Friday highlights from AXPONA 2022. What a pleasure it is to write those words. It’s been more than two years since I’ve attended a high-end audio show. It’s been more than two years since I posted this familiar photo from a Von Schweikert Audio, VAC and The Audio Company room. It felt good to be in the presence of audio greatness once again. Of course this was the very first room I visited.
This year featured the new Von Schweikert Ultra 7s, a far more compact loudspeaker than the extraordinary and huge Ultra 9s and 11s. Yet that VSA magic was still there, filling another large room with tremendous energy, authority and excitement. I was instantly reminded of why Leif Swanson and Damon Von Schweikert have hunkered down at the top of the high-end audio mountain, and why they’re not going anywhere in the near future.
The Friday highlights from AXPONA 2022 also included Vimberg, one of my favorite speakers in the world. While I loved the matte white finish of the Vimberg Ameas, 2020’s Product of the Year, how about a larger model in lime green? Powered by Karan amplification, the Vimbergs sounded tight, accurate and the crowd was noticeably excited by the superb sound.
I was on a streak–the next room featured a full rack of Luxman and their latest offerings, all hooked up to a giant pair of Magicos. This system had enormous power and plenty of detail. We’ve said it before–Luxman has been at the top of their game for the last few years, releasing one extraordinary product after another.
After discovering Sonner Audio at a high-end audio show a few years ago, I’ve been waiting for a pair to review. It’s finally happening–I’m getting a pair of the $11k/pair Legato Duos, seen here in a simple set-up including a Hegel integrated and a Chord Dave DAC. Gunny from Sonner is a master DJ, playing one extraordinary musical selection after another.
More Friday highlights from AXPONA? How about a pairing I’ve never heard before–Linear Tube Audio with DeVore Fidelity? With the newest versions of the 20wpc LTA Ultralinear power amplifier and MicroZOTL pre, the compact and powerful Devore Gibbon 9s sounded wonderful, especially with the Lampizator Baltic3 DAC plugged into the system. I reviewed the first Gibbon 9s back in 2008, and these were much smaller in size and yet sounded so much larger. Wow.
Remember Rethm? They’re back, with an intriguing new line of models that were among my Friday highlights from AXPONA. Each AARKA speaker contains two amplifiers–one to power the rear-mounted subwoofers, and a tube amp to power the main driver–all for $6K/pair. A tiny pre/DAC from iFi completed this very simple and streamlined system. Our Grover Neville is making arrangements to review a pair.
Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to hear the new Qln Signature monitors ($18K) with the new Vinnie Rossi Brama integrated amplifier ($38K). I’m getting a private audition on Saturday, so I’ll save this for tomorrow. But this is endgame stuff for me, and I’ll be lucky enough to review it soon.
AXPONA is back!
If you would like to hear even more coverage from AXPONA 2022, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the show direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.