Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 – Big Changes Afoot

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest this year is undergoing some significant changes. The departure of CanJam and the change of venue to the Gaylord Rockies is a big opportunity for things to go both wrong and right.

Two of the biggest downsides are the expense and size of the hotel.

Gaylord hotels have a reputation for being enormous and ostentatious, and this one is no different. The views and hotel space are stunningly well-appointed and spacious. A little too spacious – the show was scattered across the extremely large hotel and convention center, along with at least two other conventions. Price-wise, the hotel is anything but affordable. Everything from rooms to meals to snacks from the hotel shop were quite expensive. There was a noticeable absence of certain booths and rooms.

Complaints about the venue aside, this RMAF has so far proven a much nicer experience than previous years. The elevators and navigation of the show were much more straightforward, and the show was much more manageably sized than in previous years. The headphone side had a few fresh faces alongside familiar ones, and while it was reduced in size from last year, it was still a decently-proportioned event. It also meant it was possible to spend more time at each booth and take deeper dives into the products.

One of the benefits of a smaller vendor pool meant that manufacturers could, and did share products between tables, resulting in some really nice combinations, as well as overall greater variety. It also meant that the booths on display tended to have only their best or newest products on display, which expedited the showgoing process and again meant attendees could spend more time listening to new and excellent products and combinations. I for one appreciated this after the long walks to the far end of the Gaylord, where the headphone area was located.

Aside from all the practical aspects of the show, there were some interesting gatherings and seminars planned. Of particular note, there was an informal ‘Under 40’ dinner planned on Friday, which looks to be quite interesting. It remains to be seen how many of those who show up will be from the headphone world. I’ll report back on that later. There’s also a seminar entitled ‘Blockchain and Hip-Hop: Smart Money’ which is certainly not something I expected to see at RMAF, but has the potential to be quite interesting. So far, the exhibitors I’ve spoken with have all been ones who really seem to ‘get’ the hobby. Whether the cost or some other reason is at play, I’m optimistic about the dedication and attention to setup paid by these exhibitors.

More to come with coverage this year, as of this writing, I’ve just arrived in Denver after an eleven hour roadtrip from Chicago to Colorado. I plan to hit the headphone area first thing, and I’m happy to report that my initial research and talks with exhibitors indicates that one thing hasn’t changed at this year’s RMAF: there will be a ton of new products released and on display at the show. That’s all for now, up next – the products.

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest

Skycyclepilot's picture

They don't refer to "Gaylord" as "Greedlord" in the Nashville area for nothing...

SalvorHardin's picture

Was Chord Electronics there? Some of us were kinda patiently waiting for a 2go announcement. Sorry to be so focused.