Rocky Mountain Audio Fest ? Our first international reviews !

We had a wonderful time in Rocky Mountain Audio Fest and we would like to thank again Francisco Jileta, the man behind Troy Audio who built for this show the stunning Hellena speakers. A stunning speaker that clearly surprised everybody, and us the first (even though we prepared for it). Huge speakers with a  huge and a clear sound that would just fit in our room and still provide a very coherent and solid musical presentation. High efficiency as we like it : fast, powerful and taking you with the music, inside the music.

Around the speakers were used Jesus Trilo resonators, Silent Racks, Triode Corporation electronics, Charles King head amp for tapes, Garrard 301 modded by Xact Audio, and of course Frank Schröder CB-L tonearms with the surprising Tiny Giant turntable. We played also our own La 103 .three and TNT15 evolve cartridges in combination with our Le Phono … phonostage.

You can look at a short video of the global set-up here on youtube.

Here is what Herbert Reichert wrote about us in  Stereophile : 

“It was extremely nice to see, hug, and chat with my tall French friend Francois Saint-Gerand (and his new wife, Ana, who, every time we meet, renews my faith in the Force of Life that put us all here). Francois’ company, Ana Mighty Sound, makes moving-coil phono cartridges—their newest cartridge model is the TNT 15 (price on request)—that always sound electrifying. Today, the TNT 15 was mounted on a custom Schröder arm (also price on request), itself mounted on a restored and enhanced (and very beautiful) vintage Garrard 301 turntable (price high and variable).

Also in use was Frank Schröder’s own diminutive looking—but heavy—Pabst-motored, rim-drive design ($6000). I heard it play only two records, but that was more than enough for me to recognize this little shoe-box-plinthed beauty can punch it out with the best anywhere. It seemed more alive, direct, and precise, than the all-out Garrard 301 sitting behind it.

Ana Mighty Sound’s newest product is the $3600 Le Phono phono stage, which was driving a Triode Corporation TRX-1 line-level preamp ($3000) and TRX-P3H triode tube amplifier ($6500) pushing the brand new Troy Audio Hellena loudspeakers ($100,000/pair). Interconnects, power and loudspeaker cables were by the venerable Japanese company: Zonotone.

Troy’s Hellena loudspeakers are giant, shiny, 330 lb four-ways. They employ new Altec and Fostex drivers and are made in Mexico City by Francois’ old friend, and Troy’s super-passionate owner-engineer, Francisco Jileta.

I listened to some extraordinary records like Dom La Nema’s Cantando (Francois has the world’s best taste in music), and all sounded naturally vigorous, tuneful, and sunshine bright. Transient speed and instrumental tone were there in good measure, but I could not escape noticing a slightly coarse top octave. When Francisco asked if $100,000 was too high a price, I laughed pretentiously, and told señor Jileta,”You should upgrade the tweeter and double the price!” He frowned sternly. Then more hugs and kisses (on both cheeks) to everyone, and back to halls. (I had over 100 rooms left to cover.)”

Stephen Marsh of expressed these opinions : 

“The Troy Audio Hellena speakers ($100’000/pr) employ modern takes from Great Plains Audio on vintage Altec 604 duplex units.  Mexican manufacturer Francisco Jileta incorporated the 15″ 604-8K-III duplex with a 15” 416-8B woofer and Fostex horn tweeter all with AlNiCo magnets. This speaker was apparently finished just prior to the show. It was rather imposing, standing about five feet tall and weighing ~330lbs/ea.! Triode Corporation supplied the TRX-3 preamplifier and TRX-P3M 300B amplifiers (parallel 300B monoblocks of 20W). The speakers exceed 100dB sensitivity so the amps had no trouble driving them full range. Sources included 1/ a Garrard 301 turntable with Steve Dobbins plinth and Schröder CB tonearm, Ana Mighty Sound TNT15 Evolve MC cartridge (a modified EMT TSD15, see right), 2/ a Sonorus PR-99 tape deck with Cello/King tape head amp, 3/ a Metronome CD8s CD player with DiDiT DAC SE. Cables were by Zonotone, a name new to me. 

Francois Saint-Gerand represented the Ana Mighty Sound cartridges and was kind enough to show me a series of photos on his cell phone which showed their step-by-step cartridge repair procedure. They work on many different brands and the photos suggested fine workmanship. Francois showed great enthusiasm for his work and I really enjoyed his entertaining style while he headed up this room. At one point he put on a record and muttered softly “let’s see if this drives people out” in mischievous jest. I laughed out loud as I found his music selections to be quite engaging. The system exhibited good dynamics and tonal balance and Francois’ cartridge was revealing plenty of nuances. Owning a pair of vintage 604B Duplex, I’m a fan of vintage Altecs and liked what I heard. Although the Altec drivers are designed to limit dispersion to 60° for monitoring so side wall reflections are less of an issue, I would still love to hear what these might do in a larger room where they could be played louder. Last but not least, all of the exhibitors in this room were genuinels in this room were genuinely nice folks and I came back several times for both the sound and the inviting atmosphere.”

And we a had also a few more nice words about our set-up by Clement Perry of Stereo Times : 
“The source was entirely vinyl throughout my 90 minute stay…Yes, I got stuck trying to figure out what was going on in this room. The overall sound was pretty incredible not just from a sonic aspect but from a component aspect as well. I would consider myself somewhat knowedgeable with regard to the names of manufacturers, yet there were names here that I never heard of. Wouldn’t have mattered if the sound was forgettable. But because it was so utterly delightful, I needed to know who these folks were. ” 

Well, dear Clement, it was the cartridges and phonostage from Ana Mighty Sound, (yes us !!!), the tonearms and turntable from Frank Schröder…

Thank you for all these kind words Clement, Steve and Herb !

Last but not least, we would also like to share a photo of the team who allowed us all such a great success for our first show at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and souls to all of you again !

Our next shows will bring us to :

  • Vienna, Austria  on the 11th-12th of November with Wolf von Langa speakers, Air Tight and Total Dac electronics
  • Haute Fidélité show in Paris (France) on the 18th-19th February

We are hoping to meet you there to share even more Ana Mighty Sound adventures !