Neil Gader's Best Of RMAF 2009

Show report
Neil Gader's Best Of RMAF 2009

Best Sound

The TAD Reference One loudspeaker in the Kimber/WBT demo room (with Bel Canto’s DAC3.5, the CD2 player transport, Virtual Battery Supply, Ref 500M monoblocks and all WBT terminated Kimber Kable) produced effortless orchestral weight, scale and dynamics that were remarkable in the huge space they were occupying. The only “bargain” $60K speaker I’ve ever heard.

Greatest Bargain

All the weird cylindrical Thingee products from Blue Circle Audio-from their USB DAC to headphone amp, phono stage and conditioners. All exquisitely ugly, all wonderfully cheap and great sounding.

Most Significant Product Intro

Significant because analog just never quits and apparently neither does Jim Fosgate. His Fozgometer Azimuth Range Meter ($250) uses operating principles derived from his surround processor logic steering circuits and reads channel separation and balance as well as signal direction. This year’s preferred pure analog stocking stuffer.

Greatest Technological Breakthrough

Bargain or breakthrough, only time will tell is the devilsound DAC digital audio cable v2.1, or Snowflake, where the entire soundcard circuitry was engineered to fit into a single USB to RCA cable. Driving the Vivid Audio Giya speakers in the Luxman/Synergistic room the sound had everyone fooled. Plug and play, cryogenically treated, pure silver RCAs terminated by Eichmann silver bullet plugs for just $399.

Most Important Trend

The year of the DAC attack. Internal or out-board, via USB or SPDIF or Firewire, the computer and other server-style and solid state devices are now an integral part of the high end toolbox.

Best Demo Music

Your demo music, whatever it is, is the best. Intimate familiarity with the material is the only way to really assess what a system is doing. One of the nicest things about RMAF is how welcome the exhibitors make attendees feel by inviting them to play their own faves.