The biggest RMAF 2016 story was RMAF 2016. The Denver Marriott Tech Center was still under renovation at show-time, which had show organizer Marjoie Baumont & Crew pulling out some creative ways to make this all work. Pre-show prognostication tended to fall into two camps; bad, and worse.
Another room I make it a point to visit is this one. While there was nothing new on the digital hardware front, I've reviewed the dCS Rossini Player & Clock, there was something new (to me) and rather unusual. Roy Gregory of The Audio Beat.com, pictured above, was playing a polycarbonate disc of Beethoven's 9th that retails for $2,000.
Philip O'Hanlon of On A Higher Note is the distributor of some fine lines including Luxman, Merging Technologies, and Vivid speakers among others. I usually visit Philip's room on the last day of the show due to its location on the mezzanine level. By this time I'm typically overfull with information and ideas, and my talking mechanism, which sits idle at home for the better part of most days, is on its last legs. Listening to fine music on a fine system is the balm (bomb?) I crave and Philip delvers. Always.
Salk & Schiit, Attorney's At Law (kidding). A small stack of Schiit—BiFrost Multi-Bit DAC ($599), Saga preamp ($349), and Vidar amp ($699)—a dash of the Roon Ready Salk Sound StreamPlayer Generation III ($1695), with a helping of Salk Song3 speakers ($2895/pair)=value. If you haven't heard, Schiit delivers value + good sound.
I'm thinking I should get in a small herd of one-box players for a big-ol' roundup review and the Oppo Sonica Grand ($699) would certainly be on that list. While I did not get a good listen here, Oppo's reputation suggests these are worth a closer look.
OK, this isn't my beat but I always like sticking me head into the IsoAcoustics room to see what they're up to. I own a pair of their speaker stands (see review) and consider them a must-have item for anyone with desktop speakers. Their new GAIA Isolation Pucks (GAIA I: $600/4 holds up to 220lbs, GAIA II ($300/4 holds up to 110lbs.) promise to work the same magic (OK, it's not really magic) on floor-standers.
To say that the Sonore microRendu ($640 w/o power supply) is on my favorite product list for 2016 is a lie because a) I don't have such a list, and b) there's nothing that comes close to delivering the sonic goods and ease of use (thanks to Roon) that the mR delivers (see my review).
Taking the all-one-one concept to a new level of all-in-onesness, the Margules Mutable Console Hi-Fi ($2500) houses a Bluetooth receiver, phono stage, Aux input, a 200Wpc class /A/B amp, and speakers. I admit that when the very kind person running the room asked me to play something from my phone, I froze in my tracks, days (and nights) of hi-fi'ing had taken their toll.