AXPONA 2012: Eggleston Works, Krell, TACT, Tripoint

High End Palace was the first thing I heard when I hit the show floor at AXPONA this year. The doors were thrown open and the melodious music pouring into the lobby pooled around the stairs, washed around the AXPONA check-in table and surged down the hall past the hotel desk and bell stand. It was impressive how much sound, how much clear, beautiful music, came from the $8,000 Eggleston Works The Fontaine Signature speakers that were on display.

I think this speaker is the least expensive in the Eggleston lineup that I’ve heard. And as a first exposure to the show floor, I was impressed. Very. No complaints here at all.

This was the start of a trend here at AXPONA I quickly learned. Not that every room was perfect, no, not at all. But so many of them got it right. Was AXPONA the best show for overall sound that I’ve been to? Yes. Yes it was.

The equipment in the High End Palace’s room was mostly unfamiliar to me, so I’m not really able to take it all apart for you. That said, I’d heard the Egglestons at RMAF in 2011 and was quite taken with them there. Here, power came from a $4500 Krell S-275 stereo amplifier — this was the first of many Krell amps I was to run across at the show. Connections came by way of a $7000 TaCT RCS 2.2 XP preamp with “Dynamic Room Correction” technology, always a smart selection for challenging show acoustics.

The Nirvana Reference Playback Computer Systems was new to me. Since the links point back to High End Palace, so I’m assuming that this is a side venture for them. Not cheap, though, at $8500.

Also new to me were the power conditioning products from Tripoint Audio. Easily the most expensive things in the room, and sporting some of the nicest finishes (African Bubinga!) at the show, the $20,000 Tripoint Orion handled the current distribution and the $12,000 Tripoint Troy (below), did something rather different — grounding. Each chassis in the rig was connected via specialty cables to either a grounding post or chassis screw and wired into a terminal on the back of the Troy.

This addresses EMI/RFI, provides an impedance ground matching for all of the components, and, I was told, generally adds a sense of ease and spaciousness to the sound stage.

I must have looked askance at all that, or had it show on my face, because Miguel Alvareaz of Tripoint very patiently walked behind the unit and quickly unhooked the three wires leading back to the rack. “Notice how the sound stage collapses” he said. I didn’t, really, but he then re-connected everything and sure enough, something seemed to shift around in the music. Huh. How about that? I think Miguel winked at me, then, as if to say “See? Told you so!”