RMAF 2013: Mal’s Best In Show

This should hit a solid month after RMAF, and this time I wanted to say something about the “Best in Show.” Unfortunately, I didn’t see the whole show. The best I can do is talk about what got completely under my skin.

Any conversation about that has to mention Ralph Karsten of Atma-Sphere, who cued up Massive Attack at wall-bending volume to close out Saturday afternoon’s festivities. I left that room giggling like a schoolgirl. Then, of course, there has to be a hat-tip to Kevin Hayes from VAC, who impressed us with his system’s competence but finished us off by getting us rocking out to the Clash. And let’s not forget Leif Swanson of Endeavor, who had the Talking Heads blaring out and hotel staff grooving in his room.

But any conversation about the best in show has to finish with the room shared by Saskia and Emia. I need to mention the sheer happiness of flipping through Dave Slagle’s back records, the ungodly purity of the sound coming out of the equipment, and the speakers that were expressive enough to make the music sound like home. More than that, though, there’s just a magic to sitting around with a bunch of friends singing along to “Lie Still, Little Bottle” on a Friday night.

So… Best in Show? The guys who refuse to take audiophilia nervosa seriously. The best in show were the guys who played whatever they felt like hearing — whether it showed off their systems or not. The best in show were, as always, the people who remembered to have fun.

Because if listening to music starts to be work, then you’re just doing it wrong.