RMAF 2019 Awards & Show Report

RMAF 2019 Reviewers View

Bending Wave USA:
This system was like liquid gold. We played a live Michel Jonasz track and the sound was delicate, detailed and organic with information in the lower frequencies I’ve not heard on this piece of music before. The loudspeakers were the Goebel High End “Divin Noblesse”, the electronics were by CH Precision and the source was the Kronos Pro turntable with the Super Capacitor Power Supply. Cabling also by Goebel High End.

The debut of the Phoenix USB Reclocker was a resounding success as Nuno Vitorino did an A/B test with the Phoenix connected to the Innuos Zenith Mk3, then removed. You’ll get to listen to the comparison on the upcoming AVShowrooms’ video. An organic and emotionally involving Lisa Gerrard’s “Wind that Shakes the Barley” was hauntingly beautiful without engaging the PhoenixUSB Reclocker; however, there were very noticeable sonic improvements when the reclocker was connected. The soundstage opened up, Lisa’s voice had more space and air around it with added dimension. The loudspeakers were the YG Acoustics “Vantage” with Boulder and Ayre Acoustics amplification. My take-home fantasy, for sure.

Next Level HiFi:
Tyler Mueller, proprietor of Next Level HiFi along with Lars Kristensen of Aavik/Ansuz delivered one of the best sounding exhibit rooms, I had the pleasure visiting at RMAF 2019. Debuting, was the U380 Aavik integrated amplifier that includes 2 DACS and a phonostage. The amplifier was significantly more organic sounding than the U300 without sacrificing any of the detail. The loudspeakers, the Borresen .01 standmounts, the smallest LS in the Borresen lineup was set up in the largest exhibit room at the show. This brave and aggressive experiment was a resounding success. Tyler proved that these little guys could fill a big room with concert level sound, effortlessly. We played two female vocal tracks, “All about You” and “Liberty”; the voices were hanging in space in the center of the room and the sound was enhanced by the large space.

Raidho Acoustics:
Benno and Ronnie of Raidho Acoustics debuted the new TD2.2 loudspeaker with new, in-house made drivers. Benno’s goal to create a small floorstander with the sound of a speaker twice the size was achieved and the result far exceeded my expectation. We played the track “Human” by Vanessa Fernandez on a VPI turntable and the sound was dynamic, fast and organic with a huge soundstage. Electronics were the Sim Audio “Moon” line and cabling was by Nordost.

Synergistic Research:
Chief Designer, Ted Denney, introduced several new SR products including his new UEF Cable Risers with incorporated HFT technology. In the upcoming AVShowrooms’ video Ted performs an A/B test with the cable risers in and with them out. We played and track from a Vanessa Fernandez album and clearly, when the cables were not utilized, the soundstage collapsed and the transients disappeared. The equipment in the room included the Magico M2 loudspeakers, United Home Audio Tape Deck, Gryphon electronics and an Acoustic Signature turntable.

Tekton Design:
Cream rises to the top, once again, thanks to the Tekton team. Eric Alexander introduced his new MOAB loudspeaker that delivered sound over 10 times its price point. Combined with Parasound electronics, including the new “New Classic 200” integrated talked about by Phil Jackson of Parasound, the track from “Dead Can Dance” gave us sound that was natural, detailed, non-fatiguing with outstanding bass response. Don’t miss the AVShowrooms’ video where an unsolicited third-party waxes poetically about his listening experience.

Troy Audio:
The team from Troy Audio proudly exhibited with the majestic Hellena MKII loudspeakers with their outboard crossover. Great Plains Audio makes the alnico coaxial driver and the alnico horn super tweeter. When spinning the track “I Want You” by Vanessa Fernandez from the Groove Note label, the speakers delivered deep bass, good image density and a broad soundstage. We also listened to a drum track with very good transient attack. Associated equipment was the T.G Shroeder turntable, Thrax amplification and Zonotone cables from Japan. The Hellena IIs are Peter Breuninger’s favorite high efficiency speakers.

Well Pleased A/V:
Once again, Mark Sossa, proprietor of Well Please A/V had one of the best sounding rooms at a show. No small feat as there were many very good sounding rooms in the North Tower of the Gaylord Rockies. Also, no surprise that the new Vinnie Rossi L2i-SE integrated amplifer was magical and, as usual with Vinnie’s electronics, dead quiet. Vinnie explains in the AVShowrooms’ video the cornucopia of features in his new design including Stillpoints technology.

Also, contributing to great sound were the Qln Prestige Three loudspeakers from Sweden with a drop-dead gorgeous burl walnut finish and the Innuos Statement Music Server. We played a track called “Liberty” by Anette Askvik and the sound was detailed, effortless and so emotionally involving that I lost myself, for the duration of the song, into the music. A shout-out to the associated equipment including Swisscables, GigaWatt power conditioning, and an SGR equipment rack.

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