RMAF 2017

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Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 08, 2017
What gets you excited? A very expensive system that sounds great, a very inexpensive system that sounds great, or maybe a system that measures well? If you fall into the last group, you and I enjoy different hobbies. I'll let you in on a little secret; while I get excited about any system that makes music sound vital, I get even more excited if that system also happens to be inexpensive (don't tell anyone).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
I was sitting in the DeVore Fidelity/Tone Imports room listening to music, as I am wont to do, when Frank Schröder of tone arm fame came in with a new/old $1.00 record he recently picked up at a flea market. John slipped the LP onto the lovely, large and huggable SPEC GMP-8000 turntable and what poured forth was the most beautiful music I've heard in some time. Tear-inducing, soul-stirring beauty.
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
Continuing on our recent All-In-One theme, the AVM A30 integrated amp ($2995) adds a DAC and Bluetooth connectivity inside its 2x 110W Class A/B amp.
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.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Bryston's BDP-3 Digital Music Player ($3495, $1500 for just upgrade) got speedier with a "blazing Intel processor and 8 gigabytes of RAM". This allows for faster processing (wink) which should positively impact performance for people with large music libraries.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
Micromega has gone and done it again; this year dressed in electric blue. Micromega added DSP to the M-150 Amp/DAC/Streamer/DSP/MM/MC phono Pre ($7495) which outputs an additional 50W of output power as compared to the M-100 (I love it when names makes sense).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2017
The Progression Preamplifier from Dan D'Agostino (starts at $22k) includes Bluetooth and digital inputs (USB, Toslink, Coax S/PDIF) in the optional digital module (+$4500) making it an almost all-in-one.
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
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
ELAC's new electronics design by Peter Madnick of Audio Alchemy and Constellation fame will make their official debut at CES 2018. For RMAF, the prototypes were dressed up in their old Audio Alchemy clothes. I'm very much looking forward to getting my ears and eyes on these in-barn because Peter designs great-sounding gear and ELAC prices things aggressively.
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 09, 2017
spy photo

Opening scene: Reviewer enters empty room at hi-fi show and proceeds to take photos. Upon removing the info sheet perched atop a DAC for a better photo of said DAC, a woman rushes in from the hall and says sternly, "No photos! No photos!" pointing to the no photos sign in the corner with the same finger she was just wagging in reviewer's face.

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.

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