The Troy Audio room was one we were looking forward to seeing this year. Troy's room last year was a TMR staff favorite for a couple of reasons, and we were anxious to see what they were going to bring this time.
Troy’s ostentatious mega speakers harken back to a fun time in the history of audio, when 30 foot horns piped sound waves through the projection screen to enraptured movie theater audiences beyond. Talking about the Western Electric / Altec golden age, with speakers like the WE15A or the Altec Voice of the Theatre systems.
I guess it makes sense - if anyone in the hifi industry was going to have a thing for vintage looks and approaches, it would probably be us.
So anyway, last year did you see the external crossovers on Troy’s Hellena Mk II big boy floorstanders? Those were back, but in a redesigned layout and enclosure this time. Last year the big speakers from the small company were stuffed into a small room off the side, through a closed, unmarked door. Representatives from Troy in the main room didn’t even acknowledge the existence of the small room. But if you knew to ask…
…You were ushered into this tiny room, offered whiskey, and plopped down in front of sonic monstrosities. The external crossovers were massive, and almost as eye-catching as the speakers. I couldn’t help but notice some of the world’s finest capacitors and inductors resting atop the huge boards — pricey Duelund all over the place.
Well, this year at Rocky Mountain Audio Festival, we got to hear the Hellenas in a proper room. Troy was back, and showing in a big room that gave the listener and setup enough space. They set a mood that I think was perfect, a bit dark, with lights and the main focus on the statuesque Mk II beasts and their beautiful wood grain finish.
Alright, moving on. Next up for us was the Zu Audio room. If you’ve been to an audio show before, you can guess just how well-lit the Zu room was. At first visit, it was too dark to take photos, but we stayed for a minute and listened.
Classic Zu sound — fast and a bit forward, and some interesting records spinning to boot. The Druid VI floorstanders were playing, and people were digging the vinyl. Come to think of it… have I ever seen this many turntables as sources for RMAF before? I really think no, and in the age of Roon and Qobuz, that is something.
It’s not the best kept secret that the Zu folks throw a record-spinning rager of a party in their room after hours each year, but the word was that this time, the Gaylord staff snuffed it out before it really heated up.
Ah, well. You can’t help but love the Zu spirit.
Alsyvox is a brand that was foreign to me, but after just about 30 seconds in their room it is now a brand I will never forget. Based in Spain, they make full range ribbon speakers. They brought their Botticelli speakers to show in a very large room — a difficult load for ribbon speakers, to be sure!
Thoughts about room loading and dynamics came to me later; as long as I was in the Alsyvox room, I was transfixed. Everywhere in the room in front of the speakers was a “sweet spot.” Sound filled the air, and instruments held their position no matter where you wandered in there.
Alsyvox were showing with Omega Audio Concepts, whose clean, metal boxes hid very intricate mechanical and electrical functions. The bright red loom of interconnects and umbilicals off the back made for an eye-catching display to be sure.
The pairing was magical in there. So much so, I had to stop back in a couple times throughout the show. Well done, Alsyvox.