Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
We are now one month away from the 14th annual Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, held as always down in Denver’s Tech Center at the DTC Marriott. This year, it starts at noon Friday, Oct. 6, and concludes at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8.
Every year, I give a heads up about Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, and still, surprisingly few of my music friends know about it or have gone down to attend. I need to find a way to change that — RMAF is a place to get your mind, not your ears, blown to bits by beautiful sound.
High-end audio is a sensory treat that is more rare in our age of small Bluetooth speakers than ever before. A Taste of Colorado is a hugely popular Denver festival that celebrates the sense of taste. You can consider this “A Sound of Colorado,” as many Colorado-based high-end audio companies will be showing off their stuff.
Speaking of, Colorado is a unique hot spot for high-end audio companies. By that, I mean stereo systems built with no compromises, some sporting very fancy casework to stand out in finely furnished homes. A handful of companies in Boulder (I work for one) and companies like YG Acoustics in Arvada (making $200,000 speakers) are littered along the Front Range.
Most of all, high-end audio is defined by the sensory experience. Drive down to RMAF next month, and you can listen to a mono (i.e., not stereo) version of a Beatles record played back on all mono gear and have to pick up your jaw from the holographic richness of the sound. You can visit a home theater room and enjoy a display of surround technology that places 60 speakers above you and rumbles the low end with 16 subwoofers.
You can fire up the Abyss headphones ($6,000) on the Woo Audio WA-234 tube monoblocks ($15,000 a pair) and listen to anything you want streaming over Tidal. Listen to your favorite jam while you hog the cans, because the only time most of us can listen to that expensive pairing is at this show.
There will be over 160 rooms and booths, featuring more than 400 companies from around the world. There’s an entire festival within the festival called CanJam that is focused solely on headphones and portable audio. There is no way for me to write about every aspect of this show, but I’m trying.
The common denominator when you get there will be music, playing in 160-plus different areas in one hotel at once, all featuring the world’s best music playback devices. Do yourself a favor and clear the weekend now.
Also in October will be an exciting CD release from one of Boulder’s most beloved bluegrass and Americana bands, Monocle. The new album, recorded at Boulder’s eTown studios and featuring audio wizard Jon McVey as producer, will come out the same day as the band’s epic release party at Planet Bluegrass’ Wildflower Pavilion. Friday, Oct. 20, will see the amazing John Stickley trio opening for Monocle, which is already reason enough to go. Monocle’s hot new album will be available as well, so make sure you don’t miss it.