Getting Ready for Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2015

September 30 2015, 03:10

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) is the premier event in the United States for high-end audio and increasingly also for headphone and personal audio experiences. The 12th edition of RMAF is about to start once again at the Marriott Denver, CO (October 2-4) and promises to be the largest and best ever, with great seminars and product launches.

This will be the 12th edition of the annual Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF), the largest high-end consumer audio show in the US, featuring 350 listed exhibitors. From affordable audio systems to ultra-expensive high-end gear and CanJam at RMAF — a show within a show organized by — featuring the latest in headphone technology. RMAF is also a great show for product introductions, away from the noise of other CE-oriented trade shows. The RMAF also features live entertainment and informative seminars, equipment show specials, and prize drawings throughout the weekend.

The seminar
For 2015, one of the highlights will be once again a nice seminar schedule which will not be overwhelming like in some conventions, allowing for some time left to check products and exhibits. All sessions take place at the Marriott Aspen Amphitheater, Lobby Level, except when otherwise noted.

Our recommendations start on the first day with the session “Streaming Audio: Preserving the Past, Protecting the Future” (Oct 2 @ 4:45 pm). Computer Audiophile’s Chris Connaker, talks to Bob Stuart, innovator behind MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), and Pal Bratelund, Strategic Partnership Manager at TIDAL, on how to achieve the highest quality audio in today’s streaming services. The discussions will touch on the history of streaming audio and examine how services have evolved to meet the increasing demands of today’s music fans.

Another interesting session takes place on the second day, “What The Specs Don’t Tell You… And Why” (Oct 3 @ 9:15 am). The briefing is to discuss why specifications and even measurements sometimes cannot explain differences in sound. This interactive presentation will examine both the “audiophile” and scientific viewpoint to this question with live listening tests and measurements, performed by Jonathan Novick, an 11 year veteran with Audio Precision.

The same day, there’s also “The Truth About AC Power” (@ Room 9030, Audio Alternative, Oct 3 @ 10:00 am). This is a seminar with Garth Powell, Director of Power Engineering at AudioQuest, explaining everything about the AudioQuest Niagara 7000 Low-Z Power Noise-Dissipation System.

That same morning there’s also the session “Computer Audio Demystified” (@ Marriott Aspen Amphitheater, Lobby Level, Oct 3 @ 11:45 am) with Steve Silberman from AudioQuest. A session to learn more about how computers can serve as the centerpiece of any stereo system.

The third day, there are also plenty of interesting sessions. We recommend “The Cable Polygraph” (Oct 4 @ 9:30 am) where David Salz, from Wireworld will explain the various ways cables can change the sound we hear, and how those sonic effects can be isolated and observed through structured listening tests using high-resolution music files.

Our second highlight for that day is the session “Sneak Preview: Next Generation Headphone Measurement” (Oct 4 @ 10:45 am). Panelists Dan Foley, Audio Precision and Jacob Soendergaard, G.R.A.S. Sound & Vibration, with presentation from Jude Mansilla,, will explain how the grouping of international standards IEC 60318-x specifies the electro acoustic equipment for testing headphones, earphones, hearing protectors, hearing aids etc. This has been the benchmark of audio testing for years, but as markets and products evolve, the need for test equipment to evolve in tandem is increasingly urgent. G.R.A.S. is addressing this and proposing a new set of headphone measurement equipment. RMAF/CanJam attendees will be the first to get a sneak preview of the new pinnae, ear canal and inner ear simulator – the next generation replica of the human auditory system.

New products
There’s also plenty of new product announcements to take note at RMAF 2015 and here are some highlights.
AudioKinesis is debuting two new products at the 2015 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. First up are the Space Generators, which take advantage of acoustic and psychoacoustic principles to audibly increase the apparent size of small to medium listening rooms. Secondly, there’s the new Planetarium Sigma loudspeaker system, which includes a pair of studio-quality MHM stand-mount speakers with Beryllium-diaphragm compression drivers, the Swarm subwoofer system, and a pair of Space Generators.

Avatar Acoustics and iFi will introduce the new iDAC2 Desktop DAC/Headamp, while iFi will show for the first time its iUSB3.0 DAC, featuring a USB3.0 Ultra-speed (5.0Gbps) active USB hub with 2 sets of ports, Active Noise Cancellation+, REclock jitter suppression, REbalance to cancel DC offset noise, and new pure powerline noise filters.

Woo Audio is another company introducing new products at RMAF 2015 (CanJam), including the improved 300B tube WA5 and WA5-LE amplifiers and a production-ready WA8, which the company states is the world’s first battery-powered all-tube headphone amplifier and DAC.

Also for the tube aficionados, Zesto Audio will introduce their newest product, the EROS 300 Monoblock amplifiers. In development for more than 3 years, the Eros 300 will be able to drive most speakers with a matched sextet (6) set of KT88’s and two 12AU7’s producing 150 Watts per block of pure Class A power. The new Zesto Eros 300 has Auto-Bias, uses a Push-Pull and Ultra-Linear circuit topology and a more robust choke based power supply incorporating a custom Toroid power transformer.

The 2015 CanJam @ Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is bigger than ever, with over 50 companies coming to Denver and a new expanded exhibition area. New exciting product presentations will include  the worldwide premiere of the new Audeze LCD-4 together with its The King headphone preamp, and the launch of the ENIGMAcoustics’ Dharma D1000 Hybrid Electrostatic Headphones, now in production following an earlier presentation at the High End Munich 2015 show.

JDS Labs will be also showing its new headphone amp and DAC, The Element, designed to drive headphones of all technologies and sizes in a beautifully designed chassis.

Not to be missed, the first chance in the US to hear the new Beyerdynamic T1 Tesla high-end headphones and the new DT 1770 PRO professional studio headphones using the new Tesla 2.0 drivers in a closed 250-Ω model.

Finally, also not to be missed, is the new Campfire Audio in-ear range, including the just announced Lyra In-Ears, featuring new custom 8.5mm beryllium PVD diaphragm transducer (PEEK film with vapor deposition Be coating), a high grade copper clad aluminum wire (CCAW) voice coil, and a tuned high density ceramic enclosure​. Exciting stuff.
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