The Symposium Acoustics Panorama loudspeaker project is a revolving RMAF event. Each year certain adjustments are incorporated and the speakers sound better and better every time. This year Essential Cables connected the Emotive amps to the rest of the setup. It was another festive part of the event to find a designer not afraid to experiment in public. The result of many years of trial and no doubt error now was a wonderfully transparent sound all over the room.

Rau is a newcomer to the market and they approached things differently. First, they launched a complete line from pre to power amp to speakers. Then they applied different concepts to each of these. The most outspoken was the use of wooden heat sink fins on the power amps. Why not, wood does conduct heat but without nasty ringing like aluminum. It might even add to the natural sound of the overall amplifier. Also peculiar was the use of an extra fill-in ambiance tweeter front-mounted with a horn. Most other designs that add ambient tweeters place them at the back. Let's see if this tweeter stays put in the future.

Hurray, another open baffle, here with Emerald Physics. This CS2 Controlled Directivity Dipole speaker has a built-in DSP engine to manage amplitude response, the active crossover and time alignment. Partly uncovered at the back sat the 1" compression driver vented through a 12" waveguide upfront. Frequencies below 1kHz are handled by a pair of 15" paper cone woofers fully covered by stretched cloth. For us, these speakers were one of the revelations of the show, producing a very natural sound in the room. With its active crossover design, these speakers just beg for bi-amp experiments. With a sensitivity of 100dB and a friendly >4-ohm impedance, small tube amps especially on the top -- or D-class as in Denver -- will make these speakers really friendly for our hobby.

Silicon Arts Design electronics showed with the Escalante Fremont loudspeakers in combination with their own CF-80 preamp and ZL-120 monoblocks for another happy combination.

Though we don't view a deep soundstage as a necessity and have never experienced one in live circumstances, the Bel Canto room had one. Speakers from Pioneer's Technical Audio Devices or TAD were responsible for this effect.

Mark & Daniel had a good-sounding demonstration as they often do.

Moon Audio showed with a Selah Galena loudspeaker that used a Fountek ribbon tweeter. As the sign shows, prices are reasonable and the sound was more than that.

Ofra and Eli Gershman changed. No, they did not abandon the black-clad Swan or the other tapered design, the AvantGarde. Those were safely on active display and, as every year at RMAF, a sound reason to stop, sit and listen for a while. No, they added a square-boxed speaker to the line. Before you think "Huh?', there's still pyramidal tapering going on, just inside the cabinet. The new Sonogram has its standing-wave corrupting construction outside-in. Rated at 89dB and 6 ohms, the speaker is easy on electronics and spousal (M/F) approval. With the large Black Swan, a Wadia CDP, a VAC preamp and a pair of Clayton Audio M-300 monoblocks, the Gershmans had another very nice combination.

The Rives/Talon room was another example of synergy between environment and speakers. Of course Rives Audio lives and breathes acoustics and they can do wonders with rebuilding or restructuring rooms and entire homes yet what they did here with simple means paid off, too. Gear wise, the setup was far from simple - a Wadia CD player, a VAC Alpha integrated not yet in production and finally the Talon Hawks loudspeakers accompanied by one passive Talon Thunderbird subwoofer. We very much liked the wholeness of the room/gear combination where music was everywhere in proportion and not just in that single point (of failure if you're a breathing, moving human with friends).

Another change of MO was found at Todd Garfinkle's MA Recordings room. Todd is almost synonymous with Stax earphones. At every show he attends -- and he attends a lot -- he can be found with twin pairs of these wonderful electrostatic headphones. Now can was changed to could when, for RAMF 2007, Todd displayed with PSD T3 speakers. Speakers of course need room
so Todd's customary booth was abandoned and he teamed up with Nobuyoshi Ohyama of PSD to make things work, with the MA albums on display and for sale, the PSD loudspeakers playing the music. As front end, a Sony CDP-MS1 had accompanied Todd over from Japan, together with PSD's own SD05 True Digital Amplifier. The latter is a power DAC with volume control while Sony's CDP sports Anti Standing Wave Construction, meaning there are no parallel surfaces inside the machine. The 3-way T3 speakers use Scan Speak Revelators with a 2.5cm SD-2 tweeter flanked by two 12cm paper-cone mids and a single 22-cm paper cone woofer. Impedance is 4 ohms, sensitivity 88dB. Of course we played some of Todd's latest releases. First was the magnificent Sorrow of the River by Guo Ya-Zhi, a truly amazing Chinese wind instrumentalist with stunning circular breathing technique. The CD opens with a bang on a very big drum which got everyone's attention in the room. This was a DSD recording. Another very nice new MA album was Le Temple du Goût by the Rubato Appassionato ensemble, with bassoon, recorder and violoncello all recorded in a chapel in the Barri Gotic in Barcelona 100% MA style. A funny detail for us Dutchies was that these musicians first met each other in Holland. With all the music played, these unknown electronics and loudspeaker were able to broadcast a highly appreciated sound into the room. PSD is new outside Japan but warrants immediate and serious investigation.

The Tube Amp Store is a newcomer to the HiFi market and their imports concentrate on affordable Chinese tube gear - lots and lots of it.

Audience demonstrated their ClairAudient LSA16 crossover-less line arrays of 50mm fullrange drivers. The bottom frequencies were helped a little by a sub. McCormack amplification delivered the requisite voltages. Here we entered yet another room filled with music not confined to that single egocentric hotspot, again a music, not hifi room. A smaller LSA4 [overlay - Ed.] was on silent display.

In the next room, Sonicweld convinced us once again that sound is in the materials used. The sound we go for is embedded in wood.

The best loudspeaker on earth - or so claims YG Acoustics. Well, we're from the moons, aren't we?