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AXPONA 2016: exaSound finds synergy with Magnepan

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axponaThis room got me going right out of the gate.  The system used one of my all-time favorite speakers, the Magnepan 1.7s which I have lived with and loved for many years, using both solid state and tube electronics.  Maggies work well with both.  The 1.7s at just a hair over $2K are just a dynamite speaker with a lovely, balanced sound and strong resolution and openness.

Of course, I’m a bit biased as an owner, but I hear a lot of speakers and the 1.7s are honestly among the very best, a tremendous value. The drawback is that these wonderful panels need some juice, and high quality juice at that. No problem here, exaSound smartly brought in excellent backing electronics. For the amp, they used Halo A51 amp with up to 400 watts across five channels. Preamp was the Parasound Halo P7, fully 7.1 channel capable. Exasound used three 1.7 panels for full left-center-right multi-channel effect.

For the Exasound lineup, there were some nice pieces on display:

  • PlayPoint network player; multi-channel ready up to eight channels; native DSD256 up to 12.28 Mhz and 32 bit/384khz PCM decoding, price of $1,999
  • e22 Mark 2 DAC DSD/DXD 32 bit dac at $3,499
  • e28 Mark 2 FC (femto clock) DAC at $3,699
  • e28 Mark 2 FX (temto clock wth mini XLRS) DAC at $3,849
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New DACs, good clocking, powerful and respected Parasound Halo electronics, superb speakers…how did it sound?

In a word, excellent. The decoding was quite natural. Instrument separation was impressive and I had the sense of a very low noise floor. There was a little distortion on some tracks but I am pretty sure it was the result of the three 1.7s being in a small hotel room. But, I came back again on Saturday and it seemed the room had gotten better over that time. I’m not sure what adjustments were made, but the sound quality had definitely improved.

exaSound has gotten quite good at clocking. Jitter is very low — on the e22 and e28, there is an 82 femtosecond master clock, and even the more affordable e22 uses a 0.13 picosecond master clock. There is good isolation between the USB interface and the DAC to eliminate ground loop noise and block any computer-generated noise.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable room.

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About Lee Scoggins (31 Articles)
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Lee got interested in audio listening to his Dad’s system in the late 70s and he started making cassettes from LPs. By the early 80s he got swept up in the CD wave that was launching which led to a love of discs from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. Later while working on Wall Street in the 90s, Lee started working on blues, jazz and classical sessions for Chesky Records and learned record engineering by apprenticeship. Lee was involved in the first high resolution recordings which eventually became the DVD-Audio format. Lee now does recordings of small orchestras and string quartets in the Atlanta area. Lee is a serious music collector and his current system consists of Audio Research Reference electronics and Magnepan speakers.