AXPONA 2022

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 28, 2022  |  0 comments
More debuts awaited in Fidelis Distribution's second room, where Heretic Loudspeaker Company's handcrafted-in-Montreal A612 high-sensitivity loudspeaker (price TBD—no more than $10,000/pair, I was told) and Lab 12's handcrafted-in-Athens electronics sang with AVIDHIFI's Volvere turntable ($8000, below) equipped with a TA-3 tonearm ($650) and inexpensive (by audiophile standards) Grado Opus3 cartridge ($275). Through Lab 12 and Siltech cabling, the sax on "Trippin' Out," on an LP from Vanessa Fernandez, sounded fabulous, The energy of the track came through loud and clear. It was all I could do to stop myself from getting up and dancing. Without a doubt, this system delivered the most fun I'd had during my first two days at the show.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 28, 2022  |  0 comments
Could a year have passed since I spent a particularly memorable month reviewing the top-line, two-piece Esoteric Grandioso C1X preamplifier? As hard as it may be to realize that time has moved so fast during these strangely elongated years of pandemic isolation, revisiting Esoteric components in 11 Trading Company's room at AXPONA 2022 was like reuniting with an old friend. There was a lovely grace to this Esoteric system's presentation—an ease and flow—that set it apart from many of the other systems encountered at the show.
Julie Mullins  |  Apr 28, 2022  |  0 comments
When I've visited the Zesto Audio room at different hi-fi shows in recent years, I've noticed that sometimes they've shown their tubed electronics driving modern loudspeakers from Lumen White, for instance. Other times, it's been vintage classics, such as Tannoys. At AXPONA, they chose very old-school Tannoy Kensington GR loudspeakers ($18,000/pair), which of course, showed quite different sound characteristics from, say, Lumen Whites.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  4 comments
A quarter century after Audio Analogue began in Italy, the company's products are again available in the United States. Thanks to Walter Swanborn and Dwight DiMartino of Fidelis Distribution of New Hampshire, visitors to AXPONA discovered the AADrive CD transport ($2850) and AA DAC ($4950), Puccini Anniversary integrated amplifier ($5850), Bellini Anniversary line preamplifier ($7750), Donizetti Anniversary power amplifier ($13,850, below), and AA Phono MM/MC phono stage ($2500).
Julie Mullins  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  21 comments
From a new company came a new loudspeaker design that was four years in the making—thanks in part to the pandemic. But COVID downtime gave Malbork Audio founder and designer Daniel Fajkis (above) one advantage: more time to refine his inaugural Malbork Warsaw loudspeaker design through more math and engineering and simulations, Fajkis told me.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  5 comments
AXPONA offered the public a long-anticipated first listen to prototypes of Mytek's forthcoming Empire Streamer DAC ($24,995) and Empire GaNFET class-D monoblock amplifier ($9995/each or $19,990/pair). The former, which I'll review, may be in production by Munich High End in May; the latter is expected to launch in September.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  4 comments
If you're a regular attendee to audio shows you'll notice one constant, and that's a lack of consistency. At one show, Acme Turntables represents with Manny, Moe, & Jack's speakers. The next show, Acme has taken up with Beverly's speakers, and MM&J is now with Mr. Big's turntables. It's downright incestuous.

Into this audio polygamy come the good men of Volti Audio (Greg Roberts), BorderPatrol DACs and amplification (Gary Dews), and Triode Wire Labs cabling (Pete Grzybowski). These gentlemen have been hosting hi-fi rooms as a single organism since 2005!

Rogier van Bakel  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  1 comments
I'm in the middle of an audition in the room where Raidho TD3.8 speakers ($119,999/pair) are producing sweet music in synergy with two $6000-each Margules Audio U-280SC tube amplifiers running in triode mode. (JVS reviewed the amp in November 2017.) Suddenly some deep-voiced dude speaks up, just to my right: "You guys ever heard of the Purple Man?" Puzzled, I look in his direction. No one's there.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  0 comments
Located just five miles from each other in the beauteous state of New Hampshire, Sonner Audio and Small Green Computer teamed up to present a lovely mid-priced system that quickly won over hearts with its beauty. Yes, every veteran audiophile has heard tenor José Carreras sing "that track" from Misa Criolla, but far fewer have enjoyed all the atmosphere, midrange warmth, and excellent bass that this track can deliver. Carreras sounded especially clear, present, and intimate on this space-considerated system.
Julie Mullins  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  5 comments
Peace and quiet at a busy audio show is hard to come by. I especially wasn't expecting mellow respite on a Saturday show day. But I found some lovely-sounding music and a chilled-out vibe in Vinnie Rossi's demo room 488. Only a couple of listeners came and went during that time. Control of the iPad—and Vinnie Rossi remote control—were mine.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  0 comments
I am not making this up. During a particularly burned-out moment in the afternoon, I thought about what might deliver the breath of fresh air I needed to restore my energy and refresh my spirits. Instead of opting for green tea or a walk around the hotel, I realized that some time with Pass Labs amplification might transport back to the pastel paradise I inhabited during my time with the Pass XA200.8 class-A monoblocks.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  0 comments
It was Sunday afternoon, and Nick Doshi (Doshi Audio), Jeff Joseph (Joseph Audio), and Jeff Fox (Notable Audio, J. Sikora, Command AV) were relaxing. It was all smiles, jokes, and laughter with this crowd. I scanned the room for illegal substances. Then legal substances. Nothing. Nada. Finally, I got it. It's the music!
Julie Mullins  |  Apr 26, 2022  |  6 comments
As I scurried around Sunday trying to see and hear as much as possible on the show's last afternoon, Room 594 was one of several visits I was looking forward to. Based in Lower Manhattan, distributor/dealer Jeffrey Catalano's High Water Sound is always, uh, a high point at shows where I've heard his demo systems.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 26, 2022  |  0 comments
In its mid-priced room, Sound United mated Definitive Technology Demand D17 floorstanding speakers ($3498/pair) with the Marantz SACD 30n CD/SACD/file player ($2999), Marantz TT-15S1 belt-drive turntable with cartridge ($1799, and the new Marantz Model 40n integrated stereo amplifier with built-in streaming ($2499). Of great interest was Marantz's new component design, which brings a fresh and attractive look to a classic product.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 26, 2022  |  0 comments
Warm, coherent, magical—all those descriptors came to mind as I listened to a system that, for me, defined the essence of the high-end experience. In the first of Kyomi Audio of Chicago's two stellar-sounding rooms, MBL's Jeremy Bryan ensured that MBL's imposing 101 E MKII full-range Radiastrahler omnidirectional loudspeaker system ($84,500/pair) would perform their fabled disappearing act.

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