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Facing the daunting task of trying to cover every room at RMAF by myself for the 5th consecutive year, I decided on a different approach to just write up rooms that either really stood out or where I had some particular interest in the product line(s) being shown. There are plenty of show reports including many by freelance critics on the audio forums. So here is my take on the most interesting rooms. I hope you can merge them with the many others reported on elsewhere into some sort of coherent view of the state of high-end audio today. I will present the rooms chronologically as I visited them over the weekend. My goal is to focus on the sound in the room and not do a bunch of glad-handing or turn my report into an advertising venue. The exact models and brands are important info but can easily be gleaned from the Stereophile show coverage. After all, they had a whole team of reviewers covering the event. Excellent photos of all of the equipment in the rooms are on the Audio Aficionado website. Many people like to ask “what did you think of the show this year?” Personally I am never disappointed and continue to urge anyone serious about high-end audio to attend. I came away from this year’s show with at least two or three invaluable experiences.

Audio Magic, The Memory Player 64, Green Mountain Audio. We entered this room a bit before the show officially started . They were still waiting for Roy Johnson of Green Mountain Audio to arrive. His Eos HX speakers featured with some Rowland electronics and the Memory Player 64 served as source. Jerry Ramsey’s PEA (pulsed electron alignment) products were of great interest here. Jerry talks about 'spintronics' and aligning electrons in the soundfield. All I can say is that when he turned on and off the devices (Mini Mite, The Standard, The Monolith), they had a huge impact on the soundstage, increasing not only the coherence of the sound but also expanding the stage in all directions. He also had a sort of crystal glass bowl resonator in the center of the room above the electronics rack that was attached to a voltage. We did not hear an on/off demo of this device. The speakers had just completed assembly right before the show so they needed break-in. Still I felt that the sound was pretty good for a small room/small speaker combination. Roy explained that he has made a significant improvement to his crossover design, allowing the wave launch from the drivers to be much more time aligned than before. While I do like the sound of The Memory Player 64 and briefly had an earlier version of it in my system, I wonder if a better user interface is on the horizon. I find the monitor/keyboard solution less than ideal.

Triode Corporation, Acoustic Zen. The sound in this room keeps getting incrementally better each year. Pairing up the Triode TRX-M845 monoblocks with the Acoustic Zen Crescendo speakers like last year, there was a sense that something had improved. A great jazz CD played in the Triode Corporation’s CD player into their new TRX-2 line stage. The bass was punchy and the trombone belted forth with gusto yet retained smoothness and never spilled over into harshness. The saxophone had a velvety smooth quality that was beguiling. We listened to several more CDs, including classical music (Reference Recording’s Dance of the Tumbler) and Hugh Masakela’s hit song “Stimela” and the system did a wonderful job on all. Masakela’s voice had excellent articulation and was very intelligible and natural sounding. Santy Oropel explained that the preamp and amps incorporated upgraded power transformers this year. I had always thought that the power transformer did not have a large effect on the sound. He insisted otherwise and said that the winding and insulation techniques had been improved and this accounted for the better sound. Live and learn!

YG Acoustics, Veloce Audio, Kronos Audio Inc. The YG/Veloce pairing is a lasting show partnership it appears. With Louis Desjardins’s stunning Kronos turntable doing the honors, the sound was exceptionally clean and focused, showing off these strengths of the YG speakers. I could have done with a bit more warmth and air though and have found demos of the YG speakers to sometimes sound this way. Not always though as I recall a simply magical demo of the YG Carmel with Synergistic Research’s cabling and power distribution a few years ago. Perhaps the Lyra Atlas cartridge was responsible for this slight lack of warmth. I don’t know. Louis had an interesting tonearm mounted. It is made in Montreal and is called the Black Beauty. He pointed out some of the salient design aspects (inverted unipivot) and it truly was a thing of beauty.

German Physiks, Vitus Audio. I admit having been a bit critical of this room in past years and that Robert Kelly has taken to emailing me prior to a show and asking me to give them another listen. Well, I was pretty impressed this year with the Unlimited Mk. II speakers on the Vitus Audio electronics. While the bass is still a little reticent for my taste, one male vocal piece they played stood out as a highlight of the show with stunning presence and naturalness of sound.

Volti Audio, Border Patrol Audio Electronics. This was a pairing high on my list to hear this year. I am an unabashed fan of Gary Dew's approach to music reproduction and when he showed me the outboard power supplies for his S20 parallel single-Ended 300B amp (Electro-Harmonix 300B tubes installed, total cost of amp and power supplies is $25K), I was highly impressed. The build quality is superb. When you hear the bass capabilities of this amp on the Volti speakers, you put to rest any criticisms of 300B bass being mushy. This bass was meaty, tuneful and very realistic with no messy hangover of notes. The tonal balance was fabulous. Gary was spinning CDs in his Tent Labs transport into his own NOS DAC. He played some very interesting stuff, including Blemish by David Sylvan. My only criticism and one I was surprised Art Dudley did not mention in his review is that the Volti speakers have a very narrow sweet spot. They are almost akin to some electrostatic panels in this regard. Still, this room was one of my favorites of the show with a fleshed-out tone that I largely attribute to Gary’s amps, having heard them do the same thing with his Living Voice speakers last year. But I do not mean to slight Greg Robert’s Vittora speakers,which are some of the most coherent hornspeakers I have ever heard, with seamless integration of the Volti subwoofer too. There is no horn coloration and they have the efficiency and liveliness to mate beautifully with Gary’s amps. These products go together like meat and potatoes.

EMIA, Saskia, Schroder, Tel Wire. I had some familiarity with two of the products in this room. I'd heard Dave Slagle’s EMIA 50 tube monoblocks at a Connecticut Audio Society meeting a month or so ago. Secondly I used to own a pair of the vintage RCA LC-1A speakers in the same cabinets being demonstrated here. Win Tinnon’s Saskia II turntable ($53,000) had a Frank Schroeder reference SQ arm ($8000) and Miyajima Kansui cartridge ($3800) mounted on it. I know that Dave’s amps sound very detailed and musical and they made a strong positive impression on me at the Connecticut Audio Society meeting. However I’m going to call a spade a spade and flat out state that I just don’t feel the LC-1A could even begin to show off the strengths of the other equipment in this room. To my ears they sounded muffled, shut in and totally lacking in transparency. Hey, remember I used to own them (but did sell them)!

AudioKinesis, Atma-Sphere Music Systems, Inc., James Romeyn Music and Audio LLC. This was a very interesting demo utilizing gorgeous NBS electronics in full copper chassis and James Romeyn’s realization of some speaker/room interaction effects first described by Floyd Toole, the Canadian audio engineer. James showed Duke Le Jeune's Dream Maker LCS speakers which look to be a fairly typical floorstander until he points out the widebander lying on the floor at a carefully determined distance behind the floorstanders. The speakers on the floor are full-range and fire up into the room to give a delayed launch that raises the sonic energy in the room. James explained the math used to determine the placement of the upfiring speakers, stating that there must be at least a 10 millisecond delay from the floor speakers to make it all work properly. It certainly added to the ambience of the soundfield in a very positive way.

Zesto Audio, Merrill-Williams Audio, WyWires, LLC, TAD. Eva Cassidy’s Wade into the Water was playing when I entered this room. The TAD Evo One speakers were powered by the new Zesto Bia 120 tube amp. While I often find TAD speakers a bit forward in the upper mids and treble for my taste (my apologies to the TAD designer Andrew Jones whom I sat next to at dinner one night during the show and greatly enjoyed his company), this combination did offer up tremendous presence on Eva’s vocals.

Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs LLC, Lynx Studio Technology, Channel D, TAD. This room employed some pretty sophisticated technology to play music from a variety of formats. When I entered, Mike Nicoletti of Lynx played 24/192 files ripped from vinyl. These had been made by playing vinyl from an AMG turntable into the SETA D phono preamp (wide bandwidth linear amplification without RIAA EQ), then to the Lynx Hilo A/D converter stored on a Mac Mini. For playback of the digitized vinyl, the file was played from the Mac Mini through Channel D’s Pure Vinyl software (which applies RIAA EQ), then to the Linx Hilo through the Channel D DAC buffer/attenuator and finally on to the Merrill Veritas Ncore monaural amps powering the TAD Evo One speakers. Whew!.And you thought aligning a cartridge was tough. Anyway, the proof is in the listening and this was the best I have heard vinyl rips sound. Of course I would have liked to have heard the original vinyl for comparison but that was not part of the demo. Another point I want to make about this room is that it was also the best I heard the TAD Evo One sound at the show (and they were in at least three rooms). They showed great dynamics on the ripped vinyl cut “Spinning Wheel” by Blood, Sweat & Tears. I have been curious about ripping my vinyl collection and only casually investigated the options. Pure Vinyl made a strong impression on me.

Prana Fidelity. Steven Norber, designer of Prana Fidelity speakers and electronics and previously with Edge Electronics, is a tremendous breath of fresh air at RMAF. Steven is apparently one of a dying breed who still feel that you should give customers good value for their dollar. His equipment probably won’t appeal to the one percenters but even they would be wise to listen to his products. His $4,000 Fifty90 speakers (okay, up from $3,500 last year) were among my favorites at last year’s show and remained so for this year. Their lively and involving sound put to utter shame a number of much higher-priced speakers. His electronics are obviously contributing mightily to the sound too. A group of my friends out dining on Saturday night at the nearby Thai Lotus ran into Steven there. He received a warm welcome and universal praise from everyone at our table. The audio world needs more folks like Steven Norber!

Dynamic Design, Stillpoints, Modwright Instruments LLC, Mårten Design Loudspeakers. This was one of my best-sounding rooms at the show. Modwright electronics (ModWright prototype tubed phonostage, the new flagship LS36.5 DM preamplifier, the KWA150 stereo amp and a modded Oppo BDP-105) were powering Mårten Getz speakers with cables by Dynamic Design, Stillpoint rack and footers and a system grounding box by Entreq. This system did almost everything right. It was very open, clear, delicate and sweet. I could have stayed here a long time.

Doshi Audio, Paragon Sight & Sound. I have been critical of this room in past years for cramming large Wilson speakers into a small room. This year they did it right and got one of the larger conference rooms on the first floor. It made quite a difference in the ability of the Wilson Alexia ($48,500/pair) to open up and fill out a generous soundstage. While I am a big fan of Nick Doshi’s electronics (I own his Alaap Purist preamp), I confess that I am less enthusiastic about Wilson speakers in general.

One major improvement with the Alexia though is the switch to a silk dome tweeter. Not sure why it took them so long to figure this out. There was no edginess in the highs and I did not miss any of the airiness of their prior tweeters. However there is something about the midbass that comes across as less than free flowing to my ears. It missed the boogie factor on the Creedence Clearwater Revival cut “Suzie Q” Nick played from his Studer A80 reel-to-reel tape deck through his tape EQ stage.

It sounded a little restrained to me in that frequency range. A friend who was with me really liked the sound and did not complain of anything. I’m sure that there are plenty who would agree with him and Paragon’s choice to use Wilson speakers every year is certainly understandable.

HiFi Imports – Venture Loudspeakers, Thrax Electronics, Spiral Groove, EnKlein, Weiss. Every year I find the Venture loudspeakers (Venture Grand Ultimate Mk.IIs at $98,000/pr) to deliver a very satisfying sound despite being paired with different electronics and cabling. This year was no exception. The system had a sweet tonality. Percussion was exquisitely rendered with very natural decay. Standup bass had excellent pitch differentiation. Still one of my favorite rooms but I did not hear the system playing anything with great dynamics to judge that aspect.

Aaudio Imports – Lansche, Hartvig, Ikeda, HB Cable Design, Stage III Concepts, Thales. From what I gathered, the Lansche 8.2 speakers ($266,000/pair in Macassar ebony veneer) in Brian Ackerman’s room were not broken in yet when delivered to RMAF. Still I found the coherence of the sound here better than his prior showings with Acapella speakers. The plasma tweeter blended well with the 4 x 8-inch midbass drivers and I was not bothered by any discontinuity in the mating of these two markedly different technologies. This is quite an accomplishment since mating a cone driver with the almost massless lightning-fast plasma tweeter would seem to demand a lot of design and engineering skill. I visited this room on the eve of the show and a second time a day or so later. On my second visit Brian played an audiophile pressing of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. The battery-powered Hartvig table with Ikeda tonearm and Ikeda Kai cartridge produced a large soundstage with good spatial separation that was very satisfying. Still I could not help but wonder whether the speakers would loosen up some more with further break-in.

Sony Electronics, Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez, Pass Labs. Sony debuted their HAP-Z1ES hi-rez file player ($1999, 1TB storage). It was playing an Acoustic Sounds mono DSD recording (from analog tape I was told) of the classic Ella and Louis. Pass Labs provided the preamp and amps to power the Sony SS-AR2 speakers. This was some of the best sound I heard at RMAF! I have never heard this recording better,and I have heard it many times. The presentation was warm and human, with great tonality and nuance. Perhaps it was a little dark in the highs but the overall sonic picture was disarmingly good. No one was talking while this played. It really captured your attention. While there are practical complaints about the HAP-Z1ES (e.g. it cannot be played from a computer or NAS,), the relatively low cost of this system paired with the reference quality sound made it both one of my best sounds of the show as well as best value sounds of the show. There are exciting things happening at Sony again and it is long overdue.

On A Higher Note – Brinkmann Audio GmbH, Tri-Planar, Vivid Loudspeakers, Luxman, Channel Classics, Shunyata. Philip O’Hanlon is a seasoned veteran at putting together high quality show demos. I always enjoy visiting his room as it satisfies on many levels – sound quality, music selection and hospitality (he poured me a jigger of fine single malt Scotch whiskey). Philip was playing files from his MacBook Air through the Luxman DA-06 DSD DAC ($4990) into the Luxman L-590AX integrated amp ($9490) into the Vivid B1 speakers ($15,000 per pair). Also in use was a Brinkmann Bardo II turntable ($9500) with Brinkmann P1 MC cartridge ($2700) and Triplanar V12 12-inch tonearm ($9800). We listened to some great music here including John Lee Hooker & Miles Davis and another selection by Ben Webster. One area that his system always impress me with is their utter composure in the upper midrange and treble. Even Alison Krauss, whose voice can be tough on a system was smooth and enjoyably. I am definitely a big fan of this Luxman/Vivid pairing.

Wilson Audio, VTL, dCS. I rambled over to the off-campus showrooms at the nearby Hyatt Regency first thing on Sunday morning and got in the queue for the Wilson Audio demo. Having already confessed to not being a big Wilson Audio fan, you can take my observations here with a grain of salt. Wilson Alexandria XLF speakers were driven full-range by VTL Siegfried power amps and twin Thor Hammer subwoofers driven by 250Wpc Parasound Halo A 21 amplifiers below 38Hz. The formatted musical program was very impressive on the macrodynamic scale and on that parameter it would have to rank among the best I heard. However when the more intimate recording played (Glen Phillips, Debussy Violin & Piano Sonata transferred to DSD by Bruce Brown of Puget Sound Studios from original Ultra Master ½-inch 30ips tape), I did not feel the same way. There was a lot to praise about the sound except that individual performer image sizes were too large and floated above the floor at unnatural height (i.e. six feet above). This is a pet peeve of mine so many others are likely not bothered by it. It would appear to be a tradeoff of the large speaker design needed for such high performance in other areas. In any case Wilson Audio will roll along fine without me. I wish them well. They have certainly been instrumental in raising overall production quality standards in high-end audio.

Vapor Audio, Antipodes Audio Limited, Arte Forma Inc., BMC, Empirical Audio. Also in the Hyatt Regency was the Vapor Audio room. There were two Vapor Audio speakers being demoed here with a system at each end of the room. I gravitated to the one using the top-of-the-line model, the 91dB Joule White ($12,295). Unfortunately this suffered from a channel imbalance. Ryan Scott was busy swapping cables and components trying to track it down but was unable to before I had to move on. It did afford me some time to chat with him sans distractions. Ryan told me about his goals in speaker design and how his company operates. He also filled me in on the drivers he sources for the Joule, starting with the highly regarded RAAL 140-15D ribbon tweeter. His cabinet construction is of very high standards too, with stacked plywood layering and the transmission line routed out from each layer and a front baffle incorporating a steel sheet and layers of high-tech resin for damping. The cabinet aesthetics were much more attractive than your standard box too. It had graceful curves and flares molded in for improved visual appeal. This was another one of the select few rooms where I left feeling good about the future of high -end audio for the middle class. Bravo Ryan! Even with the system problem I was still able to listen well enough to appreciate its fine sound quality. If I was not into low-powered SET tube amps, these speakers would be one of a few at the top of my list. They are that good! Had the system been working properly, I probably would have included this room as one of my best of show.

Crescendo Fine Audio – Ariel Acoustics, VPI, Ayre Acoustics, Octave, Shunyata Research, Red Wine Audio. I was the only one here when I entered Boulder/Colorado dealer Matt Alderman’s room. Here was a very sensibly put together system centered on the Aerial 7T loudspeakers ($9850) powered by Ayre’s V5X 175wpc stereo amplifier ($7950), C-5xe universal audio disc player ($5950) and QB-9 DSD DAC ($3250). The preamp was an interesting selection. It was by 25-year old German brand Octave and their model HP 300SE ($7000) that Matt had upgraded by the factory to current spec. Vinnie Rossi’s fine battery-powered Analogica ($1995) phono stage (which I have auditioned in my home) was doing duty with a VPI Classic 1 ($2800) with Sumiko Blackbird cartridge ($1099). Matt didn’t reach for audiophile pressings of Diana Krall or similar overplayed artists. Instead he played for me “Castles Made of Sand” from a clean original pressing of Jimmy Hendrix’s 1967 album Axis: Bold As Love. I would venture to say that this album would not fare so well on a lot of today’s high-end/high-resolution systems but here it was a welcome respite from a lot of the music being played elsewhere. It was musical and involving. Matt also played a 24/192 vinyl rip of Count Basie done with the ADC in the Ayre QB-9 and it sounded very good too. Thanks Matt, for your island of sanity.

Zu Audio, Peachtree Audio. Zu went all out this year in one of the big Mezzanine Level rooms. They demoed their newish Zu Druid Mk.V ($5200/pr) with Submission subwoofer ($4000) and Peachtree Grand Integrated amp ($4499). The demo cuts I heard were pretty much all high energy cuts that really rocked down the house. There was nothing demonstrated by way of subtle refinement. Still, it was very impressive at what it did and I easily imagined this system in someone’s house for a kick-ass dance party. Coming straight from the Vivid speakers it was clear that the upper midrange was still somewhat compromised by the big full-range driver approach. It just was not as naturally fleshed out. This was a lot of sound for the dollar though I remain hesitant about certain aspects of it.

The Voice That Is - The Lotus Group, Tidal Audio GmbH, Audio Power Labs, Aurender, dCS. Radka Toneff’s beautiful Fairytales album was playing when I entered. Quite a formidable and expensive system was packed against the side wall of this standard-sized room including Tidal Piano Diacera 2½-way speakers, Audio Power Labs 50TNT mono amps, SMc VRE-1C preamp, Pranawire LineBacker and cables. True to Tidal’s advertising, the coherence of these speakers is beyond reproach. It almost sounds like a single driver speaker but better. The system had real purity of tone and an almost gilded loveliness to it. he decay of the piano on the Radka Toneff cut “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” seemed to go on forever. This was intoxicating sound.

Vaughn Loudspeakers, Wavelength Audio Ltd. Wavelength’s tube electronics (Napoleon limited edition all-silver 300B monos at $30,000/pair, Europa preamp at $7,500, Crimson + Denominator DAC at $9,000) and Vaughn Plasma Loudspeakers ($15,000 per pair) were a match made in heaven. The preamp was the analog, digital and networked Wavelength Europa. Interconnects and speaker cables were top-shelf AudioQuest models: Sky interconnect ($2900/meter pair), Redwood speaker cables ($8800/eight-foot pair) and Diamond USB cable ($699/meter-and-a-half length). Files were played from a MacBook Pro 4TB library. The speed of the restored and refurbished vintage Dukane Ionovac plasma tweeters with rebuilt power supplies was startling and addictive. Lyle Lovett sounded both relaxed and refined. I requested some classical music and Anne-Sophie Mutter’s performance of Carmen spun up. Her violin solo was mesmerizing! You could hear every minute change in pressure applied to the bow. It was tactile. This was state of the art reproduction of fine nuance and dynamic shading. Of course the Fostex midrange below 5kHz,had to do yeoman’s duty to keep up with the Ionovac tweeter. It did an admirable job. Bass was provided by a 12-inch side-mounted 300-watt powered woofer with a 12-inch passive radiator. This seemed like a good formula for bass extension with control but keeping up with that Ionovac is a tall order. The overall speaker sounded so good though that you found yourself anticipating every note.

Synergistic Research. As I noted in my introductory remarks, I had a few invaluable experiences at RMAF 2013. The Synergistic Research demo of their new HFT (high-frequency transducer, $299 for pack of five) and FEQ (frequency equalizer technology, $750) devices certainly ranked high among these and may have been the single most impressive demo I heard at this show (and possibly any show). I am sure other show reports will show a similar reaction. In the center of the room sat a Bose Wave Radio on top of an equipment rack. Behind the rack sat the FEQ device that did get plugged into AC power. The HFT devices are a litte bigger than a thumb tack in diameter but have a much thicker disc-shaped head that looks like ordinary machined aluminum. Steve Rochlin was in the room when I entered and he recorded a YouTube video of the demonstration. Ted Dennehy from Synergistic began the demo by playing the Bose Wave radio without FEQ or HFT devices. Then he proceeded to plug in the FEQ. Unfortunately my listening notes have nothing on the specific effect of the FEQ. Then he placed a set of five HFT devices at strategic points in the back half of the room. hey were placed on the radio itself, a couple on the wall behind, one on the ceiling center and one on each side wall. The soundstage opened up like you would not believe! Next Ted placed more HFT devices in the front half of the room. Wow! Now the soundstage was huge and music seemed to be coming from the entire width and depth of the room. You would have to be deaf not to hear the effect. Bring on the skeptics. They will be hard pressed to poo-poo this one!

While I do not claim to understand Ted’s explanation of how these devices work, the FEQ uses ground plane technology as Synergistic already does in some of its other products. The Ground Control devices I reviewed from Audioprism also claim to work on this principle. Ted’s explanation of the HFT devices had me a bit puzzled though. He said they “overcome the Q of the room” and operate into the megahertz region. He stomped his foot on the floor near the side wall and noted how your brain knew from the sound that you were near a wall. The HFT devices somehow remove these cues so that the side walls as well as other resonating objects in the room seem to sonically disappear as obstructions to the music playback. I would love to demo these at the next Connecticut Audio Society meeting. We have a number of skeptics who will howl over these!

GR Research, dB Audio Labs, Dodd Audio, Pi audio group LLC, Triode Wire Labs, Electra Cable. This was another room in which I felt I had an invaluable experience with a line array open baffle design, the LSX designed by GR Research's Danny Ritchie for Mockingbird Distribution. There were also two servo-controlled self-powered subwoofers included in the speaker package price of $39,000. The line arrays were being driven by the wonderful little Dodd Audio EL84 battery-powered 34wpc monoblock tube amplifiers ($3100) and Dodd Audio battery-powered tube preamplifier ($1199). Cabling was by Triode Wire Labs and power conditioning by Pi Audio. The sound in this room was warm and inviting coupled with a large soundstage, good image focus and very good dynamics. Source material was played from a dB Audio Labs prototype Revolution Server (modified Mac Mini with battery power supply, $1995) and prototype Evolution DAC ($2395). I had a somewhat lengthy discussion with Eric Hider of dB Audio Labs about these products. The Revolution Server has undergone all of the optimization on his Mac Mini Tweak List (which he makes freely available to anyone) but also extensive removal of much of the operating system audio file logic code (i.e. removal of unwanted code that has nothing to do with playing music). The payoff in sound quality improvement is very significant. The Evolution DAC utilizes the Wolfson DAC chip and will play high-rez PCM or DSD files. What interested me greatly about the Revolution/Evolution combo was that all music I heard here was Redbook 16/44.1. Eric believes that the consumer deserves to play back Redbook at the highest sound quality possible since this is the dominant digital format most people own. Moving on to DSD at some point is fine but why not optimize playback of the music we already own which is readily and inexpensively available now? I couldn’t agree more and was so pleased to have dug a little deeper into what was behind the sound in this room.

To illustrate the contribution of Eric’s products to the sound in this room, I had an interesting experience when I came back to visit the room later that day. This time, Eric’s server had been removed and replaced with the HAL server. The sound in the room had taken a marked downturn and I no longer considered it to be one of the better sounding rooms at the show!

My show awards. I do have listening notes on a lot more rooms. Many of them probably merit inclusion in this report but I had to draw the line somewhere. My apologies to those exhibitors who were excluded.

Hottest new audio trend: DSD digital audio
Best cutting edge technology demonstrations: Synergistic Research for FEQ and HFT Devices
Merrill Audio Advanced Technology Labs LLC, Lynx Studio Technology, Channel D, TAD for highest quality playback of ripped vinyl
• Best sounding rooms cost no object:
Vaughn Plasma Loudspeakers, Wavelength Audio
The Voice That Is - The Lotus Group, Tidal Audio GmbH, Audio Power Labs, Aurender, dCS
GR Research, dB Audio Labs, Dodd Audio, Pi audio group LLC, Triode Wire Labs, Electra Cable
Triode Corporation, Acoustic Zen
Dynamic Design, Stillpoints, Modwright Instruments LLC, Mårten Design
HiFi Imports – Venture Loudspeakers, Thrax Electronics, Spiral Groove,EnKlein, Weiss
Sony Electronics, Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez
• Best sounding room high value: Prana Fidelity (two years in a row now).