Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

October 14-16, 2011
All prices in US dollars unless indicated otherwise

Company (Wo)Men Special Gallery

Featured in gallery below: Ralf Ballman (Behold), Jim White (Aesthetix), Vinnie Rossi (Red Wine Audio), David MacPherson (Studio Electric), Andrew Jones (TAD), Luke Manley (VTL), John DeVore (DeVore Fidelity), Gabi van der Kley (Crystal Cable), Ron Sutherland (Sutherland Engineering), Hans-Ole Vitus (Vitus Audio), Alon Wolf (Magico), Alan Yun (Silverline Audio), Sami Penttilä (Penaudio), John Stronczer (Bel Canto Design), Piper Payne (The Tape Project), Vince Bruzzese (Totem Acoustic), Manfred Diestertich (Audio Physic)

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October 16 Product Coverage Gallery

Companies featured in gallery below: Eximus, Aura, Bel Canto Design, Dynaudio, Hegel, Genesis Technologies, Odyssey Audio, Audioengine, Concert Fidelity, DeVore Fidelity, Emotiva Pro, Sjofn HiFi, Von Schweikert Audio, Zu Audio, LM Audio, Penaudio, Tenor Audio, Chapter Audio

All prices in US dollars unless otherwise indicated

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October 15 Product Coverage Gallery

Companies featured in gallery below: Audio Research, Ayre, Musical Fidelity, Vandersteen, Behold, EAR, Thiel Audio, Electrocompaniet, Music Culture, Memory Player, Red Wine Audio, TAD, Wyred 4 Sound

All prices in US dollars unless otherwise indicated

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October 14 Product Coverage Gallery

Companies featured in gallery below: Audeze, Schiit, HiFiMAN, Empirical Audio, Induction Dynamics, Luxman, Meitner, Oracle Audio, Peachtree Audio, Nordost, Sennheiser, VTL, Woo Audio

All prices in US dollars unless otherwise indicated

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Best Sound?

When it comes to doing coverage at shows like this one, reporting on new products is our top priority. As a result, even though we do quite a bit of listening, it's not always in as many rooms, or for as long, as we'd like. So is there any way we can truly say which system provided the best sound at any given show? Probably not. Scratch that. Definitely not.

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Thinking About a System

One entertaining activity to engage in while walking the halls of an audio show is imagining how certain components might sound together in my room. In a way -- on a global and simply massive scale -- that's the heart of what the SoundStage! Network's TWBAS 2012 is all about. But at RMAF 2011 I found myself wondering not how some crazy-priced setup might sound, but how a smaller-scale system might perform in my Music Vault listening room. I put this virtual system together and in my mind's eye it seems to hold some real promise. Now I just have to see if I can get these components together to see how they really sound in my room.

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Hegel: 10 to 11 for 0

One company I've grown to admire over the last couple of years is Hegel Music Systems of Norway. But they've been around for much longer than the time I've known them -- Hegel has been making good-sounding, nicely styled, well-built hi-fi products that are reasonably priced for over 20 years. Their current line includes integrated amplifiers, power amplifiers, preamplifiers, CD players, and DACs. I reviewed the Hegel HD10 DAC on SoundStage! Hi-Fi in September and I was very taken by its performance, resulting in a strong recommendation, not only because of how well it played music but also because of its low price: $1200.

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Smaller Systems, Smarter Technology

If you've ever attended an audio show, you've no doubt been aurally assaulted by a huge stereo system shoehorned into a dinky room playing at 115 decibels. At RMAF 2011, at least so far, that hasn't been the norm. Most of the floorstanding loudspeakers that I've heard have been fairly compact, and there have been a number of stand-mounted designs being demonstrated, particularly in the smallest of the exhibit rooms.

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