Alex Halberstadt  |  Apr 22, 2024  |  5 comments
I've always been a city dweller and can't lay claim to having owned boats, riding mowers, shotguns, basement refrigerators, golf clubs, or even patio furniture. When I moved to a loft from an apartment with a tiny backyard some 13 years ago, I even had to give up my Weber grill. This geographical fact has kept my possessions streamlined. My favorites include a handful of old waxed cotton coats, a couple dozen leather boots and shoes, a few mechanical watches, my Garrard 301 turntable, a roomful of books, and rather a lot of art, much of it made by friends. But without a doubt my fondest possessions are my records. At last count they numbered around 3500. Of course they are beautiful, both as objects and as conduits for music. But what I enjoy even more is the fact that I'm not really their owner, merely a custodian: Most of the records belonged to others before I bought them, and after I'm gone they'll find new owners who'll hopefully appreciate them as much as I do. So I feel I owe it to all of us to keep them in decent condition.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 20, 2024  |  First Published: Apr 17, 2024  |  0 comments
Legacy Audio of Springfield, Illinois featured not one but three systems at AXPONA including three show debuts.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 20, 2024  |  0 comments

The following interview, with Fyne Audio Technical Director Dr. Paul Mills and Managing Director Andrzej Sosna, conducted by Stereophile Contributing Editor Ken Micallef, was posted previously embedded in a report on Harmonia Distribution's rooms at AXPONA. Here, we present it on its own so that more people will see it.

Rogier van Bakel  |  Apr 19, 2024  |  1 comments
Sinatra said it best: Regrets, I have a few.

On Sunday morning, the final day of the show, my main regret was that I hadn’t made it to the fourth-floor Infigo/Alta room a day or two earlier. If I had, I would have encouraged everyone to go listen.

Ken Micallef  |  Apr 19, 2024  |  4 comments
Affable speaker designer Andrew Jones held court in room 334, explaining the details behind his new SourcePoint 888 floorstanding speakers ($4999/pair), an AXPONA world premiere (review forthcoming). Unfortunately, he couldn’t play his speakers due to the hotel’s intermittent Wi-Fi, which plagued many rooms.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 19, 2024  |  2 comments
Benjamin Britten: Violin Concerto, Chamber Works
Isabelle Faust, violin; Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Jakub Hrůša, cond.; Boris Faust, viola; Alexander Melnikov, piano
Harmonia Mundi HMM902668 (CD, reviewed as 24/96). 2024. Sebastian Braun, Julian Schwenker, prods.; Schwenker, Klemens Kamp, engs.
Performance *****
Sonics ****

I sat mesmerized when I first encountered a recording of Benjamin Britten's early Violin Concerto from 1939 (revised in 1958) at an audio show exhibit sponsored by High End by Oz. Ever since I heard those portions of Linus Roth's superbly recorded SACD for Channel Classics, I've longed for a version that would move beyond its strange harmonies and dissonances to reveal all facets of this communicative yet enigmatic work. Isabelle Faust rarely shies away from music conducive to deep thought and feeling; recently she has recorded works by Berg, Schoenberg, Bartók, and Stravinsky. Her hair-raising, emotionally wrought rendition of the Britten concerto, with Jakub Hrůša conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra for Harmonia Mundi, reveals depths and nuances that competing versions only hint at.

Ken Micallef  |  Apr 17, 2024  |  2 comments
I typically attend Audio Note (UK) rooms not just to listen, but to learn.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 17, 2024  |  12 comments
First-time AXPONA exhibitor Sierra Sound was founded in 2020 as a distributor for strictly analog hi-fi equipment. Rather high minded, wouldn’t you say? Personally, I’m all in.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 17, 2024  |  2 comments

Rhythm Distribution’s Craig Hoffman teamed up with Garrard, Goldmund, and Tannoy to unveil a beautiful-looking, primarily analog rig at AXPONA. Kat Ourlian—Global Head of Sales and Marketing for SME—was on hand to spin vinyl; she had Room 660 rocking from the first needle-drop.

Rogier van Bakel  |  Apr 17, 2024  |  0 comments
Magico turns 20 this year, but founder and chief designer Alon Wolf isn’t the type for gauzy remembrances. In Magicoland, looking ahead beats looking back, so we’ll have to marvel some other time at how the Californian brand has shot to the top of the high-end heap.