Doshi Audio, Joseph Audio, J Sikora, Berkeley Audio Design, Cardas

Washington DC area distributor Notable Audio showcased products from Joseph Audio, Doshi Audio, J Sikora, Berkeley Audio Design, and Cardas Audio at AXPONA. Notable's Jeff Fox had put together an impressive system, with a mix of brands we have seen used together at many prior shows to great effect, only this time he used the best of everything to create a system that really sung.

On the analog side, the massive J Sikora Reference turntable ($47,000) was combined with their KV-MAX 9" tonearm ($11,750), and a Lyra Atlas SL Lambda cartridge ($12,995) amplified by the Doshi Audio Evolution phono stage ($19,995). Digital source was an Aurender N30SA music server connected to a Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Reference 3 ($28,000).

These sources were amplified by a Doshi Audio Evolution preamp ($19,995) and Doshi Audio Evolution mono power amps ($43,995, above) powering Joseph Audio Pearl Graphene speakers ($43,999/pair, bottom). All wiring was Cardas Audio Clear Beyond.

Nick Doshi of Doshi Audio (above) played me "Freddie Freeloader" from the 45rpm Analogue Productions UHQR pressing of Miles Davis's Kind Of Blue, and the sound had a relaxed and open sound that was a breath of fresh air compared to the somewhat hard and bright sound heard in several rooms at the show. Then to demonstrate the systems ability to rock out, they played that old 1980s demo favorite "Money For Nothing" from the Dire Straits album Brothers In Arms. This early digital recording can get pretty in your face on the wrong system, but here it sounded powerful yet smooth, with Mark Knopfler's characteristic guitar sound pushing me back in my seat . . . in a good way.