Belcanto-Black-FEATURED

Bel Canto Black.

I have to admit the hallways at the Denver Marriott Tech Centre were starting to collapse inward like a spiral tunnel, and I felt like my legs were running through thigh-deep water by Saturday afternoon at RMAF.

No, I wasn’t having a reaction to prescription flu medication, I was behind schedule, and exhausted after just finishing putting out our new PDF magazine The Occasional. People like Brian Hunter over at our sister publication Audio Head made mock fun of me as a “creative type” and chortled at the notion that I might need a few days to recharge.

Regardless, after a few shots of espresso as I back in Bionic mode, and managed to nail down some interesting rooms for readers to take note of.

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RMAF 2017 coverage proudly brought to by Noble Audio.

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The new Aeon open back Mr. Speakers.

I got to touch base with Dan Clark of Mr. Speakers about the new open-backed Aeon headphones, and after a back-to-back comparison of the original closed-back model, I have to say that Clark definitely has another hit on his hands. Those with a long memory can recall how impressed I was with his EtherFlow open-back headphones when I did Part One of my headphone/headphone amp comparison way back in March (How sad I’ve not published Part Two), and the Aeon is definitely cut from the same cloth.

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Progression Stereo amp.

Dan D’Agostino was showing off his Progression Preamplifier, and massive, gorgeous Progression Stereo power amp with Martin Logan ESL15A electro-static loudspeakers, and a StromTank S5000 power supply for a big, powerful, room-filling sound with bleeding-edge speed on transients.

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JCorder.

JCorder had another room this year full of beautiful reel-to-reel decks paired with Technics electronics for a tangible, organic playback experience that saw a lot of people in attendance at the room asking a lot of questions. It seems R2R playback is going through a renaissance of sorts with a number of companies like JCorder enjoying the new found resurgent interest in old-school playback.

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Black is the new Black.

Bel Canto was showing off the new slim, powerful-looking Black line of preamplifier/streamer/controller, power, and integrated amps making up their new high-end collection. Paired with gorgeous, black-gloss finished TIDAL Piano loudspeakers this was a system of nuanced highs, meaty midrange, and powerful bass, capable of handling wide swings in dynamic range without seeming to ever run out of steam regardless of volume level.

–Rafe Arnott