Saturday at RMAF 2019. The big day. The day when most people show up to high-end audio shows, the day when everything exciting happens. The halls weren’t packed because the layout at the Gaylord Resort is so spread out, but many of the rooms themselves were packed with attendees. The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is back!
It took me three times to get into the Parasound and Tekton room, where the amazing little $1195 NewClassic 200 integrated amp/DAC drove the huge Tekton Moabs, which inexplicably cost just $4500/pair. In a system that cost just $7500, including cables, the music was solid, punchy, dynamic and completely convincing. We reviewed another Tekton in the summer issue of The Occasional, and the value of that speaker also seemed to flirt with the impossible.
I also witnessed two completely amazing systems at RMAF 2019, both that would force me to get off the audio merry-go-round and be happily swamped with beautiful music for the rest of my life if I owned them. The first came from MoFi Distribution, the company that’s suddenly snatching up all the coolest brands. This room featured Falcon Acoustic HP.80 speakers ($16,995/pair), Balanced Audio Technology REX III monoblocks, preamp and DAC, the rare Dr. Feickert Analogue Venti turntable ($7995 if you can find one), Thomas Schick tonearm and My Sonic Labs cartridge ($9000). Plus, Jonathan Derda brought all the coolest MoFi LPs to play. I stayed in this room for a long time, just digging absolutely everything about the sound.
The other system was simpler, but hauntingly sublime in the way it presented music. This was Vinnie Rossi’s debut of the L2 Signature Edition integrated amplifier ($18,995), which offers the option of a phono stage and DAC for $3495 each. Vinnie paired this beautiful amp with the surprising QLN Prestige Three SE loudspeakers from Sweden ($12,000/pair) and the Innuos Statement music server. Placed diagonally with the QLNs placed far out into the room, this system offered some of the most astounding imaging and soundstaging I’ve ever heard. EVER.
Other RMAF 2019 highlights on Saturday included the $649/pair Klipsch RP-600M monitors, paired with Cambridge Audio. Another packed room, another so-called “entry-level” product that sounds way too friggin’ good for its price. I also snuck into the Wilson Audio room where both the XVX ($329,000/pair) and the WAMM (built now as sort of a bespoke product, with prices more than twice of the XVX) were placed in a static display that resembled an art exhibit. Which it is.
Add to that another gorgeous-sounding room from Steven Norber at PranaFidelity, and an intense headphone listening session with some of the best equipment available, all courtesy of Drew Baird of Moon Audio. On to Sunday at RMAF 2019, and then a few fun-filled days in my former home state of Colorado!