RMAF 2016

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Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 14, 2016
Bel Canto has taken the tech developed in their flagship Black ASC1/ MPS1 system ($50,000) and rolled it into the one-box Roon Ready, MQA-enabled ACI600 Integrated Amplifier ($25,000). With a host of digital inputs including Ethernet (24/192K, MQA, Roon Ready), USB (24/384, DSD128(DoP), MQA), and S/PDIF (24/192), a programmable MM/MC phono section, a programmable line level input, and 600W into 4Ohm output, the ACI600 is another piece of kit that only asks two big things of its owner; speakers and music (OK, enjoyment, too).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 14, 2016
Yum. In my experience, Bricasti always gets good sound and RMAF 2016 was no exception. I also find Brian Zolner, the company's President, to be more than willing to talk about any level of detail you'd care to dive into and he does so with real enthusiasm, even after a few show-day's toil. Nice.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 14, 2016
Source Systems Ltd. imports and distributes a number of lines that intersect with our interests including Lumin, M2Tech, and SBooster. While that list may sound short, when you unfold the product lines of the first two, you find a lot of choices. For RMAF 2016, the Lumin U1 Audiophile network music transport ($5900) led the fully active Philharmonias by Amadeus speakers ($40,000/pair) down some nicely textured musical pathways.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 14, 2016
When you get to be a certain age (like mine), the idea of Your Final System can mean more than one thing, one of which has something to do with time. The YFS HD-Ref3 Reference Digital Source sent its bits to the Mutec MC-3+ Smart Clock USB (via USB) that "rigorously removes computer-based distortions in audio streams and converts these to AES3 and S/P-DIF signals which acoustically improve e.g. most DACs." The MC-3+ was externally clocked by the prototype Mutec Ref10 Audiophile Master Clock ($5000 available 1st Q 2017), while the MC-3+'s AES out fed a Meitner DA2 DAC ($25,000). The Ref10 generates "10MHz clock signals of ultra-low phase noise, to significantly improve the acoustical quality of digital audio devices."
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 14, 2016
If You Wait is the debut album from London Grammar, released in 2013 on Metal & Dust Recordings and Ministry of Sound. If You Wait was also one of the darlings of the show (music) at RMAF 2016. Do you ever wonder how these things happen? I do.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 13, 2016
The Vinnie Rossi LIO Integrated Amplifier (starts at $4875) is a preternaturally modular component as it can start and end life as an integrated amp or add in a DSD DAC (+$895), the Sonore microRendu Power Output (+$345) to power your microRendu turning the package into a Roon Ready end point, a MM/MC phono stage (+$895), and a headphone amp (+$695). All that's left for you to add are a pair of speakers and music. The RMAF model included the directly-heated triode (DHT) linestage option (+$4805), which accounts for its nice glow.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 13, 2016
Luxury goods. That's what I think of when I enter some rooms, Mark Levinson being one such salon. The No 519 ($20,000) is a full-fledged network and CD player/DAC/digital preamp offering wired, wireless, and Bluetooth (aptX) connections.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 13, 2016
MOON by Simaudio had their Evolution 780D DAC ($15,000), which Michael Fremer reviewed in Stereophile, unraveling the bits into the 350Wpc Evolution 700i integrated amplifier ($14,000) which drove a pair of B&W 802 D3 loudspeakers ($22,000) to nice musical highs.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 13, 2016
Aurender were showing off their new A10 Server/DAC ($5500) which also happens to be MQA-enabled. Packed with 4TB of music storage and a 120G solid-state drive for caching music prior to playback, the A10 uses dual 768KHz/32bit Next Generation Flagship AK4490 DAC Chips to convert D to A. Outputs includes single-ended RCA and balanced XLRs, but you can bypass the A10's analog stage (why would you?) and send its bits to your DAC via USB.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 13, 2016
Now that's what I call a cheat sheet!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 13, 2016
I always enjoy a stop into the Audioengine room for a refreshing bite of affordable. New to RMAF 2016 were the HD3 powered speakers ($399/pair), a step up from the still available A2+ ($249), the smaller of the two speakers in the picture.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 12, 2016
Whenever I need an audio show reality check, which happens at least once a day, I head to John DeVore's room. The first time I entered, I was treated to some Lonnie Johnson, Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose ("Too Late To Turn Back Now"), and some other delectable treats like Lambert, Hendricks & Ross singing the alphabet by Tone Imports' Jonathan Halpern who imports, among others, Sugden. These selections were all on vinyl, and as I sat in the sweet spot I felt myself relaxing into my sweet spot.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 12, 2016
Mytek Digital, makers of the recently reviewed Brooklyn DAC, have added a II to their Manhattan (see review) and along with it MQA decoding.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 12, 2016
The 3beez Wax Box 4 Special Edition comes with a total of 4TB of storage (2TB music/2TB backup) ($6,000) but you can stuff up to a total of 12TB inside (6TB music/6TB backup). But 3beez is more than a hardware platform; the company has spent years refining their Wax System which includes their proprietary music management software, which, in a word, is all about extended, refined, and highly customizable metadata. The company's "Flexible Metadata" approach was granted a US Patent.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 12, 2016
The DEQX HDP-5 ($6500) Roon Ready digital-preamplifier includes DEQX DSP-based room correction and DEQX digital crossovers and calibration. I'm not going to type any specs or explanations since you can find all that on the DEQX website. I will, however, share something of greater importance. From my notes about the A/B/C comparisons:

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