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The coolest sounds rock Denver audio show

The Audiophiliac reports on a dazzling array of affordable and high-end audio from Denver.

Steve Guttenberg
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 Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read

Naim mu-so music system Steve Guttenberg/CNET

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is two shows in one --there's the traditional two-channel audiophile show, which focuses on speakers, amps, turntables, digital gear, etc. -- and CanJam, which covers headphones and headphone amplifiers. RMAF took place last weekend at the Marriott Tech Center in Denver, Colo.

Denver takes high-end audio to new heights (pictures)

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Linkwitz Lab's radically innovative kit design, the LXmini, looks like no other speaker. Basically, it's a thin PVC tube, with a woofer at the top, and a pair of small drivers. The massive soundstage floated completely free from the speakers, while projecting a highly detailed, sharply focused stereo image. There's one big catch, the LXmini is sold as a kit. The price is a small fraction of what I assumed it would be based on the speakers' sound quality.

Then I heard the little Scansonic HD MB-1 monitor speakers, this is a far more conventional, and much higher-priced design, but again, the sheer scale of the presentation was far beyond what I thought was possible from a small, 12.2-inch tall (312mm) speaker.

The best sounding system at the show featured Wilson Audio Sasha II speakers, mated with a dCS digital playback system, Spiral Groove 1.1 turntable, and VTL electronics. The Sasha IIs cost as much as a BMW 228i; the GoldenEar Technology Triton One speakers produced the best sound for an affordable price, by high-end standards, at the show.

V-Moda's Val Kolton was on hand to provide a sneak preview of couple of in-ear and full-size headphones that departed from the company's signature full sound, and moving to a more accurate audiophile tonal balance. One headphone featured an aluminum ear piece, and the sound was scary good. Uber clarity, tight bass, wide-open soundstage. Kolton promised I would be among the first to get production headphones early next year.

Then I was treated to a bunch of new Sony products including the made in Japan MDR-Z7 headphones, and they were plugged into the Sony PHA-3 portable headphone amplifier and digital converter. The sound was easily the best I've heard from Sony in years!

There's a lot more mind boggling audio to see in the Gallery.