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Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 21, 2023  |  1 comments
Longtime readers of Stereophile may recall my 2019 rave review of the diminutive low-cost Transparent One Encore active loudspeaker ($599). The reason I ended up reviewing a bargain component that retailed for well under four figures—one that measured quite well, I might add—was not because Stereophile's former editor, John Atkinson, assigned the product to me. Rather, after being blown away by Vanatoo's sound at an audio show, I asked to do the review.

Now, Seattle-based Gary Gesellchen (above) is preparing to release that speaker's successor, the Vanatoo Transparent One Encore Plus ($649.99).

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 21, 2023  |  0 comments
When I first heard JMF Audio components from France at AXPONA 2022, I had no idea that, paired with the right speakers, they would produce heavenly sound. But in the room jointly sponsored by Fidelis Distribution, who handles Harbeth loudspeakers, and Audio Skies, which distributes JMF Audio and Ideon Audio, the mating of JMF with Harbeth delivered some of the finest-sounding music I heard at AXPONA 2023.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 21, 2023  |  0 comments
Electrocompaniet of Norway, too long absent from this writer's high-end radar, celebrated its 50th anniversary by showing the new AW 800M Nemo 2 800w monoblocks ($45,000/pair), EC 4.8 MKII reference preamp ($4900), EMC 1 MKV Reference CD player ($6800), ECM 1 MKII Media Center (a media player & streamer with DAC and preamp output, $5700), and ECP 2 MK II MM/MC phono amp ($2900). To celebrate the occasion, Lasse Danielsen, Sales and Marketing Director Electrocompaniet (left in photo) and Bjorn Kindingstad, company CEO (right), journeyed to AXPONA.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 21, 2023  |  2 comments
William Duncan (right), who lives relatively close to me in Sammamish, WA, has been after me for a while to hear Laufer Teknik Product's new offerings. Finally, the opportunity arrived at AXPONA. Sharing the room with John Siau of Benchmark Audio (left), Duncan and Laufer Teknik Products showed The Note ($32,500/pair), a line array speaker designed by Mark Porzilli of Melos vacuum-tube electronics fame. The price includes a SB 3000 subwoofer ($1010 each).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 21, 2023  |  0 comments
Harmonic Resolution Systems (HRS) unveiled its new, significantly less expensive EXR-1921-4V audio stand ($7795) at AXPONA. (I'd originally seen this stand at Definitive Audio's private Music Matters event in Seattle.) Put to good use in the Ultra Fidelis Room, it joined HRS's SXR-1921-5V audio stand ($11,550/frame), M3X2-1921 isolation base ($3995), R3X-1921 isolation base ($1975), and Vortex V150 isolation feet ($1630/set) to support a system that included Vandersteen M5HPA High Pass Amplifiers ($16,800/pair) and Kento Carbon loudspeakers ($41,700/pair)...
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 20, 2023  |  8 comments
I'd encountered the pairing of room sponsor Nordost with VTL electronics and Stenheim loudspeakers in this very same room last year. But this time, with one more year to learn how to tame an extremely large, semi-intractable listening space, set-up wizard Stirling Trayle scored a bullseye.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 20, 2023  |  2 comments
As much as I was aware of the dizzying array of diminutive, Korean-made SOtM (Soul Of the Music) components, each identified by a different difficult-to-type assortment of upper and lower case letters plus numbers and dashes, I did not expect them to sound as good as they did. Allied to K Sound Lab's Callas Nostalgia Jr. loudspeakers ($26,990/pair), manufactured by a 25-year old company that is reportedly well known in Korea, the system displayed lovely colors, a rounded midrange, and enviable clarity on a file of "I am at Ease in the Arms of a Woman."
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 20, 2023  |  0 comments
Add the phrase, "with extended low bass" and you've got a sense of the sound in the Krell room. Paired with Magico A5 loudspeakers ($28,000/pair), Krell's Vanguard DAC ($7500), KSA-i400 stereo amplifier ($36,500), and Anti-Cables, the system produced deep bass drums with excellence.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 20, 2023  |  0 comments
There were no surprises in the two adjacent MBL rooms jointly presented with Kyomi Audio. Sitting in the sweet spot before the big system, spaciousness and transparency were superb on an older modern instrument recording of Bach's Concerto for Oboe and other instruments. Ditto for Dolly Parton's adorable "Love is Like a Butterfly," which sounded simply and utterly beautiful.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 20, 2023  |  1 comments
VANA CEO Roy Feldstein worked a room at AXPONA, no bells and whistles, no crazy demos or static displays. Roy simply plays the kind of solid gear that he excels in distributing, including European Audio Team (EAT), Kyomi Audio, Grimm Audio, Atlas Cables, Ferrum, Jorma and Marten loudspeakers, and Rekkord turntables.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 20, 2023  |  2 comments
A classic American brand, as flag-waving as the Fourth of the July, with an impressive history as a US industrial giant, all ears perk up when new JBL product is announced. Today's declaration brought to you by AXPONA: the new JBL 4329P Studio Monitor ($4500/pair).
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 20, 2023  |  2 comments
Robert Schryer reviewed the KLH Model Three ($1799/pair) in December 2022; I reviewed the KLH Model Five ($1998/pair) in September 2021—we each loved our respective pairs.

There's something honest and immediate about the revived KLH lineup; it feels right, looks right—"mid-century modern!" says Don Draper—and most importantly, sounds right. These are no-nonsense transducers that make exceptional music with most upstream components.

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 20, 2023  |  0 comments
As I continue work on a follow-up review of the Next-Gen Power Supply Upgrade to the Innuos Statement music server and streamer ($21,700), Innuos has released its new Pulsar Network music player + USB reclocker ($6899). A stripped-down version of the flagship Statement, the Pulsar lacks both a ripper and internal storage. What it boasts instead is over 130,000µF of Mundorf capacitors, a large high-end inductor, and an audio-grade, 300VA toroidal transformer. The Pulsar favors its optimized USB output with reclocking over its non-dedicated USB, and lacks S/PDIF and AES/EBU outputs.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 20, 2023  |  1 comments
Several surprises awaited in the AXPONA room sponsored by Gary Leeds's Hear This, North American distributor of WestminsterLab, and Von Schweikert Audio in association with Lampizator, NA and Small Green Computer. (Bonus points if you can read that out loud on one breath.) First was the "hard launch" of equipment from WestminsterLab: the Rei monoblock ($32,900/pair), which despite the title is not recommended for summer hikes in Yosemite, and Quest balanced preamplifier with full carbon-fiber component shielding upgrade ($25,100, or $22,900 in basic configuration). Next were the speakers—not the usual behemoths usually transported to shows by Von Schweikert Audio, but rather their smaller Endeavor SE ($27,000/pair plus eight Critical Mass Systems footers that cost $650 each).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 19, 2023  |  0 comments
Halfway through Day 1 of AXPONA 2023, it became clear once again that JDEvents has the staff and expertise to mount a large show with ease. While I'm sure there were a few rough patches, none of which I encountered, Deanna Tursellino's smiling face at one of several "Help" tables scattered throughout the show reflected the seeming ease with which the Fairfield, CT-based company's team of 15 assisted exhibitors and visitors alike.