Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 23, 2023  |  14 comments
I'm not one for abusing punctuation, as in ending every sentence of a press release with an exclamation point. (It happens more frequently than you may wish to know.) But when MBL named its top-of-the-line loudspeakers X-treme ($398,000/pair), they weren't kidding. These speakers are as huge as they are imposing.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 23, 2023  |  0 comments
The room was noisy, and the switching between selections a classic case of trackus interruptus. Nonetheless, the ability of Atohm's GT1 bookshelf speakers ($4499/pair) to convey bass far more powerful than one might reasonably expect from speakers of their size left me smiling. I was smiling as well because the first demo track chosen to display this wonder was one I occasionally reference for color, texture, and speed: Yosi Horikawa's "Bubbles" (16/44.1Tidal/First World Records).
Rogier van Bakel  |  Apr 23, 2023  |  1 comments
Trigger warning: If sky-high prices for audio gear make you gnarly, this AXPONA report (and many others) won't lift your mood. Just the MasterBuilt-brand cabling in dealer Scott Walker Audio's room carried a heart-stopping six-figure price tag.

The space, featuring Von Schweikert Ultra 7 speakers ($180,000/pair), wasn't especially small or large. Let's call it a Goldilocks room. Leif Swanson, Von Schweikert's chief designer, said that the brand's products had often been demoed in big expo rooms, which occasionally scared off potential buyers who assumed that the speakers needed a jumbo-sized space to sing. Not so, says the company.

Rogier van Bakel  |  Apr 22, 2023  |  1 comments
Room 352 at AXPONA, where cable constructors Shunyata Research and speaker builders Clarisys had joined forces, was something of a feast for the senses. The Clarisys Minuet speakers ($38,800/pair) look like high-tech heaters in a 1940s film noir, and I mean that in the best possible way—I love how they seem simultaneously retro and thoroughly modern. They sounded wonderful too.
Rogier van Bakel  |  Apr 22, 2023  |  7 comments
Masimo must have been the biggest, most valuable company at AXPONA by far. Its market valuation is slightly north of 10 billion dollars. The NASDAQ-listed firm had more than two billion in revenues last year. And yet it's a safe bet that most expo-goers who saw the Masimo name on one of the demo rooms thought, "Who?"
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 21, 2023  |  1 comments
Colorado's Ayre Acoustics jammed a big system into a small room at APXONA, wall-to-wall attendees barely leaving space for Ayre's president, designer, and Chief Ayre-Head Ariel Brown to press the flesh and discuss the gear.
Rogier van Bakel  |  Apr 21, 2023  |  0 comments
I probably spent much of my time at AXPONA with a severe case of resting bitch face, as I'm usually concentrating hard. There's a lot to cover, and a thousand facts to get straight. But during system auditions, I occasionally smiled too, sometimes unintentionally making eye contact with exhibitors who were excited to see that I was excited.

That's what happened in the Linkwitz room, where CEO Frank Brenner and noted Linkwitz evangelist Charles Port were demoing the company's LX521.4 open-baffle speakers.

Rogier van Bakel  |  Apr 21, 2023  |  0 comments
One unusual thing in the large Legacy space at AXPONA was the placement of two pairs of beautiful-looking speakers: Legacy's V system and the Aeris. They stood in a straight line angled about 30° away from one of the long walls, albeit parallel to a curtain that the Legacy team had placed there. The grouping of equipment was also quite far over to the left of the room, instead of near the center of the wall.
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.