RMAF 2016: Denver Day One with VPi, PS Audio, J-Corder and Zesto

Keep it weird Denver.

If the artwork at Denver International doesn’t creep you out, I don’t know what will… I arrived in the Mile-High City bleary eyed, and confused after an 7 a.m. flight from Vancouver, and stumbled though the sprawling terminal taking in the strange, Nazi-themed art with one eye open, as I made a dash for my hotel shuttle. The shuttle driver was named Mike, and when I mentioned all the creepy-ass art in the Denver airport he started telling me that the conspiracy theories surrounding the airport were unfounded, and it could all be easily explained. I cast a dubious eye sideways from the passenger seat, and said that a true conspiracy theorist might think that Mike was a plant who had all these rather convenient answers to throw people off the scent, and keep things covered up… he stopped talking to me after that.

Don’t call me uncle Bill.

I ran into the always effusive Bill Leebens of PS Audio in the Marriott Tech Hotel’s newly remodeled restaurant , and after some nosh we headed up to see what was happening with PS Audio. Sunny Umrao of Scaena Audio was installing his brand new, and massive Mistress loudspeakers in the room on the 11th floor as well.

Sunny Umrao assembles his massive, latest creation.
RMAF coverage courtesy of Noble Audio. https://nobleaudio.com/en/

PS Audio mono blocks, pre-amps, DACs, and cables as thick as my arm snaked everywhere in the room as PS Audio founder Paul McGowan worked with about a half-dozen associates to get the room set up, and to my ears, sounding huge.

Paul McGowan talks with an associate during set up.

Mat Weisfeld was setting up a new VPi Prime in the Fort Collins Audio room when I stopped by, and was cracking wise as only Jersey boys can. KEF Blade 2 speakers were getting prepped to be juiced by some serious Parasound kit.

Mat preps a Prime while the Blades patiently wait.

J-Corder lovingly restores mid-70s reel-to-reel tape machines from Technics, Panasonic, and others, so when I walked past, and caught a glimpse of a gleaming player spinning by the door I stopped in my tracks, and stared like a dog at a piece of steak on the counter. CEO Jeff Jacobs took pity on me, and waved me in as he was setting up the room. This is definitely a spot I’ll be coming back to.

Hypnosis by tape is common with audiophiles.

Zesto Audio gave me a sneak peek of their latest two-box phono stage that is debuting here in Denver. Carolyn, and George Counnas very kindly let me interrupt them as George had just dropped the needle on the first LP to be played, so thanks for your patience while I jumped around taking pictures.

Latest Zesto MM/MC phono stage is a two-box affair.

I’m wandering the halls more today, so tune in again tomorrow for more coverage as Part-time amps up their presence in Denver, and brings out the big guns Friday with Scot Hull, and John Stancavage touching down to join me here at the Marriott Tech Center.

–Rafe Arnott