Tower:   9 10 11 2          Main   1 Mezzanine        Atrium 4 5a   5b




RMAF 2008
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest

October 2008

* Denotes a product carried by Audio Federation

Copyright Audio Federation, Inc.. All rights reserved.
All pictures in this report are freely copyable and distributable
if attribution is given but may not be included in multi-room show reports without written permission.



Attendance was about 5% better than last year, but where people went was different. The traffic in our room was about 5 - 10% greater than last year, but the flow of people was much more steady. The number of people in the halls on atrium floors 4 and 5 was noticeably less than last year - and some rooms seemed to not get very much traffic [reminds me of the 1st years. Maybe new people are not able to find out how to get to those floors?].


This Show Report

149 rooms. Spending approximately 2/3 of my time in our own exhibit room, the coverage is not as complete as we would have wished. In particular I did not make it to the Hyatt where several additional large rooms were located, I missed a couple of rooms on floor 11, a local dealer and friend of the family (Sound Science), and perhaps others.

We also skipped those two or so rooms that do not want their photos in our reports.

Next year we will skip rooms that a) video their visitors [as opposed to their systems], b) those that berate Neli about my inability to be all-knowing and all-seeing and/or for having the gall to describe how their room was not The Best Room Ever. Please email all such complaints to me at

Unlike many other reporters, we do not require, and in fact despise, ass-kissing and free-equipment in exchange for fairy tales about how things sound - but, please, strive to be polite.

During the show, I need to keep an eye on the clock to be fair to the other rooms and if I sometimes appear to be distracted, well, I am thinking about all the things left to do and that I really need to get back to our exhibit room. Kevin and Steve help out A LOT, but we get A LOT of people through our room, and Neli likes me to help out once in a while ;-)

Having become very tired of all the long-winded, hyperbolic, say-nothing, do-nothing B.S. inside and outside our hobby, this year's report uses a style of short, clipped sentence fragments, based on [a nice, sweet version of] the Rorschach character, The Watchman (Moore, Gibbons).

Different Kinds of Exhibitors

There are many different reasons for exhibiting at a show. It is perhaps a mistake for show reporters and show goers to lump them all together into the type of exhibit THEY want to see. Incorrect expectations makes show reports seem even more clueless and show goers unhappy.

Some of these reasons are:

  1. To demonstrate state-of-the-art quality
    Typically comprised of statement components that work well together. Excruciating care is paid to setup and sound. This is what the large Audio Federation room has aimed for the last 3 years. Nobody else does this at RMAF (except perhaps Audio Unlimited, this year, with the big JM Lab speakers and big Clearaudio turntable, and maybe, maybe YG Acoustics when they bring the big amps).

  2. To demonstrate affordable quality.
    Typically comprised of components that hit a particular price point. Sometimes cables are more expensive than rest of system. Excruciating care is paid to setup and sound.

  3. To debut new components
    Typically a mishmash of components most of which may not even be plugged in. Often little attention is paid to sound and setup.

  4. To sign up new dealers / a distributor
    Typically a mishmash of components most of which may not even be plugged in. Often little attention is paid to sound and setup.

  5. To be seen
    Typically a mishmash of components most of which may not even be plugged in. Often little attention is paid to sound and setup.

  6. To satisfy desires of the manufacturers who wants to be seen.
    Typically components of manufacturer dominates the room. Attention paid to sound and setup depends on exhibitor.

  7. Demonstrate an experimental system
    Special category for Ray Kimber's rooms [and Lamm did a few rooms with Karmeli and some very large horns].

So, if, say, I, do not like the sound in a room, and little attention is paid to sound and setup, then their reason for being at the show may not have anything to do with the sound quality of their room. Everything makes sense [except all the show reports who laud each and every room].

A New Online Magazine

We are publishing a new online high-end audio magazine in hopefully a few weeks. This as-yet-unnamed magazine will use new technology that will allow us to do things other magazines and websites cannot. It will also be innovative in other ways in an attempt to better serve manufacturers and dealers on the one hand, and audiophiles on the other.

Why a new magazine?

Oh, there are so many, many reasons. :-)

But the primary reason is that they are all so damn boring. 'Reviewers' focus way too much on regurgitating cookie-cutter equipment reviews in order to get loaned more free equipment. Bo-ring. Music reviews are written in a manner that has little to do with the way audiophiles actually listen to music. Snore.

The other primary reason is that the relationship between manufacturers/distributors/dealers and the magazines is like that of lobbyists and politicians. It is inherently corrupting to both. The result is that everybody distrusts and fears everybody else.

So, yeah, we gonna do things way different. We are going to focus on the fun and excitement of being an audiophile - all those reasons why we are doing all this crazy stuff in the first place. And we are going to provide several ways for manufacturers/distributors/dealers to get their message heard - without having to compromise their sense of ethics or take out a second mortgage.

To this end, then, ...

We are talking with several people about writing for the magazine. If you are interested we would like to talk with you, too. We are not looking for and will not accept [most] reviewers - we will not even have traditional reviews, per se. We are looking for people who are extremely honest and can express themselves, who can bang on a keyboard a little [the Grammar Police have left the building], or use a video camera, or snap a few photos and share their perspective on why being an audiophile is so fucking intoxicating.

We are also accepting press releases, installation experiences, overviews of technological innovations, design perspectives, industry perspectives, biographies, factory tours etc. submitted by manufacturers/distributors/dealers [preferably full-page, but we will work with you], once per month, and will publish them for free. We are looking for serious submissions, in addition to the press releases, that respect the reader's intelligence - something a reputable manufacturer/distributor/dealer would say to someone in their store or factory. We will also accept traditional ads, preferably full-page, but any size will work, for which we will charge standard prices.

We are also looking for one or more sponsors. Perhaps someone who wants to remind their readership each month that they are proud sponsors of the magazine. Or perhaps someone who wants to take more of an ownership stake. We will be contacting some potential sponsors directly, but if any of you want to contribute to the audiophile community in this way, please contact us as soon as is convenient.

For now, send email to me at:

OK. Thanks for reading all that. More later on the blog. Now back to the shew.


The Most Favorite Of Show (in no particular order)

Setup lovingly tweaked. Sound musical. Dared to play something that wasn't Jazz. Classical, nor Classic Rock.    
New very thick chassis amps bring system cost up to $7500 range. Brings sound up to top 95% of rooms.    
Glow Amp One. Single-ended EL84 stereo amp. $488. Irresistibly cute and doesn't sound too bad either.    
System sound was very interesting and had a lot of potential.    
System sound very pure - and the system revolved around these paint-not-yet-dry speakers with the less expensive Feastrex drivers.    
We [especially Steve :-)] found this room to be very musical and engaging. Used the relatively inexpensive $6500 Marten* Form speakers.    
The Most Notable Of Show (in no particular order)

Any comprehensive show report worth its salt would be remiss not mentioning several components that broke new ground this year.

The Clearaudio Statement turntable was actually played at a show. [photo from CES]    
The Focal Grande Utopia EM. See also our CEDIA show report.    
The following were to be found in our rooms this year. They are certainly notables and are our true favorites in that, not only will we eventually purchase the ones we do not already own, but we will welcome them whole-heartedly into our home already filled to over-flowing with top-flight audio equipment of one sort or another. We would, in fact, shove most of our other equipment out of the darn way :-)
The Lamm ML3 Signature - everything amps have been trying to achieve these last several decades.    
The Emm Labs TSD1 and DAC2 - In the spirit of the very popular CDSA SE, but more so. A 'super CDSA'.    
Nordost ODIN power cords - its all about breathing room for the sound - and bringing back dynamics to the high-end without having to replace the whole system.    
Audio Note Kegon Balanced amplifiers -  communicates the energy and intensity of the music, which is why we are listening to music in the first place.    





Floor 10




Floor 11




Floor 9













Main Floor




Atrium Floor 5






Atrium Floor 4




Floor 2






Copyright Audio Federation, Inc.. All rights reserved.
All pictures in this report are freely copyable and distributable
if attribution is given but may not be included in multi-room show reports without written permission.

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