Axpona has been fantastic this year. The app is very helpful but could use at least one additional feature. It would be great to sort bookmarked exhibitors by floor. There were so many great sounding rooms. However, I am not on the lookout for great sounding rooms this year, though I have heard lots. I am looking to network with the companies whose equipment/cables I own and may want to own. In particular, on my to do list was to get a pair of MrSpeakers at meeting pricing (done), and shop for a Roon core alternative to the Nucleus/+ or the Nucleus/+ itself. I checked out Innuos and Wolf so far. Great meeting and the best tips were here just before the meeting. Start at the 16th floor and work your way down via the stairs. Also make a list of the vendors you want to see. Fremer’s turntable demo was good too. Great meeting. Enjoy!
Classes would be better as 1/2 hour max. Better topics would help. Restrooms on 3-16 inadequate.
The Show Seems well attended. Anyone see:
-Laufer Teknik’s "The Note" line array speaker at $38k
-Bayz Audio Tube Speaker at $99k
-Gryphon played at 92db average. My ears were shot after that.
-ATC 50’s were amazingly defining. Perhaps to bright on the top though.
-PS Audio- Forget Arnie's Legacy. The prototype was awful-Sorry Paul!
Consider room correction. Paradigm Persona used it and their speakers
sounded excellent. Anthem unit he said. Seems to me ALL the rooms need one.
I've never been to Axpona but I'm going to try and go next year. Besides listening rooms, what other exhibits to they have? Can you buy vinyl, supplies etc? The classes sound fun---this would a great way to get more young people interested in the hobby. There should be a Audiophile 101 class for beginners.
I hope everyone has a safe trip home
It was lot of fun, great new gear and seminar sessions. Check it out,
Hopefully you can attend this year or visit RMAF (Denver) later this year. IMO, these are two best shows currently in North America.
Here is my opinion, the good and bad.
I was disappointed with the Sanders room. Sounded anemic to me. The Carvers room was just ok but Frank the room presenter talked Wayyyy too much!
The Gryphon room demo was ok, but we were listening to about $1M worth of equipment! So for that amount money I was not impressed.
I DID NOT like the choice of music in most of the rooms. It was music to fall asleep to with mostly midrange recordings. Most of the recordings I never heard nor ever care to hear them again. Only 3 exhibits would play some of my HR music files that I brought on a usb. I wanted to hear how the speakers/system handled dynamic rock music!
Playing only preplanned canned music makes me wonder are they hiding something? How would these systems perform at my home with my choice of music?
1. What I did like was the GT Audio works GTA 3R speakers. They had some great dynamics and they even domo’ed playing them with some Led Zeppelin!
2. I also liked the Fonica Flag L Isodynamic System these are some very thin planer speakers and were quite impressive.
3. T&A Solitaire Anniversary edition electrostatic speakers sounded very good! I would like to here these more.
Honorable mention to the Laufer Teknik "The Note" speakers. Sounded pretty good , but I have to wonder where the $40,000 cost comes from?
P.S. The bathroom availability on floors 4-16 was non existent. Probably a health code violation.
And the parking situation was terrible!
I was at AXPONA all three days this year.
My favorite room--the Finest Fidelity Room--they spun records on a Steve Dobbins restored Garrard 301, Reed 2P tonearm ($13,500 together), $12,000 van den Hul catridge and a $25,0000 van den Hul phono pre. Accustic Arts pre and mono-amps driving Magico S3 MkII speakers. I have heard these speakers quite a few times and this was the first time they sounded really great to me. The analog rig was the star. When I had the guys in charge play me the same track digitally immediately after hearing it on the analog rig, the magic in the room quickly faded. If you missed this room playing records, then you missed a treat.
The four rooms that surprised me:
(1) The MSB room--underwhelming. An $85K DAC that did not impress. I stopped by twice to make sure I was hearing it correctly;
(2) The ELAC room with the small monitors--a huge value proposition IMO. This room showed you don't need an armor truck or gigantic room to get quality sound--oh, the tracks Peter played while I was in the room were great--I will be buying both those CDs;
(3) The Laufer Teknik room--Kind of weird and wonderful. "The Note" speakers in the room were very tall and very thin but produced more quality sound than I imagined possible when I walked into the room (with the substantial help of a large subwoofer). The 64/16 Memory Player with the built in DAC was impressive; and finally
(4) The Technics room--Every time I walked in these guys were playing digital files while the Technics SL-1000-R loaded (with an Ortofon MC Winfeld Ti cartridge) sat idly by. I found that strange. I got them to play it; and it sounded pretty good with the Harbeth speakers in a ridiculously small room. If I just launched a new product that had a bunch of buzz, I would have been showcasing that product in a bigger room. Seemed like a missed opportunity to me.
I was at AXPONA all three days this year.Astewart=agreed that the FF room with Dobbins 301 was great. Having A.J. Van den Hull sitting there in the room meditatively helped. And I could not agree more-this room made the Magico's sound good. On the other hand, the CH Precision room with Magico's was unbearable-etched, screechy, off in just about every way.
I agree too that the MSB room was disappointing. I thought the equally expensive MBL room was also disappointing.
My favorite room all said and done was the Audio Note room. But admittedly it is due to my taste/preference for natural tone/timbre. I think it is no huge surprise AN sounds good at shows-the speakers and associated gear suit the small rooms and corner placement suits the need to tame bass that cripples to some extent most of the other larger speakers placed in small rooms. Vincent Belanger was fantastic to listen to both playing cello and describing what AN strives for.
The Vivid Audio room with Jeff Rowland sounded awfully good to me. Call me a homer (I own Devore O/93's) but I really liked the room with DeVore O/93's being driven by Leben gear and I was also equally impressed by the room with DeVore O/96's being driven by Wavac.
And lastly, I loved loved loved the room with Dynaudio Confidence 20 standmounts with two subs, one behind each speaker stand.
With a lot of the big names, I heard an awful lot of what I call "hi-fi" sound. Ultra-detailed and revealing but not quite relaxing and easy-flowing. And at the other extreme, with the lower priced gear I heard a lot of for lack of a better word is "mechanical"; sound that covers the range of frequencies but again, is not natural to my ears.
The Acora speakers with great sounding tube amps was a stand out performer, so spacious sounding.
The two large VAC/Von Schweikert Audio rooms were a pleasure to see, I just sat a while, I don't remember how long, it sounded so real.
The Gershman room was another highlight for me, pleasant, detailed but not hyper detailed.
F1 Audio with Magico speakers and Chord digital placed in an open space sounded very good.
First timer at AXPONA. First off, really enjoyed the venue. Lots of walking, typical elevator waits on Saturday. Friday we had primo access to rooms and sweet spots, plus one-on-one conversations with owners, engineers, and knowledgeable staff. ( and easier possibility of listening our choice of music ... although we should have pre-warned Hungarian designers/engineer, Zoltan Bay from Bayz Audio exactly what would happen when he played our Yello selection ( "Shake & Shiver" ) on their $95,000 "Counterpoint" masterpiece. First of all, it was magnificent + and showed the excellence of his company's work ! Secondly, it cleared the room of most of the "classically inclined" listeners. And "yes" he refused to recognize any of our further requests. ( But if I had the money, I would own these ! )
I disagree with audiotroy on the Carver speakers. I found them quite enjoyable.
The Vandy Wood CT's and Magico's were a disappointment . (Sadly stated )
I was pleased with the Audiovector SR3 Avantgarde Arrete' , the Atohm GT3's , the Triangle Magellan Quatour's, and the Muraudio SP1's .
A standout moment was in the Jeff Rowland room w/ Vivid Audio Kaya 90 's when a gentleman named Myles ( reviewer ? ) pulled an album by Dead Can Dance and wowed everyone in the packed room for a solid 15+ minutes of pure magic.
The B&W300 D3's in the Audioquest room were stunning as were the 802 D3 Prestiges's in a MacIntosh room. ( I own 802D2's )
It was pleasure to meet Yutaka Miura of ATM and Paul McGowan of PS Audio ( My Hero ), but his new AN3's (prototypes), although beautiful didn't wow me the way I expected. Second chance will be given out of respect.
Lastly we unknowingly met Samuel Laufer of Laufer Teknik upon arrival at the hotel and did enjoy his entire set-up ( and they did let us play some Yello on their system to test his mettle. We were not disappointed. )
There was so much more, but I'll cut it short ...
On another note, the JTR Speakers Home Theatre setup was off the chain !!!! 19 mindblowing Channels of " I want this in my house !!" , but I really need to get a bigger house. The JVC laser projection unit was the clearest thing I have seen ever.
I'll be going back next year ...
Happy listening my friends....
-The Audio Note room with the live professional Cellist was the Class
Touch of the show. Thank you.
-The Carver Towers were decent but that room guy never stopped his mouth. Carver seemed like the discount Laufer. Somebody needs to be.
-Way too many rooms picked POOR music. Shall I say it again?
These people are in the sound business. I am hands up over the situation as my Korean friends used to say.
-Yes Technics missed the boat. The 40.2 Harbeths sounded worse that the 30.2s next door at less than 1/2 the price. Room was way too small.
Thanks for closing the door early by the way. People were wanting in.
Some bad vibes there.
-Sanders anemic??? Wow you heard something nobody else I spoke with did.
I've not been to an audio show in almost 3 decades so was a bit overwhelmed and only had 3 hours to make sense of things. I decided that I was going to simply see which rooms automatically engaged me with the music played, I imagine the type of music and recording factored heavily. I found myself most engaged in the parasound/buchardt room and the Wharfedale linton room, that was good news considering they are amongst the lowest priced speakers at the show. I also heard the Kii 3 (with the new lower section), maybe it was the recording, everything was solid and tight but I found the experience fatiguing. I feel sometimes I have a reverse placebo effect, the bigger and more elaborate looking the set up the higher the expectation is to be somehow floored, the tiny buchardts by contrast seemed to make a sound that belied what you were in front of. The lintons were playing a heavy electronic track which I enjoyed, they might be coloured and tubby sounding? but at that moment I was really enjoying myself.
Reasons to attend an audio show;
1) see the latest releases from attending manufacturers
2) pick up on the latest trends in the industry
3) discover previously unheard demo tracks
4) gape at equipment way out of your price range
Reasons not to attend an audio show
1) evaluate the sound of equipment being demonstrated
Jchip, agree with some of your points but disagree with the last.
For example all the Magico's sounded the same which to us is boring, clean, but boring in every room similar sound.
There were a few exceptions which lead us to rethink the sound that we have generally associated with some of these products.
Most rooms using Wilsons at this show sounded very good, still think that you can get better sound for the money with some of the other brands but overall some of the demos were very impressive.
The Golden Ear Triton 1R were in our mind one of the standouts for the money for $6k they sounded totally different then the sound we associated with Golden Ear which tends to be either too bright or too boomy. The soundstage was huge, the bass tight and the top end was balanced. Was it the room the gear the new model?
Have heard the Mura Electrostatics and these are always fantastic.
Another big surprise was the Grande Utopia EM this new version was amazing, especially on the big Naim Statements what a sound.
Vimbergs sounded superb.
New Dali Calistro active speakers were impressive for $5,700.00 speakers, streaming hub and Blue OS just plug in the speakers and you are good to go.
Heard the Elac $1,200.00 monitors they sounded bright did not impress us at all.
The Paradigm 3F with Anthem room correction sounded excellent.
The T+A gear in both room was very good as well.
So the take away was that some of the rooms really did showcase the products well or at least well enough to see if someone would want to take the next step and explore that product either at a dealers or in their home.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ, T+A, Paradigm, Anthem, Dali, Elac, dealers
Are there any “treatments” that would help these rooms or is it the space limitations that make them hard to make sound good?
Might be a huge way for a company to sell some treatments to have 2 rooms set up with the same dimensions and equipment; one with treatments and one with normal “show” setup.
Manger drive unit with woofer really grooved, great timing and coherence
Spendor/Chord beautiful synergy and balance.
Alta audiophile delight
Loved the outgoing exuberant Wilson Sabrina
Kef great "budget" towers in white
Klipsch Forte impressed sonically and visually
LSA BIG sound
Some italion pyramid shaped standmounts BIG sound
@audiotroy The Golden Ear Triton 1R were in our mind one of the standouts for the money for $6k they sounded totally different then the sound we associated with Golden Ear which tends to be either too bright or too boomy. The soundstage was huge, the bass tight and the top end was balanced. Was it the room the gear the new model?You're the second I've heard from that said the Triton 1r's were the best at the show for the money. What were the Triton's hooked up to? I've seen them use Primaluna amps at some shows. I'm wondering because I have Triton 2's. When I had them hooked up to a 200wpc solid state amp I wasn't that impressed. I thought they were also too bright or artificial sounding in the highs and boomy in the bass. When I hooked them up to my Primaluna Dialogue integrated they are much more compelling and enjoyable. I'm not saying the Triton 2's or 1r's aren't good speakers. I've just noticed mine sound much better using tube amplification and I wonder if that's what was being used at Axpona.
I can honestly say that many of us seasoned veterans can walk in a room and know, immediately, if the system has potential, and in what way the room has influenced what we are hearing ( yes, with or without music we are familiar with ). Plus, we all know how significant it is to dial in a pair of speakers to a room, for a sweet spot. Not enough time when setting up for a show. Been there, done that.
I think some of the differences in opinions on the various speakers sound quality had to do with the music that was playing at the time of the visit.
I swear most of the rooms only played subtle, midrangey type music.
Nice, but not very taxing on a system.
P.S. I also thought the Triton R1 sounded pretty good.
My notes on the T&A speakers have them listed as about $7500 a pair which I thought was a real bargain and they sounded great!
But,... did I miss a zero in the price?
Ozzy the big T+A speakers are $75k a pair, I would love to see a speaker built like that for $7,500.00 the other Criterion small aluminium loudspeakers are $15k a pair so maybe they were being listed at $7,500.00 each.
The thing with the Triton 1R is that you are getting a loudspeaker with incredible bass via two built in subwoofers, and a big soundstage for $6k which does make them a wee bit of a bargain.
We are now looking at adding Golden Ear to our staple of floor standing loudspeakers which would then give us in the $4-8k price range: Kef R 11, Dali Rubicon 6, Paradigm Prestige, Quad Z4, PSB T3, Elac Adante, Legacy Signatures.
What do you guys think of that line up are there any other mega value loudspeakers that we would be missing from major manufacturers?
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Although I haven't heard many say it, MBL sounded the best to my ears. Just seemed right across all frequencies with zero harshness. I am sensitive to high frequencies due to tinnitus and I felt no affect. My biggest surprise was when I asked what they were using for power conditioning and the guy doing the demo said "nothing". That had to be some dirty power on Saturday.
I also loved the Avantguard horns, but on one track I noticed the symbols coming from the far edges of the soundstage, both left and right. Bothered me once I noticed it.
Disappointed in almost all the ballrooms.