AXPONA 2012: Wrapping Up

AXPONA 2012, in Jacksonville this time around, will be wrapping up in a few hours. Sound quality is probably as good as it’s gonna be. And, by now, I suspect that the bulk of the vendors are probably just now starting to feel somewhat human again after yet another night of wild partying till the wee hours followed by more hours of probably ill-advised last-minute tweaks. Never, ever, tweak when you’re blasted. Nothing good ever comes of that.

I fled the scene of the crime after-hours yesterday, having been able to spend two wonderful days wandering the four floors of the Omni Hotel. Was it just me, or did that hotel just smell funny? And yes, Chris Sommovigo, har har — I did shower. So there. Anyway, it must be the humidity. Speaking of which, I was very happy that I stuffed that baseball cap into my bag, so I was able to contain my overgrown thatch which, by Saturday, was actively attempting to to levitate off of my head. Ahh, the sea. How I miss you.

Lots of folks opted for the Symphony on Friday night, and to all reports, it was a wonderful show. Not my cuppa, but it takes all kinds, doesn’t it? Weirdos.

No, on Friday night, I got kidnapped by Peter Lederman and Chris Sommovigo and carted off to a Scottish pub called Finn MacCool’s. Some fish and chips, some Guiness on draft, a wide ranging discussion which only occasionally touched on things audio, and an absolutely gorgeous Florida evening, was far more my speed. All I have to say is this: high-end audio is just stuffed with some of the most interesting people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. It’s not hard to see how veterans never get anything accomplished at shows. Can’t wait for the next one!

I have about 200 pics all loaded up (the other 400 aren’t worth bothering to edit). The AXPONA show this year wasn’t big — somewhat less than 30 rooms, IIRC, all told. Which means that I got to spend actual time in each room (with one notable exception), and visit them all more than once, which was quite a luxury.

Overall, the sound quality at the show was good enough to roundly embarrass those veterans that are a priori convinced that shows suck. True, perhaps, but if so — here was an exception. I had a great time and my ears felt very lucky to have been along for the ride.

Some things that caught my ear:

Joseph Audio and Channel D/Pure Music. The Pulsars are truly, honestly, and I can say this without a shred of irony at the hyperbole, they’re just wonderful speakers. Don’t let their size fool you — these are serious contenders for “best ever”. And at AXPONA, they sounded better than I’ve heard them at the last few shows. Very well done and a happy place to keep returning to.

Smyth Research. Still a contender for “coolest thing in audio” — now, for a second year in a row. Talk about grinning like an idiot.

Avatar Acoustics. Darren did it again. All the bass demons from RMAF had been stuffed into the sock drawer and the sound here was as delightful as the ambiance.

Tyler Acoustics. Ty could not be a nicer guy and the demo system he put together was not only imposing sonically, it’s almost affordable. Well, you know what I mean. But did you see the size of those speakers? I think his Decade D20s might be my favorite in his lineup.

Soundfield Audio. I did not catch them at RMAF. Or at CAF. I’m an idiot. AJ has something remarkable going on here. I didn’t believe it. You won’t either. But then, I’m an idiot — what’s your excuse?

Sound-Smith. Speaking of how much of an idiot I am, I have been visiting Soundsmith rooms at every show I’ve been lucky enough to attend. You know what finally caught my ears? His speakers. These things are tiny and they sound huge. How have I missed them, over and over? Well, okay, Peter usually has his rooms stuffed floor to ceiling in a way that reminds me not a little bit like the treasure room in a dwarven mine, but that only says that there are too many awesome things to get distracted by. Which is why I think his speakers keep getting passed over. Well, no more. I’m watching them now. See? I think one of them moved!

More to come. I bought some CDs. I picked up some cables. I had some delicious pasta. All in all, it was a good show! And besides, how can you beat a live, all-day-long, piano serenade? Nice touch, by the way. 😉