AXPONA 2017 Feedback

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Triode Pete

AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« on: 24 Apr 2017, 04:45 pm »
I spent a very busy weekend with with Volti Audio and BorderPatrol Audio Electronics in Room 314 as well as some time with fellow AC Sponsor Vinnie Rossi in his Room 308, which also featured Fidelis AV (Harbeth & Acoustic Signature distributor) as well as my cable loom!

It was a great & packed show with a ton of attendees...

Here's some early feedback from the press so far...
https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2017/04/21/axpona-2017-borderpatrol-triode-wire-labs-and-volti-audio/





Some excerpts... "The entire setup was wired with Triode Wire Labs‘ award-winning and affordable cable lineup. The American Speaker cables start at $699/set, the Spirit interconnects start at $349/pair, and their Power Cords start at $399 each. Again, see the review for my thoughts. One additional note — TWL is now showing a split-USB cable (power and data on separate legs) starting at $329. If you are interested in digital audio, I cannot recommend this cable enough. Yeah. Boom.

The sound in this room was tight, with excellent bass lock, spectacular imaging, and blow-your-hair-back dynamics. Admittedly, I’m quite familiar with the magic tricks these gents pull off at audio shows, but I was speechless. This was incredible sound for perhaps their least-expensive showing as a team, to date. Are we having fun yet, fellas? Oh my yes. Most impressive."


Cheers,
Pete

Vinnie R.

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Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #1 on: 24 Apr 2017, 07:20 pm »
Hey Pete,

You guys had a dynamite sounding room this year!  And thanks for teaming up with us over in Room 308 - your cables are too easy to recommend!

See you soon,

Vinnie

KLH007

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Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #2 on: 24 Apr 2017, 09:23 pm »
Hi Pete, the Volti/Border patrol/TWL room really rocked! Your choices of live recorded cuts played to all the system's strengths, staggering dynamic swings, hit you in the chest impact, wide deep stage, and voices were perfectly sized and natural, congratulations Greg, Gary, and Pete!

Triode Pete

Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #3 on: 26 Apr 2017, 05:49 pm »
Hey Pete,

You guys had a dynamite sounding room this year!  And thanks for teaming up with us over in Room 308 - your cables are too easy to recommend!

See you soon,

Vinnie

Hey Vinnie,
Thanks! Both rooms (yours in Room 308 as well as Room 314) "knocked it out of the park"!

Hi Pete, the Volti/Border patrol/TWL room really rocked! Your choices of live recorded cuts played to all the system's strengths, staggering dynamic swings, hit you in the chest impact, wide deep stage, and voices were perfectly sized and natural, congratulations Greg, Gary, and Pete!

Hey Kemper,
Thanks for you kind thoughts! I'm looking forward to Peter & Terry's (AV Showrooms) video report on the rooms!

Cheers,
Pete

Triode Pete

Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #4 on: 26 Apr 2017, 08:33 pm »
Some additional feedback from Stereophile's Jason Victor Serinus on Rooms 308 & 314...



"Harbeth and Vinnie Rossi score again! Here, the Harbeth Super HL5 Plus 40th Anniversary Edition loudspeaker ($7495/pair), which includes a new supertweeter and a 40th anniversary magnetic grille badge, joined a Vinnie Rossi LIO Super Integrated ($11,675 as configured), Acoustic Signature WOW XXL turntable ($3495) with TA-700 tonearm ($1295) and Ortofon 2M Black Cartridge ($850), and Triode Wire Labs cabling to produce a very smooth and nice sound. The midrange was lovely, the top fine, and the soundstage wide. In short, what's not to love?

On my 24/96 tell-all track of the last movement of Seattle Symphony's recording of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, I could listen well into the soundstage. Bass, which is prodigious on this track, was excellent and fast. Image size may have been diminished from what I'm accustomed to, but the mids were simply gorgeous."


Great job, Vinnie!



and for Room 314...



"Having overheard two men in the fourth-floor hallway declaring the sound in the Volti/Border Patrol room too bright, I was happy to discover nothing of the sort when I descended the stairs to their exhibit on the third floor. In fact, the treble on Volti Audio's new compact horn Rival loudspeaker ($7900/pair and up, depending upon finish) is adjustable.

The exhibitor's burned-to-CD-R copy of the Telarc CD The Ray Brown Trio Live at Starbucks sounded washed out, so we switched to one of my own jazz CDs, the Joe Harley-engineered Screaming in Daytime (Makes Men Forget). The presentation of the oft-violent music on "Black on White Paper" thankfully sounded far more lively on top, but never harsh and bright. It did lack ultimate color, but the system was quite fast, and excelled at conveying the body of the drum. Although I ended up feeling that the side-wall setup rendered the space too small for this music, brass was conveyed with in all its uncensored brutality, which is exactly what the music needed. Also heard: Border Patrol's P21EXD 20Wpc push-pull 300B power amp ($13,150 and up) and Control Unit EXT1 preamp ($13,500), plus their new SE SPIDF DAC ($1350), with all Triode Wire Labs cabling."

Thank you, Jason! BTW, it was my "AXPONA Demo LIVE CD" with the Ray Brown Trio Live... a live (washed-out (LOL!)) recording, not a perfect studio recording...

Cheers,
Pete




Triode Pete

Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #5 on: 27 Apr 2017, 09:01 pm »
This was posted earlier today:

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/axpona-2017-speakers-below-20k/

Greg Weaver / The Absolute Sound:

Most Significant - In BOTH TWL Rooms!!!



"Volti-Audio introduced its new 3-way horn loaded Rival ($7,900–$11,000/pr. based on finish)—a more compact, affordable version of its impressive $26,000 flagship Vittora. The Rival uses Tractrix flared wooden horns for both midrange and tweeter in tandem with a 15” high-sensitivity woofer in a bass-reflex configuration. The Rival was powered by Border Patrol electronics, either version of its SE DAC ($1350), EXT1 preamp ($13,500), and SE300B EXD power amplifier; all cabling was by Triode Wire Labs, including its $299 digital interconnect, $349/pr. single-ended interconnects, $599 speaker cables, and power cables starting at $399. With a wonderful balance, pure and vibrant tone color, good texture and space, and near faultless dynamics, the Rival is a pure pleasure to hear in its price range."

Way to go, Gary (BP) & Greg (Volti)!


... AND in the Vinnie Rossi / TWL Room 308...



"The 40th Anniversary Edition Harbeth HL5 Plus ($7495/pr.) was a clear standout. This edition, celebrating 40 years of speaker building, includes WBT Nextgen binding posts, a new super-tweeter, and UK made polycapacitors. Driven by all Vinnie Rossi electronics, including the LIO “Super Integrated” system ($11,675), which combines the LIO DHT linestage, LIO MOSFET amp, LIO phonostage, and LIO DSD/PCM DAC, the Harbeth system was remarkably musical. Strengths here included especially faithful tone color and texture, with intricate yet undeniably accurate layering, soundstaging, and imaging.

Excellent, Vinnie!!!

A big thanks to Greg Weaver & The Absolute Sound for visiting our rooms!!!

Cheers,
Pete

KLH007

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Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #6 on: 28 Apr 2017, 02:30 am »
Congratulations on both rooms! Your choices of live music in the Volti/Border Patrol room really highlighted the system's strengths, big dynamics, impact, detail, soundstage, and a sense of being at a concert. At Vinnie's room I heard a female vocal that was beautiful, speakers disappeared, voice perfect size and real sounding.

Triode Pete

Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #7 on: 28 Apr 2017, 05:39 pm »
Some additional AXPONA impressions from both Maurice Jeffries and Greg Weaver from Positive Feedback!

http://positive-feedback.com/show-reports/the-new-axpona/

Positive Feedback: The Best of the Best at AXPONA 2017



"Sticking with my smaller-is-better mantra, Vinnie Rossi, Triode Wire Labs, and the good folks at Fidelis turned in another quality outing this year. Powered by a Lio hybrid amplifier (here in its "Super Integrated" $11,675 configuration and outputting a "scant" 25 wpc into 8-ohms), the new Harbeth Super HL5 Plus "40th Anniversary Edition" speakers (from Fidelis) soared to uncommon musical heights. Sounding superbly musical, detailed (but not exceedingly so), and oh-so relaxed, the Harbeth's pulled you into the performance. Greg Weaver, who joined me for the ride, put it best: the Harbeth's make you forget about audio and force you to focus on the music and the performance..."



A super thanks to both Maurice and Greg for listening in on our simple system at Axpona Room 308 and posting their phenomenal review!

Cheers,
Pete

Triode Pete

Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #8 on: 30 Apr 2017, 12:39 am »
Some feedback from the AudioShark forum (hearsay, LOL!)


"Horns:
The only horns I saw were a $468,000 pair in the Austin room and the tiny Avante-guards. The former was very 'shouty' and the latter pretty dull sounding - at least with the music being played. I somehow missed the Border Patrol/Volti/TWL room and I'm very disappointed as a friend said it was his best of show.
" [/size]

Coolio...

$468K for a pair horns? Yikes!!!

I did a little amount of venturing during AXPONA and I have to say the 12th floor Sadurni horns were excellent & the 6th floor Renaissance Audio (from Poland) were "out of this world" great! They teamed up with Lampizator... That's a lot of Polish love in that room!!!

My $0.02,
Pete





Triode Pete

Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #9 on: 5 May 2017, 12:12 pm »
More feedback from Hi-Fi+'s Mr. Eric Neff...

http://www.hifiplus.com/articles/axpona-2017-digital-audio-and-amplification-part-one/?page=2




"The Vinnie Rossi LIO is a modular triumph in sound and quality. Here is the tricked-out model which includes the Direct Heated Triode front end. Sporting the Phono Pre, DAC and 25wpc amplifier modules this version of the LIO comes in at $11,675. Paired with the 40th anniversary model Harbeth Super HL5Plus at $7495 and Triode Wire Labs cables, the sound was truly three dimensional."

Thank you, Mr. Eric!

Triode Pete

Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #10 on: 7 May 2017, 06:03 pm »
Some great feedback / review from "Al" from What's Best forum.

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?23087-An-AXPONA-2017-highlight-BorderPatrol-Triode-Wire-Labs-Volti-Audio

I'd like to thank Al for the the thoughtful and considered appreciation of our room at Axpona. It's nice to see a report that writes about dynamics, tone, timbre rather than just 'soundstage'.





"A belated report, since right after the AXPONA show I went on vacation to Europe, but now I'm back.

Among other great sounds at AXPONA 2017 (for a good part experienced together with WBF member Madfloyd [Ian] and his wife Linda), for me personally the highlight was the room with BorderPatrol electronics and Volti Audio speakers. Cables were by Triode Wire Labs. It was a highlight both in absolute terms, and in terms of performance/price ratio -- the whole system probably did not cost more than $ 25K (!).

I have been a fan of BorderPatrol since a few years now, since I got the MB external power supplies for my parallel push-pull triode amps, see also my review at WBF here:

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...-for-tube-amps

So I was very interested to hear their room, and talk with BorderPatrol's Gary Dews who, as expected, is not just an extremely competent designer but also a nice fellow.

He specializes in low-powered triode amps that get their magic from those external power supplies (all models come standard with them, in variations) that are intended to drive highly efficient speakers. The pairing with Volti Audio's horn speakers seemed perfect.

The first thing that struck me was how uncolored the sound was. There was NO typical horn coloration. Seriously. Greg Roberts from Volti Audio (another nice fellow whom I spoke with in that room) does an actual demonstration of the lack of coloration in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8hU4tDnZ7I

I had already seen the video, but you only believe it fully once you actually hear the music through those speakers. Voice track after voice track, I just couldn't hear the dreaded horn coloration. Voices just sounded very natural, like through a great conventional speaker. Sibilance also seemed very natural, by the way.

The second thing that struck me effortlessly dynamic the sound was. They played Reference Recordings' Symphonic Dances by Rachmaninow, and the climaxes were as dynamic as I have ever heard. My own system (link see bottom of post) is also enormously dynamic, but what stood out was the effortlessness with which dynamics swoops were portrayed. My system has also been called effortless by people who have heard it, but this was yet in another league. A considerable difference between orchestra live and home reproduction is usually that effortlessness of dynamic swoops, and the system in that room came as close to bridging that gap as I have ever heard; that includes very large speakers driven by monster amps (in fact, the gap left seemed to be really small). It might not be quite surprising, given the 100 db sensitivity of those Volti Audio Rival horn speakers:

http://voltiaudio.com/rival/

which of course can be driven with consummate ease by that BorderPatrol amp (of the dynamics of triode amps nobody needs to convince me ). The amp was the P20, a 2 x 20 Watt push-pull 300B triode design. It was in its most basic configuration, powered by a single MB external power supply. It scares me to think how the dynamic performance would be even further enhanced by dual MB power supplies (I have them, one for each of my triode monoblocks), or even by the monstrous EXS power supplies as the sample in this review:

http://www.theaudiobeat.com/equipmen...20_exd_exs.htm

The review of the room by Part-Time Audiophile Scott Hull:

https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2017/...d-volti-audio/

speaks of 'blow-your-hair-back dynamics'. Yeah, that sounds about right, not exaggerated at all (at that link you can also see beautiful pictures of system and room). The dynamics were tremendously helped by three other things:

1. An incredibly gutsy, ballsy tone, with tremendous power and weight, but not at the expense of pronounced treble extension which was phenomenal. The sound had an enormously physical, visceral impact that I hadn't heard from any of the 'big' systems in the show to quite that extent. It made the orchestra sound quite real. That tone puts most systems to shame. I also noticed how on a jazz track the drums had tremendous power and weight, closer to the real thing than I may have heard from other systems, even though the gap with the real thing was still considerable. That simple drum playing without solo was more impressive than the drum solo that I had heard earlier in the show on one of those 'big' systems (very large speakers driven by high-powered amps).

2. Phenomenally fast transients, which also made the just mentioned drum playing so impressive.

3. A really huge soundstage. How that impression could be created I don't quite know. The room was one of the smaller ones, with the system set up on the wide side. This did not allow for much actual spatial depth, something that I enjoy in my own room, but width and height seemed great and ambience information from the concert hall came though.

Imaging was impressive in its specificity and presence. Center voices were portrayed with great palpability and pin-point imaging -- through speakers that are rather wide. Given that I have monitors in my system, powered by competent and quite refined electronics, I am used to some imaging magic, but this came close.

Gary Dews told me that this system was all about tone and dynamics, and his BorderPatrol electronics teamed up with the Volti speakers for a highly successful expression of both.

Saxophone tone was also great, usually a sore spot for digital. And get this: the gutsy and weighty tone, the tremendous dynamics and transient speed, and the large soundstage came all through a BorderPatrol NOS DAC priced around 1400 bucks. No joke. It was really confusing.

By the way, this is a Redbook 16/44.1 DAC only (the performance from the Redbook CD format surprises me less; I find so-called hi-res completely overrated, all the musicality and resolution you need is already available in Redbook format which I exclusively play as well. If Redbook sounds limited, then recording and or DAC/system are at fault).

A review of that DAC by Scott Hull is found here:

https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2017/...er-se-version/

The review states:

If you’ll pardon the hyperbole, at $1,850 with all the bells and whistles, this DAC blows the doors off of just about everything else. And no, not just in its weight class. I mean “just about everything else”. To clearly better it, I have to go to extraordinary lengths (and budgets) — and that’s crazy.
After having heard the DAC it would not surprise me if that is not an overstatement, but of course I'd need to make my own direct comparisons.

***

Was the system perfect? No. Timbral resolution was very high, but probably not on the highest level possible (unfortunately, I didn't bring some of my own CDs to test). Jazz cymbals though, for example, sounded tremendously resolved. As mentioned, spatial depth was lacking, a room constraint. Also, while bass was tight, double bass did not sound quite as free as I would have wanted; but that also seemed rather clearly a room constraint, even though additional limitations cannot be excluded until listening in a better room.

But while the sound may not have been perfect, the system was to me the musically most involving of the systems I heard at the show (which was an admittedly limited sampling, but did involve some of the 'big' players). Track after track, it consistently sounded 'live' and alive.

As for amplification, the system was on familiar terrain for me (c.f. also my own system), I didn't need any convincing in that respect. The system though got me seriously thinking about horn speakers. I never thought I'd say that, but here it is. There was a no disadvantage of coloration, but the known advantage of effortless dynamics, coupled with great tone and imaging specificity.
"

Triode Pete

Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #11 on: 9 May 2017, 10:27 pm »
More Great feedback from Rafe Arnott from Part Time Audiophile...

https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2017/05/09/axpona-2017-vinnie-rossi-keeps-em-smiling/





"The system Rossi was showing in Chicago consisted of a pair of the highly esteemed, transparent, and musical Harbeth Super HL5 Plus 40th Anniversay Edition loudspeakers ($7,495 USD, $10,200 CAN), his LIO Super Integrated, and a laptop computer as a digital source. An Acoustic Signature WOW XXL turntable ($3,495 USD, $4,795 CAN) with Acoustic Signature TA-700 tonearm ($1,295 USD, $1,780 CAN), and their own Signature Black Cartridge ($850 USD, $1,160 CAN) was handling the analog front end. Cabling throughout the system has handled by Triode Wire Labs which was showing their Digital American power cord ($499 USD, $685 CAN), the Seven Plus power cord ($549 USD, $750 CAN), the Ten Plus power cord ($399 USD, $550 CAN), their American Speaker Cables (Cardas terminated, starting at $699 USD/$950 CAN per set) and their Discrete USB cable ($329 USD, $450 CAN) which was juicing the LIO from Rossi’s laptop."

Thanks, Rafe!

Triode Pete

Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #12 on: 11 May 2017, 05:11 pm »
... and finally, a Video Review of Room 314...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3HR7QxGk38

Cheers,
Pete

Triode Pete

Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #13 on: 14 May 2017, 01:24 pm »
One more review on AXPONA from Positive Feedback's Gary Beard...

http://positive-feedback.com/show-reports/axpona-2017-pictures-at-an-audio-exhibition/



"Vinnie Rossi has turned the audiophile community on its ear with his LIO modular electronics. The sound of the fully configured DHT LIO driving the Harbeth Super HL5 40th anniversary monitors via Triode Wire Labs cables was nearfield joy. Liquid, transparent, wonderful; and the LIO wasn't even running Vinnie's newest DAC! The analog source was an Acoustic Signature Wow XL. Without question, this was one of my favorite rooms at the show. I definitely could enjoy living with this system in my smallish listening room. Yes. Hell yes."



"It has become customary for Volti, Border Patrol, and Triode Wire Labs to show together, and it has become clear they know how to put it all together. While this system is not cheap by any stretch, the new Volti Rival Compact horn speakers start at $7900 USD, and were magic in a beautiful wood box.  Border Patrol's gear isn't cheap either, but they were showing their fantastic $995 DAC along with their more extravagant preamp and amplifiers. Fidelis A/V supplied an Acoustic Signature Triple X for analog duties. As Volti's tag line "Have Fun" suggests, it was a really fun room, and sounded Big, luscious,  and dynamic."

Thank you Gary!

Cheers,
Pete

Triode Pete

Re: AXPONA 2017 Feedback
« Reply #14 on: 11 Jun 2017, 07:30 pm »
Last, but not least, another room review from AXPONA... https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2017/06/11/axpona-2017-music-from-another-room-part-3/





Triode Wire Labs, Border Patrol Audio, Volti Audio, Fidelis Music Systems

Featuring: Acoustic Signature Turntables

"I’ve probably taken a seat in TWLBPV rooms more than any other in my short history of going to audio shows, especially when you count return visits, because when is once enough. Continually impressive, to enter the room feels like tradition. The action was buzzing; people taking pictures, shifting seats along the back wall, sharing turns in sweet spots, and leaving comments of praise on the whiteboard. The room had flare, and for decoration what I think was a bust of our second president Samuel L Jackson."

Thank you, Eric Franklin Shook!