Rocky Mountain Low

The Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is happening this weekend in Denver and I’m here to introduce some new folks to my recordings and let regulars know about some of our latest releases. On Sunday morning, I’m presenting a seminar on the producing high-end audio that will cover the nitty gritty of how producers of audiophile records create them. My seminar will be held at 9:00 am, so if you’re attending the show you’ll want to get up early.

Coming to the Denver area has been a regular trip for me over the past 30 years. My sister and brother-in-law have a beautiful home a few miles of 4 Mile Canyon just outside of Boulder. I’m very fortunate that I can visit them, do some hiking or search for some gold Aspen stands and spend time at the show as well. This particular visit to Boulder was different than years past. The recent “100 flood” that has devastated a very large portion of the state includes the canyon where my sister has her home (the home that was rebuilt after the previous one was burned to the ground 3 years ago in the 4-Mile Canyon fire). The pictures don’t communicate the reality of the destruction.

I got here after dark on Wednesday evening. After a couple of Margaritas with my sister one of her daughters, we headed up the back way to her home. I knew the bridge to her house had been serious damaged by the 30 foot wall of water that came rampaging down the otherwise docile creek but it wasn’t until I took my morning 4 mile run up and down the road that I realized just how bad things are. There are cars crumpled and wrapped around trees and houses that have been undercut by the new path of the water and literally cut in half. I’ve heard the 1800 homes were destroyed and another 16,000 damaged. It’s amazing to walk up to Gold Hill and see the amount of damage that the water caused.

I’ve been coming to the RMAF for many years and have been participating for at least the last 4-5 years. I guess it was about 5 years ago that the late Al Stiefel, one of the original founders of the RMAF, and I met and shared a meal in downtown Denver. I recall that meeting very well because of Al’s obvious enthusiasm and commitment to high-end audio and because he was one of those people that got it. I mean all it took was one listen to my High Resolution Audio Sampler and Al, a traditional 2-channel analog guy, recognized that “this was something completely new and different”. I couldn’t of been happier at his endorsement of high-resolution surround audio. He knew it would take a long time for audiophiles to grasp the magic in those tracks but he knew they would eventually.

One of the first years that I exhibited at the show, I collaborated with German Physiks speakers with my custom high-resolution audio server AND I had my associate Dominic tending a room upstairs equipped with a surround set of B&W speakers, Boulder amplification and an Oppo BDP-83 blu-ray player. There was pretty good traffic in the room but Dominic related that many of the audiophiles that stuck their heads in the room turned around an exited because they perceived the setup as a “home theater” and therefore it couldn’t produce compelling audio. I’ve run into this in subsequent demonstration rooms. It seems if I have more than 2 speakers playing music, then I’m not serious about high-end audio.

Al was one of those that got it. He was intelligent enough to know that embracing something new doesn’t necessarily mean you have to abandon something else. It is possible to enjoy and appreciate a great stereo analog recording AND enjoy a superb surround music presentation at 96 kHz/24-bits. Those intrepid show attendees that make the commitment to enter one of my demonstration rooms and seriously listen to the music presented are usually enthusiastic Sometimes they are over the top! But never are they disappointed.

If you happen to be in Denver this weekend, please stop by the AIX Records sales table. I love to meet current customers and as you might have guessed, I do like to talk about the world of high-end audio.

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