by Rafe Arnott

Denver is one of those audio shows that requires measured pacing because of the sheer amount of amazing high-fidelity listening opportunities afforded by attending the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival. This year with the host hotel Marriott Denver Tech Centre sporting its new-look digs after an extensive remodel, the atmosphere is buzzing, and lines everywhere are long as music lovers, and gear heads alike jostle for position on the many floors, with more than 100 vendors.

Covering an event of this size, and variety is always a challenge, especially trying to choose which rooms to hit first, but for me it was easy because United Home Audio had paired up their gorgeous reel-to-reel tape players with Classic Audio Speakers, Atma-Sphere amplification, and Purist Audio Design cabling on the lobby level.

Greg Beron runs United Home Audio, and the $28,000 USD UHA OPS-DC Tape Deck with outboard power supply he had set up is the stuff tape dreams are made of. I know, I know… tape? Yes. If you’ve not heard a properly set-up reel-to-reel in a curated sound system you really do not understand how devastatingly great the playback is. It eclipses some of the best vinyl rigs I’ve heard out there with its incredible sound stage capabilities, organic sonic textures (think drum sticks on skins), high-hat/cymbal shimmer, and decay, and absolutely lifelike vocals, strings, and piano.

The transducers in this setup were the T-3 4 Field Coil Classic Audio Loudspeakers that come in at $54,950 USD which we’re being fed by the Atma-Sphere MP.1 Mark 3.3 preamp ($18,900 USD), and Novacron Mark 3.3 power amp ($22,200 USD). The new Neptune Series AC, Balanced, and Speaker cables were all Purist Audio Design, with a system-wide total retail of $45,000 USD.

I didn’t get a chance to hear the Kuzma turntable that was also fronting this setup, but I’m hoping to have time to get back so I can compare how it stacks up to the tape deck.