Records are skinny things, but once you have more than 100 or so they start to take up a lot of space. Some vinyl philes just leave them on the floor, or lean them up against furniture. Yuch! The nice folks at Atocha Design build gorgeous hi-fi furniture. Each piece is made to fit your needs, contact Atocha Design to get a price quote. Finish options run to American Maple, Walnut, Oak, and Bamboo; handles are solid brass. Atocha Designs are hand crafted in the U.S.A.
The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2008 was held at two hotels: the Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel and the Hyatt Regency Tech Center on October 10 through October 12, 2008.
UPDATE: Click here to view more pictures from the RMAF.
The hundreds of manufacturers participating at the show proves high-end audio is alive and definitely kicking. RMAF has a very different vibe than the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas every January--RMAF is friendlier, without a hint of corporate oppression that dominates mainstream shows.
High-end audio is a smaller industry, where established brands such as Krell and Vandersteen compete against fledgling start-ups. Every manufacturer sets out to build the very best performing products, without the dulling constraints that Sony or Bose has to contend with.
Cruising through the 160 demo rooms I noticed an interesting trend, a minority of companies were using CD players. Maybe half had music servers/laptops, 30 percent were spinning vinyl, a couple had reel-to-reel analog tape machines, and the remainder was CD based.
Jolida's new $399 JT-10 all-tube integrated amplifier sounded awesome. It's a gorgeous glass encased design, a little jewel of an amp. Jolida also showed the JD 9 tube phono preamplifier, which was also sounding phenomenal. I believe it's $450, what a deal!
Vacuum tube electronics were plentiful, perhaps even in the majority compared with solid-state. Sure, a lot of gear was pricey, but budget high-end brands, such as Audioengine were making great sound on the cheap, the Audioengine 2 speakers run $200 a pair. Clever name, the Audiophile One is a tiny, $249, 30 watts per channel stereo amplifier. It's no toy, the little thing comes in a bunch of colors and it's built to a very high standard. … Read more
Today's audiovisual receivers are jam-packed with features, but the rarest feature is real power.
Power in the range of 100-to-150 watts or so is all you get, even in the high-end models. Models with 200 watts are rare, so we were excited to hear about the TGR-401, Sunfire's latest 200-watt receiver. Sunfire's in-house genius Bob Carver has a knack for designing high power amplifiers. Carver, in fact, designed the world's first consumer high power amp, the legendary 350 watt by two channel Phase Linear 700 stereo amp in 1972.
Carver's latest, the TGR-401 ($4,000), is a 200 watt by seven channel AV receiver that sports three HDMI version 1.3a inputs.
Hidden behind a viscously damped, brushed aluminum door the front video connections may be assigned as Y/Pr/Pb/optical for HD gaming, or composite/S-Video/analog for camcorders with a simple press of a button.
The TGR-401's Auto EQ provides a simple, automatic process to equalize all seven channels plus the subwoofer. For the installing dealer, who would like to perform hands-on tweaking, there are detailed manual adjustments available for each channel pair.
Also onboard is Sunfire's remarkable Sonic Holography circuit. Invented by Bob Carver in the 1980s, Sonic Holography creates a wide and deep soundstage from stereo recordings. … Read more
At the recent Dumbo Art Under The Bridge Festival in Brooklyn, N.Y., I heard two rather amazing sound installations.
OrganicInterfaces is a collective of artists, scientists, engineers, and musicians and their installation, Mocean was a truly enveloping sound experience. Their Web Site describes it this way, Mocean is a site-specific sculptural sound environment. It consists of a large water tank and a forest of antique organ pipes...digital technology translates the (water's) ripple patterns into sounds played by the repurposed organ pipes, establishing a relationship between water and sound. For the DUMBO Art Festival, we used a 12-foot diameter swimming pool and some new technologies, expanding the range of possible interactions and sculptural interventions..."
At the DUMBO show, Mocean was located in a small warehouse garage, open to the street. Flat stones were placed in the pool to serve as a path for people to walk over. The organ pipes hanging from the ceiling were tuned to different pitches and their sounds were complex and surprisingly musical. I listened for quite a while and found the sound absolutely mesmerizing.
Actually, the best part was watching how different people reacted to the sound as they walked over the stones. Some realized their movements changed the sound, and they "played" the organ pipes by swaying their arms and moving about. Little children were the best; they were totally uninhibited about making weird sounds.
Then there was Ted Southern's sidewalk sound show. … Read more
I'm a middle-aged guy, so sure, I read the CNET review of the new Dodge Challenger SRT8 just to get vicarious kicks imagining what it's like to drive a 425-horsepower muscle car. It sounds like a real thrill ride, and sure it's a serious gas guzzler: "The EPA rates the Challenger SRT8 at 14 city mpg and 22 highway mpg. However during our leadfooted testing, we only managed 13.7 mpg over a mixed city and highway cycle."
Even so, I suppose the Challenger's tested price of $43,730 will place it in the affordable range for a lot of folks, or let's be honest, guys. It's a car to get noticed in, but no one's fooling themselves into believing the SRT8 is merely reliable transportation. It's a toy, and if you can swallow the fuel bill, it's a heck of a ride.
Same can be said about high-end audio. It's not practical and it can be expensive to run, but once you get used to what it can do when it's playing your favorite tunes, a $500 HTIB won't cut it anymore. High-end audio isn't an appliance, it's supposed to get your heart pounding and blood flowing, not so different than the SRT8.
Thrill seekers lusting after a muscular audio system equivalent of the SRT8 should check out the following system.
Muscle cars are as American as apple pie, so I went for American made hi-fi where I could. I reviewed Klipsch's mighty RF-83 tower speaker ($2798/pair) for Home Theater magazine last October, but it's still a current model. With three 8-inch woofers and a 1.25-inch horn-loaded titanium diaphragm compression tweeter, the RF-83 mos' definitely will rock your world. Add the 12-inch Klipsch RT-12d subwoofer ($2,199) to ensure the deepest and tightest low bass. … Read more
I've reviewed hundreds of speakers, and back when I was selling high-end audio, I auditioned many hundreds more. Summing up those experiences here's what I've learned: they all sound different, but some sound more "right" than others.
"Right" connotes an even-tempered balance that doesn't call attention to itself and is likely to wear well over the years. The Aperion Intimus 5T-DB Hybrid HD should do just that. You can read my full review for Ultimate AV here.
The Intimus 5T-DB Hybrid HD ($2,829) is a six-piece system featuring a pair of 5T towers, the 5C center speaker, a pair of 5DB dipole/bipole surround speakers and a remote-controlled subwoofer, the Bravus 10D. True, the speakers don't look all that different than previous generations of Aperions, but as they say, the devil is in the details.
Aperion sells direct from its Web site with a 30 day money back return policy. UPS Ground shipping is free in both directions, and Aperion doesn't collect sales tax in the continental US. Feel free to try the Intimus 5T-DB Hybrid HD as I reviewed it -- and then if you decide, heck, I want the larger Bravus 12D sub that'll be no problemo. Aperion will pay for the Bravus 10D's return shipping and you'll just pay the difference in price between the two subs.
Stereophile magazine editor John Atkinson's recent article, "Getting the best from your loudspeakers," provides gobs of useful information.
Atkinson's observation that "inexpensive speakers, optimally set up, may well outperform more expensive models just plonked down willy-nilly" is absolutely true. Proper speaker placement is crucial to getting the best sound out of your speakers.
The article explains how room acoustics affect the sound of speakers, and it's definitely a complex relationship. You won't need a microphone or any technical skill to get the job done, but an Atkinson-produced Stereophile test CD can be a big help when fine-tuning speaker placement.
Perhaps his most important bit of advice comes early on: "Entire books have been written about the relationship between loudspeakers and room acoustics, but the starting point for any successful setup is to position the two speakers and your listening chair as the pieces of an equilateral triangle; that is, the speakers are each as far away from you as they are from each other."… Read more
I read Matt Rosoff's Digital Noise blog all the time, and his recent lamenting radio's irrelevance hit me hard.
I think Matt was mostly referring to AM or FM radio, but what about Internet or satellite radio? Me, I'm still a die hard Sirius subscriber and listen to Left of Center, Sirius Disorder, and Underground Garage channels many hours a day. They turn me onto new music all the time, so I buy an average of two CDs a week.
Of course, now that the hoopla over the Siriius/XM merger has died down and the stock … Read more
The audiophile lexicon goes way, way back, at least to the early 1950s hi-fi craze. Here's a place to get a grip on it.
"For years, I have been on a personal crusade to put whatever effort I could into helping raise awareness of our industry," McGowan said. "I have spent hundreds (probably thousands) of hours answering questions about everything from how to connect a loudspeaker to how a transistor works, all in service to PS Audio customers and … Read more
Is the market's roller-coaster ride freaking you out? Need a little diversion? Indulge yourself with a dose of high-end audio bliss from Peachtree Audio.
Check out the Decco--a stereo vacuum tube amplifier with a built-in digital-to-analog converter with USB, Toslink, and coaxial digital connectivity. And since some music lovers are still listening to analog sources they gave the Decco a pair of old school stereo inputs to accommodate a cassette deck and maybe an AM/FM radio.
I listened to the Decco with a pair of compact Era Design 4 Satellite speakers. Hook up chores via USB were dead … Read more