Michael Lacomba of Southern Cinema, with stores in Cumming, GA and St. Augustine, FL, was having a great time demming several joyful systems that combined tried and true with fresh and new. Almost as fresh and new as Michael, who at age 26 laments, "People my age don't know this stuff exists." Not that Steve Davis and the small and dedicated Axpona crew didn't do everything possible publicity-wise to bring in a fair amount of curious collegiates, some of whom were actually heard to mutter, "I'm going to have to rethink my whole iPod thing after hearing this."
Tried and true came in the form of the venerable McIntosh brand, in particular the C220 tube preamp ($4000), MC275 75Wpc amplifier ($4500), and 750 Music Server used as a CD player ($6000). From another well-known company came the Rega Mira integrated amp ($1195), Apollo CD player ($1195), and P3-24 turntable ($1399) complete with Rega Elys cartridge. And finally, in a side-wall system not shown in the photo, sat Klipsch Heresy III loudspeakers ($1800/pair), whose retro looks elicited many oohs and ahhs.
The newer upstarts were the Peachtree Nova ($1200, Stereophile's Budget Component of 2009), which supplied amplification for the short, bow-shaped Davone Rhythm loudspeaker ($4000/pair). This baby is a single point-source coaxial design that produces far more sound that you might expect. Also shown are Gemme Katana loudspeakers ($10,000/pr), and Stereovox cabling silently snaking all around.
Playing Rosa Passos and Ron Carter through the Peachtree/Devone figuration, the sound was as lovely as could be. There was surprisingly clear bass definition and pitch, as well as solid low extension on Carter's bass. As I wrote in my notes, "fabulous for the price." In fact, pretty damn fabulous, period. No, the soundstage wasn't floor to ceiling. Nor did the system sound as warm and harmonically rich as it did the affordable Peachtree than it did with the McIntoshes.
I expect that, in a room in which their bass was under control, the Gemme Katanas would prove superior. But in this setting, the Davones were little giant killers.