Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 28, 2022  |  0 comments
Could a year have passed since I spent a particularly memorable month reviewing the top-line, two-piece Esoteric Grandioso C1X preamplifier? As hard as it may be to realize that time has moved so fast during these strangely elongated years of pandemic isolation, revisiting Esoteric components in 11 Trading Company's room at AXPONA 2022 was like reuniting with an old friend. There was a lovely grace to this Esoteric system's presentation—an ease and flow—that set it apart from many of the other systems encountered at the show.
Julie Mullins  |  Apr 28, 2022  |  0 comments
When I've visited the Zesto Audio room at different hi-fi shows in recent years, I've noticed that sometimes they've shown their tubed electronics driving modern loudspeakers from Lumen White, for instance. Other times, it's been vintage classics, such as Tannoys. At AXPONA, they chose very old-school Tannoy Kensington GR loudspeakers ($18,000/pair), which of course, showed quite different sound characteristics from, say, Lumen Whites.
Tony Scherman  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  2 comments
In the spring of 1969, as an aspiring jazz drummer of 15 pretentiously and largely uncomprehendingly drawn to the music's difficult avant-garde, I learned that Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman's alter ego during Ornette's starvation years and an icon of free jazz himself, had recently moved to the village of Congers in my native Rockland County, New York, just north of New York City. Ornette was putting together a group drawn mostly from his early cohorts, and the call went out to Stockholm, where Don had settled—to the extent that he settled anywhere—with his Swedish wife, Moki. Hence his arrival practically on my doorstep.
Michael Fremer  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  2 comments
Let's get right to it: The best way to set azimuth, as I recently wrote in this space, is to measure crosstalk using either a high-quality voltmeter or a digital oscilloscope and a good test record like Analogue Productions' The Ultimate Analogue Test LP (AAPT1). The traditional, qualitative procedure—setting the headshell so that it's parallel to the record surface—assures only cosmetic satisfaction.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  4 comments
A quarter century after Audio Analogue began in Italy, the company's products are again available in the United States. Thanks to Walter Swanborn and Dwight DiMartino of Fidelis Distribution of New Hampshire, visitors to AXPONA discovered the AADrive CD transport ($2850) and AA DAC ($4950), Puccini Anniversary integrated amplifier ($5850), Bellini Anniversary line preamplifier ($7750), Donizetti Anniversary power amplifier ($13,850, below), and AA Phono MM/MC phono stage ($2500).
Julie Mullins  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  21 comments
From a new company came a new loudspeaker design that was four years in the making—thanks in part to the pandemic. But COVID downtime gave Malbork Audio founder and designer Daniel Fajkis (above) one advantage: more time to refine his inaugural Malbork Warsaw loudspeaker design through more math and engineering and simulations, Fajkis told me.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  5 comments
AXPONA offered the public a long-anticipated first listen to prototypes of Mytek's forthcoming Empire Streamer DAC ($24,995) and Empire GaNFET class-D monoblock amplifier ($9995/each or $19,990/pair). The former, which I'll review, may be in production by Munich High End in May; the latter is expected to launch in September.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  4 comments
If you're a regular attendee to audio shows you'll notice one constant, and that's a lack of consistency. At one show, Acme Turntables represents with Manny, Moe, & Jack's speakers. The next show, Acme has taken up with Beverly's speakers, and MM&J is now with Mr. Big's turntables. It's downright incestuous.

Into this audio polygamy come the good men of Volti Audio (Greg Roberts), BorderPatrol DACs and amplification (Gary Dews), and Triode Wire Labs cabling (Pete Grzybowski). These gentlemen have been hosting hi-fi rooms as a single organism since 2005!

Rogier van Bakel  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  1 comments
I'm in the middle of an audition in the room where Raidho TD3.8 speakers ($119,999/pair) are producing sweet music in synergy with two $6000-each Margules Audio U-280SC tube amplifiers running in triode mode. (JVS reviewed the amp in November 2017.) Suddenly some deep-voiced dude speaks up, just to my right: "You guys ever heard of the Purple Man?" Puzzled, I look in his direction. No one's there.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  0 comments
Located just five miles from each other in the beauteous state of New Hampshire, Sonner Audio and Small Green Computer teamed up to present a lovely mid-priced system that quickly won over hearts with its beauty. Yes, every veteran audiophile has heard tenor José Carreras sing "that track" from Misa Criolla, but far fewer have enjoyed all the atmosphere, midrange warmth, and excellent bass that this track can deliver. Carreras sounded especially clear, present, and intimate on this space-considerated system.