September 2019
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ZMF & The New Verite Closed-Back Headphones – RMAF 2019

By | September 16th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , |

ZMF Headphones Verite Closed Back at RMAF 2019.

Running a wide open exhibit every day of the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 was ZMF Headphones. “Busy, busy, busy” was the name of the game all weekend for Zach Mehrbach, Owner of ZMF Headphones. So much so, that Zach was often unavailable for comment about his booth during show hours. As with such tragedies, there is usually a silver lining to be found somewhere, and in this case our silver lining had a name: Bevin Mehrbach.

Bevin Mehrbach is often referred to amongst the audiophile press (and industry partners) as “the brains of the operation” over at ZMF Headphones.… Read the full article

iFi Unveils New Zen Series – RMAF 2019

By | September 15th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , |

iFi Zen Blue

Browsing through the HeadSpace are of Rocky Mountain Audio Fest on Saturday morning brought me to some conclusions about Denver people and their weekends. Friday at the show, in all exhibits, was a madhouse of activity. Headspace in particular was more crowded than I was ready to deal with considering I’d be trying to gather information on new product from my favourite brands.

Saturday morning comes, and the show is much less busy. As it turns out, a weekend beautiful weather in Denver is important to the locals, and if it’s nice outside, good luck getting them to do anything indoors.… Read the full article

Elac Launches All-New Debut Reference Speaker With Andrew Jones – RMAF 2019

By | September 14th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , |

Elac Debut Reference speakers

To hear Andrew Jones recount the starting of Elac’s American operation and foray into affordable speakers, it’s like listening to the character Quint from the movie Jaws (1975) tell us all about his battle scars.

The Debut series started out as Andrew Jones’ project to continue doing what he had done for Pioneer, but now under the Elac label. After some time, and great success, it was time to revise the Debut series ever so slightly to 2.0 status, and add twenty dollars to the MSRP.… Read the full article

Auralic Debuts Altair G1 Do-Everything-Box – RMAF 2019

By | September 13th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , |

Auralic Altair G1

The all-new G1 series product making it’s North American debut at RMAF 2019, is the newly updated Altair G1 and it is one show-stopping device from Auralic that has a proud history to build on, so pardon the excitement. The new Altair G1 ($2,699 USD) is an all-in-one digital source and so much more. It’s a server, streamer, DAC, preamp, volume control, headphone amp, bluetooth receiver, and on-board storage (as an option).

A sneak-peek of the new Altair G1 was given in Munich earlier this year, and we were proud to report on it then.… Read the full article

Sony Debuts New Signature Series SA-Z1 Near-field Music System – RMAF 2019

By | September 12th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , |

Sony SA-Z1 near-field music system

Sony Electronics Inc. was debuting their latest addition to the heralded brand’s Signature Series of loudspeakers. The star of the show, the new SA-Z1 near-field powered speaker system.

The SA-Z1 (estimated $9,000 USD) speaker system is a self-powered hi-resolution near-field audio-delivery system for music, movies, and video gaming. The included inputs cover the gambit of digital: USB, Optical, along with a specific digital input designed to get the most out of Sony’s Walkman® and other Sony Signature Series DAPs.

Sony also included various ways to tailor the sound experience with “blend ratio of the digital and analogue amplifier”, “control of the assist woofer motion”, “cut-off frequency of the assist woofer”, “the ‘assist tweeter’ time alignment.” 

The acoustic design concept of SA-Z1 is that of an ideal point-source.… Read the full article

Astell & Kern Talks Layla, Beyer and Activo – RMAF 2019

By | September 11th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , |


Astell & Kern has been on a roll this summer, with new IEMs and DAPs making waves, as reported at CanJam SoCal 2019.

Much is the same with Astell & Kern at the Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest, as they release a few “brand-brand-new” products. Starting with the new third generation Layla IEMs. The Layla platform is a collaboration product made by Jerry Harvey Audio. Astell & Kern has been partnering with Jerry Harvey Audio and Beyerdynamic for quite some time now, so it’s no surprise that the new Layla’s come with pedigree build, sound, and history in the Astell & Kern brand.… Read the full article

Focal Revamps Entry-Level Offerings With The Chora Speaker Line

By | September 10th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , |

Focal Chora 806

Thursday night at Rocky Mountain Audiofest held a special surprise for a few select members of the audiophile press. Lucky for us, we were pulled into a off-site meeting to see (and be one of the first to hear) a new range of budget-oriented loudspeakers from hifi favorite Focal.

Even though the line starts at a meager (at least for audiophiles) $800/pair for the Chora 806 standmounts, the loudspeakers are still constructed in facilities in Focal’s home of France. The media presentation we heard emphasized the new driver tech and the tooling, assembling, machining and home grown expertise associated with them.… Read the full article

Vinnie Rossi, Innuos, QLN & Well Pleased AV – RMAF 2019

By | September 10th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , , , , |

First things first at RMAF 2019, I had to see, hear, and lay hands on the new Vinnie Rossi L2 ‘Signature Edition’ Integrated Amplifier (L2i-SE, $18,995 USD).

But before I begin, let’s backtrack to 2018 where Vinnie Rossi showed us their new L2 Signature Preamp and Monoblocks. In that selection of components, DAC and phono cards, you’d be looking at nearly $37,000 USD to complete the electronics portion of the system. Now enter the new integrated in Signature Edition (~$19k) and Standard (~$13k) with the option to install both the DAC and Phono cards at (~$3,5k ea).… Read the full article

Time To Hit The Mountains – RMAF 2019

By | August 27th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , |

Rocky Mountain Audiofest 2019

The road to the Rocky Mountains has been a bit bumpy this year, but as Denver’s big audio show draws close I still can’t help but be excited for the event that has really been one of the biggest draws for press and product releases for as long as I’ve been running this site.

A quick perusal of the exhibitors on the RMAF site does give a small taste of perhaps less overall demo rooms than previous years. Still, big names are attending and PR meetings have us nearly booked solid already.… Read the full article

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A Schiit Shootout – 5 Turntable Cartridges Compared!

By | August 14th, 2019|Categories: Audiohead|Tags: , , |

Grado Black 2, Nagaoka MP11, Micro-Acoustics 2002e, Decca Mk. V Maroon and Dynavector 10x5 review.

It was another warm Thursday afternoon where I found myself heading up to Newhall, CA to test out another round of gear at Schiit Audio’s retail establishment appropriately called the SchiitR. The subject of today’s scrutiny was a bit of twist however, as the budget-friendly audio company is in preparation for the launch of their first turntable called the Sol.

The long-anticipated turntable will not ship with a stylus/cartridge, so the team of all things Schiit reasonably predicated that it would be a cool experience to put some options back-to-back though a full loom of their own gear – starting with Sol and ending with a pair of Magnepan 1.7i ($2k) loudspeakers.… Read the full article

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