Floor 5 Part I

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest

Sunday October 12th, 2007

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The GTT Audio room is right across the hallway... well, to one's left but this large room feels like it is the most logical choice of destination for everyone who goes up the the 5th floor. A floor which has about 3 times more rooms than any other floor.

This was the same system as shown last year, but the bass / room-interaction problem was a little worse than last year. Which kind of took away from the enjoyment of the incredibly seductive midrange that is the Kharma* 's speakers trademark.

Josh from SonicFlare.com was playing his compilation CD, having Bill Parish play about 30  to 60 seconds of each track (Josh had me do the same thing in our room on the 9th floor, as did Danny Kaey). This is a very efficient way, in my opinion, to get a feel for a system - and as an exhibitor, show reporter and show goer, I like it a lot - though I am not sure I have the guts to ask people to do it in other rooms (there is this whole: you MUST here each song to the very end, even if everyone is sick of it after 8 minutes of drum solos.... I exaggerate but the unwritten rule does seem to exist,. Let's all of us break it together - unless the song is by Pink Floyd. Or Radiohead. Or... :-) ).





The Kharma Midi Exquisite speakers in aubergine and the, uh, Really Big MBL amps.





VYGER turntable. MBL digital and pre in the background.










Tenor is back, with new $75K or so 350M amps and Kharma* is out with their new Mini-Grande Ceramique.

Many people liked this room a lot. I wasn't so sure, hearing unevenness in the sound, and then I saw the Meridian CD player. Before we dived off the bridge and took the plunge to became dealers, we had Meridian CD players. We like them. But... we know their flaws. They burned a hole in our head in the Meridian sector and now we just prefer something a little more real, more refined, more musical.

So, when the turntable was playing, and when it wasn't too LOUD, this system was incredibly dexterous and musical and involving and 'uh oh, I was listening to the music and not paying attention to what François and Joe were saying, sorry guys. Oh but they were talking to Steve, anyway. Good. Uh oh, I did it again...'. In this configuration it was one of the best sounds at the show.





The Meridian. And the (broken by the time we got there) reel-to-reel.





The new Kharma speaker, a two way with b... , uh guts?



The new Tenor amp. Beautifully gorgeous guys.




These pictures try to capture the look. Perhaps if everybody squints and keeps them all in their minds eye at the same time, the conglomeration (amalgamation? super-position?) will approach something like the real thing.












The sad reel-to-reel.




I think this is a new VYGER table. But Neli is the turntable fiend, I mean girl.




I hope they called it Triskelion.
















Sorry about the side-angle distortion, there. The speaker isn't really bent like it was part of a Dali painting.




Notice, no diamond tweeter. That is reserved for the Exquisite part of the product line.








Still ported in the back like the other Kharma - as one might expect. Connected with Kubala-Sosna Emotion cables.












This was one of four systems with Lamm* electronics - in this case the LL2 linestage and M1.2 hybrid amps. But this room had sonic 'issues'.

Some people worried about the CD player. Me? I am afraid of these speakers, as they have sounded quite strange indeed when I stand in between them taking photos of the equipment racks at various shows.

I know what you all are thinking... "Well, Mike, who, in their right mind, is going to listen to the speakers while standing in between them but gonzo photographers and dogs (cats are too smart)?' You all sound just like Neli.




A view from the left.




Those Critical Mass platforms underneath the components are massive! aren't they.




A Lamm amplifier flanked by some awards.




A Lamm amplifier flanked by no awards. Only right channels get awards.




Looks like extra Argento cable on the bottom shelf.




An ESP speaker.




Never seen cables help up by Frisbees(tm) before. But I bet these are audiophile grade. Actually, their aesthetic and obvious stability intrigue me.




The other ESP speaker.




After listening in the front row, we were encouraged to try the rear row. Yes. Much better.




I have no memory of why I took a photo of the room w/o the flash - but it looked cool, so I show it to you all now.








Legenburg is at most shows with this same, well setup display and room.




Legenburg cables.




Oh, you must see the Chalice room, says Daniel.

Yes, the amps are really beautiful and expensive and it sounds like they may be worth the asking price says Steve.

Awesome, So why didn't you tell me this before, Steve? says Mike.

I did says Steve,

Did not, says Mike,

I must of told Neli, says Steve.

Oops, says I

Telling Neli is often like telling me, unless things are told in confidence, but not at shows... apparently. When there is so much going on and we are up to the wee hours playing music and talking audio and in general Having Too Much Fun, well, we consider ourselves lucky to remember our names in the morning as we stumble around trying to open the room by 9 am (that's 9 am! not pm, am!).


Anyway, they were packing up already by the time I did finally get there, and even the amps had had their wood chassis removed. So, no photos and no listening and no report.

They might be at CES or might not. If they are, I'll try and get there before the last day.









This room had some interesting looking amps, which we will presently show you closer photos of.








Very interesting. I am not sure that wood makes a good heatsink, however.
























Symposium, the equipment rack people, have been showing these speakers at shows for awhile. Their look reminds me of the New Mexico state flag (I am from there) or something Southwestern.

This time I see they have a could of subwoofer? towers with drivers firing several directions.




The Symposium equipment rack.




Close-up of a Symposium speaker.




Rear of a Symposium speaker.








We saw these speakers on floors 10 or was it 11? They are using an Emm Labs* CDSA CD player as a digital source (good choice: :-).




Navison amplifier




Inside of the Navison amplifier








A truly impressive array of tube gear.




Here I try to give you all an feeling for what it was like. But the comforting glow, acreage, hard to communicate that to someone who wasn't there.








Your typical AV setup. You all know exactly how this sounds. Well, no, it was better than THAT. But, still, the limitations are visible.












ModWright, McCormack, otherwise this is all new to me.








This amp looked interesting.




















Apogee is back (again?). The Apogees here are nice looking speakers. We are not familiar with them, so I had a little listen. On all ARC equipment.




The sound, to me, was well separated, a unique note envelope, solid notes, but with a slight metallic tinge, like the thing that was generating them was metal. Not like a metal cone driver, these notes were well-shaped. But there was a harmonic that was a little like metallic ringing - not unpleasant, just different.

Anyway, during this listen I did not get the feeling of magic which makes people devote their lives to these speakers. Hopefully I'll get to hear them again, and with my own music, at a show when there is more than a few minutes to spare. Unlike now.




Nice profile. Awesome actually. Love the red.




The Audio Research amp and preamp and CD player. These seemed to drive the speakers well - at least on the music played (mostly mids) and the volume played (reasonable) there was no sense of strain.




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All pictures in this report are freely copyable and distributable.

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