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2009 RMAF Coverage 3

Turntables and Such, Part 1

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(Left to right: Doug Schroeder, Jack Roberts, Constantine Soo, Fred Crowder, Ed Momkus. Not in the picture but at the Show also: Gary Lea and Phillip Holmes.)

I know everyone says that the best part of going to audio shows is see old friends, and making new ones, and surely I would agree that this is one of the real highlights of the show. The RMAF is both my favorite show and my least favorite. It’s my favorite because it’s more laid back, friendlier, and maybe most of all because it’s 99.9% two-channel audio. It’s my least favorite because some rooms at the Marriot are some of the worse sounding rooms I have heard compared to other audio shows. The rooms in the New York hotels, the San Francisco hotel, and even those at the Los Angeles show just a few years ago were a little better.

I really do enjoy seeing everyone, but I have to admit my favorite part of the show is looking at turntable, tonearms and phono cartridges. So I hope you will enjoy this little trip though Vinyl Land in the Rocky Mountains.

TW Acustic

TW Acustic’s newest turntable

Let’s start with High Water Sound’s two rooms. They could have just as well been called the “Analog Lovers, Rooms One and Two.” The two rooms together had a bevy of TW-Acustic turntables. In room one, we find TW-Acustic Black Knight at $40,000. It is one beautiful-looking turntable. It was mounted with a Graham Phantom II tonearm at $4,900 and the new incredible sounding Dynavector XV-1T cartridge at $9,000.

TW Acustic’s new motor

The Black Knight has a new three-motor system. It uses two motors turning one direction and one motor turning in the opposite direction. It is treaded very much like a tape recorder. Not only does the turntable has a new motor, but it uses the most ingenious armboard. You can raise and lower the armboard while playing the record so that you can adjust VTA without moving anything on the tonearm.

TW Acustic’s adjustable armboard

Room two featured the brand-new TW-Acustic .5 turntable for $4,000. It was a great sounding setup, but you’ll have to wait because for right now, I understand the first group to be made are all spoken for, but it surely looked and sounded like it would be worth the wait.

TW-Acustic’s Raven.5 turntable

Another interesting table was the Bergmann Sindre at $20,000. It’s being imported by Brian Ackerman’s Aaudio Imports. It was the quietest air-bearing turntable and arm I have ever heard.


It certainly was making great music playing through Ypsilon tube electronics driving a pair of Tidal Contriva Diacera SE speakers. I’ve got to admit I would love to hear this table in my system, are you listening Brian?


Clearaudio Innovation turntable

Clearaudio was showing two different versions of their new Innovation turntable. In the room with the big Focal speakers, the big MBL amps, and the newest top-of-the-line Aesthetix phono preamp they had the full Innovation with their newest linear tracking tonearm. It was beautiful to look at and the room was one of the very best sounding rooms at the show.

Clearaudio’s new Inovation Compact and Helius new tonearm

In the other room they had their new Innovation Compact mounted with Clearaudio’s top-of-the-line pivot tonearm the “Universal”, and Helius’ new Scorpio 4 entry level tonearm priced for under $1,000. The sound was great and this seems like a great turntable and tonearm combo for the money.

Artemis Labs

Artemis Labs table with Schroder tonearm

Artemis Labs turntables with Schroder tonearms were seen in several rooms. Here you see it with their own new cartridge. Most of the systems using this setup sounded very nice indeed.

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