AXISS impresses with Gauder Akustik, Soulution, Innuos, Accuphase, Transrotor w. DS Audio, and more

The all-out AXPONA push by AXISS Audio of Nashville, now headed by Cliff Duffey, encompassed four rooms. The biggest presented three new headliners: Gauder Akustik’s DARC 25-0 Mk II 4-way Reference Loudspeaker ($249,975), Soulution’s 727 preamp with phono module ($89,950; review forthcoming), and Soulution’s 757 deemphasis EQ preamplifier phonostage ($84,975), designed for analog components.

We began on a sweet note with an LP: Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies from the score to I’ll bet you know which ballet. (Hint: It's the one that's not Romeo and Juliet or Swan Lake.) The midrange was as excellent as it was inviting, the top open, the sound overall lively yet mostly neutral. I was especially drawn to the beautiful sound of the celeste.

Equally inviting were the timbres of Keith Jarrett’s piano on Pt.1 of The Köln Concert of January 24, 1975. Two thumbs up for the depiction of David Byrne’s voice—especially its midrange—on Talking Heads’ iconic “Psycho Killer,” which is celebrating its Golden Anniversary this year. Kudos for a selection of music that was as refreshing as the sound.

I don’t think I heard Soulution’s 760 DAC ($79,975), but Soulution’s two 511 power amplifiers in mono configuration ($41,975 x 2) came through loud and clear. So did an Innuos Statement NG music server with 1TB SSD storage ($25,000)—the most frequently encountered product in the rooms I covered at AXPONA 2024. Accuphase supplied the PS-1250 Clean Power Supply ($17,575), Transrotor provided the Tourbillion Reference Turntable ($47,975) and stand ($15,975), and DS Audio provided its Grandmaster EX optical cartridge ($22,500); the 757 preamp has a special input for optical phono cartridges. Nihon Onkyo Engineering supplied the acoustic treatment, and Echole provided the cabling.