AXPONA 2019

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John Atkinson  |  Apr 13, 2019  |  0 comments
Check this out, Herb Reichert. Oklahoma City-based Great Plains Audio grew from what was left of the Altec Lansing corporation in 1998. It focuses on manufacturing the classic high-sensitivity drive-units and speaker systems from the legendary company. Located next to the AXPONA Master Class Theater, the Great Plains booth featured their version of the classic coaxial drive-unit that was introduced in 1944 and powered recording studio monitors in the 1950s and '60s.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  7 comments
I turned up at Mike Jbara's Master Class presentation Friday afternoon, "Achieving Authentic Studio Quality Sound," expecting fireworks. Jbara is the chief executive of MQA and many internet denizens had declared that they would be attending his presentation to oppose what he would be saying. But all was quiet during Jbara's 45-minute talk on what he regards as the benefits of the controversial codec to both the music industry and to audiophiles. Another MQA-related Master Class takes place at AXPONA Saturday April 13 at 12 noon. Moderated by Besflores Nievara Jr., Brand Ambassador for Music Direct, Mike Jbara will join MQA partner NAD's CTO, Greg Stidsen, and other panelists to discuss "The Future of High Resolution Audio." Perhaps the fireworks will be in evidence tomorrow!
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  5 comments
Spying the Scaena (pronounced Sane-a) room, I was happy to hear their fabulous sounding speakers once again. This time it was the Scaena Model 3 ($90,000 pair including the two big subwoofers), driven by a High Fidelity Cables MA-1 amplifier ($30,000), fed by a four-stack dCS Vivaldi system ($114,996 total) and connected by High Fidelity cables.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  3 comments
Despite the challenging acoustics of air-walled conference rooms, retailer Audio Video Interiors produced extremely satisfying sound. True to McIntosh Laboratory's sonic signature, the company's C-1100 preamp ($14,000), relatively new 600Wpc MC-611 monoblocks ($15,000/pair), and MPC-1500 line filter ($5500) produced a beautiful, strong midrange and mellow top.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  4 comments
Disorder was the order of the day as everyone and their father ogled and chatted about the VAC Statement 450i iQ integrated amplifier ($150,000). During my relatively brief visit to this free-for-all space, in which demonstrations alternated between two systems, there were up to six people standing in front of the one I tried to hear. At one point, someone blocked the speaker on one side while a company rep chatted it up with someone on the other.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  0 comments
AXPONA's Master Class lectures offer a series of seminars on sometimes controversial subjects. To wrap up Friday afternoon's talks, Channel D's Rob Robinson explained why for phono preamplifiers, current-mode amplification, with its zero-ohm input impedance, gets the best signal/noise ratio from moving-coil cartridges, compared with conventional voltage-mode circuits, and even improves tracking performance.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  13 comments
The late Arnie Nudell, co-founder of Infinity, was very much a mentor to PS Audio's Paul McGowan, and Paul and his team have been working a loudspeaker design that would honor Nudell. AXPONA saw the first public demo of the new speaker, the AN3, which is expected to be available toward the end of the year at a price somewhere in the region of $11,500–$14,500/pair. The AN3 features a servo-corrected 12" aluminum-cone woofer, driven by a 700W amplifier mounted on one of the sides, with a folded ribbon tweeter, a rectangular planar midrange unit sourced from Bohlender-Graebener, and an 8" cone "mid-bass coupler," the last a consistent feature of Nudell's designs for Infinity and Genesis.
Jim Austin  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  0 comments
The room presented by importer Vana LTD of Lake Grove, New York, featured (in addition to some record cleaning fluid and Okki Nokki record-cleaning machines) analog components by the European Audio Team (EAT) and loudspeakers by Audio Physik.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  3 comments
I am not a bot. I measure my own DIY audio gear. But as an audio-show reporter, I'm only interested in those biologically significant sounds that connect my mind as directly as possible to the music being played. I want to see and feel some inkling of a real orchestra floating between the speakers. I found that connection right away in the room sponsored by retailer-distributor Refined Audio.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  0 comments
Happily, extremely listenable and well-balanced sound from a 24/176.4 file of Brubeck's "Take Five," and a 16-bit file of a track that I think was titled "Camptino," from the Erik Truffaz Quartet featuring the wonder Rokia Traoré, was the hallmark of a large, air-walled space sponsored by multiple companies. Here, chatting was minimal, perhaps simply because the sound was so good. I really enjoyed how mellow the sax sounded, and how drums were rendered with truthfulness without becoming clattery.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  5 comments
Illinois dealer F1 chose the sonically challenged, glass-encased Nirvana Lounge, on the second floor of the Renaissance Schaumberg's Convention Center, to stage its $428,871 crate-décor system complete with an important premiere: the Dan D'Agostino Momentum HD preamplifier.
Jim Austin  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  17 comments
One of my first stops this morning—the first morning of AXPONA 2019—was the Shunyata room in the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel. Shunyata, as you're probably aware, has long been one of the more scientific-minded of the companies focused on quality power for home audio systems.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  0 comments
The show was scheduled to open at 10am today (April 12), but at 9:55am there was already a line of people at the registration desk. AXPONA looks on track to replace CES as the premier audio show in North America.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  7 comments
In the middle of AXPONA's annual pre-show industry reception, held Thursday evening in the huge Schaumburg Ballroom of the Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center, Paul Miller (on the right in the photo above), Director of AVTech Media/AVTech Media Americas—which publishes Stereophile, AudioStream, InnerFidelity, AnalogPlanet, Sound & Vision, and the UK's Hi-Fi News & Record Review (amongst other properties)—unexpectedly took to the stage . . .
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 11, 2019  |  0 comments
Last year, American audio shows felled more than ten million 100'-tall trees—just for their ink-on-paper floor plans. They had to reopen two nuclear power plants just to keep the elevators running in Las Vegas. The Chicago River backed up like a toilet—clogged by discarded show guides. This year, all you need is a smart phone, the the AXPONA app—and the stamina to visit almost two hundred rooms filled with some of the world's finest, most exciting, new audio products. Are you ready?

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