High-end audio aims higher in Denver

The Audiophiliac checks out the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest convention in Denver.

The Oppo PM-1 headphones Jude Mansilla/Head-Fi

The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is held every October in Denver, and every year it's packed with the latest and greatest high-end audio goodies. High-end doesn't necessarily mean outrageously expensive, though; Schiit Audio was previewing its upcoming $119 Vali tube headphone amplifier, and I quickly auditioned Audioengine's soon-to-be-released $249/pair A2+ desktop speakers. I hope to get one of the first pairs in for review. Hifiman was showing prototypes of a sleek portable music player that comes with a set of the company's excellent in-ear headphones; the complete system price was $249.

Oppo, best known for its stellar Blu-ray players, is readying a new planar magnetic headphone, the PM-1. I missed it, but Head-Fi's Jude Mansilla shared the news with me. Oppo promised to send a production PM-1 in the coming months.

Devore Fidelity Orangutan speakers Steve Guttenberg/CNET

Mr. Speakers is a headphone manufacturer, and it was showing off its new Alpha Dog 3D-printed headphones that sounded spectacular; I'll review them soon. I'm starting to see the 3D-printing trend really catching on in the high-end audio scene. Audeze had two new headphones on display, the closed-back LCD-XC and the open-back Reference LCD-X. I just received the LCD-X, and the review will come soon.

The Wavelength desktop USB digital converter Steve Guttenberg/CNET

Brooklyn's Devore Fidelity was making great sounds in Denver. I love the look of its Orangutan speakers. It's old school and contemporary, but the sound is strictly high-resolution modern.

Jerry Harvey Audio was showing its latest advances in custom headphones that are molded to your ears, the Roxanne. The carbon-fiber ear pieces feel more substantial than the acrylic "shells" seen on every other custom headphone I've tested to date. The Roxannes sounded different than Harvey's previous designs, warmer and more fleshed out. It also featured highly adjustable bass controls. I'll review these soon, as well.

And finally, Wavelength Audio makes some of the best-sounding digital converters. I hope to get my hands on one of its awesome desktop USB converters soon, and share my findings with you.

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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