're looking at the Black EX DAC / Control Preamp ($13,990) which includes a host of digital (USB, S/PDIF, Toslink, AES, Ethernet) and analog (line level, MM/MC) inputs. The Black EX DAC also decodes MQA.

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