It’s true that I often kick off my show coverage with a shot of a pair of massive Von Schweikert speakers, that bank of huge VAC tube power amplifiers and a huge banner that proclaims “The Audio Company.” There’s a reason for that–after I return from a show where that legendary VSA/VAC system is exhibiting, I have this profound feeling like I’ve come home after scaling Everest. Leif Swanson, Damon Von Schweikert, Kevin Hayes and the entire crew of The Audio Company–the high-end audio store outside Atlanta that hosts the room–are not only changing the exhibiting game, but performing small miracles that take a small army to pull off.
This year was special, however. I haven’t seen these guys since Capital Audiofest 2019. At that show, I opened for my friend and colleague Greg Weaver, who always brings along plenty of rare LP pressings to play for the crowd in The Audio Company room. I brought along a few of my favorite vinyl treasures, and I had a blast. I promised them I’d open for Greg any time, and we were all excited at the prospect of our burgeoning road show. Alas, the world got strange and dangerous.
After stopping by on Saturday night after AXPONA 2022 to attend another glorious Weaver Party I told him, “Dude, we gotta get the band back together!” Hopefully we can achieve that at this year’s CAF in November.
But let’s go back to that magnificent system in The Audio Company room. The biggest change in the room was the new Von Schweikert Ultra 7 loudspeakers ($180,000/pair), which are the little brothers of the Ultra 9s and the Ultra 11s I’ve experienced quite a few times now. These are relatively small compared to those others, but they’re still bigger and more substantial than the Ultra 55s ($100,000) that Dave McNair just reviewed. They also have that same iron grip of the music, even in one of these enormous conference rooms, that was the province of the 9s and the 11s.
The rest of the system remained pretty much the same–Masterbuilt cables, VAC amps, Esoteric digital, a Kronos table and one more new partner–the Hana Umami Red cartridge that I’ve already reviewed. Leif Swanson is notoriously picky about cartridges, so it says a lot that he chose the relatively affordable Umami. Perhaps that’s why this room from The Audio Company sounded so much like the others, which lands squarely on the shoulders of those Ultra 7s. I felt like nothing had changed since 2019, and I was still hanging out with some of the finest people in the industry and having a hell of a great time.
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 episode direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.