AXPONA 2014

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 01, 2014  |  0 comments
Ammar Jadusingh began his loudspeaker company, Soundfield Audio, in late 2010, not long before he exhibited at AXPONA Jacksonville. Sold direct via the internet, his brand new Variable Soundfield Tower 3 four-way loudspeaker ($8500/pair), aka VSFT-3, contains two different, active woofers: a 10" sealed, high-excursion woofer and a 12" dipole woofer. With a claimed frequency response of 20Hz—23kHz, 8 ohms nominal impedance, and 92dB sensitivity, the speakers exhibited quite good balance and a warm midrange on a Red Book version of Dave Brubeck's "Take 5," live from the UK.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 30, 2014  |  0 comments
Clayton Shaw, who designed Emerald Physics loudspeakers and founded the company, returned last year with Spatial Audio loudspeakers. The Spatial Hologram M2 standard ($1995/pair) contains a new Hologram Circuit, and is a completely passive, analog, high-efficiency, open-baffle speaker. Each baby contains two 12' mid/woofers and one coaxially mounted compression driver. Designed to eliminate floor bounce, it claims not to need DSP or bi-amping.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 30, 2014  |  3 comments
Thanks to musician and AXPONA founder Steve Davis, pianist John M. Yurick could be heard throughout the day in various locations on the lobby level of the Westin O'Hare. It's a shame that his piano's lid was closed in order to render his piano less obtrusive amidst the talking, because Yurick is an excellent musician who deserves more than "background music" attention. He also moves faster than my camera's flash-less "Night Setting" could accommodate.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2014  |  4 comments
A lucky 13 exhibitors held forth in the Audiophile Marketplace in the Westin O'Hare's LaSalle Ballroom, with another eight, including Stereophile, positioned in the foyer. Even on Friday, the areas were packed. Unfortunately, LP purveyors such as Analogue Productions, Acoustic Sounds, Music Direct, and Elusive Disc dispensed their goodies in the world's crinkliest plastic bags. Given how popular vinyl was at AXPONA, you can imagine the racket each time a new person walked into an exhibit room.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2014  |  2 comments
No, we're not talking the theme song of the Log Cabin Campaign of the 1840 election for US president. Rather, I'm referring to Tyler Acoustics of Tyler, KY, whose new green, 95dB-sensitive Tyler Acoustics Insight Speaker System ($5500/pair) sounded very warm and inviting when partnered with Cardas cables and a Rogue integrated amplifier and phono stage. On a Patricia Barber LP played on an old, refurbished VPI turntable, colors may have been a bit homogenized, but the overall presentation was as welcoming and non-fatiguing as can be.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 26, 2014  |  1 comments
One way that Steve Davis and his wife Carmen share their multi-decade embrace of Transcendental Meditation with show attendees is by making the experience available to anyone who cares to sit and listen, within as well as without. This table on the lower level, as well as hour-long Introduction to Transcendental Meditation seminars on both Friday and Saturday, helped spread the word.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2014  |  2 comments
Even if I couldn't get far enough back to either take a decent photo or appreciate the sonics at their best, I could admire the warm, eminently pleasing sound of Acoustic Zen's Crescendo Mk.II loudspeakers ($18,000/pair) mated with Triode Corporation's TRX-M845 monoblocks ($22,500/pair), new TRX-2 tube preamplifier with MC/MM ($5000), TRX-DAC 1.0 Tube ($2500), and TRV-CD5SE ($3200).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 30, 2014  |  1 comments
With a name like Lampizator, as in Lukasz Fikus' "Audio from Poland with Love," who wouldn't be intrigued? The good news is, even paired with Vapor Audio's day-old Derecho loudspeakers ($7600/pair), which Ryan Scott builds behind his house in Hot Springs, MO, Lampizator's Level 7 DAC ($9650) and SQBX Based transport ($2650), Purity Audio's Silver Statement preamp ($35,000) with ultra power supply, and PSE300B 18W monoblocks ($26,000/pair with Sophia Electric 300B tubes), and Verastar cabling won me over with their beautiful sound.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2014  |  5 comments
Venture's Vici 2.1 speaker system ($36,000 total), which mates the AW500 subwoofer with the slim Vici towers, may have looked rather slight for the huge space it occupied, but it managed to fill it with surprisingly big sound.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 01, 2014  |  1 comments
I enjoyed my short time with the Vienna Acoustics Imperial Series Liszt loudspeaker system ($15,000/pair). The Liszt incorporates Vienna Acoustics' flat-spider 6" coincident midrange driver and 1.2" vented silk-dome/neo-coated motor, as well as three 7" woofers that cover the 26–200Hz range of a speaker that extends up to 25kHz. Mated with a Primare I32 integrated amplifier ($4750), whose pre-installed full media board option allowed a wired LAN connection to a NAS drive, and AudioQuest cabling, the system depicted a file of a recording of Mahler's Symphony 3 with superior midrange, fine bass, and appropriate top-end bite. Percussive slam was tight, if a bit shallow, but that may have been due to the recording itself.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 30, 2014  |  2 comments
Let's hear it for a relatively new dealer and father, Jason Walker of Midwest Audio in South Bend, Indiana. You know someone is an industry virgin when he confesses that he first heard of Rebecca Pidgeon, whose 20-year old "Spanish Harlem" was once a multi-room favorite at audio shows, a whole two months ago.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 01, 2014  |  0 comments
Mated with the new Avid Ingenium turntable with Pro-ject tonearm ($1999), Marantz PM14S integrated amplifier, and Audioquest cabling, a not fully broken-in set of Wharfedale Jade 1 loudspeakers ($1199/pair) sounded very impressive for the price. On the Cowboy Junkies Whites Off Earth Now LP, a take-no-prisoners depiction of electric guitar was balanced by a decent midrange, good bass, and a fine depiction of female voice. Abetting bass response was Wharfedale's Diamond 10.2 subwoofer ($799), which filled in between 35 and 65Hz.

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