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AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com

 

Rick Becker's AXPONA 2022 Chronicles
Rick Gives The 14th Floor A Good Listen At AXPONA 2022.
AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Rick Becker

 

 

  Bryston showed off their new BR-20 preamplifier/DAC/streamer ($5995), the ‘BR' being a tribute to Brian Russell, leader of the company until his passing about a year ago. It includes a built-in high-rez DAC and streamer as well as a headphone amp. A MM phono stage is optional. It is shown in silver below the Dr. Feikert Blackbird turntable with Kuzma Stogi 12" tonearm ($11.5k for both) above it. A Bryston 4Bcubed amp ($6795) sat below. The floorstanding speakers were from Egglestonworks, Oso model in light metallic birch ($12k).

A second system sat to the right with a HiFi Rose streamer/DAC ($5k) on the top shelf. Rogue RP7 preamp ($5k) and Stereo 100 ‘Dark' ($5k) provided amplification for smaller Egglestonworks Nico monitors ($5k w/stands) which were off to the side when I visited. A Bryston BIT 20 power conditioner ($4300) was a piece I had not noticed in previous shows. BIT stands for "Bryston Isolation Transformer" and model 20 is the middle size in the series. The cabling in this room was from StraightWire. I thought the Eggleston speaker was quite handsome and the music was certainly good here.

 

 

 

Eikon had a two-room suite with several models on silent display while they featured an active display with an Aurender N20 server and Qobuz streaming service in the other room. With Eikon, everything else is built into their box and speakers making for a very elegant looking high-quality music experience. It also gets tuned to the room with built-in software. Like Devialet, this minimalist approach should have very high spousal approval. And yes, it worked perfectly fine spaced close to the wall.

Bass with this smaller model speaker was not thunderous, but they have a larger model that will play thunder for those who need it. Eikon is more concerned with achieving proper phase than frequency response because they feel this is more critical for music to sound authentic.

 

 

 

 

The Marantz room was a place where my wallet could relax and I could enjoy the music. It played through their new 40n integrated amp (in black) ($2500) that I saw in Montreal. Unfortunately, it is completely sold out. Along with their TT 15S1 turntable ($1800) on the top shelf was an SACD 30n Network SACD player ($3k) in silver down below. I'm liking the style of this new series, a lot. The speakers here were the Definitive Technology D17 ($3500), the flagship of their top Demand Series. This made for an under $11k system with vinyl, CD, SACD, and streaming capability, plus the cost of a rack and cables. Nonetheless, a tidy, rig for the money.

 

 

 

While the Orchestalls speakers ($32k) from KMD Engineering shown here may look totally unfamiliar to many, I see roots that go back to an American company that made dental equipment that made similar speakers with the drivers mounted in chrome balls. A Swiss company also comes to mind when looking at the two smaller models. And the Orchestalls are not all that different in concept from the more expensive models from Wilson Audio. The rig here was basic a preamp and power supply sitting on the floor with a tube power amp on the table above it. That table, by the way, had a top of highly compressed plywood — an effective solution.

To the right on top of the KMD cardboard box was a Yamaha CD player. The music was very transparent with high resolution as you might expect with each driver having their own private enclosure. The set-up in the room didn't seem to allow for a deep soundstage. From what I heard this speaker deserves further investigation with some better sources and a more spacious room.

The story goes deeper when I investigated this company from South Korea. They have two divisions. One either manufactures equipment for or operates an automated mushroom growing operation with highly automated equipment in temperature-controlled environments. The other division manufactures machinery for the manufacture and packaging of syringes. They must be doing well in this Age of Covid. I highly suspect the head man here is also an avid audiophile.

 

 

 

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