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Rocky Mountain Audio Fest - Day2

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MiTT

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Hey All - sorry for not posting my Day 2 report from the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest last night. Funny how a full day of listening to some of the best systems money can buy can wear a fella out. I was beat. I must say that this year's show has been the best of the 3 years so far. This thing keeps getting better and better, and I hope it will continue for many more years. What great sounds!

For Day 1 of the show we had beautiful weather, sunny skys, temps in the high 60's. A gorgeous Indian Summer day in Denver. Yesterday I woke up to this (taken from the hill at the end of my street). There's usually a bunch of mountains behind all those clouds. Oh well, welcome to Colorado. It made for a great excuse to stay inside and listen to audio equipment all day.
 

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MiTT

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Music!

My first stop both days of the show so far has been in the area where they're selling music. Both local and national vendors have shown up, although Music Direct didn't have a booth this year. That's OK, my wallet wouldn't have been able to bear the strain anyway!

Here's Michael Fremmer (on the right) of Stereophile chatting with another attendee. I walked up to him and said I'd heard vinyl was dead. You should have seen him launch into a near tirade about the subject, the irony being that we were surrounded by thousands and thousands of LP's and people lining up to buy them. He is an animated and passionate advocate for this hobby of ours; and a genuinely nice guy to talk to. I've also bumped into Johnathan Skull (formerly of both The Abso!ute Sound and Stereophile) both days as well - also a very nice fellow.
 

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MiTT

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Reference Records

Reference Records is back in a big way, launching a number of new releases at the show. I can't remember who they have been bought by, but the future looks bright. They are even planning to get back into the Vinyl pressing business. Reference makes some of the best sounding HDCD's around and their older vinyl releases are the stuff of audio legend.
 

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IsoMike Part Deux

OK, so I went back into the IsoMike room to reconfirm what I'd heard the previous day. Lo and behold, they had redone the entire room overnight, pulling everything more into the center of the VERY large room, adding a LOT of acoustic materials behind all of the speaker banks, and adding a bunch or Rowland amps to drive the rear speaker banks (more power!).

Sound was even more breathtaking than the day before...
 

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MiTT

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Finally, a closer view of the electronics. Some very serious hardware here.

On this visit they were playing the Fry Street Quartet doing works by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Rorem and Scearce (I bought it) and it really was as if they were in the room. Where the scale of the orchestra and chior the day before had sounded as if it were in the concert hall, the presentation of this string quartet was appropriately sized for a group of four musicians arranged about 5 feet in front of the front speaker banks. Sounds from the rear speakers were limited to room reflections when I went up and listened very closely. Bottom line, when you sat in the seating area you felt like you were listening to real musicians in a real space. Mesmerizing.
 

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Aesthetix

Aesthetix was demonstrating their now complete Saturn Series including my phonostage the Rhea (fed by a Clearaudio turntable), the Calypso pre-amp, and the new Atlas hybrid power amp. Speakers were Wilson Audio Sophia's and the digital front end was a Pathos prototype.
 

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Jucy Pathos

The Pathos CD player looks very cool and offers a tubed output stage. No price or release date yet.
 

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MiTT

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More Pathos

Some more Pathos gear on static display at the back of the room. The Classic 1 mk.II and the Twin Towers - both integrated amps. Pathos has such beautiful styling and wonderful choice of materials. These are truely beautiful pieces of gear - typical Italian artistry.
 

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Amber Waves

Another brand I hadn't heard of prior to yesterday was Amber Waves Audio out of Kearney, Nebraska. These were some HUGE Class A Triode Push Pull amps! Serious too - 200 watts into 4 or 8 ohms. The sound was intoxicating into Intuitive Design Summit loudspeakers. I don't know what the pricing is on either of them, but I suspect that if you gotta ask....
 

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Amber Waves of Gain

The Amber Waves amp closer up. Couldn't stay in this room too long as it was quite crowded and these babies put out a LOT of heat.
 

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Artemis Labs

Artemis Labs 4 chassis SP-1 tubed amps were driving the Verity Audio Sarastro speakers to perfection. They were spinning Depeche Mode on vinyl when I was in the room.
 

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Artemis Sources

The front end in the Artemis Labs room was this Calibier Gavia TT with a Schroder arm and ZYX Airy 2 cartridge feeding the Artemis PL-1 phonostage and LA-1 linestage.
 

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AudioAero

AudioAero was playing their Prestige CD player through their Prima integrated amp. They also had an SME turntable on hand, though it wasn't in use when I was in the room. Johnny Cash was coming out of these WLM speakers to great effect.
 

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Audio Crafters Guild

Audio Crafters Guild is another new company that looks interesting. Their goal is to offer $20K performance in the $5K price range. Amplification stages are all based upon the ICE module, which is appropriate because too my ears these componensts sounded a little on the cool, analytical side - of course I'm a toob guy so go figure...
 

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AC Guild interior

An interior shot of the Audio Crafters Guild 1000 Direct amp - single input with a passive resistor ladder attenuator. Fully dual mono including two AC cords.
 

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MiTT

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I'm Late!

OK, so I'm already 45 minutes late for the opening of Day 3 of the show so I'm going to blaze. I've still got 60 some pictures from Day 2 to share with you all - including at least 2 more contenders for Best Sound of the Show, and I still have 2 more full floors of the show to visit today. Much, Much more to come!
 

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MiTT said:
The Pathos CD player looks very cool and offers a tubed output stage. No price or release date yet.
I believe that CD player is right around $10k..if it is the Pathos "Endorphin" (sp?).... One of the HiFi News' I have reviewed it... I'll post up thier price later tonight after I look it up.
 
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