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.
ROOM Imagination (L-1) Paragon Sight and Sound, Doshi Audio, Brinkmann, dSC, HRS, Transparent, Wilson Audio
Just one part of the Paragon duo of rooms at the show, Doshi Audio had us befuddled at how well his new seventy-five watt per channel amplifier was handling the load presented by the Wilson speakers. Things even broke away from the audiophile-norm, when the real world-norm of Sylvan Esso absconded with the Brinkmann turntable for a song or six.
ROOM #704 The Audio Surgeon, Dynaudio, Dynavector, Legacy, Pass Labs, PS Audio, Torus Power, VPI Industries
Climbing to the auditory mountain top can be quite the adventure, that is, if you have the right guide. Step in Dr. Collen, better known himself as the The Audio Surgeon. Helping clients develop and achieve their dreams is one thing, helping manufacturers develop their products? That is something special and to take in consideration when consulting a dealer within the sphere of influence of The Audio Surgeon.
ROOM #478 Emerald Physics, DSPeaker, LSA, Outlaw, WyWires
Overwhelming full sound, the new speakers from LSA were completely assembled the day before the show. Breaking in wasn’t even done before the crowds were set back in their seats mouths gasping at how prodigious the bass and scale of these little wonders were. There was a 24” sub in the room, but it wasn’t even running. Brilliant update to a classic.
ROOM #674 Innuos, Audio Research, YG Acoustics
Introducing a new two box solution to something that wasn’t a problem seems kind of silly at first. The single box reference version of Innuos’ digital-everything box named Zenith, now gets the Statement label, two chassis, and inside of it all the refinement you would expect. Switching back and forth between the original and new Statement model, the differences were vast in the vocal arena. What remained was everything you loved about the previous Zenith model.
ROOM #1527 Kyomi Audio, MBL, Graham Engineering, Stealth Audio, TechDAS
Offering one of the most unique experiences in the show, MBL speakers and electronics display sound like few others even dream of. However the story of this room doesn’t end there, a Graham Engineering / TechDAS tonearm / table combination was spinning on the far side of the room and going completely unnoticed by me as I was wandering the room confused and looking for the Reel-To-Reel.
ROOM #566 Nordost, Dali, Holm Audio, NAD
Cable swapping can be arduous. It draws out the analytical nature of our most subjective tools. Having it done in front of you at a show, and with a collectively skeptical, but still open minded audience – that is where it becomes a lot of fun. Never skip a live demo of this nature. You might have a few of your prejudices shaken free by the end of it all.
ROOM #696 Spatial, Audioquest, Fern & Roby, Linear Tube Audio
I’ve heard Spatial speakers on quite a few different systems in a short period of time. Put those experiences all together and you will come to the conclusion that Spatial plays well with others. Recently hearing a Fern & Roby horn speaker and turntable coupled together with LTA amplification, it was cool to hear what swapping in Spatial does in its place.
ROOM #446 Tidal, The Voice That Is!, Antipodes, Dynamic Design, Stillpoints, Transfiguration, TW-Acustic
We’re all at a new venue, but The Voice That Is! and Tidal Audio are bringing that same “Best of Show” sound. I’ve heard it before, and I’ll never tire of it. Always my first and easiest room to recommend. Expect more coverage to come on this room and the folks behind it all. To “miss a room,” usually means that I did not get a chance to hear it. In this case, it more accurately describes my feelings upon arriving home.