Here is the Axpona 2023 Day 2 Show Report. It was another very special experience!
Today I spent part of the day in the upper-level rooms and also, and I visited the large bottom-floor rooms where the ultra-systems are. I will first start with the Ampsandsound room.
They were showcasing their Arch Mono amplifiers with a VAC Master Preamp and SW1X DAC IV. The bass was solid but fast with no boominess or overhang. There was great detail and good imaging. The soundstage depth could have been better but with the room on the shallow side, it sounded quite good!
Dutch and Dutch is a company from the Netherlands that make powered studio monitors and has decided to branch into the home audio space with their 8C monitor stand mount speaker. This speaker is a true 3-way with 2 rear-loaded subwoofer drivers, a front-mounted midrange driver mounted in a 180-degree controlled open baffle, and a waveguide-loaded tweeter.
These speakers are self-powered and have an ethernet connection to connect directly to the network and stream with their app. Or you can choose to connect your streamer or preamp to the speakers.
The internal amplifiers are rated at 500 watts for the two rear subwoofer drivers. And 250 watts for each of the midrange and tweeter drivers. I was impressed with what I heard especially knowing that these speakers can be pushed up against the wall and are designed particularly to work that way. I will say that they are the best-powered speaker I have heard to date and I have already spoken to Gabriel from Dutch and Dutch about me getting a pair for review.
The AV Luxury Group room sounded great with outstanding audible detail and a glorious midrange that I have not heard from Raihdo before. The Raihdo TD 2.2 speakers were driven by the very interesting WestminsterLab Rei monoblocks. These amplifiers are not very big in a world of huge class-A amplifiers. I asked how they could get that kind of pure class-A power in such a small-size chassis and they said a lot is going on in the way of an auto bias in the system allowing the amplifier to be physically smaller and run cooler than other class-A amplifiers.
Musical Artisans has impressed two years in a row with their Nagra/Stenheim room. The Stenheim model three SE loudspeakers were being driven by the Nagra Classic INT integrated amplifier, Tube DAC, Classic Phono, Classic PSU, and the De Baer Saphir turntable.
Last year Stenheim showed their “regular” model three’s ($32,000) and they sounded great. This year they upped the ante with the SE version of the model Three that Stenheim says pulls out all the stops at the crossover components. They found the best they could find period and put them in the SE. This room had everything. The speakers disappeared, and the bass had body but was fast and detailed. Imaging and soundstage were on point and the overall sound balance was the perfect medium between detail and smoothness with zero listening fatigue
I don’t think anyone could talk about Axpona this year and not mention the Acora room. Yes, it is a $700,000 room and yes, it has large components that many houses could not accommodate.
Other than that, these speakers and components combined displayed some amazing soundstage and imaging abilities and the seemingly endless dynamics were addicting. The Acora VRC is something to see in its Granite enclosure and dual 12” woofers in each cabinet and weigh 430 pounds each. The VRCs were being driven by a pair of VAC Statement 452 amplifiers, VAC Statement Line Stage, and VAC Statement Phono Stage. Spinning vinyl was the Oracle Delphi Reference Turntable with a Lyra Atlas Lambda cartridge. Digital was handled by the Lampizator Horizon DAC. This system just simply knocked it out of the park.
The Stereo Haven room was never disappointing and so far had one of the best vinyl playback systems of the show. The Well Tempered Lab Amadeus 254 turntable was being played through a Jadis JPS3 phono stage, Jadis DA88 integrated amplifier, and JM Reynaud Orfeo Grande speakers. This system made me fully understand why vinyl playback still exists today. The sound just oozed smoothness and finesse. The detail was astounding. If I were a vinyl listener only I could very well take this system and sail into the sunset!
I would be amiss if I did not mention our friends over at Border Patrol, Volti Audio, and Triode Wire Labs as they had an excellent-sounding room today. Volti showed off their green translucent finish on the new Razz LE speakers being run but the Border Patrol S20 300B amplifier. The sound was smooth and had a load of detail and finesse. The Bass was strong and effortless and gave the sense that the speakers were not even breathing hard making their music.
Tomorrow will be day 3 of the show and I look forward to more great systems and meeting folks in the industry. It will be the final day of the show so hopefully, it goes out with a bang.
I will bring another daily update tomorrow and look forward to my extensive full-show report in the future weeks here at The Sound Advocate.
WHERE the MUSIC BEAT meets the AUDIOPHILE ELITE !
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