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 Post subject: Visit to RMAF 2012
PostPosted: 27 Oct 2012, 22:32 
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Joined: 04 Jun 2008, 20:59
Posts: 4050
Location: Arizona, USA
Hi Everyone, I went to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest earlier this month and thought I would provided some feedback. First off it is a chaotic event. Any time you have about 500 exhibitors in one building it gets a bit crazy, like a whole lot of crazy. Some exhibits were simple and had only a single table and some handouts, others took up large meeting rooms. The cost and complexity of equipment went from a few dollars to mega dollars. I would estimate that several of the top exhibits had in excess of $500K of equipment. That is easy to do with the $50-100K turntables several had. The inter-connects alone cost more than many new cars. Anyhow it was fun. My general thought was that most systems regardless of cost sounded only so-so. Part of this is due to the locations. Concrete walled rooms do not lend themselves well to audio. Still I have had some experience with that problem (at Lone Star Audio Fest in Dallas) and it is possible to get decent sound if you are patient. Now for some more detailed thoughts:

There was a lot of partnering between companies. Speaker companies would partner with amplifier and source ones and cable companies with nearly everyone. This was good in that you could hear the same product used in different systems.

Most exhibitors were using digital sources for their demonstrations. Lots of PC based material. The next largest group (about 1/3 of all) was using vinyl. There were many really expensive high end turntables and cartridges. There were a few analog tape systems as well. They did quite well IMHO.

Everyone was using wireless remote controlled equipment. I can second that from experience as it is what I did at LSAF. It can be a real pain to have to adjust the volume etc every 10 seconds.

Pretty nearly all the exhibitors played the music too loud and with too much emphasis on bass response.

There were a goodly number of tube amplifiers in use. I would estimate that about half of the exhibits that actually played music used them. There were many tube amps with KT120s. I talked to a number of the exhibitors that had the KT120 amps and they said they were as surprised as I was that the tube was so good. They also hoped like I do that they will continue to be that way. A sole source is always a problem.

Many of the exhibits and demonstrations were about of the same level as at the more regional LSAF. I didn’t count them, but I would estimate about 25-33% would fit right in at LSAF. They were doing the same sort of things as we all did.

I met a lot of really nice and knowledgeable people and was equally surprised that nearly as many were completely ignorant of what they were exhibiting. When I could tell more about a piece of equipment just by looking at it than they knew about it, it demonstrated to me that the buyer needs be alert at high end stores just as much as at a big box one. The sales staff may well be clueless. :eek:

Overall an event worth going to at least once in your audio life. Next year Oddwatt may be there to show. In the mean time.... everyone keep building their own stuff...it is probably better than about 50% of what I heard at RMAF.

Good listening
Bruce

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 Post subject: Re: Visit to RMAF 2012
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2012, 00:55 
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Joined: 06 Jun 2008, 18:23
Posts: 5144
Location: Australia
"Pretty nearly all the exhibitors played the music too loud and with too much emphasis on bass response." funny, Bruce, they do the same thing in Melbourne. What is it with exhibitors? Why does it have to be so F'n and booooomy and loud?

What I also noticed with all except a few systems was forced and raspy mid-range. Again "What is with exhibitors"?

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 Post subject: Re: Visit to RMAF 2012
PostPosted: 28 Oct 2012, 04:05 
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Joined: 08 Aug 2009, 03:11
Posts: 2229
Location: Chilliwack, BC
I considered partnering with others a few years back for Classic Valve Design.... problem with 5 or 6 companies going in on a table is one backs out at the last minute and the whole house of cards falls apart :bawling:

Good luck, Bruce! Sell lots!

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