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Place: Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center
Time: October 5-7

Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center
6700 North Gaylord Rockies Blvd., Aurora, CO 80019 720-452-6900


JOHN ZUREK is an editor of the "Positive Feedback" magazine. We met for the first time in Krakow in December 2013, on the occasion of the 91st meeting of the Krakow Sonic Society. Every now and then he sends some text to "High Fidelity". Below you will find a handful of his impressions from the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018. Let me add that this year the "High Fidelity" magazine was second time a member of a jury that awarded best products during the Show.

he Denver Marriott Tech Center played host to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2018 on Friday, October 5, Saturday, October 6, and Sunday, October 7. This was the fourteenth consecutive year for the RMAF at the Marriott, which is considered the largest consumer high-end audio show in North America.

I’ve always the enjoyed the RMAF. Not only is it convenient for me at about an hour drive, but the RMAF was always considered the “fun” show. Quite a contrast to the much more serious tone of CES in Las Vegas, almost everyone who attends this show – manufacturers, audiophiles, and press – seem to enjoy our hobby more at the Denver show that any other I’ve attended.

The show was originally founded by Al Stiefel, and is now under the direction of his wife Marjorie Baumert with volunteer help from the Colorado Audio Society. The Al Stiefel legacy room continues to honor Al’s passion for music by supporting a new manufacturer with an innovative product. The RMAF also featured sixteen seminars from industry professionals featuring a wide range of audio topics, and live entertainment by Lincoln Mayorga and Piano Noir.

Note that many of my photos were taken during the “press access hours”, before the public had access, so these pics ay not represent accurate attendance. That said, the 2018 show seemed to have about average turnout.

Between the Tower rooms, the Lobby, the Atrium, the Marketplace, the Mezzanine, and CanJam, there were approximately 476 exhibits. Covering each of these exhibits would be tough for anyone to accomplish, so I’ve picked the top ten rooms that really spoke to me, regardless of price. They are listed in random order.

| Harbeth/ Vinnie Rossi
The Vinnie Rossi amps were a fabulous match with the big Harbeths. Delicate, detailed, intimate and dynamic, a real joy to listen to. I didn’t want to leave this room.

| Gated HI FI
The Borensen monitors were rich and played with power and finesse driven by Naim electronics. Pricey for a stand-mounted speaker, but great sound!

ELAC speakers were in four different rooms at the show. In my opinion each of those rooms were excellent. What ELAC has done to make great speakers reasonably priced is truly commendable. The ELACs that impressed me most were their new AR-B51 standmounted powered monitors. Gutsy, dynamic, detailed, with a presentation that belied their $2k price tag. I kept looking for the non-existent sub.

| Kii
This DSP-controlled system was easily one of the most uncolored, coherent presentations I’ve ever heard. A total pleasure to listen to.

| Benchmark – Martin Logan
The Logans were a damn-near perfect match with the Benchmark amp. The music just flowed. I could have taken this system home and be perfectly happy. I liked this room much better than the top-of-the-line Martin Logan room with flagship speakers and megabuck amps.

| PS Audio
Paul McGowan’s PS Audio just killed it using their BHK amps and preamps and Direct Stream DAC driving some older Infinity speakers. Not many of the larger rooms sounded this good. PS Audio’s relaxed, full, rich sound is the stuff audiophiles dream about.

| Raidho (Scansonic)
The new, smaller Scansonic MB-5B speaker was a pleasure to listen to. Driven by Simaudio Moon electronics, they were the least expensive ($7500) Raidhos I‘ve heard. They keep the Raidho house sound and just scale things back a bit from their more expensive siblings. Possibly the perfect speaker for a medium sized room.

| Tekton/Parasound
Tekton’s Eric Alexander just seems to knocking one after another out of the ballpark. His newest lines have a lot of people talking and didn’t disappoint. High end performance at reasonable price. Bravo.

| VAC/Von Schwieckert
Wow. The large room that hosted the big Von Schwieckert Ultra 9 ($200k) was to die for. Driven by VAC amps, this system lacked for nothing. My favorite system from this show that I could never afford.

| Zesto / Marten
I’ve never heard a Marten speaker I didn’t like. Although memory fades, I think the Zesto electronics were the best match I’ve heard with the Martens.

| Honorable Mention: Entry Level $5K Room
This room deserves and honorable mention for what can be done with $5000 dollars. For the price it was outstanding!


With the greatly increased popularity of the headphone market over the last decade or so CANJAM has become a major part of the RMAF and continues to grow. It’s like a sovereign little headphonia kingdom that includes the CANJAM Rocky Mountain Events Center room and the Font Range Atrium. Most of the major brands were there, plus many start-ups. It was a pleasure to listen to music and compare gear without room effects interfering.


Still my favorite show, I look forward to attending RMAF 2019. Expect big changes. For year 15 the show is moving to the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, which is close to Denver International Airport. More convenient for those who fly in, but probably less convenient for locals. Dates have also changed and the show will be held September 5-8, 2019.

JOHN ZUREK has been passionate about music and audio as long as he can remember. Growing up in Chicago, he was lucky to be exposed to a wide variety of music that influenced him throughout life. John’s first degree was in music, and he played and taught music for many years before going back to school, getting a technical degree and joining the corporate world . Since then, John spent 30 years in hardware and software engineering as a technical writer and trainer. Now retired, he hopes to never write another technical manual or software user guide again.

John Zurek (on the right) with Tomek, a member of the KSS (on the left) during a meeting of the Krakow Sonic Society in 2013