My Axpona Report [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Mr Peabody
04-26-2015, 08:33 PM
This will be difficult to read without line breaks the the forum is giving me a fit and I don't want to lose what I write. We rolled into the show late Friday afternoon, did take in a few rooms but that night Patricia Barber live. Not a very large crowd, maybe because no seating, everyone had to stand. Good show though and afterward she signed CD's. Yes, I got mine and even got a pic with her. She was nice and had a sense of humor. I will begin with best of show which I didn't think I could choose one until wandering into the Tidal room last day and knew if I could put any system in my room it would be that one. German electronics & speakers with the Bricasti DAC as source. My 2nd pick would be Sadurni speakers driven by Merrill amps. The Sadurni are horn speakers that sounded better than any horn I've ever heard, resolution, extension, no harshness, I can't even begin really to describe the look. The Merrill amps should be on everyone's radar, these are Class D that were so smooth and musical they could drive 108 dB efficient horns with no hint of anything that would be fatiguing. "Wow factor", MBL playing master tapes on reel, concert level sound pressure crystal clear and sounding great. They had a master track from James Newton Howard & Friends, spectacular. D'Agostino driving Wilson Alexandria, very good but I still would prefer the MBL. My first listen to Quad speakers, I really enjoyed them, full electrostat, no dynamic drivers and the bass was deep. The guy told us that Quad will be distributed again in the U.S. by him, who works for a division of Mobile Fidelity. They were playing vinyl but I forgot which table. Another company I really enjoyed and more on the affordable side if a $4k component is affordable, it's just that when hearing all the mega dollar systems ATC had a great sound. ATC from England, does Pro sound as well and been in business for decades. I would describe them as neutral will a live presence, like a studio monitor, not sterile, enjoyable. In the "wow" and nearly tied for 2nd best in show was Bricasti, their DAC directly into their new $30k a pair monoblocks driving Tidal speakers. As I seen all off these on different days etc. I probably shouldn't try to rank, except I'm sure on Tidal, I fell in love. I saw a $499.00 powered speaker that just shocked us all when we were told the price, made by Vanidu, I hope I selled that correctly. I would have to give some type of an award to the Parasound integrated, maybe "best bang for buck product". Parasound is known for this but the integrated is a new benchmark having essential the same preamp section as a P5, a built in DAC which is better than their $500.00 or so stand alone and a high power amp section, I forgot the specs. I talked a good while with Richard Schram who was very friendly and nice to me. Halo was amping for the KEF room who was showing one of the Blade models, the Ref5 which sounded very good & the LS50's. Johan from KEF was demonstrating by going back and forth between the LS50's and the Blade how their speakers are voiced similarly it just depends on your room size, budget, associated gear, etc. I heard a set of Maggie 3.7's driven by a Pass X250.5 that impressed me, I never heard Maggie's do bass like that and I felt it in my chest. The room was actually Exasound who makes a very reasonable priced high quality DAC. This is just the highlights there was a lot more, like retailers were there as well, I heard Levinson monoblocks drive Dynaudio Platinums which needed a larger room but still good. Levinson was there driving JBL Everests which needed more room. I'm not sure how to spell the gear that was driving the Harbeth so I will let Blackraven talk about them, he enjoyed them a lot, and they were pretty good. It's interesting how opinions vary on gear at the show based on music is played and what else is going on in the room, not to mention taste. So I guess if observers agree on something you know it must have been doing something right. I feel those who took time to treat the room was ahead of the game. Legacy was there showing their 3 top models, the V at $50k was very good, it has it's own ouboard crossover with room correction DSP and microphone, built in power for what I believe was three 15's but I didn't get an upclose look to see if any were like in back or side. Vapor Audio showed a top model. Let me sum by saying I had a great weekend.

04-27-2015, 06:50 AM
Thanks, Mr P,

A great review, (apart from lack of paragraphation).

Mr Peabody
04-27-2015, 09:40 AM
Yeah, I'm not sure what the deal is, when I hit the return key the screen starts jumping and it's difficult to get my cursor back where I want it in the edit box. It could be a software conflict or something.

In addition, I'd like to add the MBL & Sadurni rooms used SMT room treatments which are more of a diffuser than a deadening treatment, so it allows your system to still sound lively and not dull due to too much damping. There was also a guy who rented two rooms alike, side by side, and placed two exact systems in each room, one room was acoustically treated and the other was not, if you listened to one he almost insisted you hear the other. I thought the difference was obvious and it did show the importance of treating your room. I thought the bass was better, detail easier to hear, and overall more enjoyable in the treated room. I got the impression Blackraven wasn't so impressed but he tends to enjoy a more lively room.