Sunday, October 4, 2015

Day 2 cont

One room which stood out for the right reasons was the German Physiks/Merging Technologies NADAC/Ayre amps, on Sistrum platforms with Purist Audio cables.. I always admire the sound of these speakers but here they raised their game further with a combination of hi-rez tracks that sounded spectacularly real. Even sitting close to the left speaker in the front row, you could not quite determine where the music was coming from, it just emerged in the room sort of between but also around the speakers. A solo violin recording privately made by Merging Technologies (I think) was absolutely stunning to my ears with a resolution and timbre so close to the real thing that I felt here is a system I could live with for the long haul. One of the best of show for me.

Nearby, I heard the PS Audio room with YG Acoustic speakers. I know this front end, it's excellent, so I really wanted to know how the new BHK monos sounded. Hard to know from this exposure. The room was huge, the speakers were so far out from the far wall that they threw an interesting soundstage. I generally find the full YG speaker to be highly resolving but hard, much preferring it in normal rooms without the last woofer stage (for example in the excellent Rowland room here, where his integrated and a Bergman Sindre table partnered well).  Here, there was no hardness, but also it was a room with so much traffic, most of whom talked loudly and endlessly, so it was impossible to form a reliable opinion.  Sort of bland, as was most of the music being played.

Winner of the great fun room award has to be Russ Andrews with their 'what can you get for $1500?' challenge.  Their response was to buy decent used gear on ebay and then add $1k of their cables to it. They invited people in to listen to the system with stock cables, then switched them out for their own (Kimber sourced?) wire. It took all of 5 seconds to hear the difference even on a Neil Diamond track. Not sure I'd go with this as a path to spending $1500 but the differences were obvious and should be a required experience for those who claim wire is wire. Great part of the proceedings, and a cheery bunch of folks too, they know how to make room visitors feel welcome. Listen and learn others - this is the type of room that encourages people to enjoy RMAF and the audio hobby.

Some oddities. I really wanted to hear a top end idler drive table but these were thin on the ground until I entered room 1010 where I gound the Saskia table (over $50k!) with a great Schroeder arm and Ikeda cartridge playing through a highly renovated Emia ESL which seemed like old Quads in furniture wrap. Well not seemed; they are. They're also quasi direct driven by a series of tubes built in. A vintage dream? Not to my ears. Sorry, but this sounded decidedly uninvolving. Need to give it another listen if possible, maybe my ears were tired.

Odd but fascinating is how I found the Haniwa Real3D set up which invited us in to listen to (and see) some of Harry Pearson's LP collection digitized from a special phono cartridge/stage combo tuned to each other and replayed via small cube speakers, the HSP line with digital amp and a low watt tube amp. Not quite sure how it all worked but it really did work in terms of making lovely music from small boxes.

Odd, fascinating but not sure why, the Synergistic Research folks were up to their usual conjuring routine, this time courtesy of a non-inline atmosphere setting device which certainly changes the sound. My request for explanation yielded little other than it 'acts on the RF in the room'. A couple of small resonators also did wonders (sort of) for cleaning up the bass just by being moved into the room. Again, no answers on how it worked really. In the next room where 'deals' could be had on these, I was told in no uncertain terms by a young man that the inventor was 'a certifiable genius who knows how the physical world works and how you perceive sound'. Further questioning not welcomed. OK....that explains it.  Scientology for audio?  Well, they were disappearing faster than anything else was selling so maybe folks getting them can chime in. The resonators might be the better option for folks who don't like bass traps.

Oh, many other sounds were good: Gibbon X speakers made it worth staying awhile, Audiokinesis room was pleasing on the ear, Vandersteens  sounded sweet with ARC amp, a sort of sound you could live with longtime.  JMW used monkey pod wood to good effect, Triangle Art make amazing looking tables, Linkwitz can get music from a PVC tube.  A VPI multi-armed table through Joseph Audio speakers revealed how different cartridges matter, it went on and on for Saturday...almost need the show to stay open until 9pm. And I still never got to any of the talks or panels I wanted to attend.