Publisher Profile

2007 RMAF Coverage 3

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2007 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest
October 12 ~ 14, 2007
Denver Marriot Tech Center Hotel

Show Coverage Page 3

(Exhibit details supplemented by the Exhibitors and the companies they represent)

Oracle is one of the more established name brands in this industry, demonstrating a level of technological insights that is worthy of their reputation. In this room, Rusty Taub of Audioton LLC, North American distributor of Oracle, has partnered with Stan and Carter Tracht of MusikMatters, distributor of Usher Audio, to showcase the Usher Audio Dancer Be-718 Reference Monitor Speakers ($2,795/pair) in the Lupine Room on the hotel lobby level. Using an Oracle CD1500 MKII player ($5,800), DAC 1000 DAC/Preamplifier ($6,250), and a bridged pair of Usher Audio R1.5 stereo amps ($2,250 each), the system was able to reproduce the dynamics and scale of the Berlin Philharmonic playing Richard Strauss’ tone poem. Then, Rusty put on Pink Floyd’s Money, showcasing the system’s competency in handling hard rock. Rusty: personally speaking, I love the Usher more on heavy classical, ok? A most impressive mini-monitor demonstration.
(www.audiotion.com) (www.oracle-audio.com/) (www.usheraudiousa.com/)

Usher R1.5 stereo amps (bridged pair) Oracle CD 1500, DAC 1000, PH 1000

Also on hand for demonstration was the Oracle Delphi MKV Turntable with Turbo Power Supply ($4,500), Oracle/SME 345 Tonearm ($2,200), ZYX Atmos cartridge ($5,950) and Oracle PH 1000 Temple Phono Stage ($7,500). Cables were all JPS Labs, including the Superconductor 3 phono cable ($2,199/1m), Aluminata interconnects ($2,999/1m pair), Aluminata speaker cables ($8,499/8 ft pair) and Aluminata AC cables ($3,499/2m). On static display was Oracle’s new SI1000 solid-state integrated amplifier (175Wpc, $9,250), as well as Usher’s Be-10 reference speaker ($14,400/pair).

Oracle Delphi MK V

Oracle SI 1000

Usher Be-10

Yoav Geva of U.S. loudspeaker manufacturer YG Acoustics utilized a Krell Industries’ FPB 400cx stereo power amp (discontinued, $10,500) with the Evolution 202 preamplifier ($15,000, total) to drive a pair of the YG Acoustics Kipod Studio loudspeaker ($38,000/pair). The loudspeaker’s ring radiator tweeter, in concert with the woofer, produced very impressive coherency and dynamics. This was one of the finest exhibits at the show. The sophisticated metallic enclosure was undoubtedly the pivotal foundation to its sonic purity.
(www.yg-acoustics.com/) (www.krellonline.com) (www.dcsltd.co.uk/) (www.kimber.com/)

Krell FPB 400cx

When the company’s Anat Reference II Studio ($70,000/pair) was rotated for playing, a pair of the Krell power amps were used vertically for bi-amping. Digital front-end included the dCS Verdi Encore, Elgar Plus and Verona ($42,000 total approx.). Cabling was via a $7,000 cable system, including two Kimber Kable D60 as word-clock cable for the dCS, one Kimber Select KS1121 between dCS and Krell, two Krell CAST between preamp and power amp, two Kimber Select KS3033 from amp to speakers, one Kimber Select KS1011 from preamp to active subwoofers, three Kimber PK14 AC cables for dCS and three Kimber PK10 AC cables for preamp and subwoofers. All equipment were secured on a Finite Elemente Spider rack with Black Diamond Racing Source shelf and cones ($3,000, total apprx.).

YG Acoustics Kipod Studio dCS digital and Krell Evolution 202 preamp Anat Reference II Studio

Before I got to enter the YG Acoustics exhibit, Yoav and Andrew Jones of TAD (see Coverage 2) were having a hearty chat outside. It turned out that the gentlemen met at previous shows and recognized each other as kindred spirits.

Mark Gurvey and Tim Crable, respectively the Vice President and Technical Manager of Esoteric Teac America, manned their high-traffic exhibit, showcasing the company’s latest P-05 CD/SACD transport ($7,000) and the companion D-05 Dual Mono 32 Bit DAC ($7,000), using reclocked signal from a G-03X Master Clock Generator ($5,000). Amplification was via Esoteric’s own 150Wpc/8Ω, AI-10 class-D digital integrated amplifier. Tim treated me to a front-row seat and demonstrated the difference between 176kHz (4x) oversampling and DSD processing in the D-05, and we both agreed that digital reproduction via 4x-oversampling produced the more natural tonality. A most impressive digital experience.
(www.teac.com/esoteric/)

P-05, D-05, DV-60 AI-10, SA-10, G-03X

The AI-10 digital integrated also provides A/D conversion via a 192kHz/176.4kHz ADC, on top of an onboard Master Clock Sync Generator Unit that is supposedly accurate to ± 1 ppm (parts per million). Retail is only $4,000. Also on display were the DV-60 SACD/DVD-A video player ($4,000) and its audio-only counterpart, the SA-60 ($3,500). The other big news at Esoteric was the release of its 20th Anniversary MG series of loudspeakers, the MG-20 floorstander ($8,400/pair) and the MG-10 monitor ($5,500/pair). Fine-tuned and assembled by Tannoy UK, the MG-20 featured a world-first application of magnesium alloy for both the tweeter and woofer’s diaphragms, providing for resonance-free cone movements. Thanks to the expert internal acoustic treatment by Tannoy, the MG-20 weighed only 33lb.

Apart from the aforementioned impressive experiences, the craziest demonstration was yet to come. Nelson Pass of Pass Laboratories and Jon B. Ver Halen of Lowther-America made a phenomenal team. Using the world’s only JFET-powered, 7Wpc stereo amplifier that Nelson made under the First Watt brand — his personal hobbyist branch of Pass Labs, to drive the Lowther PM6A driver, and a 30Wpc, class-A Pass Labs XA30.5 solid-state stereo amp for the twin 10-inch SEAS woofers, the vertically-biamping amplifiers drove the speakers to unreal volume in playing a live recording of a train. Of all the makes of speakers in the world, I would never have thought anything Lowther could play this loud. I turned to Nelson in disbelief, he just winked and smiled back. As for source, he was using a mass-market DVD player to play CDs, with a DIY tube DAC. (www.passlabs.com/index.htm) (www.firstwatt.com/) (www.lowther-america.com)

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