Welcome to Chicago
There are over 160 rooms and exhibits here at Axpona. Making this event the largest audio show in North America. For some this can be overwhelming and cause a bit of anxiety. But have no fear, the Part-Time Audiophile Dream Team of journalists, personalities, and humorists are ready to be your guide.
Here are some surefire rooms to get you started and off on the right foot.
A perennial favorite of the audio show circuit and with good reason. Here begins the benchmark for the audio show experience. More than a room of friendly and engaging manufacturers, they also enjoy great music and the passion in being audiophiles. Each one compelled by expression to create some of the finest individual components on the market, they collectively have created some of the best synergy and sound you will find at a show.
ROOM #604 Studio Electric
Dave MacPherson of Studio Electric is no stranger to bringing music to life. With over 30 years of experience creating both pro-studio and home hi-fi designs, Dave’s newest contribution, the M4 Monitor is something truly special and not to be missed. Don’t let its proportions fool you, this sealed monitor speaker is compelling and full of range like few ever have been on the market. Do yourself a favor and experience what Dave has to offer.
ROOM #496 Bryston
Bryston is nothing new to the audiophile scene. They are a Canadian company with a proven history of offering standout products that famously stand the test of time. Here at the show Bryston has assembled one of their six-channel actively-driven and DSP-controlled 2-channel speaker systems. That may sound confusing at first, but to sit and listen to this all-Bryston offering is to have everything clearly displayed in front of you in a field of sound that is expertly measured and precise.
ROOM #482 / #486 Fidelis
Bringing together Acoustic Signature, Aurender, Harbeth, Stein Music, Stenheim, and VAC. The Fidelis room just flat out rocks. Emotional and engaging, the two rooms run by Fidelis showcase some of the more artful sounding products available. Beyond that the exhibits are fun and the music selections are worth taking notes.
ROOM #1534 Einstein Audio Components GmbH
Another full-branded system of superb expression and honesty. The Einstein system may already be one of the most thrilling finds I’ve made at a show. Displaying a stunning tube and analog statement system, the in-room record selection of familiar tunes can come outward with a new and fresh soul. Comfortable and rich, everything sounds just right.
ROOM #1533 Prana Fidelity
Exhibitors like Prana Fidelity are the type that usually walk away on Sunday with my own “Best In Show” label. What Steven Norber has been doing for decades, may still be one of the best kept secrets among audiophiles. Preamplifiers, Amplifiers and Speakers, meticulously built with refinement and capability, it’s rare to find a one-man designer so adept at developing the entire package with such outright magic in the sound. I definitely expect to find myself back in his room a few times before the show is over. The Fifty90 monitors alone will have you gasping.
ROOM Euphoria (L-2) The Audio Company
Nothing exceeds like excess, and this room does it with style and grace. The Audio Company has once again teamed up with Von Schweikert, VAC, Esoteric and others to bring forth a knock’em dead showcase, that for many, will seduce the crowd. This room is a once in a lifetime experience for many audiophiles. Read my previous room coverage here.