Axpona Shout Outs

Enjoyable show again this year. Two rooms really stood out to me, Carver and Austin Acoustics.

The Carver room really had something going for it, especially for a system that probably retails <$75k all-in. I had not heard the Amazing Line Source before and i wasn't sure what to expect. IMHO it didn't do everything, but what it did was executed very well. Speed and articulation in spades, maybe coming up short in tonality but that could have been source material.

Austin Acoustics is obviously "price no object" but holy moly.  I could have stayed in there all day. 

Maybe it was my imagination but it seemed like a wider range of music being played this year. Didn't hear Sera Una Noche once! 

I didn't make it to every room, curious if other attendees found real standouts over last year?

I was able to sit in the center front chair in the mega Von Schweikert room and I was blown away.  That being said the Legacy System V around the corner from Von Schweikert was stunningly good at a fraction of the cost.  Even though VS was my best of show I was more impressed with the Legacy considering the price disparity.  I went back into the Legacy room at 4:30 on Saturday and the guys were kind enough to switch the system back to the V's and let me listen for the last 30 minutes.  Truly outstanding sound.

Other systems I thought were exceptional included the tubed ModWright system with Daedalus speakers.  I sat in that room for 45 minutes and loved it.  Had I not heard the Legacy system I would have been most impressed with this one.

I was super impressed with the Atohm GT2-HD speakers being played with relatively modest electronics.  Very dynamic, big sound from a relatively small and affordable package.  There were some big boys on the 12th floor but I was most impressed with Atohm on that floor.

Hegel CD player demonstration was an eye opening.  KEF LS50 Wireless system presentation on the lower level was pretty impressive considering the entire system including internal amp/dac was $2,200.  Sonus Faber Veneers with Macintosh electronic was fantastic.  Focal Utopia headphones were an eye opener, but I still prefer my HiFiman HE 1000's.

I'm from Lexington, Kentucky which is the former home of Thiel Loudspeakers (Now in Nashville) so I stopped in to the Thiel room to hear how things were going.  I've heard some not very positive things since Jim Thiel's passing and the acquisition but the large Thiels were very good in the relatively small room.  I wish them all the best.

I did not have a chance to listen to the large Wilson speakers (long line to get in the room) nor the Magico room.  Lots of very good rooms and a few not so hot but all in all my buddy and I had a blast for the two days we were there.  Had a great time!
Pmotz - Austin Acoustics was on the main floor at the far north end of the building. I will post a picture later.

Agree the MBL room did not disappoint. Sunday they played Jump by Van Halen at near concert levels and it was eye popping, even if that's not your bag.

My second favorite room was Destination, I guess I'm becoming a sucker for horns in my old age. Though not all the horn rooms were good, IMHO.
The Von Schweikert/ VAC room was clearly best. It was all there - micro and marcodynamics, naturalness, nuance, aliveness and beauty to the sound. I watched them set up as they struggled with a nearly square room, and they were able to get great imaging from listening position but as mentioned, imagining was reduced in other positions. They have set up these speakers to image wonderfully across a range of positions in other rooms, just not able in this room in this short a period of set up time.
Also liked Tidal, Revel, they were showing the smaller MBL and they do indeed disappear as a source but have a bit vague center image, Sonos Faber and Nola sounded OK. Magic Q5 presented well, For me second place was I really liked the Legacy speakers with Raven tube amps.Wilson better than I have heard them but still prefer VSA and others.
To each his own on the sound, though I will say I intentionally stayed away from the MBL room since the three or four times I have heard them in the past it was painfully loud.  Rock concert level is NOT my thing, note my comments on the two live concert.  As for lines into rooms, I didn't see a single line outside of a room, I did go into a few rooms where it was obvious I wouldn't find a seat so I just left.  Quite honestly the show was well attended but not "over" attended, I expected more people.

One thing I forgot to mention, the show is moving next year to Schaumburg, about ten miles away.  Check out the AXPONA website for details.  Won't be as convenient to the airport, but it's a newer hotel and supposedly "better", we shall see.
Magico S3 room was great. Odyssey. Salk speakers. Raidho with AAvik. Paradigm Persona. A few more favorites. Modwright/Daedalus.