RMAF 2016

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 |  Oct 15, 2016
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).
Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 15, 2016
Bunnies! Walking into the SOtM room, I couldn't help but notice the sheer number of products whose numbers seem to increase with each hi-fi show.
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 12, 2016
While the Technics Network Audio Amplifier SU-G30 ($4000) is not new (to me), I am always impressed by the sound in the Technics room and my interest in all-in-one devices continues to grow. The SU-G30 puts out 50W into 8 Ohms (double into 4) and its digital processing is based on a 32-bit/384kHz architecture. There are a host of digital inputs including SPDIF (PCM to 24/192), USB (PCM to 32/384, DSD to DSD128), Ethernet (PCM to 24/192, DSD to DS128), WiFi, Bluetooth (including aptX), and AirPlay as well as a MM phono input. All in one.
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 15, 2016
the Wavelength Crimson DAC

"Did you hear Gordon's room?" was a question I was asked more than once throughout RMAF 2016. My show coverage began on the 11th floor and wound its way down, so it wasn't until Sunday that I hit 2 and the Wavelength Audio room.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 10, 2016
I completely screwed up my photos of the MQA press event so I offer this oddly appropriate approximation of reality

MQA causes more intellectual hemorrhaging and un-righteous indignation than any other thing in hi-fi. It is, in some circles, more suspicious than expensive cables and tiny room treatment devices and I had more than one exhibitor lean in close to ask, "What do you think about MQA?" as if they were asking me about my connections to the Illuminati.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Oct 12, 2016
Linear power supplies. Other than "phase noise", linear power supplies seemed to be one of the more popular topics at RMAF 2016. Wyred 4 Sound has entered the PSU market with their new PS-1 Modular Power Supply ($499 for one 'zone') which can power 4 different devices/zones with 4 different voltage levels (nice). The PS1's modules come configured as 5V, 9V, 12V, and 15V with an introductory price of $125/ per module.
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."