The Axpona 2023 Final Day Show Report is concluded and shared here by Douglas Moore
Well, it is here – the end of Axpona 2023! I have had a wonderful time seeing people I have not seen in a year and meeting new ones. Today there were a couple of rooms I revisited to get my final take on them and a few new rooms that blew me away. I am going to start with arguably the coolest and most music-first room of the show.
Odyssey Audio’s Klaus Bunge differently showed he cared about the music first with his room. He had his Kismet Reference Beryllium speaker(around 4K) 2/3 the way into the room with full room treatments and sound panels. Driving the speakers was a set of his Stratos Mono amplifiers(starting at $2,700 a pair). With his VPI turntable, the music in this room just flowed. Klaus kept it dark in this room and the photo I took was one of the only times the lights were on when I was in this room. The soundstage was wide and the image had more depth than any of the upstairs rooms period!! The sound had both detail and dynamics with a sense of realism that took me by surprise being the cost of this system. Just goes to show that proper setup and execution are worth much more than just throwing money at a system!
Well Pleased Audio/Video’s room had my full heart at this demonstration! The QLN Prestige 3 speakers($12,000) filled the room with an outstanding soundstage and imaging quality way beyond their petite size. They had all the detail while remaining all day listenable and retaining the toe-tapping musicality. Powering the Prestige 3 was the Qualiton a75i integrated amplifier($9,250) giving the sound that all-so-familiar tube warmth but with the bass tightness and treble clarity of solid-state. Feeding the integrated amplifier was the Merason DAC1 MKII($8,000). This combination was touted by many knowledgeable people at the show as being one of the best displays overall if you are a music-first listener.
The Alta Audio Titanium Hestia II($40,000) speakers had a frequency balance and bass depth that was really quite astounding. I talked to Michael Levy the owner of Alta Audio at length about the design of these speakers and was thrilled with what I heard. He uses a combination of a ported enclosure and a transmission line to get the benefits of both types of enclosures without the drawbacks to either design. This makes the bass both tight and detailed and able to go as deep as 16 hertz!
Driving the Hestia’s was a new stereo amplifier from Infigo Audio called the Method 6($20,000) that took the duel mono design from their mono blocks and put it in a single chassis with a smaller footprint. This amplifier is a class-A design that uses a smart controlled bias to enable the Method 6 to be able to get the benefits of class-A without the heat and energy waste of traditional class-A designs. The DAC and streamer were both the Infigo Method 4($35,000) and FLuvius($1,750) respectively.
While I was in the room I was treated to a live harp performance from Isabeau Corriveau using the Alta/Infigo room as the backing track. To say I was impressed is an understatement!
The VPE Electrodynamics demonstraton was a fun room to visit as well as hear.
They had three products to display at the show. The Model 1 ($845.00 each) is both a base and the subwoofer for the Magnepan LRS speaker that uses a dipole enclosure to fortify the bass of the LRS while also integrating well with the speaker.
Another product that intrigued me with the Crystal Dipole($5,900) speaker. This speaker is based on the Cube Audio S10 full-range driver and uses a clear acrylic baffle for the driver. The bass is augmented by an Eminence 15” woofer in a custom dipole enclosure with a DSP-controlled 500-watt Dayton plate amplifier.
I am not usually a fan of full-range drivers but this system impressed me in both its disappearing act being an open baffle and its bass which was very deep, controlled, and musical. The fact that this speaker is a modification of a Nelson Pass design just makes it that much more interesting!
The last product is the Model 2($1,590) which is a dipole subwoofer system to be used with the Magnepan Models 3.7 through the 20.7’s, it can also be used with Quad 2812 and 2912. The Model 2 uses two 12” aluminum cone woofers in a dipole enclosure with a 500-watt DSP-controlled amplifier. The subwoofer is specially built to have the speed and detail to keep up with the fact Magnepan speakers.
Overall I had a great time at this year’s show. I will say there were a lot of rooms that did not sound as good as they should have and some that I stepped out of and right back in due to the quality of sound reproduction.
There appeared to be an overall sense that some of the companies set up their systems as though people wanted to hear loose and booming bass to the point where it was a common thing people spoke about around the show. Not sure why this is the case but I made it my mission to weed out the bad to find the rooms that had Merit.
Stay tuned to The Sound Advocate.com where I will be writing a full-length show report with much more detail about the rooms I found sounded great and some of the people involved with them!
WHERE the MUSIC BEAT meets the AUDIOPHILE ELITE !
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