Denver's high-end audio fest, part 2

More on the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2009, held last week in Denver. It showcased the best and brightest in new high-end headphones and iPod sound enhancing gear.

The Wadia stack brings out the very best in iPod sound. Steve Guttenberg

The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2009 , held last week in Denver, showcased the best and brightest in new high-end headphones and iPod sound enhancing gear.

I blogged about Wadia's super iPod dock , the 170i Transport last year, and Wadia now has a matching digital-to-analog converter/power amplifier, the 151. It has one USB, one Toslink, and two coax inputs. The 170i was the first "dock" to extract a digital output from an unmodified iPod, so for those who really care about sound quality, the Wadia 151 will be the way to go. The 151 PowerDAC will soon be available in black and silver.

Jack Wu standing next to the best-sounding headphone rig at the show. Steve Guttenberg

Jack Wu of Woo Audio brought a nice selection of his tube headphone amplifiers to the show . I'm a huge fan of Woo Audio, its amps have made my Grado and Sennheiser headphones sound better than ever. Woo was also showing prototypes of its upcoming digital-to-analog converters, the sound showed great promise.

Tyll Hertsens, the headphone answer man. Steve Guttenberg

Headroom's Tyll Hertsens is my headphone guru. He's a head case of the highest order, and Headroom is a great source for headphones and makes superb headphone amplifiers under the Headroom name. Hertsens is about to start a blog, and I'll be checking it regularly to learn more about what's going on in Hertsen's, er, head.

Virtue Audio's upcoming desktop amplifier. Steve Guttenberg

Lastly, Virtue Audio's Seth Krinsky showed me this nifty little desktop unit, the upcoming dual-mono Virtue THREE amplifier. It will be good for more than 130 watts per channel. I can't wait to hear the finished design. Virtue offers a complete line of amplifiers and digital-to-analog converters. I will have a Virtue TWO amp very soon, I'll be using it with a pair of amazing Audioengine P4 speakers. Watch for the Audioengine review in this blog.

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.


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