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Better streaming experiences at RMAF 2018 and away

  • Into a padded record bag this morning I dropped a Canon M50 camera, a pair of Sony WH-1000XM3 noise-cancelling headphones, a pair of Fitear CIEMs, an LG V30 smartphone, laptop charger, phone charger, camera battery charger, Fuji flash, 4 x AA batteries, 1 x micro USB cable, 1 x USB-C cable, a pair of sunglasses, a passport and a boarding pass. I’m off to Denver for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) / CanJam.

    If Munich High-End is the fancy restaurant of audio shows, with its 10-course degustation menu and matching wines, RMAF is the home-cooked meal where the majority of loudspeaker systems are shown by exhibitors obliged to work with (or against) to turn sub-optimal hotel rooms into hi-fi demo spaces. Some will pull rabbits from hats. Others might not be so fortunate. As at home, loudspeaker choice and room treatments are critical.

    Over in the CanJam zone, headphone exhibitors have a bigger room issue to contend with: the din of the hall will make tough/er work for anyone showing open-back headphones. Per Munich in May, an audio show’s popularity can be a double-edged sword. And RMAF is one of the USA’s best attended. Get there early!

    For visitors spying RMAF as an opportunity to audition an amplifier, DAC, streamer, turntable, CD player or cables, be advised that supporting electronics tend to remain fixed for RMAF’s 3-day run to make a nonsense of isolating any one component’s contribution to the system’s overall sound quality. I liken the process to fingering the butter quality used by a chef in a lasagna’s bechamel sauce. Impossible.

    Instead, go for the show and tell and the new product announcements, to mix with fellow hi-fi nerds and (ahem) “music lovers”. I like to spend considerable time in the Zu Audio room for its broad-ranging music programme and, most importantly, to catch-up (and compare notes) with industry colleagues. The big story this year is the arrival of Qobuz to American shores.

    On Friday, I’ll be co-hosting a seminar with Twittering Machinist and ex-AudioStreamer Michael Lavorgna. Under discussion via a Q&A format will be “Better Streaming Experiences at Home (and Away)”. That kicks off at 1:45pm. Attendees are kindly asked to check their anti-whatever attitude at the door.

    Into my suitcase this morning, I dropped a range of band t-shirts. I heartily encourage RMAF attendees reading this to wear theirs. Show Denver that you still know how to rock!

    RMAF runs October 5th – 7th at the Denver Marriott Tech Center.

    Further information: RMAF

    John H. Darko

    Written by John H. Darko

    John is the editor of Darko.Audio, from whose ad revenues he derives an income. He is an occasional contributor to 6moons but has previously written pieces for TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile. John used to live in Sydney. Now he lives in Berlin.

    Follow John on YouTube, Vimeo and Twitter

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    Dear audio show exhibitor…