The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2009, held last week in Denver, showcased the best and brightest in high-end audio gear.
Hundreds of high-end manufacturers, from tiny one-person operations all the way up to industry giants like JBL were on hand. RMAF has a very different vibe than the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas every January--RMAF is a more grassroots affair.
I never heard of RAAL, a company based in Serbia, but its small (I'm guessing 7-inch-tall) speakers, produced a huge, room-filling sound. The speakers totally disappeared as sound sources.
The speaker uses twin aluminum cylinders, with 4-inch drivers firing up and down and a special "ribbon tweeter" sandwiched between the two cylinders, firing front and rear. Each speaker has its own, separate woofer, housed in another tube with 6-inch woofers at each end.
It's a fully powered system; just hook up a source such as a CD player and you're good to go. Price and availability weren't announced, but the company is hoping the complete system will cost around $4,000.
TAD (a division of Pioneer Electronics) had the best sound I heard at RMAF. Their newly revised Reference One speaker ($60,000 per pair) was far from the most expensive speaker in Denver, but the 330-pound towers produced the most vivid, clear, and transparent sound. Bass drums were tight, pitch-perfect; stereo imaging was, again, remarkably precise and three-dimensional. Vocalists virtually materialized between the two Reference Ones.
Some of that amazing sound quality has to be attributed to the Bel Canto electronics that TAD was using. The compact e.One Series components use just a tiny fraction of the AC power consumed by their hotter running, bigger and heftier competition. Bel Canto does things differently.… Read more