AXPONA 2016: John Stancavage’s Best of Show


Best Sound

axponaCost-no-object system: Wilson Alexx, driven by Doshi tube amps (Paragon/Wilson Audio room). Neutral, effortless and jaw-dropping sound, combined with realistic weight, solidity and image height.

$150,000 to $200,000 system: Sonus Faber Lilium speakers powered by Aesthetix electronics (Quintessence Audio/Musical Surroundings room). Ultimate refinement and ease, with excellent pace and resolution.

BestInShow2015v1$100,000 to $150,000 system: Volti with BorderPatrol front end (Volti/Triode room). Addictive, near-holographic, highly musical.

$50,000 to $100,000 system: ProAc speakers driven by VTL tube gear (VTL/ProMusica room). Focused and controlled with excellent midrange.

$10,000 to $50,000 system: Legacy Signature SE driven by Raven Audio amp (Legacy/Raven room). Admirable top-to-bottom balance, a non-fatiguing treble and nice handling of transients. Would need to pay a lot more for small degrees of improvement.

Less than $10,000 system: Audio Alchemy electronics, ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 speakers. Puts high-end sound within the reach of almost any enthusiast. (Room review, here).

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Also notable

Most intriguing new product: DS Audio Master 1 optical cartridge. Blended warmth and smoothness of analog with excellent detail retrieval.

Still trending down: Red Book compact discs. (A sealed Japanese import of the XRCD version of Steve Miller’s “The Joker” was selling for $5 in the lobby.)

Trending up: Class D amps, music streamers, 45-rpm vinyl, big-ticket cable and power cords.

Legends on site: David Wilson, Dan D’Agostino, Kevin Hayes, Paul McGowan, A.J. Van den Hul, Frank Van Alstine.

Best show-sponsored live band: Catfight.




About John Stancavage 196 Articles
Contributing Editor for Part-Time Audiophile

1 Comment

  1. I kept thinking, as I sat in the Wilson-Doschi room, why hasn’t this set-up drawn me in to the musical experience as say, the Gershman room, or the Dcs/ Dynaudio room, the Von Schweikert room and several others did? Further, unless Paul McGowen was “onsite” Sunday, it was mentioned during the “Legends” discussion on Sat, that he was unable to attend due to weather (snow) in Denver.

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