AXPONA 2019

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John Atkinson  |  Apr 15, 2019  |  7 comments
. . . proclaimed posters everywhere on the Renaissance Convention Center's ground floor. It turned out that the show had run out of exhibit rooms, so a purpose-built listening room had been built for Chicago dealer Kyomi Audio at the back of the big hall that housed the LP fair, the Master Class space, and the Ear Gear exhibits. Inside—forgive the grainy photo; it was quite dark inside this room—were a pair of Raidho TD1.2 stand-mounted speakers ($27,000/pair) connected with Gamut Reference cables to a pair of Jadis NEC 845 push-pull monoblocks ($29,990, the first pair in North America), a Jadis JPS2 preamp ($15,500), and a Jadis JPS3 phono preamplifier ($14,900).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 13, 2019  |  0 comments
It was hard to get a good photo of the Aavik/Børresen/Ansuz system from Next Level HiFi of Wayne, IL, distributed by Gated HiFi, because the premiere Børresen 05 loudspeakers with D-TC Resonance Control ($120,000/pair) were spaced so far apart. But that spacing certainly didn't stop the system from wowing listeners with its extremely strong bass, which on genuinely danceable party music was vibrating in my gut and propelling the 05s' drivers back and forth. The exhibitors in the conference room underneath may have been cringing, but I ate up my opportunity to receive my first sonic massage of the day.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 14, 2019  |  0 comments
Distributor Axiss Audio's main system, built around Air Tight's ATM-3211 211-tube based monoblocks ($72,000/pair), premiere ATM-2Plus KT-88-based stereo power amplifier ($TBD), ATC-5 tube-based preamplifier with phono equalizer ($9500), ATH-3 step-up transformer ($3000), premiere PC-1 Coda cartridge ($8500), and Opus cartridge ($15,000) took pride of place in an all-analog system whose bottom line was tube warmth for days.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 15, 2019  |  0 comments
Alta Audio was showing off their Celesta FRM-2 stand-mounted speakers ($15,000/pair) at AXPONA, driving these two-ways with AVA SET monoblock amplifiers ($5000/pair), which use two of Frank Van Alstine's single-ended MOSFET amplifiers in push-pull to obtain 600Wpc into 8 ohms. The source was Frank's laptop feeding data via a 25' USB cable (!!!) to his Mk.5 DAC and FET/Valve CFR tube preamp. Cabling was all by a brand new to me, Anticables.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 16, 2019  |  10 comments
Ken Micallef was impressed by this British company's CDA2 Mk.2 CD player/DAC ($4249) when he reviewed it in the January issue, and ATC were using it as the souce in their room at AXPONA. But pride of place went to their SCM50 tower speakers ($22,000/pair, far right in my photo) and the similar-looking SCM50SE powered towers ($60,000/pair, near right).
John Atkinson  |  Apr 15, 2019  |  5 comments
"Handcrafted In Germany" it proudly says above AVM's new Rotation R5.3 Cellini Edition belt-drive turntable, with its acrylic Illumine platter softly glowing blue. With its 10" AVM tonearm, the R 2.3 will cost in the region of $8900 and, fitted with an Ortofon Cadenza Black cartridge, did justice to Diana Krall singing "Indeed I Do." (For what it's worth, while many showgoers dismiss Krall as an over-exposed pop singer—I'm looking at you, Jason Victor Serinus— I respect both her musicianship and her piano playing.)
John Atkinson  |  Apr 12, 2019  |  0 comments
The show was scheduled to open at 10am today (April 12), but at 9:55am there was already a line of people at the registration desk. AXPONA looks on track to replace CES as the premier audio show in North America.
Jim Austin  |  Apr 18, 2019  |  2 comments
AXPONA 2019 was a good show—I'm tempted to say an important show. It's just an intuition, but I sense renewed vitality.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 10, 2019  |  2 comments
Stereophile’s moment-to-moment coverage of the largest audio show in North America is about to begin.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 13, 2019  |  0 comments
Getting ready for the first day's visitors in AXPONA's Ear Gear Expo, Ayre's vice president and CTO, Ariel Brown, was busy setting up the Colorado's company's QX-5 Twenty D/A processor ($8950, right) Codex D/A headphone amplifier ($1795, hidden in center, and the new QX-8 D/A processor ($4450 with S/PDIF inputs, $4950 with asynchronous USB input, $5450 with USB and Roon Ready Ethernet, left).
Jim Austin  |  Apr 13, 2019  |  0 comments
In room 504 at the 2019 AXPONA, Minnesota-based Bel Canto partnered with Danish company Audiovector to present a really good-sounding system with a small footprint.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 17, 2019  |  0 comments
Florida-based Bending Wave USA were showing the ginormous Divin Noblesse loudspeakers ($220,000/pair) making their US debut—I wrote "ginormous" but these are actually just the second largest speakers in the German company Goebel's line—driven by the Swiss CH Precision phono preamp, preamplifier, and power amplifiers.
Herb Reichert  |  Apr 16, 2019  |  3 comments
Jolida Audio began life a fabricator of vacuum tubes. But since the early 1990s, it has been known for its musical-sounding, modestly priced tube amplification. Jolida was also famous for its association with Jim Fosgate, famous for his Dolby Pro Logic inventions and, more important (to me at least), his battery-powered cartridge-azimuth alignment tool, the Fozgometer. Which I use all the time.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 17, 2019  |  2 comments
"Why is there a box of parts next to each of the Evolution loudspeakers?" I jokingly asked Blue Light Audio's Jonathan Tinn. He explained that those were the external crossovers for the three-way Maestoso loudspeakers ($18,900/pair) with their lids off. The speakers were being driven by the darTZeel NHB-108 Model Two power amplifier ($44,000), which was making its North American debut at AXPONA, and preamp was that Mikey Fremer favorite, the darTZeel NHB-18NS Mk.II ($44,000 with phono stage).
Jim Austin  |  Apr 17, 2019  |  1 comments
The racks produced by Butcher Block Acoustics, which were on display in the EXPO at AXPONA 2019, are about what you'd expect from a company with that name: They look like butcher blocks made into shelves, with lots and lots of maple. If you want a softer, warmer wood, you can get walnut instead. Or, you can get walnut shelves with maple legs, or maple shelves with walnut legs. However it's configured, it's a modern, minimalist look--almost Scandinavian.

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