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RMAF 2014 Roundup, Part 5: Small Rooms with Medium-Sized and Smaller Speakers

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By Darryl Lindberg
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The Voice that Is: Tidal, Bricasti, etc.

The ever-gracious Doug White set up an excellent system featuring Tidal Piano Cera floor standing speakers (at $23K Tidal’s “entry” offering) and Bricasti electronics, including their M28 amps. I quite enjoyed my time in this room: nothing strained or over the top, just fine sound, even though it was an analog-less set up. The Stravinsky and Chabrier cuts on my HDTT CD were reproduced beautifully: excellent string tone, immediacy, and surprising punch. All in all, it made me hanker for a listen to Tidal’s larger offerings.

Something new … Existence Speakers

Marko Reinikainen was showing his Existence Erotic ($6.8K) and Euphoric ($5K) single driver speakers driven by Triode electronics in room 1002. I happened to bop in while the larger Erotics were playing and really liked what I heard, which was a lot of what makes single driver speakers so seductive (marvelous midrange purity and dynamic directness) and not too much of what makes single driver speakers so frustrating (lack of extension and uneven—or no—response at the frequency extremes). I’ve never quite cottoned to single driver speakers, especially those with Lowther or Lowther-like drivers. To my ears, there’s always something missing at the low and high-end of the frequency spectrum. My own theory is that these drivers are both too small and too large to properly reproduce the ends of the spectrum: too small to effectively reproduce the low-end, even when housed in very large enclosures; too large to effectively reproduce to high frequencies, even when aided by the ubiquitous “whizzer cone.” But I have to say that Marko’s design made sounded good enough to make me reconsider my paradigms.

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Audio Note U.K.

Just as I was about to reluctantly make the trek out to my velocipede for the five-hour drive back to Santa Fe, I ran into Nelie Davis of Audio Federation and was gently persuaded to amble over to the Audio Note U.K. room. And I was sure glad I did. Nelie was graciously covering for the exhibitor, who was unfortunately called away due to a death in the family. The room featured a decidedly “real world priced” AN system (circa $25K all up); the source was a battery-powered Stellavox tape recorder (not included in the system price). We listened to a couple of Kodaly piano trios (private tapes, no recording info available), which were compellingly reproduced: musical is the word that comes to mind. Per AN standard procedure, the speakers were positioned in the room corners, which I found less problematic in this room than some of the other AN set ups I’ve heard over the years. It just goes to show you that it’s difficult, if not impossible to make absolute judgments when it comes to audio equipment—especially at shows.

Although I thought this year’s attendance was down versus last year, the various exhibitors I spoke with felt the traffic was as strong, if not stronger, than that in prior years. In any event, it was another wonderful show and kudus to all the exhibitors, attendees, and especially those folks behind the RMAF. If you attended, I Hope you enjoyed it, too; if you didn’t, it’s definitely worth your time. I’ll see you next at next year’s RMAF!

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1 Comment on RMAF 2014 Roundup, Part 5: Small Rooms with Medium-Sized and Smaller Speakers

  1. HI,
    All the systems you mentioned here cost a lot of money, those who can build their own speakers cannot pass the the SL’s LXMini, which cost far less than $1,000 all up. This speakers is particular suitable for small to medium size room.
    The reason I am confident is that I designed and built a pair of speakers which had a similar design to the LXMini, they sounded great. I had heard many of speakers before LXMini and they failed in comparison.

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