AXPONA 2017: Chicago prepares for hi-fi onslaught

Classic-Audio-3 copy

It was quiet.

Too quiet.

As I wandered the wide, empty halls of the Westin O’Hare Hotel just outside Chicago Thursday afternoon I couldn’t help that notice that the bulk of the exhibitor rooms were dead quiet. A plaintive wail from Neil Young from one room on the sixth floor, crashing cymbals from a Rush cut shaking a door frame on the third floor, but in-between almost nothing.

Dr. Feickert Blackbird quietly awaiting black discs. in the Mo-Fi room.

AXPONA 2017 is being hyped as the biggest show in North America this year, and I don’t doubt it will be, but compared to RMAF last fall on the day before the masses of audio junkies hit the hotel (and every other show I’ve covered in the past few years), the O’Hare seemed eerily silent.

One of the music halls sits silently in anticipation of vinyl hoards.

Of course I managed to find several rooms in various stages of preparation – Mobile Fidelity Distribution was busy getting a room ready along with distributer MusicDirect, as was Wynn Wong of Wynn Audio. The boys from Bang & Olufsen were taking a break when I found them, John Wolff from Classic Audio was in the sweet spot listening to a pair of massive field-coil speakers, and Bob Graham was putting the finishing touches on a pair of Phantom tonearms that were feeding a TechDas Airforce III.

Tonearm legend Bob Graham preps a Phantom on an Air Force III.
Noble Audio is a proud sponsor of Part-Time Audiophile at AXPONA 2017

But as I write this post while the sun lights up the sky outside my room this morning, I can already hear the hotel waking up around me, and expect the lobby to be jammed when I descend for breakfast shortly, so I think yesterday’s calm was merely that: Just before the storm.

Brian Walsh of Music Direct preps an Ultratracker cartridge.

Check back often in the coming days as Part-Time Audiophile has a contingent of writers here in Chicago that will be bringing you multiple daily updates.

–Rafe Arnott

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream


  1. Does anybody know what those monoblocks are that John Wolff is using with his speakers?

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