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AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com


Rick Becker's AXPONA 2022 Chronicles
Rick's 7th Floor Exploration At AXPONA 2022.
AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Rick Becker



  Holm Audio of Woodridge, IL, a suburb of Chicago on the southwest side put up a couple of nice rooms. The signage for the rig shown above in 739 said it was comprised of Ayre components including their handsome MX-R 20 Reference monoblocks ($34k/pr) driving a KEF Reference 5 Meta speakers ($22k). An Ayre CX8 CD player ($5400) is shown above the LX-R 20 Reference Preamp ($30k). An Ayre QX5 DAC/Streamer ($10k) was listed but seems to be missing. Perhaps these are new models, but the monoblocks and preamp are not listed on their website. The attractive rack and amp stands were from Lateral and the cabling was Nordost Valhalla 2. All in all, a very decent sound here.



Within room 733, Holm Audio had a NAD M10 V2 integrated amp on the top shelf, a NAD M 33 BluOS streaming DAC/amp below, and a NAD 50.2 digital music play on sale for $4400. Dali Rubicon 8 speakers ($8k) and Dali Opticon 6 speakers ($2500) were at the side. The Rubicon 8 were sounding pretty good to me. A humble, but sufficient Pangea rack ($249) steadied the components and more modest Nordost cables strung it all together. The guy here had a badge from Saturday Audio Exchange, so I'm not sure what was going on here.



I can give you some prices here! Lumin XAmp Class A/B $14k and Lateral LAS-1 4-tier rack $8500.



And this was the Dali Epicon 8 speaker ($22k) in the room, but it was a mystery to me as to which components were actually playing the music.




My interest picked up big time with the Linkwitz EarFood GmbH room where I met Dr. Frank Brenner. The boxless presentation of this open baffle LX521 design was immediately apparent with its high resolution and transparency. While it seemed at first that the woofers were enclosed, that was not the case. There were two drivers in each "enclosure", each driver mounted on an angle. It can be constructed with both drivers firing in the same direction, fore or aft, or one driver firing in each direction, depending on what works best in your room with your speaker orientation. What escaped me until I returned home and examined the photos was that the speaker is constructed like the Gershman Black Swan with the drivers on the open baffle sitting above the woofer unit on its own bridge, not touching the bass unit at all.



Furthermore, the open baffle unit can be angled toward the listening position if you wish, independent of the bass unit. Walking behind the speaker I discovered a rear-firing driver that gives the sound a very holographic presentation. I was also impressed with the way the cables were neatly tucked out of sight for the most part something that is rarely achieved in open baffle designs.




But the LX521 is not just a speaker. The $19,900 price includes low distortion magnesium upgraded 8" drivers, two power boxes, multi-way Speakon cables, and air-freight shipping to the USA from Stuttgart, Germany. The power boxes include cascaded, phase-aligned active crossovers feeding 10-channels of tailored Ncore amplification. So you don't need speaker cables or power amplifiers, which will save you a tidy sum. Upgrade gloss finish and panzerholz editions, as well as custom woods and other finishes, are available. Furthermore, while somewhat tall, they don't overpower a small room, being so thin on top. For more reasons than just the sound quality and value offered here, I thought this was one of the Best Rooms!




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