RMAF 2016

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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
Well Pleased Audio Vida distributes some interesting gear including the aqua La Scala MKII Optological DAC ($6600). The relevance of the "Opto..." in La Scala's name comes from the use of high-speed optocouplers (photocouplers) between the digital side and the analog side of the circuit. La Scala uses "a discrete R2R board similar to the one found in aqua's flagship Formula DAC - it's called Optologic" for D/A conversion and that little window up from offers a view of the ECC81 triodes employed in the tube/MOSFET class A output stage. DSD fans are accommodated up DSD128 via the USB input.
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 15, 2016
The Auralic Polaris ($3800 +$400 w/1TB) is a wireless streaming amp. Do I need to say more?
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 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 13, 2016
Now that's what I call a cheat sheet!
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 14, 2016
Some rooms have a good vibe. I'd like to say all rooms... but that's not the case, at least in my experience. The Prism Sound room made it to my 'good vibe' list a few seconds after entering.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 15, 2016
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.
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:
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 15, 2016
the Audio Alchemy DDP-1 Digital Decoding Preamp / DAC / Headphone Amp ($1995)

On the "Wow, that's news!" front, Germany-based ELAC has acquired Peter Madnick's Audio Alchemy "along with key engineers". Wow, that's news!

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2016
Why not begin our RMAF 2016 show coverage with a turntable. After all, it's all about the music, right?
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 15, 2016
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.

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