Great rooms and Best of Show.

The 2018 RMAF was, as usual, run exquisitely by Marjorie Baumert and her team. I spoke with a lot of show goers, other writers and audiophiles I trust, as well as our team, and it’s amazing how many people suggested different rooms for top spots. Different strokes, for sure—topology, room size, repertoire, etc. 

I had lots of ‘best’ rooms from which to choose, however, to my ears, others sounded like processed music and was played far too loudly to impress show goers. However, some rooms managed to impress, play acoustic music at realistic levels, and best of all, the equipment and its synergy sounded like real music. 

As usual, repertoire choice was, well, let’s be kind and say ‘esoteric’. 

Even with seven of us covering, we couldn’t hear everything, let alone make on the fly, objective assessments, especially under show conditions. But that said, let’s have a little fun and list the rooms/gear we thought outstanding. 

These rooms deserve some recognition for offering wonderful sound (for details/prices, please refer to appropriate post earlier in the live blog). In no particular order: 

  1. Avante Garde Acoustic/Phasemation/Transparent hosted by American Sound of Canada

  1. DeVore Fidelity/Air Tight/Brinkmann hosted by DeVore Fidelity

  1. Vinnie Rossi/Harbeth/Triode Wire Labs 

  1. Vinnie Rossi/Spatial Audio/AntiCables 

  1. Leema Acoustics/ATC

  1. Alta Audio/Krell/Acoustic Signature

  1. Borresen Acoustics/Ansuz/Aavik

The following rooms were musically and sonically spectacular, so our team can call them all Best in Show (please refer to previous live blog post for prices, details, etc). In no particular order. 

  1. Constellation/Rockport—superb electronics feeding Rockport’s incredibly revealing speakers playing Liszt piano music. I even felt the pedal weight coming off; not even a sound, but a feeling. Amazing. 

  1. PS Audio—full PS Audio gear through Arnie Nudell’s one off loudspeaker playing a bootleg of Itzakh Perlman. Incredibly detailed, sweet, and musically generous. The live performance was ‘felt’ before it was revealed. A goosebump experience. 

  1. Nagra Audio/Rockport/Argento Audio/Aurelic hosted by Nagra Audio and Musical Artisans—typical stunning sound from Nagra with Rockport’s brilliant speakers playing Blues of all sorts.

  1. Vimberg/Tidal Audio/TW-Acustic/Transfiguration/Antipodes hosted by The Voice That Is—think of the 29K Vimberg Mino Loudspeaker as a baby Tidal. Superlative sound for much less. Extraordinary detail with luxe musicality. 

Musical highlight—mono original Columbia LP with the Budapest Quartet playing Mozart. Stunningly immersive on the new, magnificent, $85,000 DeVore Fidelity Orangutan Reference Loudspeakers. Wow! 

See you next year. And thanks! 


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