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Rocky Mountain Audiofest Part 2 – The Rooms

Jack Woo at RMAF 2013

Jack Wu brought his new flagship in tow with him to room 574, high atop the atrium overlooking the courtyard. The sound from his 234 mono blocks ($16k) soared just as high. I spent some time listening to these living metaphors of extravagance and was highly pleased with the result.  In case you were wondering, you do have to adjust the volume independently for each channel so even casual listening takes a bit of extra effort. Paired with the RMAF favorite the Abyss, this amplifier really dug in and produced some spectacular moments.  The blocks also drive speakers should you be so inclined to share your auditory experience with friends and family.

I find Woos attention to detail (especially cosmetically) to be first rate.  The entire product line (which starts at $520 for an amplifier) is built as well as any of the top tier products I’ve reviewed. As you can see from the list below the entire device is tube driven, no semi-conductors appear in the path. Also noteworthy: 120 lbs total weight, wow.

The AudioEngine room was fully equipped with all of their computer audio goodies including the well-received desktop speaker line that can be purchased in various sizes and finishes.  The wallet-friendly DAC the D1 ($169) could be found in multiple rigs across the show.

Their wireless solutions provide a unique way to transport your music across your room or house.  They even have a new digital device on the horizon that should become available soon, more details to come.

Astell and Kern’s room featured two new products that were at separate sides of the finical spectrum.  First, the new A10 ($299) portable DAC and headphone amp.  They had the device connected to galaxy phone, so expect lots of portable applications for this little guy.

On the other side of the room was a new premium bookshelf loudspeaker branded “Castor”.  This lovely speaker’s price is still TBD.

SVS is traditionally known for their budget-ish-to-top-end bass solutions.  Their room at RMAF included the new ultra series speakers, and was one of the very few arrangements that included a surround sound setup.  The floor standing speaker you see below came in around $2k a pair, while the bookshelves that feature the some of the same drivers are $1k a pair.

You couldn’t help but notice this interesting subwoofer that greeted you upon entering the room.  This behemoth PB-13 Ultra flagship ($2k) featured a cutaway cabinet let you know what was really going on under the hood, very cool.

Roy Hall from Music Hall was in attendance with a strong selection of his budget-conscious components and accessories.  His WS2 record cleaner, DAC 25.3 and tube hybrid headphone ph25.2 headphone amplifier could be found flanking the far wall.

Front and center was the A15.3 integrated ($550), the cd transport and USB DAC C-DAC15.3 ($550) and the new Ikura turntable ($1,200) pushing a pair of Epos Elan 10 bookshelves ($1k/pair).

I stumbled into Raven Audio’s room looking to hear the floor standing version of the Joseph audio bookshelf I currently am infatuated with.  The “Perspective” shown below runs a mighty $13k to get into your home, but the sound is nearly intoxicating. I’m not a fan of the all white finish, but the loudspeaker is available in the more traditional black and red-wood-grain high gloss look.

What I really discovered in the room was Raven Audio’s beautifully-crafted tube amplifier line.  These puppies really have some eyeball-catching charisma, the photos here hardly do them justice.  The line even starts at a somewhat-reasonable $1.5k for the 20 wpc Nighthawk Integrated.  The 100 wpc Silhouette Monoblocks featured in the setup above will set you back around $13k.


Check out even more coverage of the 2013 RMAF CanJam here:





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