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RMAF 2010 – a Manufacturer’s Take

The 2010 show was my 5th visit to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. I usually exhibit at the show with Moon Audio but we decided instead to partner at the Atlanta Axpona show next spring.

Then in late August I contacted Aleksandar Radisavljevic of RAAL about some potential business I had for him. During our exchange of emails he asked about the RMAF and mentioned that the RAAL speakers for the show possibly couldn’t be finished in time for the show. I then offered to share the exhibit room and provide a pair of speakers. Dragan Solaja (of Solaja Audio) also had a preamp design in progress so I planned to bring all the equipment needed for listening. I arranged for Benchmark Media to send a DAC/preamp and Red Dragon Audio to supply a pair of monoblock amps.

Travelling from the East Coast to the show in Denver usually means a very long day with an early flight. Due to my late plans to attend the show I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn across from the show hotel. This actually worked out pretty well since the Hilton’s elevators are more reliable than the Marriott…

Upon entering the Marriott parking lot (a short walk from the Hilton) I stumbled upon a truck from ASC handing out free tube traps for the show. I arranged to snag a few for our room and avoid the typical “they didn’t have room treatments” comments! I’ve been to the show several times before so everything else after this point was very predictable. Every year it’s rolling the dice to decide what to bring. This year I decided to show a pair of smaller speakers, something more affordable. The economy has been down here in the U.S. and so I concentrated on value for the dollar – including the front-end equipment.

While setting up, I discovered that Solaja Audio had brought two preamps to show and their designer (Dragan Solaja) would be greeting attendees along with me. That left Aleksandar free to roam the show with his lovely wife and call on his current customers and potential new ones. Dragan is from Serbia but speaks English better than my Serbian so we enjoyed some good conversations throughout the show. Everything worked the first time after setting up; however, we ended up rearranging the layout with some direction from Aleksandar.

Friday’s attendance was fairly good with a steady flow of traffic, followed by more people on Saturday but very few on Sunday. Overall attendance seemed to be down compared to my last visit in 2008, but I had expected this due to the economy being sluggish. Those that did come offered many good comments and we have several audio press members visit our room. Exhibiting at a show is like a first date – you always want to make a good impression. Part of that is selecting high quality demo music and I think that’s where many companies fall short. You need a wide variety and it has to be well-recorded. I try to showcase music that exploits the best of the speakers as well as challenging them with dynamics and bass extension.

I also encourage listeners to bring their own music so they have material that they are familiar with and can form a better opinion of what they’re hearing. The variables of a different room and front-end equipment can throw off someone’s perception of the sound, and it seems some audiophiles have a hard time getting past that. Keeping an open mind is important too. I had one guy who noticed the Benchmark DAC and it raised a red flag for him, but after listening he couldn’t seem to reconcile that what he heard was much better than he had expected. Perhaps the DAC wasn’t the issue in the other system he heard it in?

We received many good comments on the sound and some noted that our room was better than a few that had much more expensive equipment. My feeling is that it’s great to demo high-dollar components but what does it really matter if the majority of audiophiles cannot afford them?

With our focus mostly on Internet sales, the RMAF gives us exposure to potential customers that cannot hear our speakers at their local audio dealer. Based on the many positive comments, the show was a great success!

Readers' comments

    Thanks for letting TubeTraps into your demo room. We of ASC are proud to have shared your spotlight.

    You got comments that your room sounded better than some of those setup with really expensive equipment. That compliment applies not only to your equipment, but also to your ear, and what your ear knows to be good sound. It also compliments your judgement in choosing and using TubeTraps to help you dial in that good sound. We have always found that reasonably Trapped rooms with reasonable priced equipment always sounds significantly better than unTrapped (normal) rooms with expensive equipment. That’s why so many hifi dealer demo rooms have Tubetraps in their corners.

    We built and trucked 140 TubeTraps to RMAF and helped over 60 rooms to present the best side of what they brought to show. So much work, money and dreams go into putting on these shows, it makes no sense to letting a simple minded motel room ruin your demo.

    We were very pleased with the results in your room. Dragan Solaja was also very pleased with the results. He asked us if he could help distribute TubeTraps iand we were happy to say… yes. So, be on the look out for TubeTraps and better sound in Serbia soon.

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