Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018 Part 2

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018 Part 2

Written by Bill Leebens

As pointed out in the last issue of Copper, the biggest news at RMAF 2018 had to do with the new venue for 2019. But that doesn’t mean that there was nothing new or noteworthy at the show.

The sad part is, having responsibilities other than just to report on the show, there really was too much to see, for 160+ rooms. For the average attendee, I’d count that as a plus.

So—for the limited amount of time that I got to prowl around the show, here’s what I saw:

Legendary designer Bascom King seemed to be having a good chat with Audiophilia reviewer Karl Sigman.

Audiophiles come in all shapes and sizes, and NBA standout David “The Admiral” Robinson had visited RMAF several times before. Here he is with PS Audio’s Paul McGowan.

Distributor Audio Plus had their big room full of Focal, IsoAcoustics, and lots of other brands they handle.

Another tall guy: Chris Reichardt of Kii, with Billy Wright of Cary Audio.

Fellow YouTubers Steve Guttenberg and Paul McGowan do a flash video, shot by Scott McGowan.

The immense ESD Acoustic horn system from China. I’ll ask the same question I asked about a horn system at CAS: if you’ve got an efficient system with immense dynamic range: why are you playing compressed, tinkly cocktail jazz? And what are ALL THOSE BOXES??

The bending wave speakers from Gobel. Dynamic, pretty much without a sonic footprint: I like these a lot, far more so than the more-conventional speakers they showed at Munich.

I’ve respected and enjoyed Verity speakers for years. They’ve never been inexpensive—but $675,000? With a system costing over a million bucks? Oy….

I enjoyed the Wilson Benesch speakers Aaudio showed at CAS, and these were bigger and punchier, but still cohesive. Ypsilon electronics. Nice sound.

Those who enjoyed the JBL L100/Century back in the ’70s may well be heartened by this sight. Nothing is the same but the appearance, and a sound which non-lovers—like me—will still find overbearing and artificial. And loud. Very loud.

This Constellation/Rockport system had a number of fans.

John Wolff’s Classic Audio Loudspeakers began by building JBL Hartsfield replicas, decades ago…

…and has progressed to building a wide variety of high-efficiency speakers, including some which utilize these massive field-coil drivers.

Legacy and Raven shared a big room which seemingly showed off every product made by both companies.


I roll my eyes when most folks say, “it’s all about the music”—but Ray Kimber always puts his money where his mouth is.


Nordost and YG had an impressive room.


Gryphon gear demoed by Philip O’Hanlon at On a Higher Note was unfailingly musical and dynamic.


Zu’s Sean Casey, the world’s oldest teenager, was using a walker after breaking something while doing something stupid. ;->


Pass Labs’ Kent English and Blue Coast Records’ Cookie Marenco share a momentary breather.


I would have happily spent a lot more time with any or all of these last four rooms. Unfortunately, I got to them right before closing on Sunday. Props to all, and I look forward to seeing what they have to offer next year.

Jeremy Bryan of MBL always has a meticulously-set-up system, with master tape copies played on Greg Beron’s tape decks. What’s not to like?

Memphis homeboy Jim Thompson brought EgglestonWorks’ Viginti, sort of an Andra on steroids. Mikey Fremer loved ’em, and so did I.

The combination of a Krell integrated amp and the Alta Audio Celestas produced big, dynamic sound from a simple, fairly compact system.

John DeVore always has beautifully-made speakers and great music. The 2-piece three way (or is it four?) Orangutan Reference system managed to disappear —unusual for big boxes.                                                                                                             

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