Axpona: the East Coast's Major Audio Show Starts Friday
Now in its second year, and almost double the size of its launch, AXPONA (Audio Expo North America) is set to make a major impact on East Coast audiophiles when it opens to the public on April 15. Sponsored by Stereophile, the annual show, which runs April 1517 in the beautiful, centrally located Sheraton Downtown Atlanta, promises at least 70 exhibit rooms alive with gear from at least 250 individual manufacturers.
With quadruple last year's square footage, including three 10,000 sq. ft. ballrooms, the show promises an exhibit from Goldmine magazine; a special Analogue Ballroom showing product that is also on active display in the exhibit rooms; and some extremely enticing seminars and live music events.
"The Sheraton Atlanta is certainly the most attractive and well-organized hotel I've ever worked with," purrs show organizer Steve A. Davis. "It's brand new, with beautiful rooms and a state-of-the-art conference center. Attendees will discover a Starbucks deli, a great breakfast restaurant complete with a modern bar, and a huge swimming pool. The Audio/Video Club of Atlanta has also gone to extremes to provide an easy show experience, with four times as many volunteers as were available at last year's show in Jacksonville."
Attendees will benefit from 900 parking spaces in hotel proper, additional lots in all directions, and 24 restaurants with 4-Star and better ratings within a six-block radius. Manufacturers will undoubtedly be more rested and relaxed thanks to easier, extended hours for set-up and breakdown.
To encourage audiophiles-in-the-making, AXPONA has declared Sunday admission-free to students. Virtually every major manufacturer has promised a computer-based piece of digital equipment that can accommodate files from all the iPs and their rivals known to humankind and landfills. Analog should prove a special enticement to both young music lovers and veterans.
All the Goodies
As if the 12 or more door prizes, including a $7000 pair of Wharfedale speakers, and the huge list of exhibitors were not enough to encourage attendance, AXPONA also promises three seminars from Stereophile staffMichael Fremer's dynamic Turntable Setup Lesson; an Ask The Editors panel with John Atkinson, Stephen Mejias, Bob Reina and Michael Fremer; and a Measuring Loudspeakers session in which JA explains how to interpret speaker measurements. AIX Records will add 3D to its continuous HD Surround demos, and also lead two seminars entitled "HD Music and 3D Today: What, How and When." Jim Smith of Get Better Sound, Rives Audio, Enjoythemusic.com, and Channel D also promise seminars that will cover everything from room acoustics to LP ripping done right.
Dean Peer, whose mastery of the bass has won over the likes of Stereophile, Jazz Times, and Cardas Audio, will both perform on Saturday night and deliver two seminars on the recording process from the standpoint of an artist, end user, and producer. The West Georgia Saxophone Ensemble holds forth on Friday night, reminding attendees what winds sound like when they not toned down, compressed, or artificially brightened up. Delightfully laid back pianist John Yurick entertains each day in the comfort lounge. Last but not least, to cries of foul from the general public, the John Atkinson Trio (JA, Bob Reina, and Allen Perkins) makes a rare appearance at the Exhibitor Press Reception on April 14 press/trade day.
To New York and beyond
In partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association Line Show (CEA), AXPONA is heading to New York City on June 2425. Sponsored by Stereophile and Home Theater magazines, AXPONA's Manhattan launch promises 35 exhibit rooms in the Affinia Hotel across from Penn Station, and a much larger New York show in 2012.
Davis is also partnering with Roy Bird's Chester Group in England to create a British presence at AXPONA. Both the Atlanta and New York City shows promise exhibits of British brands not currently distributed in the U.S.
Stay tuned to this website for live show coverage by the team of Atkinson and Mejias. Michael Fremer's coverage will appear in print in the July installment of his monthly "Analog Corner" column.