At this year’s Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I divided my time between the vibrant CanJam (that is, headphone and earphone orientated) section of the show and visiting a select handful of 2-channel audio manufacturers. Consequently, what follows is by no means a comprehensive show report, but rather a series of audio ‘core samples’ captured in order to show what I regard as pleasant discoveries from the show.
As always, my apologies to worthy manufacturers I was not able to visit or cover. The omissions are not intentional but rather reflect significant time constraints, as in: “Too much show, and not enough ‘me’ to cover it all.”
2-Channel Discoveries from RMAF
Aesthetix showed its elegant and accomplished new Atlas Saturn Eclipse Stereo hybrid valve/solid-state power amplifier priced at $15,500. The Atlas Stereo Eclipse is essentially a significantly upgraded and improved version of the Atlas Stereo power amplifier reviewed by Roy Gregory in Hi-Fi+ 107. At the show, the Aesthetix amp was (ahem) vigourously driving a pair of Focal Sopra2 floorstanding loudspeakers (not shown).
Audio Physic, Dr. Feickert Analogue, IsoTek, Primare, Transparent System
Vana Ltd. demonstrated the lovely new Audio Physic Avanti tower-type speakers ($8,000/pr.) in their US debut. The Avantis were part of a well-balanced system featuring Primare electronics backed by an extensive group of IsoTek power conditioning and delivery components. The slender Avantis delivered a much bigger and more refined sound than I expected given their size and comparatively modest price. In fact, I felt they captured much of the overall ‘feel’ and character of the larger and more costly Audio Physic models, but in a more compact and accessibly priced package, which is saying a lot.
The value-minded company Audioengine debuted its newest self-powered standmount monitors: the HD6 monitors priced at $749/pair. The HD6 are targeted toward discerning music lovers on a budget, and feature optical, Bluetooth, and analogue inputs. Interestingly, pairs of HD6s are configured so that one speaker acts as the master (because it contains both the left and right-channel amplifiers), while the other serves as a ‘slave’ that receives power from the master unit. Both in terms of physical styling and overall sound, the HD6s reminded me of some of the classic small monitors I have heard and enjoyed from the UK (for example, some of the classic small monitors from Epos and others).