Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2013 • Best of Show

We've heard Rockport Avior speakers ($29,500/pair) at CES, and they reprised that impressive performance at the RMAF, though with completely different electronics and ancillaries. This time dealer Xact Audio supplied Absolare Passion Signature 845 single-ended amps ($48,500/pair) and an Absolare Passion Signature line stage ($32,500). The source was the mighty Kodo The Beat Signature direct-drive turntable ($34,500) with Schröder LT tonearm ($9900) and Lyra Atlas cartridge ($9500), all fronting an Allnic H-3000 phono stage ($11,900), another product we know well. Echole interconnects, speaker cables and power cords connected or powered everything, with an Absolare Bybee Purifier ($7250) cleaning up the power.

This was a system for people who didn't just want to hear the music -- they could feel it too, both in terms of the powerful, palpable sound as well as the connection the system facilitated. A recording we recently reviewed, Duke Ellington's Big Bands Live, came alive with whip-crack transients and the overwhelming mass of the Ellington orchestra as it swelled to crescendo.

We asked those running the room what they liked about Rockport speakers, which they also used at this year's CES, and the answer was, "They're not polarizing like other brands." It's hard to argue with such common sense.

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