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2008 RMAF Coverage 12

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This portion of Dagogo’s 2008 RMAF Coverage by Jack Roberts (Updated Nov 3, 2008)

Jack Roberts’ Top Ten Rooms

▼ROOM ONE: Aaudio Imports
Acapella Triolon Excalibur, $192,000/pair, plus Einstein electronics, Isoclean power conditioning

The Triolon Excaliburs powered by Einstein gear had all the dynamics, aliveness, bass impact, transparency, and soundstage you could ever want. The scale is truly life size. They are perfect for low-powered amplifiers, but perform beautifully with big amps. If you get a chance to hear these don’t miss it. Heck, who can afford them, so just go hear them for the experience. If you are lucky enough, that they are in your price range don’t dare buy something else without hearing them. If you can afford them, you can surely afford the plane ticket and a hotel room.

▼ROOM TWO: Acoustic Zen/Halcro
Acoustic Zen Maestro, $36,000/pair

This was the first system I heard Friday morning and it set a high standard. I’m a lover of single-driver and crossoverless speakers, but I could live with these for a long time. They sounded wonderful, but what speakers or cable has Robert Lee ever designed that didn’t. I think these are a bargain in the big and powerful speaker school of design.

▼ROOM THREE: Audio Note UK
Audio Note AN-E SEC Signatures with Audio Note electronics and turntable

What more can I say about Audio Note’s AN-E speakers. I lived with a pair for almost three years and loved them. I was worried that they might not live up to my memory of how good they were. Well, I shouldn’t have worried, the new designs are even better. The AN-Es are still one of the handfuls of speakers I would own and they just keep getting better and better. They breathe life into recorded music and are just plain fun to listen to.

▼ROOM FOUR: Brinkmann/Avantgarde
The New Avantegarde Uno Nano speakers Brinkmann electronics, turntable, tonearm, EMT phono cartridge

These surprised me. I have heard other Avantgardes on some of the world best SETs amps and they never quite got rid of that horn sound to me. This time they made beautiful music, and did it effortlessly with the Brinkman Audio electronics, turntable, tonearm, and cartridge. They did a great job of getting out of the way of the music and just letting it come to life. This room really sounded a lot like music; what more can I say?

▼ROOM FIVE: Classic Audio Reproduction/Atmosphere
Classic Audio Reproduction Project T 1.3 loudspeakers, $36,500/pair, Atmosphere electronics

This was the room at the show that I kept going back to time and time again. These were the speakers that just plain sounded like music. Every time I walked by I was just drawn into the room. Sometimes I would hear Willy singing and go in, other times it would be jazz, and sometimes classic rock. It did not matter, it just drew me out of the hall and in to enjoy a song I loved or maybe a brand new number.

These speakers need better PR.

▼ROOM SIX: Feastrex 5-inch NF5EX Full Range Field Coil drivers in hand rubbed cabinet.
Drivers = $30,000/pair. Price of cabinets still to be determined.

This was hands down my personal favorite. The only reason I didn’t go several times a day to hear them was you couldn’t get in the door. I was lucky enough to wander by a couple of hours before the show opened and listened for almost two hours. They sounded like my beloved Teresonic Ingenium Silvers, hopefully better, considering the price, if they were playing in my system. They use handmade washi-paper drivers. They may be the most alive and organic speakers I have ever heard at a show.

What I would give to get them, the Shindo Latours, and Teresonic Silvers in the same room with power by a Wavac EC 300B.

▼ROOM SEVEN: Gershman Acoustics Black Swan loudspeakers/VAC electronics

This was by far the best I have ever heard the Black Swans or any other Gershman speaker sounded. I also found this the most enjoyable room I went to because Kevin Hayes of VAC was so much fun to talk to about music and his recordings. It is always great to meet a fellow music lover, especially one so knowledgeable. I was impressed with the quality the digital sounded. The VAC DAC would be nice to hear in my system.

▼ROOM EIGHT: The Oswald Mill room
Oswald Mill AC1 loudspeakers, Saskia new Three-Phase Idler turntable distributed by OMA

This was my first time to meet Jonathan Weiss and hear his audio equipment, both were a wonderful experience. Jonathan was a real gentleman and his equipment is built by real artisans. The AC1 speakers are both beautiful to look at and listen to. The Saskia turntable was intriguing. It’s great to see an idler table of modern design. The sound in the room was really musically and emotionally involving.

▼ROOM EIGHT & NINE: High Water Sound room with Odeon Rigoletto speakers, Thoress Systeme electronics, TW-Acustic AC3 turntable with four arms and cartridges

▼TW Acustic turntable. Hope you’re sure-handed.

I have to admit just the selection of cartridges (Dynavector XV1-S, Ortofon Vienna, 47 Lab Miyabi, Koetsu Urushi) and tonearms (Breuer, Graham Phantom, TriPlanar, Ortofon 309i) on the TW-Acustic AC3 turntable was almost enough to get this room in my top ten.

The sound from the Oden Rigolettos speakers and the Thoress Systeme Electroincs sealed the nomination.

Great sound!

▼ROOM TEN: Analysis Analysis loudspeakers with VTL electronics

This is the only room on my list that used panel speakers. The sound of the big Analysis Audio speakers driven by the big VTL amps was simply wonderful though, I could have listened for hours. Using the VPI table, the sound had a wonderful, alive character, but managed to be relaxed and easy to listen to at the same time.

This portion of Dagogo’s 2008 RMAF Coverage,
Top Ten Rooms
by Jack Roberts

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