RMAF 2016

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Marjorie Baumert
show organizer

  RMAF 2016

Rocky’s venue, The Marriott Tech Center in Denver, was halved because of construction delays.  Simply, all of the usual enthusiasm and anticipation was concentrated to one side of the hotel, resulting in challenges for show organizer, Marjorie Baumert and for the exhibitors. However, from my perspective, it all seemed to have worked out okay.  People were enthusiastic, optimistic and many of the rooms sounded good to outstanding.

Here is our list of AVShowrooms’ Gold Show Awards for sound.

Audio Union:

The team at Audio Union consists of top level professionals bringing to the table each of their individual expertise, but united in the pursuit of an optimal sound. This is no small feat, yet these guys get it right most every time, even with the usual room challenges.  This year at RMAF 2016, Tom Kleinbeck and Nick Kleinbeck of EnKlein Cables and Frank Schroeder of Schroeder tonearms gathered together to give us sound with multiple layering and musicality with the delicateness of pin-point detail.  We spun up the vinyl track “Nublado” from the album “Sera Una Noce” on the Dohmann Helix 1 turntable along with Thrax loudspeakers and electronics and Enklein’s Zephr cabling and the sound was enveloping from start to finish.

Classic Audio:

Classic’s T-3 loudspeakers were at their best in a much smaller than usual hotel suite. The sound was warm, detailed and filled the room.  An UltraAnalogue tape featuring the Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia played through as if the violin was in the center of the room weeping and yearning with its story. To say that it was emotionally moving would be an understatement. And, of course, spinning the tape on the UHA Phase 12 PS DC was a guarantee that the delicacy of information and detail would come through to the listener as an almost palpable experience rather than as a passive one; a member of the audience.


There is no way any stand mount loudspeaker should sound this good.  The speakers were set up in a large suite at the Marriott, on the long wall, and at first glance I had my doubts. The RS3’s were positioned so far apart there was concern on my part as to whether they could possibly perform optimally.  Silly me.  Michael Vamos has the talent and the ears to rank as one of the best at set-up at the shows (Certainly, this would also be the case in his clients’ rooms). Michael along with Benno Baun Meldgaard of gamuT, one of the top engineers in high-performance audio, today, achieved the best sound I experienced at the RMAF 2016 without rival. 

We played Vanessa Fernandez’s “Here but I’m Gone” and the soundstage was huge; the integration flawless – tight bass, multi-layered mids and highs.  I’ll go as far as to say that anyone in the room at the time who was not moved by this session should just check in at the morgue. Clarity, musicality and depth of sound that was, and I believe, will be, nearly impossible to surpass.  Room included GamuT electronics and Pear Audio turntable. 

Jeff Rowland Design Group

Jeff was showing with his new Daemon integrated, a switching amplifier that sounds like a world class A/B amplifier.
  Jeff played a CD track by Slam Stewart from the album “Slamboree” and we also played “Equinox”, the track from the eponymous CD from Soundkeeper Recordings.

The sound was clear, non-fatiguing with enough natural sounding decay to make me forget this was Class D.  Truly, Jeff Rowland Design Group continues to maintain a reputation as one of the most innovative and progressive companies in high end.


A Nagra room at an audio show exudes class with a capital C.  Rene LaFlamme, mastering engineer for Fidelio Technologies and Sales & Marketing Manager, Nagra USA & Canada, is meticulous in his pursuit for great sound reproduction.  He has all of the tools and, of course, the talent.  A sophisticated and engaging sounding room with delicate but profound imaging and depth of sound.  The Kronos turntable with the Black Beauty arm and EMT S75 cartridge contributed to the organic feel of the room adding layering, detail and decay. We played “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” from the Dead Can Dance album, “Into the Labyrinth”.  The electronics were the Nagra Classic System including the new Classic Preamplifier, the Classic DAC, transport, phonostage, power supply and Class A monoblock amplifiers, all wired up with Kubala-Sosna cables.  The Avalon Speakers were in excellent company, indeed.


Walking into the Raidho room at RMAF, this year, I knew we had a hit on our hands.  The voice of Lisa Gerrard, Dead Can Dance, filled the room like an oracle of the heavens.  Everyone was mesmerized by the sound, the D-4.1’s working their magic like I’ve not heard before in the many Raidho rooms I’ve visited over the years. Otherworldly.  The sound was enveloping and emotionally charging.  Lisa was not in the room singing; instead, the room was her voice and the instruments.  Yes, there was the Aavik 300 amp/DAC, Ansuz cables and the Nagra CD player, but I didn’t notice.

Synergistic Research:

As usual, Ted Denney was running a demo in his room and a much smaller than usual room.  The size of was just right for the sound and his demonstration.  Ted powered the entire system which included Magico S3 loudspeakers, with Synergistic Research PowerCell 12 UEF SE.  I handed him the CD “Equinox” by Soundkeeper Recordings and we listened to a track with the PowerCell engaged, then not engaged.  No surprise, considering SR’s excellent reputation, there was a marked difference between engaged and not.  Engaged, the soundstage was bigger and the sound was deeper and more layered with better bass.  There you have it, another win for SR.  Also introduced were the very impressive looking Galileo UEF cables.  Stay tuned for the video, I think you’ll want to see and hear about these cables.


What a treat to walk into the Voxativ room and be greeted by Holger Adler.  As usual with Voxativ, the room set-up was spot-on.  Playing were the 9.87 loudspeakers with improved bass units that were low, extensive with perfect pitch.  Holger played a track from the album “la fabuleuse histoire de Mister Swing” with Michel Jonasz on a Fern & Roby turntable with F&R’s new tonearm. We experienced that wonderful clear and perfectly integrated sound I’ve come to know over the years.

Von Schweikert Audio:

Sharing a room with Skogrand Cables at RMAF 2016, Von Schweikert Audio was playing tape and spinning vinyl.  Knut Skogrand spun the ever famous Janis Ian reel-to-reel but what made the room come alive was when Knut kindly played the track “Nublado” from MA Recordings magnificent album “Sera Una Noche”.   The Von Schweikert Endeavor E-5 were magical with VAC electronics, using 2 of the VAC signature 200 IQ Stereo amps and VAC master preamplifier with phono.  Also in the room were Stillpoints ESS racks along with their Ultra 5 Isolators and Aperture Panels.  Cables by Skogrand Cables were the top of the line Beethoven cables.  The sound was full, detailed and involving.

Terry Eringi

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