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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





  A Dr. Feickert Blackbird turntable ($7.5k w/o arm) was shown with a pair of Thomas Schick 10.5 tonearms ($10.7 table & 1 arm). One had the EMT HSD 006 cartridge ($1795, red aluminum), and the other an EMT cartridge from their Tondose (Broadcast) series. Sadly, it was on silent display when I visited the MoFi room.




HiFi Rose from South Korea seems to have a hit on their hand with the new RA 180 integrated amplifier (200 Wpc, $7500). It is basically the reincarnation of the 1970s receiver in a steam-punk kind of way, complete with defeatable tone controls, adjustable high-frequency crossover, and adjustment of the RIAA turnover and 10kHz roll-off for the phono section. It attracted a constant flow of attention. I hear Kim Jong Un has one on backorder — it's that cool with its efficient GaNFET amplification and remote control.

It was linked with the show debut of the HiFi Rose RS250 wireless network streamer that supports PCM 32bit/768KHz and Native DSD512, playing music through what looked like Piega Coax 711 LTD floorstanding speakers making very nice music. I also saw a small, thin CD player designed for ripping CDs through a USB connection into the RS250 (which takes up to a 4TB hard drive).



Also on display from MoFi was this Ace 50 Wireless lifestyle speaker ($5k) with built-in Chromecast, Spotify, and Roon Ready from Piega of Switzerland. There was also a cylindrical subwoofer ($1800) showing the silver finish lying on the floor nearby. I thought the sound here was very nice. (There is also a center channel and bookshelf speaker in this series if you wish to go for a modest surround sound.)



I'm going to take a pretty certain guess that this was the ELAC demo in room 342. It's quite common for their room to be packed and locked down with extensive explanations of their speaker technology. Missing here was Andrew Jones whose design expertise brought ELAC into mainstream affordable High-End consciousness. As happens in this industry, top designers are often the hired guns of larger manufacturers and move from one town to another. For sure, we have not heard the last from Andrew Jones. Nor is ELAC likely to slip into obscurity. Look for Andrew Jones to emerge with products at a higher price point.

Distinctive Stereo (room 352) did not make it to the show which was unfortunate as I was looking forward to visiting again after experiencing their very fine room at Capital AudioFest 2021 show last November.




I received a pre-AXPONA promotional email from Geshelli Labs touting their small clear path triode audio amps and the fine wood cabinets that are custom-made for them. Coming from the furniture industry in an earlier incarnation, I took note and was delighted to discover them in a dimly lit room on the 3rd floor. The retired father of the main man here (probably also named Geshelli) crafts the beautiful dovetailed cases for the headphone and other small amps here. Thus equipped, they are suitable for corner office desktops in the tallest skyscrapers. There was music coming out of the monitors silhouetted in the photo, so they must put out at least a few watts.



This seems to be high-quality gear for people who live in tiny houses (It's a movement), RVs, or simply seek a minimalist lifestyle. Or, as I said, executive suites. If you're into small, check out their website and bookmark it.




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