1215: The Axiss Room

As Stereophile managing editor Mark Henninger and I scurried up and down the Hilton halls, fulfilling our tasks as intrepid reporters, we had little time to compare notes. But we agreed on one room, Axiss Audio. In a room filled with exceptional gear, Axiss's Cliff Duffey and TJ Goldsby had set up a fantastic rig, well beyond the norm, which overachieved and set my ears afire. (Not literally.)

Duffey and Goldsby brought a Reed 3C Turntable ($27,975) equipped with a Reed 5A Tangential Linear Tracking Tonearm ($10,595), a Reed 2B Pivoted Tonearm ($4,995), and an AIR-TIGHT Opus One MC Cartridge ($14,975; the second tonearm was on passive display, with no cartridge mounted). A second table consisted of a Transrotor Darkstar w/Konstant Studio PSU ($6985, as configured), mounted with an Accuphase AC-6 cartridge ($6975).

Duffey and Goldsby didn't ignore digital: A Soulution 560 DAC ($39,975) and Soulution 590 USB Re-Clocking bridge (not for sale) were allied to a customized Roon Nucleus+ Music Server.

Amplification consisted of the Soulution 727 Preamp with Phono Module ($89,950), a US debut (review forthcoming) and a pair of Soulution 511 monoblock power amplifier ($41,975 each). These drove the gorgeous Gauder Akustik DARC 250 Mk II 4-way Reference Loudspeakers ($249,975/pair). An Accuphase PS-1250 Clean Power Supply ($17,575) rounded up and exterminated the nasty noise gremlins that live in hotel wiring.

There were accessories on par with the electronics: Beaudioful RACK 3-Shelf Large in Studio Multiplex finish ($6000 as configured), Nihon Onkyo Engineering AGS FS1 Floor Standing Diffusors (4695/pair), Nihon Onkyo Engineering AGS MN1 ($,095), Franco Serblin Flexum panels ($2975), and cabling by LA Sound (labeled "Not For Sale" on the room sheet, Cost of everything in the room: $571,665.

My notes were a study in exclamation points. Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" on vinyl (on the Reed turntable) yielded sweet, pure sound, natural and artifact free. I spied The Allman Brother's Band Live at Fillmore East. Brothers and sisters, this is when the gates of Valhalla opened. Duane, Gregg, Butch, and Berry were still with us as the Axiss Audio system shepherded through Berry's remarkably melodic bass playing, the snap of Butch's snare drum, and the bluesy wail that was Gregg Allman as never before. Duane and Dicky sailed left and right, their majestic solos pure golden magic. I've heard this record 1000s of times, from my old Toyota traveling NC highways to my high-falutin' NYC rig. But never like this. Cliff and TJ, you guys made my weekend. I guess those weird looking Nihon Onkyo Engineering wood dowels really work.

ChrisS's picture

..on this video, please?

Anton's picture

Then, Nina Simone, Blackbird.

ChrisS's picture


remlab's picture

$10,000 a pair if I remember correctly.

AXISS_Audio_USA's picture

However, they are built to a slightly different spec for Gauder Akustik so that they can optimize performance with Gauder's unique 12th order symmetrical crossovers.

remlab's picture

..closer together, which isn't easy to do considering their construction