Memories of RMAF 2018 (Rocky Mountain Audio Festival)
Our intrepid writer continues forth with observations from this year’s RMAF…
NOLA Metro Grand Reference Gold 2 with VAC Sigma 160i Integrated amplifier and ARC Reference CD Player
This room gets a nod as one of the three best sounds at the show. What’s so amazing and right, is that the system components are just a real good CD player and integrated tube amplifier! I believe that simplicity rewards the listener and exhibits and showcases excellence in well-designed equipment. Don’t get me wrong, years of toil with trial and error makes this all happen. Carl Marchisotto the creator of the NOLA Metro Grand Reference Gold 2 has a track record of successful speaker designs over the years. Remember, he is the man that succeeded the famed Jon Dahlquist designer of the revolutionary DQ-10 open baffled speaker. One of the top ten of all time! The DQ-10 was my first audiophile speaker. Carl, stepped in and instantly gleaned the gestalt of Jon Dahlquist to further the legacy and innovation of Dahlquist speakers.
Carl, thrived for nearly 15 years with the company and afterwards launched the ALON speaker company, along with his wife Marilyn. He received more accolades and awards designing ALON speakers. Then Carl went on to establish his next company, NOLA. Yes, it’s ALON spelled in reverse. Took me a couple of years to catch on, duh, McFly! So, for $40K you get the NOLA Metro Grand Reference Gold 2, a culmination of all the talent and knowledge that Mr. Marchisotto can bring to the table. What a feast for the senses! Good looks with great sound reproduction. Not the top of the line of NOLA’s line-up!
I walked in the room and greeted Carl, Marilyn and Kristen. Then was offered some cookies and coffee. Nice family-Ahh, what a friendly presentation, with the full intention of having fun, ladened with smiles and warmth. Refreshing!
First track I heard was a CD of Reference Recording’s Beethoven & Strauss performed by the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra – OPEN-OPEN-OPEN. . . transparent and full of life, with musicality and unrestricted dynamics – You could hear the speaker inhale and exhale like a living organic being. If I had a stethoscope, I would have been trying to detect a heartbeat in the speaker. No tricks, no alphabet soup of technology loaded with acronyms, just well recorded music with superb playback instruments.
Carl, was sitting off to the side and could hear perfectly what was going on in the system Great speakers will do that. I own a pair of panel speakers and can hear imaging and spatial cues off to the side as well. Open baffle on the midrange and tweeter, something he learned at Dahlquist one might presume?
You know, when you are driving down from a mountain there is that point where your ears pop and you can hear clearly once again? Well, that was the Ah-Ha moment for me with the NOLA speaker. One of the vendors for ribbon tweeters was in the room and was floored how good the speaker sounded. He was right!
I look forward to reviewing the NOLA Brio system in the next few weeks. What can Carl design in a small package that captures his magic? Stay tuned for that review.
The NOLA Brio System
Two sub satellite speakers, open baffle paired with two sub-woofers. Can be placed in small to mid sized rooms.