AXPONA 2016

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 21, 2016  |  2 comments
AXPONA Chicago 2016 was, by all accounts, a success. JD Events, who stage the show, report that they sold 5934 tickets, a 16% increase over 2015…
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 21, 2016  |  1 comments
Slam and visceral impact were superb, highs transparent and extended, and percussion extremely impressive in the ENIGMAcoustics room…
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 21, 2016  |  4 comments
Negotiations complete, fingers crossed, I discover myself with 18 more rooms to go on floors 12 and 4, and a short day in which to cover them…
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 20, 2016  |  5 comments
Brian Walsh and Essential Audio of Barrington, IL put on a highly enjoyable demonstration. There was something eccentric but wonderful happening with each song. The equipment mix was eccentric and wonderful, too: What is not to like about the Kuzma Stabi S turntable ($2156 and perhaps the best bargain in contemporary hifi), the Kuzma Stogi Ref 313 CE VTA tonearm ($4640), and Kuzma CAR-30 moving-coil cartridge. The digital source components were equally impressive: Aurender N100H music player/streamer ($2699), and the Resonessence Labs Veritas DAC which was premiering at Axpona ($2850).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 20, 2016  |  12 comments
The AudioEngine team at AXPONA—from left to right: Brett Bargenquast, Morgan Day, Gavin Fish (also of LH Labs), and Patrick Carr—were really happy with their flagship HD6 self-powered loudspeakers ($750/pair). These handsome little babies integrate aptX Bluetooth and Toslink optical to play 24/96 files. They also stream Tidal, Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube wirelessly via smartphone, tablet, or good old fashioned computer. Optical yields the highest-resolution sound. You can even connect your TV or turntable.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 19, 2016  |  1 comments
If you don't like digital it just means you've never heard it through a good DAC like the pin-you-to-the-seat with inner detail and palpable presence Bricasti Design M1 SE ($10,000). Bricasti's Brian Zolner has a way with amps too. I have only heard them with Tidal speakers but his $30,000/pair M28 mono amplifiers appear to be equally extraordinary.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 19, 2016  |  3 comments
From left to right: Larry Marcus president of Paragon Sight Sound, Nick Doshi of Doshi Audio, Dave Wilson, Peter McGrath, John R. Quick, dCS America, Jon Zimmer of Transparent Audio.

At an after-hours press listening session sponsored by Paragon Audio/Video of Michigan, Dave Wilson was in a major upbeat mood for the show premiere of Wilson Audio's new Alexx loudspeaker ($109,000/pair). . . The Alexx, Wilson's successor to the MAXX 3, acquitted itself admirably through the Doshi Audio 3.0 line stage, 3.0 phono stage, and 3.0 tape stage ($16,999/each), as well as their Jhor mono amplifiers ($29,995/pair); dCS Vivaldi digital system ($115,000 total); Transparent Opus cabling and power conditioning ($208,360 total) along with an extra-long version of John Marks' Esperanto Audio Small-Batch S/PDIF cable on Peter McGrath's Sound devices portable digital.

Herb Reichert  |  Apr 19, 2016  |  0 comments
Audio shows are tribal gatherings and, when they are going strong, they can become musical hoedowns. At every one of these tribal gatherings you can find Peter McGrath and Wilson Audio Specialties making the biggest campfire and singing the best songs. Why? Because they can. Decades of experience have made Wilson demos the Big Event—and this year's version, presented by dealer Paragon Sight and Sound, may have been the best ever. They introduced the new Wilson Alexx speaker($109,000/pair). Was it amazing? Of course it was. It was powered by a range of Doshi Audio tube electronics which appeared to do their jobs on some newer, higher level than I am used to.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 18, 2016  |  1 comments
I was talking to a couple of oldster audiophiles standing outside the glass-walled Woo Audio room. They were raving about some Von Schweikert Audio speakers when I interrupted them to ask, "Have you heard the Abyss headphones?" They laughed and smirked…
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 18, 2016  |  10 comments
I scored big this year, because my floors included High Water Sound's room. As usual, Jeffrey Catalano was a breath of fresh air, playing LPs of music not encountered in other rooms…
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 17, 2016  |  0 comments
I always laugh at Andrew Jones's demonstrations, because every time he plays some bass-slamming blockbuster, the curtains behind the speakers start flapping in the breeze from the force and velocity of the speaker's rear port.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 17, 2016  |  5 comments
Because the energy is so strong, I always feel drawn to these rooms, and once there, I lose time, spend money, and feel young again…
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 17, 2016  |  3 comments
Once Pro Musica Chicago discovered that one of the electrical outlets in their room was severely handicapped, as it were, and switched to another, the VTL TL5.5 preamp with phono stage ($10,500) and VTL S200 power amp ($12,500) delivered eminently neutral sound…
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 16, 2016  |  8 comments
Even before 10am had rolled around on opening day, eager audiophiles were obtaining badges in the lobby of the Westin O'Hare…
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 11, 2016  |  3 comments
111 seems to be the magic number for AXPONA 2016, aka Audio Expo of North America. Taking place April 15–17 in the Westin O'Hare in Rosemont, IL (near Chicago's O'Hare airport), AXPONA promises 111 exhibit rooms, including 29 larger meeting spaces which sometimes house multiple systems. AXPONA will also host 111 booths and table displays, with a good 50 of those located in the Ear Gear Expo. All told, the show will feature products from 375 brands, most of which will sing away every day starting at the mercifully civilized hour of 10am.
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