I went to the Show at the Pullman Mercure Hotel on 2 July 2016.
The stand out audio experience was in the Telos Audio Distributors room where a Studer tape deck (formerly owned by Lee Ritenour) played a recording of Louis Armstrong’s St James Infirmary Blues through Ypsilon SET-100 amps into German Physiks speakers. This was simply the most jaw droppingly realistic audio reproduction I have ever heard, drawing applause from a roomful of jaded audiophiles.
I didn’t see any Roon Ready signs (have to get some organised for next year) but there were three rooms I visited where Roon was being used for playback.
Richter Acoustics were using a PS Audio Directstream DAC as a Roon endpoint into their own integrated tube amp and speakers. I’ve never owned their gear but wouldn’t hesitate to reccomend it to Australian Roonies. Well worth checking out.
In the Richter room I had a conversation with a Cambridge Audio rep who was a keen fan of Roon personally, but hadn’t heard of any plans for CA to become Roon Ready. He wistfully noted that all it would take was a firmware upgrade.
Holton Precision Audio were showing their Ex Nihilo monoblocks driving some PureAudioProject open baffle speakers fed by a Roon Ready TotalDAC . A very popular room meant I didn’t get a good listen, but definitely a crowd favourite.
My sheer value for money pick had to go to the McLeans room which was showing Magnepan planar speakers driven by Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL preamp and a Sanders Magtech power amp using the fascinating (and about to be certified Roon Ready) DeqX Preamp Processor as a DAC and Roon endpoint. They were playing Beck’s Morning Phase in the room. I went and stood up the back to get the full effect, and it was quite lovely. Beautiful top-end on the Maggies. Not sure if they had dialled in the very interesting room treatment capabilities of the DeqX but the panel sub was doing a good tight controlled bass. Bill McLean asked me if I always had a smile on my face and I had to tell him only when listening to such music. If I was at the show to buy speakers I would probably be getting some Magnepans.
Quite a few rooms had vinyl source, which all sounded better than my sadly neglected turntable. Some Tidal, a lot of CD and a few other streamers.
Roon hasn’t caught on as much here, possibly because of the deterioration in the exchange rate, but those who had used it were very enthusiastic.
Also can’t leave the Show report without mentioning bumping into my old friend Gary Cawsey who was not exhibiting but builds some beautiful 10 watt Class A solid state amps to drive his Heil driver hybrid speakers. Well worth checking out for anyone in Melbourne (Now at 41 Edward St, Brunswick, website hasn’t caught up).