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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 12, 2013 Published: Dec 31, 1969 1 comments
Booth exhibits occupied much of the open space on the Doubletree's mezzanine level. First on my path was Sumiko's, where Jaime Moreno declared the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon turntable ($399.99) "probably the best turntable available for under $400." The table, which can play either 33/45 or 33/78, comes complete with an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, which costs $99 on its own. Best $498.99 turntable package for under $400?
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 12, 2013 1 comments
Roger DuNaier of KingSound had plenty of reason to smile. His King III full-range electrostatic loudspeakers ($12,000/pair) were sounding the best I've ever heard them. That means the music they produced sounded exceptionally smooth, warm, relaxed and inviting. How Roger managed this on the Mezzanine of the Doubletree, where rooms had a 10' air space above the ceiling that sucked the life of most active systems on the floor, is no mean feat.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 12, 2013 1 comments
At the opening reception, AXPONA organizer Steve A Davis occasionally played double duty, retrieving drinks for folks as his wife Carmen dispensed drink tickets along with press and exhibitor badges. At one point, he even managed to hush the well-lubricated crowd long enough to pay homage to his late business partner, Andrew Spaulding, to whom he dedicated Chicago's first consumer audio show in 14 years.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 12, 2013 0 comments
The night before AXPONA's official opening, people mobbed the reception for press and exhibitors. As audiophiles chattered, drank, and ate away—the food was a major notch above the oft-mediocre, and the bartenders quite busy—Chicago's Deep Blue Organ Trio turned up the heat. With Bobby Broom on guitar, Chris Foreman on organ and Greg Rockingham on drums, the heat was certainly welcome, given the freezing temperatures outside.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 12, 2013 0 comments
You may wonder why this report of AXPONA Chicago lacks the usual exterior shot of the show venue. The answer is simple: It was too cold in Rosemont, where the Doubletree was located near Chicago O'Hare airport, for anyone from the "season-less" Bay Area to want to stand outside. Knowing that I would discover up to 9" of new snow on the ground and face sub-freezing temperatures at night, I went shopping before my trip for a hat tailor-made for Nanook of the North. What do you think Nanook would have thought of the "Made in China" label? Of course, John Atkinson, who's from a colder and wetter clime, will be posting a photo of the Doubletree hotel later in this report.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Mar 03, 2013 6 comments
It's not just the first audio show in Chicago in 14 years, since Stereophile's Hi-Fi ’99 at the Palmer House. It's also the first in a millennium where computer audio is changing every aspect of the music and audio industries.

Nor is it a minor effort. AXPONA Chicago, which runs March 8–10 on five floors of the Doubletree by Hilton O'Hare Airport, promises 90 separate exhibit rooms, 74 table displays in approximately 30 different booths presenting 100 or so brands, and equipment from over 400 manufacturers. Dealers exhibiting number 26, with 15 from Chicago, and others from New York, California, Florida, and other states. That's a lot of show.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Feb 18, 2013 Published: Dec 31, 1969 10 comments
Music Lovers' Hugh Fountain shows off the Vivid Giya G3 speakers

Philip O'Hanlon is one smart cookie. Rather than stage the customary new product demo, where attendees must sit through one or more lengthy spiels before they get a chance to hear a single note, he went right for the gold. As someone who loves music, thrives on music, and takes joy in creating demo CDs for friends, the renowned proprietor of On a Higher Note—distributor of Luxman, Vivid, Brinkmann, Mola Mola, and TriPlanar —delighted a full house at the first public demo of Luxman's forthcoming DSD-capable DA-06 DAC ($6000), staged at Music Lovers Audio in San Francisco, by spending close to three enthralling hours spinning music, performing comparisons, and letting the system do most of the talking.

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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Feb 11, 2013 5 comments
Sonos's Geoff Marks talks to attendees about networked music

If ever one needed an object lesson on how to put on a successful demo, the team at AudioVision San Francisco provided. At an evening entitled "A Sonos Wireless Event," held on the evening of February 7, at least three demonstrations were held simultaneously: the first in the store's main "High-End System" room, which in itself involved two different systems; a second in the store's smaller demo room, again including a switch of Triangle loudspeakers, Bel Canto Design electronics, and Nordost cabling; and at least one more in the hallway. Representatives from Sonos Wireless Audio, Bel Canto Design and Nordost conducted the demos with an able assist from AudioVision staff.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 30, 2013 Published: Feb 01, 2013 199 comments
The demo seemed simple enough. A distributor proposed a session for the Bay Area Audiophile Society (BAAS) that would pit his relatively low-cost speaker cable against an ultra-expensive competing model named for a Norse god. We would listen to the music first with the high-priced spread, then with his cable, then discuss the differences. As far as the distributor was concerned, everyone would hear that the Nordic Emperor had no clothes.
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Jason Victor Serinus Posted: Jan 17, 2013 7 comments
Photograph: John Atkinson

Las Vegas? Why bother to fly across the country or around the world when you can visit New York City, Venice’s Grand Canal, and Egypt’s Great Pyramid in one easy, smoke-filled, retail therapy-rich, constantly stimulating stop? Why search out music on the net when, in Las Vegas, it constantly bombards you in elevators, from outdoor loudspeakers, and at your free lunch at T.H.E. Show?

Ah, Las Vegas. In his wrap to CES 2012, Stephen Mejias did a beautiful job of asking the simple but profound question, “Why?” Why, of all the god-forsaken places on Planet Earth, has the Consumer Electronics Association chosen this compulsion-driven, ecologically devastating, one-stop tourist and gambling destination as the site for the largest industry trade show in the US?

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