AXPONA 2018 is off to a terrific start.
The new venue is superb. The crowds are here. The vendors are here. Everyone is in good spirits despite the typically shitty Chicago weather.
And yes friends, I got an early listen to the Magico A3s. Alon Wolf was doing a great demo and they sounded excellent…but the best Magico sound I heard was at Synergistic Research which had a huge room with mega-tall ceilings. Scott Walker supplied some great gear including some epic Constellation electronics and Magico S5s. A Berkeley Reference DAC was doing a sublime job on digital but it seems Ted Denney, CEO of Synergistic, has now added a new source: the United Home Audio deck. This first night of AXPONA has Ted opening the room for a late night drink and listen. This is the after-party to seek out because UHA chief Greg Beron takes a Tascam deck and transport and modifies damn near everything but the transport. It’s a new machine with a new sound.
Is there anything better than tape? I fear not.
I say “fear” because tape is not for the faint of heart. Want some of the Greg Beron magic? $6K is table stakes. Want software? Tapes run $200 and up.
But just damn.
The natural flow of a good analog reel is breathtaking. Scot Hull has a machine. My friend Peter has a machine. Ted just got one. Dammit, I want a machine.
You see, this is magic. Yeah LP can be amazing…but…but…tape is next level shit as the kids say.
If you have a good supporting system then it gets even crazier. Ted brought all the usual Synergistic magic. Want a lower noise floor? Powercell 12SE. Check. Tranquility Base? Check. Want fully grounded sound? Active grounding block. Check. Want perfect acoustics? HFT and assorted treatments including the spectacular Atmosphere towers and signature Black Boxes. Check.
Ted’s right hand guy Andy told me that something of this calibre takes a couple of days to get going. Well, it’s worth the wait.
Listen to Greg’s Zeppelin tapes with John Bonham’s drum solos. Holy cow.
Listen to Hugh Masekela’s Stimela for the presence of the “woo-hoo”. In the friggin room.
Want that deep but taut bass Magico is known for. No worries. It’s here. Want a warm, clear midrange. Who doesn’t and yes, it’s here.
Ted’s digital is very good but this tape business? Dayum.
This is already a contender for Best of Show. I cannot wait to hear what it sounds like on Sunday.
This gear is not inexpensive. But it is transporting me to a different time and place. The Beatles are now creating their harmonics. I have not heard this quality even on early UK vinyl. Quite simply, Greg Beron has created a Time Machine at AXPONA.
I suggest you hear this incredible system. I’ll be in the corner drinking some Fat Tire. Cheers.