Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2010 Show Report
Israel and Evelyn Blume were showing the new Coincident Pure Reference Extreme speakers
($26,000/pr) driven by the M300B Frankenstein MkII mono amps ($5,600/pr) and the Statement Line Stage ($4,999).
We were first to review both the mono amps and linestage as well as two pairs of Coincident speakers; all are world-class components and
actual bargains in their classes. Once again, even with the new $26,000 speakers whcih are 94db sensitive, the sound here
was as good as anything at the show and better than most, including systems north of $100,000. Way north.
Easily the most musical presentation, and easily the best in the $35,000 system category.
Israel also showed the new 2-piece Statement Phono Preamp at $5,499 (top left).
It's on its way to us right now.
There's a reason this room was always packed with listeners.
Charlie and Susan Harrison have sent us several made-in-Austria Ayon tube amps and CD players for review
and each time we have found them to be superlative and an outstanding value. One of those "you might be able to do better, but you'd have to pay way more"
This year they were also showing a new Ayon speaker product (the dark ones) that had a rather unique sound that would be good for rockers. Playing at around 100db, they almost made our ears bleed, but if that's what you like, these are your ideal.
Some big news is that they are also importing a new non-Ayon integrated amp (EKKO) at an even lower pricepoint.
It wasn't playing, but Charlie promised we'd be the first to get one after the show.
Charlie also imports Vovox cables, a wide selection at great prices.
The First Family of Open Baffle Speakers
Carl Marchisotto, wife Marilyn and daughter Kristen demoed
their new Metro Grand speakers ($25,000/pr). Sounding almost identical to the $55,000 Baby Grands we recently reviewed,
the Metro's are built for smaller spaces where a small footprint is needed. All Nolas have the uncanny ability
to portray the most stringent sounding studio recordings as "live in concert" and "live in concert" recordings as spooky real.
Vinnie Rossi debuted his new products that feature battery power, eliminating the noise and grunge associated
with electric current from the public power grid. He has also added a tube circuit. The LFP-V Edition upgrade includes state-of-the-art battery technology called “Lithium Iron Phosphate” (LFP for short). LFP batteries use organic, phosphate-based material, providing an ideal combination of performance, safety, reliability and environmental friendliness… in fact, more so than any other rechargeable battery technology.These LFP battery packs are manufactured exclusively for Red Wine Audio. Compared to off-the-shelf sealed lead-acid batteries (SLA), LFP is a new and improved technology offering many advantages – both sonic as well as technical.
Speakers were the new Zu "Omen", described as "the right speaker for every concert fanatic, music junky, skater fool and snowboarding dirtbag;
splitting your cash between your lifestyle outside and your lifestyle inside just got a whole lot louder."
The Omen lists for $1,500/pair. Other new Zu's are the Soul ($1,800) and the Soul Superfly ($2,600).
Our Mike Peshkin just reviewed the Fritz Carbon 7 speakers ($1,750/pr) you see here, about which he said.
After hearing these myself, I have to say Mike is right on. These are something special.
It's rare to find a company whose sole product line consists of preamplifiers, but that is Purity Audio Designs.
There are 4 models:
Purity One; Class "A" vacuum tube linestage based on the 12AU7 medium mu triode,
Purist design with one set of balanced inputs and outputs. Choke filtered polypropylene power supply. Remote volume and more. $3,995
With 2 sets of balanced inputs/outputs, 2 sets of unbalanced inputs and 2 sets unbalanced outputs, connection possibilities are vast. When an unbalanced input is selected, the single still passes through the input transformer maintaining a low output impedance as well as the resolution and transparency transformer coupling is known for. Absolute phase and balance control are selected both through the supplied aluminum remote handset and the front panel controls. As with all Purity Series products, the remote circuit has been granted it's own dedicated power supply including a separate, standalone power transformer as not to interfere at all with the analog circuit. $7,995
Purity Silver Statement
Full dual mono, twin chassis, Class "A" vacuum tube linestage based on the, 12AU7 medium mu triode. Pure silver input and output transformers.
Both balanced and single ended inputs and outputs are transformer coupled. Dual choke filtered power supply utilizing 3PS polypropylene capacitor banks. Full function remote and more.
Their super value model is the Purity One, a two piece "split chassis" design utilizing an external, full polypropylene, choke filtered power supply.
The circuit is built around one 6SN7 dual triode per channel, Clarity Cap output capacitors and 1% metal film,
precision wirewound and carbon composition resistors along with Elna Silmic cathode bypass capacitors make up the circuitry.
Offered at a stunning $2,995
We have just finished our evalulation of the new Rethm Saadhana Version 2 speakers with a world's first review coming soon.
With the Purity Silver Statement, Clayton M300 Monoblocks and the Qsonix 205 Music Server (another Stereomojo world's first review)
with cables by ASI, the sound hear was mesmerizing. Soundstage, soundstage, soundstage! And with the Saadhana's new powered bass modlues, loads of low bass.
Jacob George's new highly modified Lowther driver, the response is smooth with NO midrange honk.
Also honkless were Jacob's new Thrishna that reduces the Saadhana to a single cabinet and smaller size while sacrificing
some low bass but maintaning the high quality and gorgeous soundstage. These also have a powered bass module -- but it uses only two 5 inch bass drivers in a very small isobaric chamber, and does good quality bass down into the high 30's. They have a tiny footprint ( 6.5 inches wide by 12.5 inches deep ) and have been designed to give the listener the same musical/emotional satisfaction the other Rethms offer -- in smaller rooms, and with thinner wallets.
I listened to these for some time, playing very dynamic music at a rather loud level, maybe 90db peaks. I asked about the amps and was flabbergasted to discover that they only put out 1.5 watts per channel! I would have never guessed that, even knowing that the Thrish'a very efficient.
Turns out the amps were made by Mark Still. Here are some of the highlights of the 45/2A3 single ended amplifier.
Mark told me he wanted to create a powerful full fledged Single Ended Triode amplifier but still wanted one person to be able to lift it. Mono blocks were a consideration but he wanted it to be as quiet as possible, so the 2 channel amplifier with separate power supply was born. By using 2 chassis they were able to take vibration control to a new level, keeping AC and transformers that are noisy and vibrate heavily from sensitive audio components. This allowed them to create a very quiet and yet powerful single ended design. They float (well secured but not touching) the critical audio components off of the chassis then the chassis top sits on 2 inches of maple that then sits on the bottom plate that sits on isolation points. It is very much decoupled from the rack. This is the same for both the amp and power supply. Cooling was the next big factor. They wanted to take every precaution to ensure it would run as cool as possible. Parts orientation like keeping hot resisters away from heat sensitive capacitors and putting in the proper ventilation at each component where needed.
May be worth noting:
The MSRP is $4000
WBT Binding posts, 8 ohm outputs and 4 and 16 ohm selectable outputs, Riken resisters, Ruby Gold and V-Caps, Vintage type ceramic sockets in the amp, 2 unbalanced inputs. the tube offerings are Sophia Electric 45 (1-1/2 watts) or 2A3 (3 watts) output tubes, Electro-Harmonics 6SN7's and Sovtek 5Y3GT's. You can buy direct at StillAudioDesign.com For the first few months they are offering a 1/2 down and 4-6 weeks for delivery after that they will offer buy and ship same day.