News from Axpona from Mr. P [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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04-18-2016, 12:43 PM
Mr. P sent me this email and asked me to post his review of Axpona because he was having trouble posting it.


Hereís what I was going to post at AR. The site is acting crazy with my computer for some reason, if one of you can cut and paste it that would be great. I started a thread already just to say I tried and where the report can be read for anyone interested.

A lot of exhibits so this may be long but still just scratching the surface.

I will start with "wow" factor first. The MBL room was awesome. My 2nd pass through I think they were trying to see how much SPL they could recreate and not sure if they made adjustments or different seating, seemed the top end was more bright, could have just been the loudness. The amps were huge and if you havenít seen them try to search and have a look at the speakers, really unique looking.

Tidal, of course, sounded incredible. When I was in there they wouldn't veer off the Jazz/audiophile type music though so can't compare to MBL.

I was really excited to find outstanding affordable gear. First was Audio Alchemy who is back. I may be late to the party on that but I didn't know. However, their gear sound really really good and I was surprised at comparatively reasonable they were priced, especially based on the outstanding sound I was hearing. They were using Endeavor speakers which is another brand I'm not familiar with. The combo was good but I didn't get prices on the speakers. I wondered into Audiophile Direct who will sell you a set of Orum Cantus speakers, delivered for $2500.00. Another over achiever for the money. I could easily match the Audio Alchemy with the Orum Cantus to make a great system I could live with and have to spend many times more to best in my opinion. I loved both and from what I heard pleasantly surprised at the price tag.

Sonist, was showing their flagship speaker at just under $6500.00. Another product I was enthused about, why, it was a high efficient speaker that used a ribbon tweeter. The Sonist was driven by an 8 watt Triode Electronics amp. A great sounding alternative to horns for the flea watt crowd.

Audio Kinesis was another great sounding high efficient system. They do have a horn but I didn't hear any negatives people sometimes attribute to horns speakers. And, I say system because the speaker plays down to about 70Hz then the bass is handed off to 4 subs you place around the room that beautifully distributes the bass. The bass was seamless and nondirectional while listening. I was impressed. 4 subs but driven from one amp.

Emerald Physics was an attention getter for me. An open baffle design, the woofer was mechanically crossed over by the slots on the baffle. The bass was exceptional. The tweeter was somehow in the middle of the 12" midrange and the cone was the wave guide. Vocals seemed to have a different voicing on familiar songs from other renderings I've heard.

I should have put the Sanders Audio electrostat hybrids up with the "wow" factor. Electrostatic panels with a transmission line bass module that has it's own amplification. Not only did they sound great, he played a pipe organ piece that was extremely low with excellent control. The sound was nicely balanced though, all that bass did not intrude on the other frequencies, really good sound.

Sauk speakers were well represented, I heard them in a few rooms. Each presentation was good. The room where Sauk was driven by Audio by Van Alstine was a treat. I was also impressed by Sauk's $2300.00 a pair powered monitors. I think this powered speaker will be a stand out performer at the price and category in general. Larry, Frank converted two 600rís to mono for 800 watts into each speaker. I really was impressed by the system.

Legacy's V system matched with Raven Audio was outstanding and should be up with the Tidal & MBL.

Wilson was in with D'agustino and another room with some serious tube amplification, I didn't see the name but heard Dossi, perhaps, or Dusi. I personally didn't like the Wilson as much as the above mentioned mega dollar systems, Tidal, MBL, Legacy

The Magico S3 sounded great driven by Devaliet. The amp was not using software for Magico which showed me it's not always necessary for a great sounding system.

Goldman showed a good sounding powered tower speaker with built in DAC. A feature I liked, it has a hub with analog inputs so you can be modern with streaming and still spin an LP if you desire. This product appears to have had some good thought put into it.

Sony was showing a new turntable that converts your LP into a high res file, giving you a convenient way to rip a high quality file from Your album collection.

Mark Levinson and the Harmon family was well represented. Again, should be up in the "wow" part of the report. The new 53 monoblocks were driving the JBL Everest. Sorry guys, I skipped the other Harmon rooms as I had a lot of ground to cover and I'm familiar with their products.

A couple general observations o, or, perhaps coincidences, seemed several speaker offerings there using ribbon tweeters. Reel-to-reel was the source for a few rooms and trying to make a come back. A bit old news, powered speakers had a big showing.

I met Ron Sutherland, he was showing his new flagship dual chassis phono stage with a retail of $16k. He showed me the circuit board which is thicker than normal and had parts on both sides using point to point soldering. The unit was definitely solid built with heavy casing and thick face plate. Unfortunately, I didn't get to hear it.

I met Jeff Rowland in his room. The set up sounded great but I can't remember which speaker company he was with. I may be misreading things, my friend and I were excited to meet Jeff when we learned it was him actually the guy handling the room, we introduced ourselves and talked a bit, it seemed like he was, ďlike are you guys alright, Iím just a guyĒ J Like he didnít understand the big deal of our enthusiasm.

Lampizator DAC's were used in a good number of rooms. Lukas brought a new device to be used in conjunction but I didn't get the details.

There was a speaker company called Allsonics who was showing a prototype speaker they are working on that was both unique in design and sounded great. They look like two barrels, or congas, laid on their side in a, over under configuration. Each front facing end had a 12" woofer in it with a tweeter on top of the top one. There was bracing, or rack built to hold them. The back end was open but there was some stuffing inside. I'll be anxious to see and hear a finished product.

Monitor Audio was showing some new Platnum series speakers. The huge 500's were driven by Sim Audio. I actually enjoyed the synergy of the 300's being driven by Cyrus amps better. Cyrus and Audio Alchemy showed Class D is hitting itís stride. Especially Audio Alchemy, it was so musical I was taken back to learn Is was Class D based, if memory serves I believe they were the ones who said they use Hypex but a traditional toroidal transformer.

Sonus Faber was displayed in a number of rooms. One model was driven by McIntosh using Mac's new 2 chassis preamp. The presentation sounded great in mids's and high's, the bass was fat and lacked in definition. At a show, who knows what to attribute that to. My theory is the Sonus Faber may have needed more current than what the Mac tube amp could provide.

One of the Sonus Faber listens should be up in the "wow" category, not sure whose amplification, the Clearaudio room was playing a large orchestral LP, the presentation was impressive.

Sceania was showing a speaker driven by ARC. The speaker uses a line array of several tweeter and midrange drivers.

I notice that often times going into these rooms your impression depends a lot on music played and other variables. You'll notice this if you have the time too visit the same room more than once. I did not take the time to take notes, so going from memory. Just wanted to share with anyone interested. Also, as I said above there was so much more.

Merrill Audio was showing Merrillís new $3500.00 preamp with his Verita monoblocks driving Reference 3 speakers. Good sound, more along the highly detailed and quick presentation.

Larry, Vinnie Rossi was in 2 rooms. The one using Harbeth was very good to me this year. I think last year was just from the music played, some guy wanted to hear Beatles mono recordings which didnít exactly flatter the system. As I stated already variables can lead to differing impressions so itís good to visit more than once if really interested in a certain product. I canít remember the music this year, I think acoustic Jazz, it was a good demo though.

There was at least 3 rooms with Atmosphere this year. Sort of interesting to see the future, streaming, powered speakers etc. being displayed along with tube and analog, where both are popular. I suppose we may be able to add reel-to-reel to that soon.

Josh, for you and others who may be interested, Levinson is introducing or introduced, some new products. So far the 52 preamp and 536 monoblocks. The 585 integrated with built in DAC has been out a year or so now.