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AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com


Rick Becker's AXPONA 2022 Chronicles
Floors 15 And 16 Of AXPONA 2022
AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Rick Becker



  Unfortunately, a structural pillar required the separation of the two bass units which spoiled the aesthetic appearance when the units connect. I sat off-center at first and admired the transparency, detail, and dynamics of this system, and when opportunity struck I hit the center position where the soundstage snapped into greater precision. While this suite is large, it is divided into several sections and the speakers typically require positioning on the long wall here. The dCS front end and VAC pre-amplification were neatly stacked on an HRS rack.





Some people categorically don't care for the sound of horn speakers, but I find the Avantgarde among the least colored. A person's room will often color the sound more than these speakers, and I treasure them for their strengths. All of the other gear in this room was equally top-shelf, earning another Best Rooms recognition this year.  Angi was tied up in conversation on my first visit, but when I returned at the end of the show, she popped her tired body out of her chair and gave me a big hug. I've been raving about her rooms at the Canadian shows for decades and with her magnetism for some of the best brands in the industry, that's unlikely to change.



Bill Parish of GTT Audio put on a fine show with the premiere of the new YG Acoustics Summit speaker ($25k) boasting wood veneer cabinets at a lower price point than their all-aluminum series. The Kronos turntable featured the premiere of the Discovery RS tonearm ($24k) from Louis Desjardins. Unlike most uni-pivot designs that balance on a pinhead, the Kronos tonearms utilize a ball and cup design that keeps the center of mass low, relative to the pivot point.



A My Sonic Lab Platinum Signature MC cartridge ($11k) brought the entire turntable rig up to $95k. MolaMola, Audionet, and AURALiC gear filled out this fine-sounding system. I had a chance to hear a traditional aluminum YG speaker elsewhere at the show, and the sound of the new speaker was noticeably different from what you would expect from the different cabinet materials. Kubala*Sosna contributed the cables, primarily from their Sensation series.



Devialet treated showgoers with a very clean-looking lifestyle system featuring a sound/electronics bar as well as four models (in two sizes) of their active Phantom speakers that put out bass that is both amazing and respectable. Note the round remote by the right-side speaker. The speakers range from 95dB SPL to 108dB SPL in loudness and from 350 Watts, RMS, to 1100 Watts, RMS in power. Prices range from $1200 to $3200. So basically, you can buy according to what you think you need, or what your neighbors might tolerate.



More music-oriented (though who would argue against YouTube music in the rig above?) was this minimalist Devialet rig with a basic turntable. This French company has shown very respectable staying power and growth in North America over the past decade or more, practically reinventing the all-in-one category after the death of the boombox.



Audio Skies, in the other Presidential Suite (Aster), presented an equally unique looking speaker, the Vivid Audio Giya ($86k) powered by JMF Audio dual-mono, high current stereo power amp ($39k) and preamp ($34k) from France and connected with Stealth Audio cables from Kyomi Audio, a retailer in the suburbs of Chicago, a little southeast of Schaumburg, that seem to be very high-end designs.



Music was sourced from an Ideon Audio digital front end. The music playing here at the time didn't give me a good idea of the capabilities of this expensive system, but I suspect it was very good, as I've admired (and praised) Vivid speakers since they first burst onto the scene back in 2006.





While I was hoping for a listen to the new series of electronics from Nagra, not to forget their new turntable, it was not to be. Instead, they had the Classic series driving Stenheim loudspeakers, both from Switzerland. The resolution here was extremely high and very clean sounding. The Stenheim speakers do not roll off at all in the top end, so I highly recommend a long audition with amplification similar to your own.




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