The Newest Thing

AXPONA 2017: Rafe’s highlights, sounds, thoughts, and wrap-up

by Rafe Arnott in AXPONA

To say that AXPONA 2017 was anything but a success from the standpoint of exhibitors, attendees or the media covering the show in Chicago would be disingenuous. It was a well-oiled machine from start to finish, with a great vibe, an easy-to-navigate venue in the Westin O’Hare, and easy to set up, well-known rooms for those coming back doing the demos.   I had a thoroughly enjoyable show with exposure to some truly outstanding rooms whose sound was immaculately dialled-in, and played [...]


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On Positive-Feedback

Review: AURALiC Altair Wireless Streaming DAC

"It sounds as good as many much more expensive DACs on high-res files played back directly from a connected hard drive, and does a wonderful job on CD quality files as well. Plus, you get flawless wired and wireless streaming all for little more than half the price of the flagship Vega DAC." Read more: here.

Review: Audia Flight Strumento n°1 mk2 Preamp

"The Strumento n°1 presents itself as a near-perfect high-end preamplifier: In an absolute convincing manner it combines apparently unlimited dynamic abilities, tremendous attention to detail and precise transparency with a coherent tonality." Read more: here.

Review: KEF LS50 Wireless Loudspeakers

"I can't think of any component in recent memory that has been this much fun. This is the future." Read more: here.

Review: Merrill Audio Christine Preamplifier

"I can only report the circuit capacity of the unit seems limitless. Then the Christine pulls off something one better." Read more: here.

Review: PS Audio DirectStream Junior DAC

"I think that PS Audio hit a homerun with the DSJ. It's beautiful to look at, it's simple to use, it has all of the digital inputs a reasonable person could hope for, and it helps protect your investment by being software upgradable." Read more: here.

Far Corners


DeVore Fidelity and PS Audio I'd totally drive an Isetta. You? @shinola, @aurumbrothers BorderPatrol DAC, starting at $995. No up-sampling, no oversampling, no digital filtering, with choke-input filtered and (optional) tube rectified power supply. Verdict? "Giant Killer."