Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2009

So, the Rocky Moun’tane Audio Festivities are soon to begin – well a couple of weeks seems like ‘soon’ to me.

We will be in our usual two rooms: 9030 and 9026. One big and one small [medium size seems just not the d’rigor for show hotels].


Tentatively we will be showing, in the large room:

* Audio Note AN/E SEC Signature speakers (we’ve shown with these before, but not in the big room!)

* Andio Note Gaku On amplifiers (Audio Note’s top of the line 211-based monoblocks)

* Audio Note M9 Phono preamplifier

* Audio Note TT3 Reference turntable

* Audio Note digital: DAC 4.1x Balanced and CDT-3 transport


* EMM Labs XDS 1 reference-level single box SACD/CD player (product debut: about $25K)

* Nordost ODIN cable (everything ODIN but our 10 meter Valhalla and the Audio Note Sogon hard-wired to the speakers)

… and …

* HRS MXR and SXR equipment racks and M3 isolation bases


And in the small room:

Audio Note ‘Zero’-based system:

* I Zero integrated amplifier
* R Zero phono section
* CDT-Zero CD transport
* DAC 0.1x with USB input

… and …

* TT2 turntable with IQ3 MM cartridge
* AN/E SPe HE loudspeakers

… and…

* Rix Rax ‘Robbs Report’ equipment rack


We’ll have photos of the XDS 1 and Gaku Ons before the show – both here and in Spintricity.

Hope to see you all there!

Rix Rax is Moving to a Direct Sales Model

You still have a few weeks if you want Neli to walk you through the many, many details of having Rix Rax build a unique equipment rack that suits you per-fect-ly,

But after that, they be taking your orders directly at the factory. The goal, as I understand it, is fewer sales, higher margins. I am sure we can all relate.

We still love the racks and are not sure what to do for a platform-neutral furniture grade solution priced somewhere between cinder blocks and an HRS MXR [OK, SXR, but I like to keep my eye on the ultimate solution, … if not us then who? :-)].

The advantage to RixRax is that it comes at what has become in this market a very reasonable price – and to which we can add HRS M3 platforms one at a time, at our leisure, as we can afford it, to up the performance one component at a time.

Most other racks try and ‘do something’ to artificially improve the performance, most of which fail miserably [i.e. they hurt performance]. The Acoustic Dreams’ racks work well, but are more expensive [when you take into account all the shelf space on on Rix Rax], and if you plan on putting vibration controlling HRS platforms on all the shelves anyway [which not everybody does, of course. And it certainly can take several years to afford one for each shelf. We ourselves ain’t there yet after five years.Then again, we got a LOT of shelves to fill :-).] , it seems like some amount of the purchase price will be wasted on their built in vibration control. Although, nude, they do sound better than nude Rix Rax.

Mapleshade is the only rack that seems to have the same approach, but at a more modest level and I am not sure about putting 60lb M3 platforms all over one of them. And furniture grade it ain’t. This *is* however a rack that we recommend to people with a very modest budget who want to keep things up off the floor.

But Rix Rax it ain’t.

Anyway, we wish the best of luck to Rick Cox and you will start seeing Rix Rax slowly being removed from the site as we figure out just where are all the places are that we mention it. Ugh.

System Two now has two racks

… and system Three has none.

Both RixRax equipment racks are now over on the second system. We wanted the added capability to compare two turntables, two phono stages, and the Audio Note Ongaku to the Kegon Balanced to the Kegon.

We put the Kehon Balanced amps on the Kharma Mini Exquisites.

The tops have been off so we can stare at the internal electronics for awhile 🙂 But the tops will be back on soon enough… 1) they take up a lot of room just laying around, 2) the safest place for the tops of the chassis is on the chassis, and 3) just to get the aesthetic effect of a system that does not have exposed tubes.

Since our Audio Note M9 Phono preamp is still to arrive, we are using the Audio Note M1 phono preamplifier to drive the Kegon Balanced. We also had the M1 on the Ongaku integrated for awhile, to get a feel for the sound of the M1 in the system that we are so very familiar with.

The M1 is a very nice pre and I, personally, want to keep it here forever. At the price it sells for on Audiogon sometimes, $700, it sounds more like a $5K to 10K pre – and it always surprises me.

All the low-end AN gear surprises me – I keep expecting a more discordant and harsh sound – like the low end of every other line of equipment. But nooooo, this has more harmonics and warmth than the top-of-the-line, which is more neutral and detailed and transparent and realistic.

The end of the rack is now ALFULLY close to the speaker. But we figure the trade-off is worth it – that we can configure some great sounding systems that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to hear.

The Audio Note Kegon Balanced on the Kharma loudspeakers.

The Audio Note Kegon Balanced. On first blush, the M1 pre + Kegon Balanced amps is very, very competitive with the Ongaku integrated amp.

I would say more neutral [OK, nothing has that 211 sound except 211-based tube amps and the Kegons are 300B-based amps] and more transparent – more separation …and solidity?

We’re still listening…

The Soundlab system without a rack looks pretty darn cool itself. The Audio Aero Prestige is sitting on a Rix Rax amp stand.

Yes, that is a Nordost ODIN between the Prestige and Edge Signature One amps.

The Ongaku is now in System Four in Listening Room Three (L3). We haven’t hooked it up yet – this is still a AN Oto integrated-driven system.