Axpona 2016


Went to Axpona today and of all the rooms the VAC room using Von Schweikert speakers had a special sound.
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For those in attendance, post pics & thoughts for the rest of us!
I would like to know the dominating trend at AXPONA as well. 

Last year at RMAF, I saw can jams, streamers, DAC's and turntables made a huge splash. Almost every room with at least 50K plus gear had a turntable spinning vinyl records.  

I realize 2 channel is evergreen, with diminishing interest in CD's, do you all see a full blown vinyl comeback?

Several rooms caught my ear at this show. 
1, All Italian components.  The Angstrom el 34 amplifier driving the Diesis Audio Aura with an Aqua digital source produced a beautiful and natural sound, very good. Instruments were real sounding and present. Probably my  favorite room. Flesh and blood with the breath of life in effect. 

2, High Water Sound room, TW Raven TT, New Audio Frontiers 845 SET stereo amplifier driving the Hornings speakers. A bit of upper bass emphasis  (room related? ) but very lively, dynamic with very good midrange, pace and musical swing/flow. 

3, Jadis el 34 integrated amplifier driving B &W speakers, this was a surprising good match.  The music just flowed.Convincing tonality and engagement emotionally. 

4, The active Goldmund Melissa speaker, another surprise. Very good musical flow and engagement,  nice sounding system all Goldmund system. 

5, The all Zanden component room was very good,  nice tone,flow and musical connection. They were using their big el 34 amplifier. 

These were examples of rooms that would really appeal to the music lovers. 
Charles, ,


Darn auto spell,  Goldmund Metis active speaker tower.
Hi Charles,
Thank you for your report.
Did any of the rooms have a sound that would make you want to part with your beloved system ??
I thought the Sanders room was outstanding.  The sound was clean, bold, smooth, detailed and fun to listen to.  

I was there yesterday and today. I loved the Wells Audio and Salk speakers rooms. Audio Alchemy and Endeavor speakers were also excellent. Bricasti was excellent in their rooms. Peachtree was great. So many great systems but those stuck out in my head right now. Oh yeah... Elac is a steal. 
Hi Goldeneraguy,
No, I can't say that. I certainly could be very happy with these systems and others I've heard.  I'm in no way suggesting my current system couldn't be bettered by other components.  It's just that I'm thoroughly content with what I have.  There's a lot of excellent sounding components available out there for us. That Italian system displayed a lot of soul and just pulled me in as my system does without fail. You can nit pick in an audiophile sense,  but I'm strictly talking about musical emotion and involvement. Some systems just bypass sound analysis and go straight to the music. That's what I like. 
Charles, 

Goldeneraguy,
I don't know what type of sound /presentation you may prefer. For example  the  Pass Labs/ Focal or the MBL,  Magico and Bricasti  rooms will likely be  "far" more popular than the rooms I  cited. And I certainly  understand that,  but those rooms just didn't communicate musically /emotionally for me. It's so much about personal preferences and what stirs you.
Charles, 
Charles,
I prefer tubes,tubes and more tubes.
My system is all High Water Sound except for my deHaviland 845 amps.
I haven't heard Jeffrey's New Audio Frontiers 845 and being I recently moved  from NY to AZ I doubt I will  be hearing it soon.
Enjoy your system .I look forward to your posts.
Goldeneraguy, 
I imagine that your system is terrific sounding and your listening enjoyment is every bit  as fulfilling as mine. We both are  fortunate. 
Charles, 
How were the Magico rooms and what electronics did they have?
Deviatet in one room. it wasn't my favorite but my ears could be broken.
This show was my first exposure to Vapor Audio, that was the only room where I inadvertently slipped out of critical listening mode and just enjoyed the track. 

The Enigmacoustics room was interesting. The Questyle wireless technology looks promising, +1 to them for using Ozone Percussion Group as a demo track. 

I agree with lalitk, in all but one of the rooms that advertised a music server as equipment, they were all using vinyl to demo. Might be a trend, might have just been timing of how we hit the rooms. 

Two personal take take aways from this show; one, even allowing for room difficulties it seems it's not easy to get the higher highs and the lower lows right. Many rooms were either harsh or muddy. Two, I didn't leave with the desire to dump everything and upgrade. My system is low-mid fi and the result of much trial and error. I know it's not perfect, but I know it inside and out and the paths to improve it, and I enjoy it! So maybe I'm deaf (possible), or maybe by Sunday all the sales guys had run out of steam. 
There were a couple rigs this year at AXPONA '16 I thought the best I had ever heard at a show. But, then I returned home and thought, "Phhht! Those rigs were BAD! My home system is MUCH better!"  ;) 

Very good reports guys- wished I could have attended.
I have been wanting to demo a Wells Audio amp.
Charles1dad, "2, High Water Sound room, TW Raven TT, New Audio Frontiers 845 SET stereo amplifier driving the Hornings speakers. A bit of upper bass emphasis  (room related? ) but very lively, dynamic with very good midrange, pace and musical swing/flow.

3, Jadis el 34 integrated amplifier driving B &W speakers, this was a surprising good match.  The music just flowed.Convincing tonality and engagement emotionally."

Thank you for your impressions, Charles.  Always good to hear show feedback.

The Horning speakers and Jadis integrateds are two products I really like.  Like enough that I bought them.  Also surprising, although not the absolute best combination I've found, the Jadis DA60 was the second best amplifier I've tried with the Hornings.
Hello Trelja, 
Based on what I heard I'd have to believe that the Jadis amplifier driving the Hornings has to be quite wonderful.  Your music must really be a thrill to hear with that combo. You obviously have good taste. 
Charles, 
I visited the Wells Audio room several times. Jeff Wells is very passionate about his products. I think that for the money they are a great value. His new integrated amp with Salk Song speakers sounded terrific. Your would be very hard pressed to find something better for less than $6K for both.
Much Thanks! theo1124.
Trelja ,What is your first choice for an amplifier with your Horning speaker

Charles1:

A nice report. Did you have the urge to hand a Synergistic Research Black fuse to some of these fabulous amp designers!

I would love to hear the High Water Sound room equipped with Black fuses.

David Pritchard


Hello David,
As I've said before,  the better the component, the greater the impact of the Black fuses. The systems I listed that really caught my ear would be terrific choices for these fuses. I'm definitely a SET amplifier guy but that Jadis push pull  amplifier was making music in that room , I could live happily with it. 
Charles, 
Goldeneraguy, "Trelja ,What is your first choice for an amplifier with your Horning speaker"

The list of amplifiers I’ve used with the Hornings in my system is pretty long. Off the top of my head - Atma Sphere M60, Atma Sphere S30, Audioromy 845, Blue Circle BC2, Cary Rocket 88, Consonance Cyber 211, Consonance Cyber 300B PSE, Consonance Cyber 800, Consonance Cyber 845, Consonance Cyber 10 Signature, Consonance Cyber 100S 300B, Consonance Cyber 100 EL34, Consonance Reference 150, Deja Vu 2A3 push pull, Dynaco ST70, Dynaco ST80 (Panor reimagined ST70 fixing all the supposed issues), Jas Bravo 2.1, Jadis DA30, Jadis DA60, Jadis Orchestra Reference, Manley Snapper, Manley Stingray, Pass Labs XA30.5, Quicksilver 8417 (converted to EL34), Rogue Audio M180

Top 3:
1. Deja Vu 2A3 push pull steroblock
2. Jadis DA60 EL34 integrated
3. Jas Bravo 2.1 6AS7G integrated
Trelja,
Now that is a comprehensive list! 😊 A DHT tubed amplifier was your top choice,  not surprising if it's implemented correctly. Quite a compliment that the Jadis amplifier is 2nd on your esteemed list. 
Charles, 
charles1dad:

Speaking to the choir here concerning amps and fuses. Set amps: Art Audio PX-25 and a Fred Voltz Emotive type 45 tube amp. PushPull - Jadis.

Fuse type Synergistic Research 100%.

Listening satisfaction - off the chart!

David Pritchard
Charles first of all interesting to see you mention Jadis a brand with tons of mystique and old school cred that I've just never had a chance to hear. And trelja thanks for the Deja Vu Audio shout out, running a Deja Vu pushpull EL34 amp myself 17 lovely watts powering JMlabs original Micro-Utopias in a small room. Great sounding gear and super reliable, I'm lucky to live within 20 minutes of Vu's shop.
Hi Jond,
The Jadis amplifier was driving B &W speakers  (a speaker that typically is just okay sounding to me).  In this instance this pairing was making music and was natural in its presentation. A number of the rooms at Axpona had more of the usual hifi type sound. For me there's a distinction between these two types of presentations. I have no doubt that Trelja's Deja Vu 2a3 PP amplifier sounds wonderful with an appropriate speaker match such as the Horning for example. 
Charles, 
Charles I am sure the 2a3 amp does a fine job with the Hornings, I've actually had Vu's pushpull 45 stereo amp in house as a loaner during an upgrade and it drove my speakers just fine in my room. It was a touch too detailed for my tastes, with my speakers at least, but a remarkable amp.
There is a new pair of Hornings  for sale on the Gon for 18K.
Really liked the Raidho room, especially impressed by the D 1.1 ... best small speaker I've ever heard. At the end of a particularly great live track the crowd in the hotel room applauded along. Have never experienced this before at Axpona.
I'm also a fan of every one of the Raidho products. My favorite cost-no-object, however was the Sonus Faber Aida. Driven with all-tubes and vinyl, the sound was ethereal. Also really enjoyed the sounds from Magico and KEF Blades and Wilson. On the lower end, I was really impressed with speakers from ELAC and Spatial. Most missed from last year's show - Acoustic Zen.
Most disappointing speakers include the big Monitor Audios and the JBL Everest(?). Also not that impressed with MBL (just like last year), but maybe they never seem to be playing anything interesting whenever I stopped by.
I mention the rooms by speakers because I find it so difficult to judge the electronics without knowing the speakers characteristics. 
Trelja,
Thank you for your reply.
Thats quite a list. I have been thinking of a new amp for my Aristotles for some time now.When I audition amps in my price range I gravitate back to my deHavilland's.I recently moved to a new home in Arizona {couldn't take the snow any longer} and am trying to set my system correctly.After that I will be back to my quest for an amp.Thanks again for your list
Goldeneraguy,
You have been using a very highly regarded amplifier, what type of sound are you seeking now? Fortunately there are numerous excellent choices for a high efficiency high quality speaker such as yours. 
Good luck with your searce. 
Charles, 
Charles,
I have been using 845 tubes for about 13 years and sometimes think its time for a change.Over the last two years I have auditioned many amps in my system and in my price range that have come close to the sound I hear from my deHavilland's but none have surpassed it.
They were all tubed amps from push pull going all the way to direct heated.
The deHavillands were always the standout.Very sorry Kara no longer makes them.The only negative (if one can call this a negative) is in my system I would prefer an amp with an input sensitivity of 900mV to 1.2V 
This would allow more flexibility in using the rotary volume control of my preamp which is dialed to #3 on a scale of 1 to10.
The preamp has such a fine tolerance that channel balance is always spot on but Ideally I would like the volume control to be dialed to the 4-6 position
Nitpicking, yes.
Plus the fact that although I have been a music enthusiast for over 50 years I never heard a 2A3 based amp and I think I owe it to myself to do so.
But first I must get a handle on my new listening room.
Going from a 12 x 21to a 18 X 29 room is more of a challenge then I thought iy would be
Enjoy
Ed





Hi Ed,
You certainly  have established a high standard with use of the DeHavilland for 13 years so I can see your dilemma, . I'd agree you  need a less sensitive amplifier and /or less overall gain in the system to widen the range of volume control  usage.  I'm confident that you'll find a very suitable replacement amplifier 
Charles, 

goldeneraguy:

You have a wonderful amp in Kara's 845 based tube.

A lot of things that can be tried at your new house before changing

 amps. Have you tried the Psvane WE 845 or Elrog 845 tubes? Also four Synergistic Research products might be worth auditioning-

1.The Tesla SE wall outlet

2. The Black fuses

3. Placing their Electronic Circuit Transducers (ECT) on the amp

4. Room treatment products - the Atmosphere, and UEF acoustic panels.

All the above are available with a return policy. I use them and think they allow one to exactly dial in the sound one is searching for.

 They have allowed me to to become very happy with my SET amps.

Best wishes on your audio journey.


David Pritchard               


David,
Thank you