RMAF 2014: Blackbird sends Axis to woo Denver


Logo - Blue VectorBlackbird Audio Gallery of Santee CA was there in spirit, even if the incomparable Dan Muzquiz decided to skip out for the flimsiest of excuses. Really, Dan? You think your son’s wedding is more important than a stereo show? For shame.

Fortunately, Colleen Cardas Imports was happy to assume the show duties, and they were smart enough to drop Brad Serhan of Axis Speakers into the babysitter’s chair.

Brad was an obvious choice. His Axis Voice Box S speakers ($2500) were anchoring the room. These are tiny (about a foot tall), two-way standmounts. You’re looking at a ribbon tweeter, 83db sensitivity, bass extension to what seemed like just about 60hz-ish, and a ridiculously uncolored sound. The presentation here was all business in a very, very good way. Having Brad on hand made it easy to ask questions like “how well do they do in extreme nearfield?” and “How do you think they’ll work on my desk?”

We listened to Shooglenifty through a Unison Research Unico CDE disc spinner ($4500) and the Unison Triode 25 ($4000 including a USB DAC). While the sound certainly didn’t have the power of, say, the big Volti and Border Patrol system upstairs, it made up for that shortcoming with a precise dissection of the recording and an excellent sense of timing. It also made up for it by being tens of thousands of dollars cheaper, small enough to fit into a hotel room without using a crowbar on it, and light enough for one out of shape guy to move on his own.














  1. the Unison products look very interesting. I haven’t heard of them before. I don’t see the headphone amp (last couple of photos with the ‘SH’ logo on them) on their website. Can you point me to info about it? thanks for the great reviews.

    • Unison’s definitely a company to keep your eye on. They seem to operate in the sweet spot between the mellow, smoking-jacket sound and something a bit more modern. That integrated amp is sitting here right now (pending eventual review).

      Their website, however, operates in a black hole of anachronism when it comes to the latest products. I swear that if you look at it long enough, you’re likely to learn that Lindy flew over the Atlantic.

      If you’re in the US, you best bet is to contact Marc or Colleen at Colleen Cardas Imports. They can hook you up with any information and a list of dealers. They’re disturbingly on top of all the relevant information.

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