Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2011 • TABlog

by Marc Mickelson | October 16, 2011

On Saturday, I participated in a panel discussion on the future of high-end audio. Perhaps the chief concern of the attendees was how the high-end-audio industry would "build a bridge to the next generation of audiophiles." Well, the CanJam meet held during the RMAF has already begun construction. Here, personal listening and high performance merge, and the audiophile ethic of maximizing performance -- and accepting fanaticism in the quest for better sound -- is also alive and well. Jude Mansilla (above), the founder of, which organizes CanJam, showed his personal listening kit, which he carried with him as he auditioned 'phones and sources around CanJam. It includes multiple headphone amps -- the audiophile equivalent of multiple amps and preamps -- all conveniently at the ready.

Retailers are also promoting this ethic. TTVJ, which manufactures a number of different products, including the fine Apex amps, set up multiple tables crammed with headphones, amps and sources. The sheer number of combinations that attendees could hear here was staggering.

Best of all, this is a bridge for which every audiophile can happily tote a few bricks, as the performance of many of these systems was astoundingly good. So even if we can't sit young people down in our personal listening lairs and blow their minds with our audio systems, we can begin to understand the ways in which they listen -- and perhaps show them how they can be vastly improved without changing habits. Quality always has been, and always will be, its own reward.

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