Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (Part Two of Two)

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OTHER STUFF

PS Audio P20 Powerplant

PS Audio launched their most powerful regenerator to date, in the substantial shape of the P20. Boasting an 1850VA output and a range of AC optimization tools to ensure that you get the voltage you want and nothing but the voltage you want, this looks like a serious step up on the established P10, although at what price only time will tell.

Mark Levinson No. 585.5 Integrated Amp

When the Levinson 585 arrived, it had big shoes to fill and plenty of competition, but it didn’t just better the wonderful 383 that preceded it, it pretty much crushed all-comers in the high-end integrated market, combining a superb DAC with plenty of genuine Levinson power. The .5 suffix denotes the inclusion of the promised phono section, the same as used in the 523 and 526 pre-amps, making the 585 an even more versatile device. The non-phono 585 continues at $12,000, while the 585.5 will cost $16,000. Owners of existing units will be able to upgrade, but it will necessitate a trip back to the manufacturer or distributor, as it involves a new rear panel as well as the internal work.

Cambridge Audio

Cambridge Audio showed a pair of artfully disguised “prototypes” – an ambitious pre/power combination set to sell at £4K per box. The pre-amp will feature a sophisticated digital input section as well as balanced and single-ended analogue circuitry. The power amp is a warm-running 200 watt, DC coupled design with a clever servo arrangement, serious power supply and twin contra-wound toroidal transformers. Both units are much nearer to completion than appearances might suggest, with delivery scheduled for early next year. “Levinson performance at real world prices” burbled the irrepressible Dominic Baker: time will tell, but it certainly looks like it could be fun finding out.

BEST SOUND

Tidal Audio Presencio/Ferios amplifiers and Akira loudspeakers with TW-Acustic Raven turntable

The Voice That Is showed what was arguably the most expensive system at RMAF: fortunately it was also the best sounding. The Akira speakers that so impressed in a large room at the Munich show two years ago were this time deployed to equally impressive musical effect in a hotel bedroom. This might have been a single seat, single source set up, but sit in that hot seat, play a record and the system, the room and the end wall simply disappeared. If you ever wondered what a time and space machine might cost, the answer is around half a million dollars!

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