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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  |  0 comments
Our own Michael Fremer of Stereophile and, in whom the serious and hilarious often vie for supremacy, was quite busy at AXPONA. In addition to covering all things analog for both publications, he also led two installments of "Michael Fremer's Internationally Renowned Turntable Set-up Seminar," moderated a "Vinyl Lives!" panel, and spoke on a "Meet the Editors" panel. One of Mikey's unforgettable lines: "I once did this smashed on Tequila, but I wouldn't recommend it."
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  |  Apr 27, 2014  |  0 comments
I'll be the first to admit that I have champagne tastes and a house wine budget. As proof, no sooner do I walk into the Brown Art Museum exhibit that has been an ongoing feature of AXPONA shows than I fall in love with this statue. Although the person who could have told me all about her was on break, the man taking his place could only share that she was the most expensive work of art in the exhibit. No wonder. Isn't she gorgeous?
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2014  |  0 comments
The ever-kinetic bassist Dean Peer was but one of several musicians providing live music at AXPONA. As you can tell, my camera's indoor, flash-less "Night Scene" setting could not keep up with the movements of Dean and his drummer Bret Mann, who were sponsored by Audio Power Labs and Cardas Audio.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 27, 2014  |  0 comments
Steve Davis, AXPONA founder, caught on the fly between the "Grab 'N Go" snack area and various presentations. Steve had every reason to smile, given the impressive turnout on the first day of the show. But I'll bet he wasn't smiling in the middle of the second, absolutely packed and tremendously successful day when, somewhere after 2 pm, the fire alarm went off and people were ordered to evacuate the hotel. This, after all, was the second year in a row that an ear-piercing fire alarm went off on the busiest day of AXPONA. Thankfully, it was a false alarm. Within a half hour, everyone had returned to the reality of fine sound.
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  |  4 comments
The big joy of visiting the United Home Audio room, manufacturer of the Phase 11S tape deck with outboard power supply ($23,000 as configured), was reuniting with Michael Allen of Jolida. The good news is that Michael, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, has made a full recovery.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 26, 2014  |  1 comments
Don't be deceived by this photo. Despite the short registration line on Friday morning, the line-up continued without let-up through most of the day. Virtually every room I visited on the first day of AXPONA, from the large suites on the basement and lobby levels to the standard and large hotel rooms on the twelfth floor, was filled with people. Registration figures are not yet available, but the JD Events folks are certain that attendance at the first day of the show has well outstripped last year's sterling attendance figures.
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 26, 2014  |  1 comments
Aren't they just beautiful? What's more, they sounded just as good as they look. Absolutely gorgeous tonality on Jonathan Horwich's International Phonograph recording of Jeremy Kahn's "The Shadow of Your Smile" distinguished this pairing of Merrill Audio's made-in-New-Jersey Veritas class-D monoblock amplifiers ($12,000/pair) and made-in-Mexico Sadurni horn loudspeakers, which are sold with their hard-to-see companion subwoofers ($40,000/pair for all three).
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 21, 2014  |  1 comments
The 2014 AXPONA (Audio Expo North America), scheduled for April 25–27 in Chicago's completely refurbished Westin O'Hare, promises to the biggest and most comprehensive US consumer audio show east of Denver. How about, for starters, at least 56 known product introductions, with many more intentionally unannounced; 75 active exhibits in "standard" hotel rooms, whose dimensions are a far-from-standard 14.9'x19' with 8.5' high ceilings; 35 significantly larger meeting rooms and suites, spread over numerous floors, often filled with more than one active system per room; an Ear Gear Expo with exhibits from 23 headphone and headphone amp/accessory manufacturers; and a lobby level marketplace that promises 70 displays from 30 different vendors?