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AXPONA 2022 Show Report By Enjoy the Music.com

AXPONA 2022 Show Report
Third Floor Thrills At Audio Expo North America 2022
Show Report By Rick Becker


AXPONA 2022 Show Report  --  Third Floor Thrills At Audio Expo North America 2022


  Getting from the 3rd Floor to the Restaurant on the 2nd floor was a run-around, as only two of the four stairwells descended to the 2nd floor due to the architecture involving the restaurant and hotel offices on the 2nd floor. Going the other direction from the 2nd floor was no easier unless you took the elevator. The elevators at the show seemed to run smoothly, though I admit I used the stairs to descend from one floor to the other, so I didn't use the elevators often. But at least they all seemed to be working all the time, and there was an express elevator to the 14th, 15th, and 16th floors.




Saturday Audio Exchange is open only on Saturdays, Thursday evenings, and Sunday afternoons to the public, but is open the rest of the week for internet business and phone orders. They also work behind locked doors on repairs — especially turntables, and on custom installations. Not your ordinary store. They remind me of Weekend Furniture up in the Adirondacks. Based in Chicago, they carry popular brands that more people can afford, but it is also possible to get into five-figure territory there.

Their room on the 3rd floor (304) had a modest rig with a choice of a stand-mounted Monitor Audio Silver 100 7G monitor ($1400) as well as a Silver 300 7G floorstander ($2600). I got to see and hear the new Roksan Attessa turntable ($1699) with its unique tonearm and built-in phono stage, as well as a new integrated Attessa streaming amp ($3199). The styling is fresh and updated, a consequence of the business being sold to Monitor Audio in 2019.

Touraj Moghaddam, the founder of Roksan went on to found a new turntable company, Vertere, which has been highly acclaimed. The new owners [Monitor Audio] took the internal circuitry, updated the functionality, and installed them in a more contemporary chassis design, renaming the line Attessa."

The CD player has upgradeable custom firmware and can be controlled via the BluOS app. It also supports lossy compressed MQA playback, which seems to be gaining in popularity. The streaming amp has a lossless Hi-Res 24-bit/192 kHz DAC, BluOS multi-room capability as well as Bluetooth & AirPlay 2. So we're positively talking New School here, aiming at a more tech-savvy, younger audience. This may be just the injection of new blood that the Roksan line needed to carry them into the future.

So it was nice to get an actual listen to this stuff and see the turntable with the lid removed. This is great gear with reasonable pricing that deserves your attention if you're more comfortable in the shallow end of the pool.

I stopped into the Sweet Vinyl room (316) and they now have four models ranging in price from around $2000 up to $3800 with varying degrees of capability. There was a lot of talk explaining the differences between the models and not much music, so I moved on. Their website shows everything is out of stock at the moment, likely because of parts shortages. Of course, if you have just a few bad records you might consider replacing them with used examples from a trusted source or buying remasters.




Mobile Fidelity (MoFi Distribution) had three consecutive rooms with some very interesting gear. I was very impressed with the Manger P2 speaker ($22k) in a refreshing wood veneer driven by the new Mastersound Compact 845 tube amp ($10.5k) with Psvane 845 tubes. Not only did it sound great, even with a digital front end, but this was also the most attractive-looking Manger I've ever seen — far better looking than the dull black finishes I've seen in the past.



The Mastersound amp is also very attractive with bowed solid wood sides and distinctive tube protection. With 30 Wpc of Class A SET power, it had no trouble bringing the Manger speaker alive and in full color. Manger is from Germany; Mastersound is from Italy.




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