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  • AXPONA - Audio Expo North America: 24 Apr 2015 - 26 Apr 2015

AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015

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JLM

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Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #80 on: 26 Apr 2015, 12:25 pm »
My Axpona  Report


Overall:

Good attendance for visitors and exhibitors on Saturday (a few nearly empty, many plenty full, a few were so full we had to come back).  One of the vendors thought it was a big as RMAF.  Great local support (shops/performers).  Access off the freeway was easy, we had no problem parking, but don’t know how those arriving after the 10AM opening bell coped.  Giordano’s (Chicago deep dish pizza chain) was two doors down, and very welcomed.

Rooms were good sized (nearly square in fact a few setup “sideways” and a couple setup on the diagonal) with blank rooms in between.  Sound/noise leakage was minimal.  Setups appeared to have very few road show glitches.

Sorry, too much ground to cover in one day (Saturday) that included driving nearly 600 miles, so this will be extremely sketchy.  Spent very little time in any room.  My show strategy is to “snap shot” each room and return to the rooms that peaked my interest, but due to limited energy/time and the number of exhibitors I didn’t return to many.  Had a friend from my audio club that traveled with me, so we didn’t impose much on each other. 

Always cool to meet the leading personalities: Frank VanAlstine, Mary Salk (Jim was out for a smoke), Lukas “Lampizator”, Mark Fenlon (Mark Audio, a real gentlemen), just too many to name.  And ran into a couple of Audio Circle members (we really need to bring name tags/shirts or at least use facial pics in forum) because I’m sure I walked right by dozens of guys I would have loved to meet in person.


Treatments:

Most were treated, overall with the fairly generous sized rooms, the sound was good.  Absorption was typical, but a few mixed in diffusion.

One was a with/without demonstration.  Seemed quite effective but didn’t spend long enough there for the music to cycle back to the same cuts between rooms.

RoomTune absorption products (pillows that pin up into edges/corners) look more immature than pictures give “credit” for.


Equipment highlights:

Not going to try to review amps or sources (just too many variables).  Just my quick, incomplete impressions, based on crowd size, music being played, failed memory, etc.

Biggest letdowns:  as always at a busy show, too often they’re not playing the gear I’m interested in;  playing the wrong music to audition with (I know we're worn out on Diane Krall); stuff I missed or just wasn’t there; Genelec (an A/V setup/demostration in a very dark room); ATC passive speakers.

Favorite speakers: Tannoy DC10A (big concentric floor-standers, $16,000); Vandersteen Treo (so much brighter/open than 3A Sigs); Les Paul Gibson active speakers (front baffle finished like a 50’s guitar – looked so cool); Harbeth HL5 (harkens me back to my LS3/5A days); Martin Logan Neoliths; Classic Audio had a pair of large 3-ways using field coils (sorry didn’t get the brand); Gershman Grande Avant Garde.

Favorite rooms:  Daedalus/Modwright; Emotiva (large demonstration room, active monitors, DC-1 DAC/pre/headphone amp).

Ear opening surprises:  Madison Fielding indoor/outdoor large floor-standing flower pot speakers (that sounded quite good); and my show favorite – Napa Acoustic NA-208A/NA-208S mini system ($599 and tiny, tube pre/25 wpc solid state power, no sins of commission, so out performed many of the mega-buck systems there, a breath of fresh air at the end of our day).

Vapor Audio

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Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #81 on: 26 Apr 2015, 01:26 pm »
hey guys, I have been involved in a lot of show set ups, but the transformation in this room is far greater than I have ever heard before. if you only came Friday, please come by again today, the difference is spectacular!

HAL

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Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #82 on: 26 Apr 2015, 01:37 pm »
Interesting demo of Meridians MQA DAC.  Used their active series speakers and sounded very good.

HAL

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Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #83 on: 26 Apr 2015, 02:21 pm »
Day 3 begins.  This mornings picture of the Seaton Sound HT setup with 16000 watts of audio power and 4K projector.




Art_Chicago

Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #84 on: 26 Apr 2015, 02:25 pm »
hey guys, I have been involved in a lot of show set ups, but the transformation in this room is far greater than I have ever heard before. if you only came Friday, please come by again today, the difference is spectacular!

I was there on Friday when a Miles and Gurtu CD was playing.  The sound was very bright or even harsh to my ears. Hopefully it is all better now as the soundstage and bass from those huge speakers were excellent

vinyl_lady

Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #85 on: 26 Apr 2015, 03:00 pm »
My Axpona  Report

Favorite rooms:  Daedalus/Modwright; Emotiva (large demonstration room, active monitors, DC-1 DAC/pre/headphone amp).

JLM,

I think Lou Hinkley had his newest speaker, Daedalus Poseidon, in that room. What were your impressions?

Thanks,

Laura

JLM

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Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #86 on: 26 Apr 2015, 08:06 pm »
JLM,

I think Lou Hinkley had his newest speaker, Daedalus Poseidon, in that room. What were your impressions?

Thanks,

Laura

So sorry that we only had time for quick impressions.  As I recall I was standing way to the left for maybe 30 seconds.  There as a "rightness" of sound (and appearance) that top quality gear should (but too rarely) provides.  Design/finishes of the gear was very nice without being over the top.  According to the program and the material I picked up it was the Poseidon v.2 (a MTTMWW arrangement with new 8 inch drivers, 97 dB/w/m, $16,450). 

Big Red Machine

Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #87 on: 26 Apr 2015, 09:39 pm »
I was there on Friday when a Miles and Gurtu CD was playing.  The sound was very bright or even harsh to my ears. Hopefully it is all better now as the soundstage and bass from those huge speakers were excellent

It was a crossover issue they corrected by Saturday.

Big Red Machine

Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #88 on: 26 Apr 2015, 10:19 pm »
I enjoyed this year's show much more than last year's.  It is bigger but far smaller than the overwhelming RMAF (if you try and hoof it to all the rooms!).

I had plenty of fun hanging out with AC'ers.  We are a good bunch.  Many of us attended TedB's talk on DSD with his recording engineer buddy Alex(?).  And I had to teach TomS a few new tricks wrt audio!!! ha, gotcha!

I was able to circle back into most every room that interested me multiple times.  Friday was light traffic, Saturday heavy, Sunday very light.

Watch out for Vinnie Rossi - he and his lovely wife really have some traction with his new Lio unit.  So versatile in its modularity.  Fantastic sexy look design.  Super functional.  And those ultracapacitors playing off the grid make for a dead quiet unit.  I'm anticipating his design of a balanced unit soon.  He is really onto something here.

TomS and I were just commenting to each other one day how there were no bad sounding rooms as we walked down the halls and then we hit 2 in a row.  So we jinxed ourselves!  crap But there really were very few "bad" rooms.  There were many high dollar speakers with glaring irregularities like hot midrange or hot top ends but nothing that drove you out of the room.  I used a lousy, doesn't suck, great room trio of buckets to mentally rate what I heard.

I was humbled to visit many rooms with Dennis Murphy who quickly burst my bubble about what I thought I was hearing when he started picking apart the sound with his superior abilities.  When he pointed out the errors you could quickly realize how the rest of us are mere mortals when it comes to analyzing frequency response. Humbling for sure. I did manage to drag him into one room where we stayed for some time, meaning I got one right (out of 4). :o

My top 5 rooms for sound were (IMO):

D'Agonistino/Wilson - absolutely superb reproduction (for a zillion dollars)

Sonus Faber - monster $100k++ speakers I lust over just played everything thrown at them (again with a zillion dollars of gear behind them)

Salk and AVA - best overall balance of bass and smooth highs.  I hate to say this being a huge Salk customer as I will be accused of bias, but not very many rooms had it all (for under a zillion dollars)

Mosaic Audio ($20k speakers) - excellent imaging augmented by some subs.

Quad - the tall ones, absolutely disappeared in the room.  All the music was detached from the black monoliths.  Very nice.

Honorable mentions - the small Gershmans; the steel/aluminum/diamond $68k speakers in the Thrax room; and the big Martin Logans

A good show, friendly vendors, manageable hallway traffic, convenient salads/sandwiches offered in the hallway by the marketplace, live music during lunchtime (very nice), good discounts to be had, lots of talk about upcoming shows.

Angaria

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Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #89 on: 26 Apr 2015, 10:47 pm »
Some show impressions:

I readily admit these rankings are not only due to the quality of the speakers, but also the room and the music exhibitors chose to play, which for the most part is wimpy jazz that doesn't stress speakers at all.  Also, I certainly did not visit every room.  But I'm going to focus on my favorite rooms, rather than those where something went wrong.

8th: Magnepan/Exasound/Pass
Very simple setup and relatively inexpensive room that sounded liquid and pleasant.

7th: Red Wine LIO.  A "black background" at a show is hard to infer with all the noise around, but these sounded very clean.

6th:  Volti.  Great dynamics and very engaging.

5th: Magico.
Just a 1" non-horn-loaded tweeter, but it never felt strained.  Great integration among all the drivers and solid, but not overwhelming bass.  If they had raised the volume to something more appropriate to the orchestra that was recorded or played something more textured this might have ranked higher, but from what was played it's hard to tell.

4rd: Vapor.  Some of the typical glare I hear in Accuton drivers kept this from going higher.

2nd: a tie - Sanders/Magtech & Pure Audio/Psvane
While polar opposites the two systems tied for 2nd were the Sanders Audio room and the Pure Audio Project .  Utterly different systems in presentation, though both dipole.  The Pure Audio perhaps had sins of omission, but it felt right and room-filling and fun, like you expect from an open baffle running off a single-ended amp.  Sanders might have had some bass integration issues, but was the most transparent speaker I've heard, beating out other 'stats on the floor.  Amps didn't strike me as solid-state at all (a good thing).

1st Place: Hifiman HE1000. 
These are apparently shipping in a few months and the only thing in the show that would really motivate me to open my wallet.  Could get crazy loud and still be coherent.  Cleaner bass than any floorstander I've heard and extended non-fatiguing highs.

Factorz

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Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #90 on: 26 Apr 2015, 11:19 pm »
This was my 2nd year attending and really thought the rooms sounded better compared to last year. Only was able to go for 1 day so my impressions should be taken with a heavy grain of salt. My favorites in no particular order.

Vapor: Wow the Storms were just massive in size and sound. Talk about some craftsmanship and a labor of love. I really enjoyed visiting with Ryan, and learning about the rack Ed built. Now I just need to figure out how many body parts I need to sell to come up with the 27k.
 
Odyssey: Now I understand why everyone always raves about Klaus and his demos. When I went into his room I was the only one and he asked what I wanted to hear. He had some Doors on vinyl so I picked that and he proceed to blow me away. Told me to sit in the sweet spot and then he turned off the lights and turned it up!! Bass was just punching me in the chest.

HHR Exotic Speakers: I could have listened to these speakers all day. I could have also listened to Dale talk all day long as well. Super interesting guy.

Tyler Acoustics: Another room where I could have listened and talked all day. Super nice affordable speakers and a really nice guy. I liked his room last year as well.

Salk: Great speakers and Frank's electronics were top notch as they were last year. My only complaint is both years I have visited their room the music was just so boring. It was like the jazz band that plays at a fancy restaurant and I would really like to hear this setup getting pushed.

Seaton: Talk about room shaking!! If I ever built a home theater there is no doubt these would be top on my list.

acninja

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Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #91 on: 26 Apr 2015, 11:27 pm »

D'Agonistino/Wilson - absolutely superb reproduction (for a zillion dollars)

Sonus Faber - monster $100k++ speakers I lust over just played everything thrown at them (again with a zillion dollars of gear behind them)

Mosaic Audio ($20k speakers) - excellent imaging augmented by some subs.


agree with all the quoted.  the real surprise for me was mosaic.  i had never heard of them but to me was the best sounding setup in/around that price range

if money was no object my dream paring would be those sonus fabers with the d'agostino gear



5th: Magico.
Just a 1" non-horn-loaded tweeter, but it never felt strained.  Great integration among all the drivers and solid, but not overwhelming bass.  If they had raised the volume to something more appropriate to the orchestra that was recorded or played something more textured this might have ranked higher, but from what was played it's hard to tell.

2nd: a tie - Sanders/Magtech & Pure Audio/Psvane
While polar opposites the two systems tied for 2nd were the Sanders Audio room and the Pure Audio Project .  Utterly different systems in presentation, though both dipole.  The Pure Audio perhaps had sins of omission, but it felt right and room-filling and fun, like you expect from an open baffle running off a single-ended amp.  Sanders might have had some bass integration issues, but was the most transparent speaker I've heard, beating out other 'stats on the floor.  Amps didn't strike me as solid-state at all (a good thing).


agree on the magicos

also agree with sanders. sanders audio is another company i had never heard of.  while i have never been a fan of electrostatics, sanders took the ESL cake for me, trumping both the martin logan neoliths and the kings audio prince iii

as for pure audio project, more agreement.  i liked the open baffle design and they sounded great especially for the price.  filled the room and imaging was excellent

Odyssey: Now I understand why everyone always raves about Klaus and his demos. When I went into his room I was the only one and he asked what I wanted to hear. He had some Doors on vinyl so I picked that and he proceed to blow me away. Told me to sit in the sweet spot and then he turned off the lights and turned it up!! Bass was just punching me in the chest.

HHR Exotic Speakers: I could have listened to these speakers all day. I could have also listened to Dale talk all day long as well. Super interesting guy.



i really enjoyed the odyssey room and IMO the best bang for your buck

HHR sounded really good and the 360 dispersion was cool.  they were also gorgeous to look at.  i didn't listen to anything with any kind of bass in this room, though, so i it's hard to pass full judgement

Eugene2

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Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #92 on: 27 Apr 2015, 12:10 am »
Hard for me to fairly rank systems as rooms were very impactful on the sound.  Several rooms on the lower level had blaring air conditioners which could not be turned off.  People were talking loudly in almost every room, especially the sponsors ugh, luckily I had VIP tickets so I visited some rooms early morning, here's my take:
D'Agostino Wilson room was fantastic
Sonus Faber and ARC wow!
Raidho Room was incredible
Vapor Sound on day three after some  xover changes I predict will be state of the art's best bargain at 27K (work in progress)
Odyssey, Odyssey, Odyssey!!!
Magico
Pure Audio Project Trio only 3500 open baffle nice!
Audeze LCD X and Audeze amp Dac bought it!

HAL

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Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #93 on: 27 Apr 2015, 12:32 am »
More pictures:



Randy

Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #94 on: 27 Apr 2015, 01:39 am »
I enjoyed this year's show much more than last year's.  It is bigger but far smaller than the overwhelming RMAF (if you try and hoof it to all the rooms!).

I had plenty of fun hanging out with AC'ers.  We are a good bunch.  Many of us attended TedB's talk on DSD with his recording engineer buddy Alex(?).  And I had to teach TomS a few new tricks wrt audio!!! ha, gotcha!

I was able to circle back into most every room that interested me multiple times.  Friday was light traffic, Saturday heavy, Sunday very light.

Watch out for Vinnie Rossi - he and his lovely wife really have some traction with his new Lio unit.  So versatile in its modularity.  Fantastic sexy look design.  Super functional.  And those ultracapacitors playing off the grid make for a dead quiet unit.  I'm anticipating his design of a balanced unit soon.  He is really onto something here.

TomS and I were just commenting to each other one day how there were no bad sounding rooms as we walked down the halls and then we hit 2 in a row.  So we jinxed ourselves!  crap But there really were very few "bad" rooms.  There were many high dollar speakers with glaring irregularities like hot midrange or hot top ends but nothing that drove you out of the room.  I used a lousy, doesn't suck, great room trio of buckets to mentally rate what I heard.

I was humbled to visit many rooms with Dennis Murphy who quickly burst my bubble about what I thought I was hearing when he started picking apart the sound with his superior abilities.  When he pointed out the errors you could quickly realize how the rest of us are mere mortals when it comes to analyzing frequency response. Humbling for sure. I did manage to drag him into one room where we stayed for some time, meaning I got one right (out of 4). :o

My top 5 rooms for sound were (IMO):

D'Agonistino/Wilson - absolutely superb reproduction (for a zillion dollars)

Sonus Faber - monster $100k++ speakers I lust over just played everything thrown at them (again with a zillion dollars of gear behind them)

Salk and AVA - best overall balance of bass and smooth highs.  I hate to say this being a huge Salk customer as I will be accused of bias, but not very many rooms had it all (for under a zillion dollars)

Mosaic Audio ($20k speakers) - excellent imaging augmented by some subs.

Quad - the tall ones, absolutely disappeared in the room.  All the music was detached from the black monoliths.  Very nice.

Honorable mentions - the small Gershmans; the steel/aluminum/diamond $68k speakers in the Thrax room; and the big Martin Logans

A good show, friendly vendors, manageable hallway traffic, convenient salads/sandwiches offered in the hallway by the marketplace, live music during lunchtime (very nice), good discounts to be had, lots of talk about upcoming shows.

 Salk has some new Dennis Murphy designed speakers. Did you see them? Compared to his Slims: "Same tweeter, a minor variation on the same midrange, but it has two 7" woofers instead of one 6".   So it does have more power handling.  On the minus side, it has a conventional closed-back midrange,so won't image as well."

Jon L

Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #95 on: 27 Apr 2015, 02:00 am »

Lest anyone think I am just easily pleased, I want to give the KEF LS50 special mention.  Would someone please explain to me what's so great about these?  This is the third time I have heard these and they do next-to-nothing for me.  Sins of commission are what I hear from these "reviewers darlings".  Apologies in advance if I offend anyone on AC who owns these.


There are 2 types of people KEF targets, those who like LS50, and those others who much rather prefer KEF R700 (or R500, R900) :lol:

Art_Chicago

Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #96 on: 27 Apr 2015, 02:03 am »
It was a crossover issue they corrected by Saturday.

 :dunno: when I was there everyone else in the room including the manufacturers were busy talking and were not paying any attention to the the sound quality.   

JLM

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Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #97 on: 27 Apr 2015, 02:13 am »
:dunno: when I was there everyone else in the room including the manufacturers were busy talking and were not paying any attention to the the sound quality.

Yep, surprising amount of dead air and quite a bit of talking (not whispering) over the music (those guys need to learn the "golf" whisper).  Little music I recognized, most of rest was poor material for auditioning.

OzarkTom

Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #98 on: 27 Apr 2015, 02:29 am »
There are 2 types of people KEF targets, those who like LS50, and those others who much rather prefer KEF R700 (or R500, R900) :lol:

My buddy Rex likes his Dennis Murphey Piomeers over his KEF LS5o's.

Eugene2

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Re: AXPONA - Audio Expo North America, April 24-26 2015
« Reply #99 on: 27 Apr 2015, 02:46 am »