AXPONA 2018: Fern & Roby hit the ground running with Linear Tube Audio

Fern & Roby Tower loudspeaker with brass cladding.

I’ve had the opportunity to cover Christopher Hildebrand’s efforts several times in the past two years as he builds up his, bespoke high-fidelity brand Fern & Roby. Speaking with him via telephone after he arrived in Chicago for AXPONA at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel  (Showing in Room 606), Hildebrand related how this show compares during a trade show-filled year.

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LTA MicroZOTL Preamplifier with F&R Amp Stand.

“We have been looking forward to AXPONA 2018 since our last show here in 2017. The experience was a real pleasure all around because the show is so well executed and attendance was great. It manages a steady flow of show goers as opposed to the normal surges and lulls we have experienced at other venues over the past four years. This steady flow made Chicago very manageable to run as an exhibitor and I believe for the attendees as well. I chalk this up to the excellent attention to detail and management of the planning staff at JD Events. We have been working on pulling together a great presentation for AXPONA 2018 that will showcase the maturity and attention to detail we are building into our reference product line.”

AXPONA 2018 coverage brought to you by Zesto Audio

Here’s a list provided by Hildebrand of what will be available to demo at AXPONA:

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Tredegar turntable with new Uni-pivot tonearm.


  • using our Tredegar Turntable with our NEW Uni-pivot tonearm made specifically for the cast-iron and bronze deck.
  • The Sussuro Low Output Moving Iron cartridge by Soundsmith.
  • Our favorite Step Up Transformer made by our friend Dave Slagle,
  • With our Maverick Phono preamp configured with our balanced MM daughter card and our new “balanced SUT cable.
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New MicroZOTL preamplifier.


  • Linear Tube Audio’s new MicroZOTL preamplifier, the evolution of the original abbreviated product that is a celebrated and well loved preamplifier and headphone amp. This new product is a fully realized preamplifier and system control with some serious thought put into the functionality of the control unit for a great system as well as some meaningful improvements in the design that make it a killer product, this includes a new chassis designed and manufactured by Fern & Roby.
  • The ZOTL Ultralinear Power Amplifier – a cherished and amazing design by esteemed designer David Berning, this amplifier delivers everything we could want from a power amp with some of the most compelling sound production we have ever heard!
The Towers by Fern & Roby.


  • The Towers by Fern & Roby are the development effort and evolution we have made over the past three years since we launched our line with our Beam Speakers. The Towers embody a classic floor-stander aesthetic while delivering their own unique presentation. Using select hardwoods for the face and a 1/8″ thick brass clad enclosure they are sleekly modern but classically refined. We have developed them with flexibility for the end user in mind featuring an outboard passive crossover in its own Richlite case and bi-wiring terminals on the cabinet. This allows for a single two channel stereo paradigm or the introduction of a direct amplification scenario using our active crossover controls which incorporate gain control for each channel. We chose to showcase the passive crossover in Chicago with the Ultralinear power amp by LTA.
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Fern & Roby Amp Stand in Ash.


  • We have been making our own Amp Stands for a while now and decided to make it a product line after getting several requests. We will have them in Walnut in room 606 and Ash in room 696.
  • We will also have our isolation feet which are a great way to economically improve your system whatever the components are.
  • We will also have our Alignment Protractor and several other products we have been refining for the past year.

Fern & Roby will be showing their Montrose turntable and Maverick phono preamp with Spatial Audio and Linear Tube Audio, and supplying a Montrose turntable in Room 604 with Modwright Instruments and Studio Electric. 

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream

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