Back home….

… well… not quite.

We finally got all our stuff out of the Marriot RMAF show hotel and drove up around 2:00pm to stairs covered in 8 inches or so of snow. But, at least the driveway was melted!

Now comes the setting up of all the equipment once again, warming it up… Just like a show, but the show is ‘here’ and not ‘there’.

BTW, carrying all this heavy audio gear up and down 45 steps I have found to be quite a workout. So, I was thinking, if any of you are thinking about getting in shape, just start moving your audio gear around from room to room. What a great excuse to offer the more audio-shy significant others…”It keeps me off the streets and provides a healthy anerobic workout”.


Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2006 is now history

Sunday was a suprisingly busy day for us. There was a lull around 2:00pm (start of the Broncos game?) but otherwise the room was usually full.

I did get to go play a few of my CDs on the Kharma Midi Exquisites / MBL system and listen some more to the Isomike 12 SoundLab system.

We stopped playing music around 4:30 (show ended at 4:00pm) , which is earlier than usual for us but we had a lot of packing to do. Even with help we were still packing at midnight and have a few more hours of packing and loading the truck later this morning.

My personal overall impression of the show was that most things sounded pretty good – which is to day that most rooms did not sound so horrible that I had to grit my teeth taking pictures of the room (there is a lot of gritting of teeth at the Stereophile shows and even some at CES).

That said, there wasn’t much that was spectacular either. My favorite non-Audio Federation room (though we do carry Kharma, we do not carry MBL) was the Kharma Midi Exquisite room… the new bass drivers work for me.

The show report is going to be a little strange this year. For one, I didn’t get a heck of a lot of time to listen to things. Second, many of the rooms that exhibited speakers we carry sounded better than most other rooms. There are several reasons for this – one is that we carry a lot of gear that we heard sound good at shows, figuring that if they can sound good in hotel rooms at shows they should sound good in people’s listening rooms. Another is that we only carry what sounds good, at least to our ears, as opposed to the myriad other methods dealers use to pick which equipment they sell.

This is all to say that show report will talk about these rooms and provide updates / opinions on others that we have recommended / panned in the past. If something that we have said sounded great at other shows but wasn’t up to its normal greatness this time out, we will say so (Starsound’s Caravelle speaker room and Cogent True-to-Life horn speakers… sorry guys, you’re still two of our favorite speaker designs, but…). And things we did not like sounded pretty darn good at this show, we will also say so (Can’t think of anything). The other rooms, not only of local dealers who we never cover – great or not, but others that, yes, have this flaw or that, will not be critiqued.

As far as Audio Federation’s two rooms goes…

The Audio Note room seemed to be an excellent example of just what can be done with Audio Note equipment, and we and the show goers seem to be very happy with the sound.

The big room seemed also to really knock people’s socks off – which is to say that they loved it – even though I personally agonized over a few sonic artifacts related to the fact that both the Marten Coltrane Supreme speakers and the Audio Note M10 preamplifier were not yet really broken in. Maybe I am just pickier with our rooms than I am with others – and perhaps I should be 🙂 But I can’t wait until a few months have gone by and these two REALLY start cookin’ – and then everybody who heard our system at the show can come up for another listen if they get a chance (yes, you are all invited). Or, there is always next Fall at RMAF 2007!

Junior Mixibitor fun with Audio Note Kageki

[After this was written, I learned that the 4 ohm taps on the Kageki are located where the 8 ohm taps are on the Kegons. So, stupid story short, the description below is of the Kageki on the 4 ohm outputs. That therefore most likely means that the enhanced bass and decresed resolution had more to do with the using the 4 ohm instead of the 8 ohm outputs than it had to do with the difference between amps – BUT that the difference in emotion and dynamic swell will likely only be MORE different than reported here]

Been a very busy show for us. I am trying to get at least a photo or two of each room – and we are about 90% there. But even with help from our friends, the high amount of interest has kept me in our exhibit room quite a bit.

We did get to play junior Mixibitors this evening. We swapped out Audio Note Kegon amplifiers for the Audio Note Kageki amps next door for a long listen.

The Kageki amps in our RMAF show system
The old high-gain Kageki amps in our RMAF show system

The Kageki are 2A3 tube-based and about 7 to 8 watts in comparision to the 300B tube-based Kegons at 22 watts or so.

The Kageki have slightly richer harmonics and a slight ’tilt’ to the tonal signature in comparison to the more neutral Kegons.

The dynamic ‘swelling’ on the Kageki was more pronouced. The bass was also gripped slightly tighter in the mid-bass, but was not as controlling nor beefy in the lower bass.

Listening to the 2A3 Kageki was a somewhat more emotional experience, with perhaps a slight reduction in resolution as well. I also wonder if the separation on the Kageki was slightly better as well – but this may be because the bass on the active (self powered) Marten Coltrane Supreme loudspeakers was reduced a bit in comparision with the Kegons because we did not have time to dial it in – and the bass in this room is a little problematic, often negatively affecting the overhang and imaging and separation.

The Kageki amps in our RMAF show system

All in all the two amps were quite comparable in my opinion – but definitely different flavors…. So of course we want both! But.. not going to happen any time soon, unfortunately. Reason must prevail… right?

Last I looked the Kegons are at about $50K and the Kageki at $40K.

Anyway, those darn Mixibitors did not get to have ALL the fun this show…. 🙂