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AXPONA2016: Avantgarde Acoustics, Bergmann Audio, and Sutherland Engineering don’t meet a horrible end

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über clean lines from Bergmann Audio.

axponaThe coffee cup in the Avantgarde Acoustics room was very large, had no lid on it, and was filled to the brim with steaming coffee. It looked delicious, and I wanted to steal it, and have it for myself. But since I had a full coffee cup in one hand already, I decided against it. Problem was that it was perched really effing precariously on a sketchy side table next to a pile of brochures, and a gorgeous Bergmann Audio Magne air-bearing turntable ($18,000 USD) with Ortofon Cadenza Black ($2,720 USD), a pile of LPs, and Ron Sutherland’s two-box Argentum flagship phono stage ($16,000 USD).

As I watched – almost mesmerized, like watching a car accident – sweaty AXPONA attendee after sweaty attendee reached over to ham-fistedly grab brochures without even bothering to care that they constantly bumped the coffee cup… almost spilling it every goddamn time all over the gear and albums. I suddenly broke free of my hypnosis, silently mouthed “Christ,” and ducked out to warn Jody Hickson, who was in charge of the room, that someone’s coffee cup was about to do about $35,000 worth of damage, whereupon he leaped – catlike – into the room, and swept the cup out of harms way.

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AXPONA coverage brought to you by Underwood HiFi, Exogal and Emerald Physics

With coffee drama averted, I turned my attention to the beautiful Avantgarde Acoustics Zero 1 active loudspeakers that were lit – statue-like – at the end of the room. If you haven’t seen the Zero 1 in person, you’re missing out, they look like they’re carved out of a solid slab of alabaster, and sound punchy, and dynamic as all hell, with a silky top end, and a subtle refinement to them that I found captivating. The set-up was rounded out with Transparent Cables throughout, and HRS bases, and stands.

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Horn-loaded refinement, without too much civility.

The Zero 1 is 104 dB efficient and is stuffed like a baked potato at TGIFridays with Burr-Brown DACs, multiple power amplifiers, 66-Bit FPGA digital processing, wireless 2.4 GHz ISM/SRD streaming capability, and 30Hz ~ 20 KHz frequency response. There’s a lot more in there, but follow the link, because it’s just too much to list here. This was a fun room, that kept the toes tapping, and once again opened my eyes a bit wider to where digital amplification, and analog conversion is headed, which, IMHO, is getting closer, and closer to analog. To quote my daughter : “I is a-scared.” In a good way though.

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Into the groove.

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The Zero 1 will please minimalists, and sound hounds alike.

About Rafe Arnott (292 Articles)
Editor and Creative Director for Part-Time Audiophile & The Occasional Magazine by Part-Time Audiophile